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McFate Weighs In on the US Military’s Recruiting Problems in Boston Globe Article

July 9, 2024

The Boston Globe

Sean McFate

Sean McFate

In April, Ukraine lowered its minimum age for military mobilization from 27 to 25, hoping to replenish losses and create additional units. 

Yet even as Ukraine dips into its youth as a potential source for national defense, the U.S. military, shocked by recruiting shortfalls that have left its Army, Air Force and Navy branches tens of thousands of troops short of their authorized strength, has begun considering raising the maximum age for people seeking to join.

“Does everybody need to be a Ranger jumping out of airplanes?” asks Sean McFate, adjunct professor adjunct professor in Maxwell's Washington programs. “What about the hackers? What about drone pilots? Maybe the military should rethink the ‘warrior ethos’ for the 21st century.”

McFate, a former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, believes that the answer to America’s recruiting problems is a combination of additional focus on fitness and education, plus expanding the potential pool of recruits to fill jobs that cannot easily or wisely be met with contractors. “There was a time when people felt that the military didn’t need women, or certain racial minorities,” he says. “I think we need to be a lot more open-minded about our approach to age as a number.”

Read more in the Boston Globe article, “No army for young men.”

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