JThe U.S. military has rescinded a policy it announced in June that allowed the waiver of the high school diploma or GED requirement for some applicants hoping to enlist.
Command officials told recruiters last week that those who had already been approved for service without a degree or GED certificate could still serve in the military, as well as those who were due to enlist that day, but no another, according to documents. obtained speak Army time.
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“The 111 Non-Grad (NA) Enrollment Program has been suspended. Those … who have enlisted are authorized to ship [to training]“, said the e-mail. “Any other [nongrads] screened for enrollment today are permitted to enlist, but any further screenings MUST be canceled immediately. No exceptions are allowed. »
Army spokesman Matt Leonard confirmed the suspension Tuesday but did not provide any additional details. according defense one.
The new policy initially allowed people over the age of 18 who do not have a degree or GED certificate to enlist in the military if they met all other enlistment criteria and scored at least 50 in the military entrance exam. Those with the required documents only needed a 31 on the exam. But the waiver only applied to recruits who could not complete high school due to caring for a sick loved one or who worked full-time to support their families.
“The command seeks quality individuals to serve in the U.S. military by evaluating applicants with a ‘comprehensive’ approach, recognizing that some quality applicants may have a valid reason for not being able to complete their education,” the command said. in June. Press release.
The decision to waive the requirement drew backlash online from people who accused the branch of lowering its standards to meet its recruitment target, according at Military.com.
The waiver came after the military branch witnessed low enrollment numbers during what the US Army Recruiting Command fact sheet for 2021 applications is the “toughest job market since the all-volunteer force was created.”
According to the fact sheet, 71% of the country’s youth are ineligible for military service due to obesity, minor criminal offenses or review of past medical and mental health issues. Only 23% qualify without waivers of any kind, and only 9% of those who qualify are ready to join the army, an army spokesperson Told Defense One.
“Recruiting in today’s environment is a challenge, and we have positions we need to fill right now,” said Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, who leads the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky. said in a Press release. “Our military relies on us to quickly fill these training vacancies, so we are able to offer incentives to pursue critical career areas.”
The branch has already tried to make other changes to attract new recruits, including relaxing its tattoo policy, offering higher bonuses and reducing contract lengths. Last month, a bonus was increased from $25,000 to $35,000 for completing basic training within 45 days of signing a four-year contract, according to the press release. The bonuses were in addition to existing benefits for military personnel, including the GI Bill, which helps soldiers pay for their education, access cheaper health care and home loans.
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The army hit about 40% of its recruitment goals for fiscal year 2022, Army spokesman said Defense One. The number of recruits generally increases in the fourth quarter of the year after high school graduation.