Are Hawaii Kids Equipped for Careers in the Military?

Hawaii is home to one of the largest and most powerful military complexes in the world yet fails to produce a large cadre of local kids who are qualified to enter its ranks, according to experts who say declining military eligibility across the country is posing a threat to national security.

A report by Mission: Readiness, a national security organization aimed at better preparing kids for military careers, shows that more than a third — 38 percent — of local high schoolers who took the military entrance exam in 2010 failed, placing Hawaii in last place along with Mississippi. Nationally, about 23 percent of all military prospects that year failed the exam, which tests students on subjects such as math and reading.

But other, non-academic factors further hamper military eligibility here, too, including obesity and criminal records, according to those familiar with recruitment efforts in Hawaii.

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