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The Strategic National Threat Everyone is Ignoring

Stew smith

 Well...Not Everyone is Ignoring It But Nothing is Getting Better (steady downward trend since the late 1980's)

There are a number of reasons why people cannot serve in the military. Besides those who are just disinterested is service, a growing number of recruit aged (17-24) men and women would not meet a range of requirements. See the 2020 Qualified Military Available (QMA) Study shows the following in graph form:

Throughout our history there has been a recruitment issue of some type. Medical issues (manual labor work injuries, deformities, tuberculosis, etc.), education, and criminal records were among the most prevalent during WWI and WWII with draft aged men. Though a military level of physical fitness was also an issue in these times, the foundation of activity (work, not obese, or sedentary) enabled recruits to get into fighting shape throughout their initial military training.

The development of President Council on Physical Fitness started by President Eisenhower with Executive Order 10673, issued on July 16, 1956. President Kennedy took this initiative to new levels and required physical education classes throughout the education system. Perhaps you have seen the 1962 video of La Sierra High School in California getting after it during PE class:

Current school systems lack daily physical fitness activity. Many physical fitness programming has lost precious time in a school day for a greater push in the science, math, and technology - which is needed, but our push for more tech savvy teens comes with a cost and it is more than obvious. This is one factor causing a military eligibility of 23%. Food choices and sedentary hobbies are the other culprits. It used to be that a recruits PE history was a good enough physical foundation to enter military service. For the average recruit prior to the turn of the century, there was not a massive amount of weight to lose first THEN get into shape. Being leaner makes getting in shape much easier and does not take as long.

We have had people join us needing to lose 50-100lbs in order to be eligible to serve. They succeeded, but it took a nine months to a year to not only lose the weight, but get into military shape. Whereas, coming in lean and getting into shape typically takes 6-12 weeks depending on the branch of service and the job requirements. 

If there is not enough time in the school day to add in regular physical activity and nutritional education, it is up to us - the community at large. A coordinated effort is required to promote healthier communities and ensure the physical preparedness of the younger generation. Our state governments and communities need to foster inclusive, safe, and accessible places that encourage members (of all ages) to engage in regular physical activity. This can be parks with playgrounds, athletic fields, courts, swimming pools, and basic gyms to offer free to low cost access to more options.

Concluding Reasons Why This Trend Must Reverse

- Nearly half of all adults in the United States are obese, and 1 in 5 children are also affected, leading to a significant impact on national security and military readiness.

- Over 50% young adults aged 17-24 are unable to serve in the military due to weight ineligibility and lack of physical activity. Other reasons (medical, drug use) pump those numbers up to over 70% unfit to serve. 

- Obesity is not only an issue for potential military service members, but also for active-duty soldiers, with 19% of them experiencing obesity-related health problems that impair readiness and deployment.

- The Department of Defense spends around $1.5 billion annually on obesity-related health care costs and lost workdays for service members and their families, making it a costly issue for the military. (CDC 2023) 

The Cost of Inaction: How Obesity Could Compromise National Security

Imagine if we needed to implement the draft again? The build up to military training will have to be preceded by significant physical training time that some would unfortunately nickname "fat camp". The Army is already building this program. The time for action is now. Failure to address the issue of obesity and physical inactivity among the younger generation (and adults) will jeopardize not only the readiness of the military but also the very foundations of national security. Together, we can build a strong and resilient nation by prioritizing health and vitality.

Here is something I have been doing for over 20 years now - opening my personal workouts to groups seeking to serve - for free! (click to see video describing the program). It is fun, rewarding, and gives me hope for the future one group of trainees at a time. 

We either need to do it during school or as a community that creates opportunities for young students to learn to have fun with fitness and physical activity, and sports. There is a need for this type of training in every community. Let's get back to having the President's Physical Fitness Test...Remember that patch you had to work hard to earn? 

Don't miss the opportunity to equip yourself with the tools and knowledge necessary to combat the pervasive threat of obesity among military age recruits. Visit and empower yourself to be part of the solution.

Build a Foundation of Fitness With Little to No Equipment (Cals and Cardio) 

Calisthenics and Cardio Program - If you are looking at making a change that requires less equipment and a focus on muscle stamina and endurance, there is a beginner program to build basic strength / endurance, an intermediate program that takes it to another level and and advanced training program that rivals my Navy SEAL type calisthenics and cardio programming (run, swim, bike, and cals).  This is an ideal plan if you are unsure where to start and want to see a progression of abilities this year!  One of my best creations is called the Calisthenics and Cardio - No Equipment Needed Guide For Body Weight Exercisers and maybe a good option for people of all fitness levels to stay home or get outside and train.

Book or EBOOK

Who is Stew Smith? Coach, Trainer, Author, PodcasterI'm the former Navy SEAL that military recruits, police/fire candidates, and special ops candidates go to for books, ebooks and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

Where Optimal Performance Will Be Tested Each Day

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT
Navy SWCC Workout

Army PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout
Army Air Assault School Workout
Army Airborne Workout


Advanced Running Program - Special Ops Supplement Plan
USMC OCS / TBS Workout


The Combat Conditioning Workout
Air Force PJ / CCT Workout  Battlefield Airman Prep Course
The UBRR Upper Body Round Robin Workout / Spec Ops version


The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer / Navy SAR Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Boot Camp Workout


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Workouts

The FBI Academy Workout  |   FBI Workout Vol 2  
The DEA Workout
The FLETC Workout - Ace the PEB
The PFT Bible: Pushups, Sit-ups, 1.5 Mile Run
The Fire Fighter Workout - Ace the CPAT


Online Coaching Options

Online PT CLUB - Weekly Workouts created personally for you.

New Member's Only Content / Services Program!

If you want access to years worth of workouts, many of the top eBOOKs, favorite workouts of the week, free fitness APP, closed Facebook Group, video / picture library of exercises, and more access to LIVE Q/A sessions check out the Stew Smith Fitness Members Section

The dashboard below has the links to all the information, archives, videos, and links to workouts, podcasts, live Q and A lessons. 

Consider this! - A Membership Program and Gain Access to Exclusive Content
(click for Fitness Club Dashboard - members only)

Best of all, if you have questions, email Stew Smith himself (  Join the tactical fitness group discussions, latest articles, videos, podcasts at the Stew Smith Tactical Fitness Training Closed Group on Facebook.


Questions?  Just email -

At - List of Products and Services

  1. FREE Articles
  2. Podcasts and Swimming Videos (Youtube, TikTok, Instagram)
  3. eBooks
  4. Books and eBooks in PRINT
  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
  6. Online Coaching  

Stew Smith Fitness 


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