The Army scrapped an initiative allowing applicants to waive the high school diploma or GED requirements as a way to boost recruitment, an official told the Army Times and The Daily Caller News Foundation later confirmed.
Senior Army officials emailed a notification of the change to recruiters less than a week after it was implemented, according to Army Times. An official knowledgeable on the matter told Army Times the rationale for the change had to do with adequately preparing recruits for success rather than “perception of a lowered standard.”
“The 111 Non-Grad (NA) enlistment program has been suspended. Those…who have enlisted are authorized to ship [to training],” the email reportedly said. “Any other [non-grads] projected for enlistment today are authorized to enlist, but all other projections MUST be cancelled immediately. No exceptions are authorized.”
Army public affairs officer Hank Minitrez confirmed Army Times’ report regarding the education waivers to TheDCNF.
To qualify for the non-grad category, potential recruits had to score a 50 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that evaluates academic and vocational skills, and meet all other enlistment requirements, Army spokesperson Maj. Charles Spears told TheDCNF.
“The non-grad category has always been available but was only opened on a very limited basis,” Spears said at the time. “Opening this category for a limited time will enable the US Army to offer a path to service to a wider group of highly qualified applicants, allowing them to serve the nation.”
U.S. military recruitment for the 2022 fiscal year has so far lagged dramatically behind standard benchmarks, according to NBC News, despite having a more modest quota than in previous years. While COVID-19 disrupted contact between recruiters and potential new service members, experts suggested that “woke” policies also alienated the traditional target market.
Thanks to @SecDef’s vax mandate, in addition to Army retention, Army recruitment is also failing:
The Army has met just 40% of its recruiting target for 2022 — DESPITE dropping the requirement to have a high school diploma or GED.
— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) June 28, 2022
Army Times did not learn how many recruits enlisted without high school diplomas or GEDs before the department discontinued the waiver.
“The most important thing is to ensure it’s the right option, and we take the time to think through the right options to ensure everybody has the chance to be successful,” the official told Army Times.
The Pentagon has floated other nontraditional strategies to bolster recruitment, such as utilizing a controversial social media platform and expanding outreach to children of illegal immigrants granted amnesty in the U.S., NBC reported.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers face discharge after a vaccine mandate expired Thursday.
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