Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Pot Waivers Go Up, Testing Standards Go Down As Army Eases Recruiting
America’s Army is looking more like America, warts and all.
The ground service, looking to enlist nearly 20% more recruits than it did last year, is relaxing ASVAB/AFQT scoring requirements and easing the process to get a waiver for past marijuana use.
Army officials hope to bring 80,000 new soldiers on board in the 2018 fiscal year, a significant increase from the 69,000 recruited in fiscal 2017, USA Today reported Oct. 10. Hitting those numbers is no small goal in an economy with 4.5% unemployment while hotspots for U.S. deployment pop up all over the world.
To pick up the slack, the service is increasing its enlistment of so-called “Category Four” applicants: those who scored between the 10th and 30th percentile on the Armed Forces Qualification Test. DoD regulations permit the services to have no more than 4% of their force made up of Cat 4 service members. The Army’s share of Cat 4 recruits more than tripled last year, USA Today shows:
“We made a conscious decision to bring in some more Category 4 soldiers during the months that it is most difficult for us to meet the training seat requirement,” Gen. Jeffrey Snow, head of Army Recruiting Command, told USA Today.
The service also implemented a rule change to increase the number of marijuana waivers granted to aspiring soldiers. Such waivers previously required a sign-off from a flag officer; now, a recruiting command O-5 can approve them. As a result, USA Today reported, Army pot waivers more than doubled last year, to 506 from 191 in fiscal year 2016.
To be clear, the Army hasn’t suddenly become more chill about weed — enlistees still have to promise not to violate the military’s regs against drug use in the future — but they are concerned with saving bonus money, which has exploded in recent years — and accessioning recruits with drug waivers, who don’t typically qualify for bonuses, helps the bottom line:
Don’t expect the standards to stay this relaxed forever; recruitment guidelines shift as wars and economic conditions change. But for those otherwise-qualified recruits who expected reefer-enjoyin’ to disqualify them from serving their country: Smoke ’em if you got ’em. Just give ’em 30 days to leave your system before heading to MEPS.
‘We constantly have them on our minds’ — A little-known agency searches all over for the remains of MIA service members
The 80-minute ride each day to the site in Lang Son Province, Vietnam, through mostly unspoiled forestland and fields, reminded Air Force Master Sgt. Aliah Reyes a little of her hometown back in Maine.
The Eliot native recently returned from a 45-day mission to the Southeast Asian country, where she was part of a team conducting a search for a Vietnam War service member who went missing more than 45 years ago and is presumed dead.
Reyes, 38, enlisted in the Air Force out of high school and has spent more than half her life in military service. But she had never been a part of anything like this.
A U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle burst into flames on the side of a Polish roadway on Saturday, the Army confirmed on Monday.
A memo circulating over the weekend warning of a "possible imminent attack" against U.S. soldiers in Germany was investigated by Army officials, who found there to not be a serious threat after all.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Comedian Jon Stewart has joined forces with veterans groups to make sure service members who have been sickened by toxins from burn pits get the medical care they need, according to the Military Officers Association of America.
"Quite frankly, this is not just about burn pits — it's about the way we go to war as a country," Stewart said during his Jan. 17 visit to Washington, D.C. "We always have money to make war. We need to always have money to take care of what happens to people who are selfless enough, patriotic enough, to wage those wars on our behalf."