The Health and Physical Challenges of Today’s Youth and How it Affects U

The Health and Physical Challenges of Today’s Youth and How it Affects U.S. Army Recruitment Operations and Management In the past one decade, the U.S. military forces have been fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, this war is over, and it appears that the Congress is redirecting the Department of Defense (DoD) to reduce the number of military workforce as a way of cutting down the cost of operations. However, it is quite challenging since the Department of Defense is experiencing shortage of workforce and the need to recruit more troops. The challenge however is that there are no available youth who can fit in these ready jobs because of various reasons. The American youth are experiencing health and physical challenges that prevent them from joining the military. Some of the challenges include drug abuse, obesity, weak bones, heart and respiratory diseases such as asthma among others. This expository essay explores various health and physical challenges that hinder youth in the United States from joining the military. In the past three years, the U.S. Army has been planning to reduce the number of military personnel from 508,000 to around 450,000 (Terrie, 2018). In addition, military statistics show that most young Soldiers who join the military only serve for three to four years in their first enlistment. This implies that the Army must recruit at least 70,000 youth annually for the sake of reaching the targets (Terrie, 2018). Not every American youth is eligible to join the military forces since each must meet the requirements. Key requirements for joining the military include stability in physical and mental condition and the age bracket must be between 17 to 34 years. Any youth aspiring to join the U.S military should have graduated high school, or have a GED, and pass a drug test, and must not hold any criminal record. Lastly, a recruit in the U.S. military should have small number of tattoos and none should appear on the neck, hands, face or head. The issue of drugs has been the main challenge preventing the youth from joining the military. Many states across the U.S. has legalized recreational marijuana, and more states are joining each year. There has since then been an increased in marijuana use amongst young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. My son, daughter and younger brothers are between those ages, and all of them are recreational marijuana users. During the recruitment process, drug test is done on every recruit. Out of every 10 recruits who are ejecting from the recruitment process, 4 are due to the use of hard drugs such as cocaine, opium and others (O’Donoghue, & Kirshner, 2014). Many young adults start abusing drugs at tender age. Many explain how they started using drugs in high school. Simulation research conducted in the past five years show that 20% of the American young adults are involved in drug trafficking as a way of improving their economic welfare (O’Donoghue, J. L., ; Kirshner, B. (2014). A large section of this group comprises of African American young adults who live in areas that are heavily affected with crime and drug abuse. Thus, as long as the policy on drug abuse is heavily applied in the military, youth turnout in the military recruitment processes will always be low. In joining the military, another key requirement is body weight and bone strength. This implies that youth who do not qualify under this criterion are eliminated. Physical, moral, or cognitive shortcomings disqualifies at least 71 percent of America’s youth for military service. Obesity is the leading reason, and it’s getting worse. Over 23 percent of today’s youth between the ages of 18 and 24 are obese (Gould, 2014). Many parents do not feed their children with the right diet, which enhances bone formation. Technology has changed the lifestyle of the American child; since it has become the primary source of entertainment. The millennials do not venture in physical exercises, which makes them susceptible to obesity and poor bone formation (Lucier?Greer, Arnold, Grimsley, Ford, Bryant, & Mancini, 2016). Excessive tattooing and body modification have eliminated many American youth from the recruitment process. It is the military policy that any recruit should not have easily visible tattoos on his or her body. It is due to peer pressure and celebrity culture that is greatly facilitating to this low turn up during military recruitment process (Fritz, Lysack, Luborsky, & Messinger, 2015). In this discussion, I have clearly defined several health and physical challenges that hinder the youth from joining the military. Weak bones, drugs and body tattooing are some of the main physical challenges that are setbacks to youth joining the military. In order to improve the statistics of youth joining the military, there is a need for role play in modelling young adults. All of these health and physical challenges could be avoided through effective guidance and counselling. The recruiting command is developing a new program to assess the body weight and bone strength of potential recruits. All recruits will be administered the Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT), which assess their fitness level for the various military occupational specialties (MOS) (Vergun, 2017). Even with this process in place, it is in my opinion that the Army will continue to struggle to find eligible recruits.


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