A survey found only 13% of young Americans are 'highly willing' to serve
A retired Navy SEAL is sounding the alarm about a declining number of young men and women willing to serve in the U.S. military.
Mike Sarraille, now an author and entrepreneur, said weak leadership and "cultural rot" is playing a role in declining recruitment and retention.
A November 2022 survey from the Ronald Reagan Institute found trust and confidence in the U.S. military stands at 48%, down from 70% in November 2018. The primary reason for the more than 20-point decline was the "perceived politicization of the military," according to a press release from the organization.
A second survey also found only 13% of 18-29-year-olds are "highly willing" to join the military. Twenty-five percent are "somewhat willing" and 26% are "not willing at all."
Sarraille argued one reason so few Americans are unable to serve is because of health reasons.
"I think it should send shockwaves through America that we've lowered our standards to such depths. We're in a culture where everyone gets a trophy. Obesity is the new beautiful," he explained on "Fox News Live."
"And if you fail or don't even try- don't worry- it's somebody else's fault. When you look at leadership, strong leadership, leadership that people respect and trust, they're willing to contribute and sacrifice for the collective good. Now, the juxtaposition to that is weak leadership, the crisis of confidence [where] people pull inward to protect themselves and their immediate families. And they're not willing to sacrifice for the cause they deem unworthy," he continued. "But I'm not going to put this on the younger generation. If we can actually get them into the military, we can actually get them to a physical standard that they need to be. This generation is the next best generation. We just have to hold them to the standards of old."
The military officer added that the U.S. needs to start training the younger generation to be the leaders the country needs for the future.
"I think a good sort of contrast here is there was a commercial by the Russians where they showed young men resolute, ready to do violence on behalf of their nation. And then the contrast to that is the U.S. Army that showed a video of a young soldier and her two mothers," he said. "We're sending some very dangerous narratives. We have to have pride in our nation."