Who Else Is Excluded From Military Service?

from The Gray Area:

As the country reacts to President Trump's tweets (above) today announcing the exclusion of transgender individuals from military service, it is instructive to look at who qualifies and does not qualify for military service. Two articles from the past several years touch on this subject.

The Pentagon says 71 percent of America's 34 million 17-24 year old population would fail to qualify for enlistment because of physical, behavioral, or educational problems. Of those eligible for service, the Army estimates only one percent even have an interest. Approximately 180,000 men and women volunteer for and enter active-duty forces each year, though U.S. military activity in recent years has led to some looser standards for recruitment. Only 79% of those enlisted had a high school diploma in 2007, while that figure was 90% in 2001. During the Iraq war, the military was also less strict about soldiers' body fat.

The military has embraced openly-gay members within its ranks, and now squabbles over combat roles for women. The U.S. Army’s major enlistment requirements include: Ages between 17 and 34 years old Must be U.S. citizen or legal foreign national Must have high school diploma or equivalent (dropped from 90% to 79% in past 15 years.) Minimum 33 score on Armed Forces Qualification Test No tattoos on fingers, neck or face No ear gauges No ADHD medication win the past 12 months No felony convictions No persistent illegal drug use No insulin-dependent diabetes Meet height & weight requirements The biggest single reason for failing to meet the requirements is obesity. Maj, Gen. Allen Batschelet, commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, says obesity is becoming a national security issue. “The obesity issue is the most troubling because the trend is going in the wrong direction,” he said. “We think by 2020 it could be as high as 50%, which mean only 2 in 10 would qualify to join the Army.” He paused. “It’s a sad testament to who we are as a society right now.” The future may require the Pentagon to accept whomever it can get.

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