Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that the majority of young Americans are unfit for military service after his address to graduates of the Air Force Academy on Wednesday.
“More than 70 percent of 18 to 24-year-old males and females cannot qualify to be a private in the Army … it’s unfortunately going up,” Mattis told reporters.
The secretary blamed declining morality for the “combination of illicit drug abuse, illicit drug use, obesity” that is rampant among America’s youth. (RELATED: Mattis And General Dunford Make Boy’s Make-A-Wish Dream Come True)
The figures Mattis cited come from a study by the Council For A Strong America, an organization that focuses on making sure the next generation is prepared to be active citizens. The main factors that disqualified an individual from joining the military were obesity, insufficient education, arrests, and drug use, according to the study.
The key to solving this problem, according to Mattis, is changing how America approaches discipline and behavior.
“But what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to have reward systems that reward people for the right behavior, sometimes nothing more than just calling them out and saying, ‘You did the right thing,'” the defense secretary told reporters.
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