A report by the Department of Defense (DOD), which was cited in a congressional hearing, had concerning news about the state of military preparedness. According to the study, 77 percent of Americans aged 17-24 are not fit for military service. As noted by Just The News this figure of ineligibility has risen by 6 percent since 2017. Obesity was found to be a very significant driving factor in the decline of eligible persons.
Obesity rates have been raising among the American public. As Just The News expounded, “42.9% of the U.S. adult population qualify as obese” and that in 1999 “that figure was more than 10 points lower.” Those on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were likewise cited by Just The News as being much more likely to be obese.
While obesity rates affect the military from without, there are problems with military preparedness from within. The latter is due to woke policies being imposed from above. As Thomas Spoehr, the Director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation, warned “Woke ideology undermines military readiness in various ways. It undermines cohesiveness by emphasizing differences based on race, ethnicity, and sex. It undermines leadership authority by introducing questions about whether promotion is based on merit or quota requirements.”
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He further declared that “It [wokeness] leads to military personnel serving in specialties and areas for which they are not qualified or ready. And it takes time and resources away from training activities and weapons development that contribute to readiness.”
He continued by adding that “Wokeness in the military also affects relations between the military and society at large. It acts as a disincentive for many young Americans in terms of enlistment. And it undermines wholehearted support for the military by a significant portion of the American public at a time when it is needed the most.“
The retired lieutenant general gave a number of concrete examples of such policies. He noted one instance: “That same year  the Department of Defense opened all combat jobs in the U.S. military to women, and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter committed to ‘gender-neutral standards' to ensure that female service members could meet the demanding rigors involved in qualifying for combat. Since then, the Army has been working for a decade to put in place the gender-neutral test promised by Carter.”
He revealed that “after finding that women were not scoring as highly as men, and under fierce pressure from advocacy groups, the Army threw out the test. Now there is no test to determine whether any soldier can meet the fitness requirements for combat specialties.”
The basic object of the military is to deliver professional lethal force that eliminates an opposing force. The lower or outright elimination of military standards undermines that basic mission. If women can meet good standards of fitness for combat then those females ought to be put in combat units.
What should not be done is the removal of basic tests of fitness to avoid politically uncomfortable facts. The fact that the recruiting pool is much shallower with obesity becoming the norm rather than the exception in society at large makes this even more of a necessity of staffing the army with fit and ready individuals.