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Army Says Waivers Won’t Be Issued For Self-Mutilators, Others With Mental-Health Issues
The U.S. Army has not and will not approve enlistment waivers for individuals with a history of self-mutilation or other documented serious mental health conditions, the Army’s top general said Wednesday.
Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, said recruitment standards have not been adjusted to meet hefty accession goals as the service looks to grow its force for the second consecutive year, calling a USA Today report that indicated the service would accept some individuals with past mental health issues “mischaracterized.” The report cited internal Army documents and listed conditions including self-mutilation, bipolar disorder, depression or drug or alcohol abuse.
“The bottom line is there has been no change in standards,” Milley said during a breakfast with reporters. “Since 2017, there has been no one to come into the Army that has not met the Department of Defense standards for behavioral health and/or personal conduct. When it says we are letting people in with a history of cutting themselves, of self-mutilation, that is not true. When it says we are letting people in with serious mental health conditions, with bipolar disorder, that is not true.”
The only change the Army has made is to lower the level at which ascension waivers for most issues must be approved, the service said in a statement following the USA Today report published Sunday. That change, moving the level of authorization from Army headquarters to U.S. Army Recruiting Command, was quietly implemented in August. But the Army’s statement did not clarify in what situations it would grant waivers for potential recruits.
On Wednesday, Milley clarified it was not changing any categories of waivers that would be approved. The Army has routinely granted waivers for individuals to enlist or commission for a variety of reasons, including criminal history, medical issues, vision problems and age. Certain issues including felony convictions, serious mental health issues and criminal drug use other than marijuana cannot be waived by Defense Department policy issued in recent years.
Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said he and Milley spoke Tuesday with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to clarify the issue. He said the Army had been assured by the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee that civilian nominees would not be held up over the reports. McCain earlier Tuesday had threatened such action, citing the USA Today report.
The Army is looking to recruit 18,000 new soldiers by September, but Milley said he has made clear that the quality of applicants is the priority over meeting recruiting goals.
“Here’s what we’ve told recruiters: If you make the numbers that’s great, but you will make the standard,” Milley said. “We will not reduce quality to gain quantity. Full stop.”
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.