US Army enlisting more recruits with criminal backgrounds

US Army enlisting more recruits with criminal backgrounds

[JURIST] Facing a wartime enlistment deficiency, the US Army [official website] is granting special exceptions, called recruiting waivers [USAREC Regulation 601-56 text, PDF], to an increasingly high percentage of recruits with criminal records or drug and alcohol problems. While the largest category of recruiting waivers were given to those facing medical problems, the largest increase in waivers was among recruits with misdemeanor convictions or those with charges of more serious criminal misconduct, such as aggravated assault, robbery, and vehicular manslaughter.

Many commanding officers fear the increase in recruiting waivers denotes a drop in standards that will lead to discipline problems within units and will narrow the pool of candidates for promotions in the future. The Army has responded that it has decided to look at the "whole person concept" rather than only recruits' past incidents. The Baltimore Sun has more.