Standards for Recruits With Criminal Records May Ease
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.
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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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