The Disabled: A New Pool of Soldiers and Sailors?

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Instead of increasingly relying on high school dropouts, a senior lawmaker influential on military matters wants the Pentagon to consider enlisting the disabled. In today’s increasingly tech-driven military, Representative Duncan Hunter believes that many people with disabilities are well suited for the services’ growing number of jobs sitting behind the console or at the computer.

“If we don’t start tapping that very important pool, we’re not going to have enough soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen to make our military run,” says Hunter, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and a veteran who won the Bronze Star after taking part in helicopter assaults in Vietnam. The notion of recruiting such folks to the military came to him after watching Steven Spielberg’s "Saving Private Ryan," in which a stateside Army officer is missing an arm. The California Republican says he plans to discuss the idea in a scheduled meeting with Defense Secretary William Cohen.