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Standards for Recruits With Criminal Records May Ease

Posted on Nov 6, 2007

The Pentagon is evaluating how it can streamline the process that allows recruits with criminal records to serve in the military. The proposed action is the latest in a series of cash bonuses and relaxed requirements that are meant to help the military cope with its recruitment problem. We can think of a much more effective measure to get young men and women to sign up for military service: End the war in Iraq.


WASHINGTON—Faced with higher recruiting goals, the Pentagon is quietly looking for ways to make it easier for people with minor criminal records to join the military, The Associated Press has learned.

The review, in its early stages, comes as the number of Army recruits needing waivers for bad behavior - such as trying drugs, stealing, carrying weapons on school grounds and fighting - rose from 15 percent in 2006 to 18 percent this year. And it reflects the services’ growing use of criminal, health and other waivers to build their ranks.

Overall, about three in every 10 recruits must get a waiver, according to Pentagon statistics obtained by AP, and about two-thirds of those approved in recent years have been for criminal behavior. Some recruits must get more than one waiver to cover things ranging from any criminal record, to health problems such as asthma or flat feet, to low aptitude scores - and even for some tattoos.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, November 8, 2007 at 12:33 am Link to this comment

It makes perfect sense to me, that Criminals would not have much of an aversion to other Criminals.

However, it seems to me that the only difference between the two is the size of the Crime.

Some commit petty offenses, while others steal a whole country

Birds of a feather flock together.

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By bhccat, November 7, 2007 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

The news is not new. De facto many recruiters have and do manipulate the system to “help” folks enlist. I am aware of a specific example in which a 21 year old recruit with a hx of opiate abuse was field tested positive for opiates at the local navy recruiter and was advised to refrain from furthur drug use and essentially offered suportive couderate nselling by the reruiter for the time neded to metabolize the drug. The potential recruit was retested, passed, and served honorably.

Of course, individual cases do not predict trends. In the late 1960’s all branches were required to accept recruits with minor to moderate criminal, medical, or psychosocial problems with overall negative results. In this program, the worst performers were recruits whose intelligence scores were simply too low to allow them to function in the waay less technical world than we have today.

Perhaps case by case waivers will benefit the individual recruit while not degrading the overall branch function.

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By thomas billis, November 7, 2007 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Plans are afoot for the American Foreign Legion.Criminals welcome from all the over the world.This will be a boon to the military services and will redeuce prison populations in our country and others.This is The Dirty Dozen on a mass scale.The pentagon let on that the main reason for the American Foreign Legion will be so that defense contractors, oil companies and politicians will not have to risk anybody in their families while they accumulate great wealth.The new ensignia for this Army will be an oil derrick.They might as well know what they are fighting for.

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By Ed, November 7, 2007 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d like to see the draft return. This time, instead of using birth dates as the lottery number, draft young men from upper income families first.

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By rodney, November 7, 2007 at 8:19 am Link to this comment
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If we bring back the draft and force all qualified Americans, rich and poor, black and white to serve we would have all the qualified people we need. But the war would end very soon. Americans allowed this war to happen as long as their children did not have to fight in it, didn’t have to die in it, or raise our taxes pay for it. That’s how this war was allowed to happen in the first place. Americans did not have to sacrifice anything. The military families are the only ones who made any sacrifices, while the rest of us were only concerned whether or not Brittany Spears would get her kids back. That’s what America has become, the elite who use wealth to and power to avoid any personal sacrifice or hardships and the ones who join the military out of a naive patriotism. and the need to better their lives because the opportunity for a good job and career isn’t available in most inner cities and poor rural areas, Even with that, America has lower the standards to allow people who normally would be unfit to serve to serve. That’s what America has become and why people with criminal records are joining the military. That is their second and maybe only chance to become a productive member of society as our holier that thou society and attitude would never give these people a chance to redeem themselves. However we would allow them to serve in the military as long as they are willing to die so our children won’t have to.

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By Forkboy, November 7, 2007 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

You would think that an administration (in the White House) that is so beholding to free market policies would recognize the folly of lowering recruiting standards.  Instead the military should be following free market philosophy and offering better wages and benefits to attract a better quality of military service customer. 

I guess it’s easier to lower standards than to offer competitive wages, etc.  So much for putting the troops first.

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By DennisD, November 6, 2007 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They’ll have to lower the standards quite a bit to reach what’s currently running our government.

It’s this kind of determined effort by our “leadership” to reach bottom that keeps it reputation intact.

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