Lawmakers Deeply Concerned Over Military Recruitment Rate

( – Two lawmakers have spoken of their concerns over the “divide” between the small percentage of the population who serve in the military and the rest of the nation. Rep. Mike Waltz (R – Fl.) and Rep. Pat Ryan (D – NY) are leading a push to put armed forces recruitment and military benefits at the top of the agenda in Congress as they believe that the low military numbers and problems faced by veterans to be “deeply problematic”.

Ahead of Memorial Day, the two lawmakers appeared on television to discuss their pro-military bipartisan work and the unity they feel is lacking across government and society at large. Both men are veterans keen to drive up recruitment, which they say is poor across all branches of the military. Currently, only 1% of the U.S. population actively serves in the armed forces.

The pair are presently involved in pushing legislation that would see the sons and daughters of serving and retired military members receive healthcare up to the age of 26. The legislative effort to expand military health benefits is part of the work done by the “For Country Caucus”, a bipartisan group that Ryan and Waltz belong to.

They also hope to encourage more veterans to make their way into government, adding that serving one’s country does not always involve active military duty. Both Waltz and Ryan advocate the need for some form of national service, particularly for younger Americans. They quoted volunteering in national parks or helping the elderly as forms of national service and said that they did not support the idea of a mandated national service. Instead, they argued that the government could look at creating incentives for young people to undertake such service. National service would help younger Americans to learn discipline, be part of something bigger than themselves, and spend time with a wide range of people.

Ryan and Waltz explained that one of their concerns with such a low rate of military enrolment was the social gulf between those who serve, and those who do not. They added that they wanted the whole of the U.S. to view veterans’ issues such as suicide as something for the whole country to concern itself with.

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