When the economy was riding high and the war in Iraq was at its peak, the U.S. Army relaxed its rules to allow some recruits with felony records and those who failed drug tests to join the service. Now that the economy has tanked and the situation in Iraq is quieter, the Army is eliminating such waivers as recruiting picks up.
The Washington Post reported April 19 that the Army has rescinded a policy of allowing recruits who failed drug tests to retake the tests after a waiting period that has varied from six months to as little as 45 days. The Army also has halted the practice of allowing some recruits with adult felony records to apply for waivers.
Now, the Army is “not even going to consider” applicants who fail drugs or have felony records, according to Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
The waiver policy was controversial within and outside the military. With the economic downturn, however, the Army now has the luxury of picking from a greater pool of applicants, and is on track to have 90 percent of recruits with a high-school degree or better for the first time since 2004.
At the peak of the waiver program, in 2007, the Army granted 511 drug and felony waivers to recruits.
The Army also said it will no longer accept recruits with juvenile arrest records unless they have high-school diplomas.