DoD Might Renege On Enlistment Contracts For Foreign-Born Service Members

Joining the Military
Photo via DoD

About 1,000 foreign-born service members who enlisted under the Delayed Entry Program but whose visas have expired could have their military contracts canceled and face deportation under a proposed Department of Defense policy, the Washington Post reports.

In his first dispatch as a reporter for the newspaper, Army veteran Alex Horton obtained an “undated action memo” for Secretary of Defense James Mattis that details “potential security threats of immigrants recruited in a program designed to award fast-tracked citizenship in exchange for urgently needed medical and language skills.”

Under that Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program, the U.S. armed services have recruited more than 10,000 “legal aliens” with critical mission skills like medicine or cultural and linguistic expertise since 2009. But the DoD memo reveals that since last year, Pentagon planners have been putting those service members, as well as new MAVNI recruits, through an extreme vetting process that’s drained “Army fiscal and manpower resources.”

As a result, memo’s unidentified DoD authors recommend “canceling enlistment contracts for all 1,800 awaiting orders for basic training, and halting the program altogether,” Horton reports. Most of those enlistees are DEPpers who are already preparing for military service while they await their recruit-training entry.

Ironically, those DEP enlistees could end up in immediate danger of deportation if they are dropped off their contracts; military recruiting commands already have their contact information and deep background data. Most of the recruits’ immigrant visas expired while they were awaiting a boot-camp report date, but under the proposal laid out in the DoD memo, none would get special consideration as a result.

Besides representing a total renege on its commitment to enlistees, the added scrutiny to immigrant service members was based more on prejudices than on hard evidence or cold reason, according to retired Army officer Margaret Stock, who helped stand up the MAVNI program in 2009.

“It’s okay to investigate someone with a legitimate security threat,” she told the Post. “But [these service members] share a characteristic they don’t like, which is they’re foreigners. They’re going to be treated as second-class citizens for their entire career.”

Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.

Read More Show Less
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."

Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read More Show Less

Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."

First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

Read More Show Less

D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.

"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."

Read More Show Less