Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter gave a talk on ?Force of the Future? military reforms this week which may involve relaxed recruiting guidelines on everything from single-parent enlistees to drug use and obesity.
A Tuesday function at City College in New York featured Mr. Carter speaking on the challenges of military recruiting requirements in a nation that may be over weight, increasingly at ease with smoking marijuana, and generating more single-parent homes. The effect has been a fighting force that may be gleaned from rural areas at twice the rate of urban environments.
?We?re likely to review and update these requirements as appropriate, ? Carter said. ?Now, some of these issues we?ll never be able to bargain on. And we will always have to keep high standards. But simultaneously, these benchmarks must be held relevant for both the current force and tomorrow?s, so this means we have to ensure they?re certainly not unnecessarily restrictive. ?
The secretary also used this occasion to announce a $140 million advertising campaign aimed to increasing military recruiting among the younger generation and boosting applications.
?Geographically, our military?s recruiting pool is shrinking, with increased regulations and more of our people originating from fewer and fewer states, ? according to Carter. ?Today adolescent Americans from rural areas are two times more likely to sign up for the US military than adolescent Americans from urban areas. We might be missing an opportunity whenever we kept fishing only inside the same geographic ponds we always have in the past. Instead, we need to grab that opportunity by doing some fishing in more ponds, new fish ponds, and ponds that we have not been to in a long time.
We must draw talent from our country?s entire pool of human population for our all-volunteer military force. ?
A senior DOD official spoke to their website to assuage worries about upcoming ?Force in the Future? reforms.
?Mr. Carter is not saying ?it doesn?t matter how obese somebody is, ? since it does matter. ?
?Fitness does matter in the military. But one of the responsibilities that we get when we bring people in is to make them fit, if they happen to be not already. We have to evaluate whether, if we have an individual with a fitness problem, is it an fitness issue in which they are not going to have the ability tomanage to achieve our standards? Or perhaps it is a fitness problem exactly where we can help them through that and they can meet each of our standards?
?He isn?t committed to overturning these standards because each of them has a reason, ? the official said. ?We are will certainly look at them systematically and evaluate them against each of our needs and make sure we?re flexible as we need to be therefore we can get the best possible force in. ?