Pentagon data reportedly found a staggering 71% of young people are ineligible to join the military, but experts say that same number of 17-to-24-year-olds are not qualified for many jobs either.

At a meeting of business and community leaders in York County, Pennsylvania, retired Rear Admiral Thomas Wilson decried the disparity in those qualified for military, college, and jobs, calling it “a war for the qualified,” USA Today reported.

Steve Doster, Pennsylvania state director of military readiness for a Council For a Strong America, told the news outlet the issue raises “a very real risk to our national security.”

Both believe early education is key.

“Those first five years of life are where 90 percent of brain development occurs,” Doster told the news outlet.

But, according to a Rand company-sponsored report, 52 percent of employers in Pennsylvania find it challenging to hire people with adequate skills, training, or education, pointing to race and socioeconomic factors.

“The school (district) could lack opportunities and resources,” Doster told the news outlet, adding the gap between the wealthiest school districts’ spending per student and the poorest is about 15 percent, he told the news outlet.

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