If the military is serious about fixing recruitment, embrace prior service and eliminate senseless barriers

Whenever myself or other veterans read about military recruitment woes, we always shake our heads. This is because we realize how the military is sabotaging its own effort to increase their ranks.

The talent bank is there. There are proud and capable Americans who are prepared to serve right now. They’d ship out tomorrow if they could. I’m one of them.

But for some unexplained reason, the military still implements requirements that easily disqualifies Americans that want to serve.

There is the negativity involving prior service. The conversation changes whenever you walk in the recruiting office and they discover that you’re prior service. There are extra requirements and many of them don’t make a lot of sense.

And then there is the body fat test. Or the tape test.

An exam that is outdated by decades, that uses a measuring tape and involves numbers taken regarding the size of the waist (hips for females) and the neck. It is notorious for saying fit soldiers are overweight.

Under it’s standards, Dwayne Johnson is obese.

If you think that doesn’t make any sense, then you would be right. But its the reality in today’s recruitment process. And it keeps legions of soldiers out of uniform.

Instead, recruiters are trying to compete in high schools. The philosophy is that younger soldiers have less hurdles to trying to enlist. That’s actually correct.

But they’re competing for a pool of talent that has more options than ever. There is the traditional college path. Vocational schools. Apprenticeship programs.

And meanwhile, prior service stays on the bench with a heart that wishes to serve once again.

If the military is serious about raising enlistment numbers, bring these soldiers back into the game to finish what they started.

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