WASHINGTON, D.C. - Our nation's military faces an unusual fight. Defense leaders say boosting troop numbers has been a challenge partly because many recruits are not physically fit for service.
Now a group of retired military leaders are urging president trump to take action.
Military leaders are struggling with recruitment efforts, which effects the future of military readiness.
"the tough part is one in three young adults don't even qualify for military service and that's not getting any better,"Maj. Gen. Douglas Raaberg, a retired air force major, said.
Raaberg said excess weight limits the number of qualified recruits. The fitness standards are not something that can be relaxed, especially when you look at areas like Afghanistan, in those high mountainous areas in terms of staying fit
A non-profit group Mission Readiness made up of retired generals and admirals sent a letter to President Trump. They ask the administration to appoint new leaders to the council on sports, fitness and nutrition.
The President's council on sports, fitness and nutrition is working to get young people active in sports. It also works to raise awareness about healthy food options. The hope is that will lead to expanding the military's recruitment pool.
In addition, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said congress can help by authorizing annual pay raises to retain service-members. Senator Thom Tillis wants to make sure keeping up with the cost of living increases won't take away from other military programs.
"If you continue the trend line how to you deal with the erosion of resources based on other DOD priorities," Tillis said.
Raaberg said the billions spent each year on obesity-related issues is draining resources.
"There is an actual cost to this obesity on this department itself," Raaberg said. "Not just being overweight but the health issues associated with it."
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