Adding new technology to our armed forces’ arsenal is a critical national security strategy. New weapons — such as the Navy’s Laser Weapon System — will redefine naval warfare. Using lasers instead of gunpowder, these weapons will help the Navy remain the most capable and sophisticated naval power in the world.
Leading-edge military equipment, however, is only as good as the men and women operating it. That is why I find troubling a Department of Defense report that shows 75 percent of young Americans are unfit for military service because they are too poorly educated, have serious criminal records or are obese. This level of ineligibility among our young adults presents a real recruiting problem for the armed forces.
It is obvious that we must do more to prepare our children, whether they join the military or pursue civilian careers. Research is clear the education process should start early with high-quality pre-kindergarten that capitalizes on a child’s most rapid period of brain development. It also shows this high-quality start results in improved long-term academic performance and can increase graduation rates by as much as 44 percent.
Unfortunately, less than 30 percent of Pennsylvania’s 3- and 4-year olds have access to high-quality Pre-K. When state lawmakers return to Harrisburg in June, they should ensure more kids are served by accepting Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed increase to Pre-K Counts as part of the final budget.
Like futuristic weapons, investing in future human capital is also a critical national security strategy.
Thomas J. Wilson III