Over One In Eight

Brandon Friedman has a scary article in the Military Times (h/t):

“The Army is in the midst of a disturbing trend that threatens not only our immediate goals in the current conflicts, but, more importantly, the long term health of the organization. The fact is, while the Army has been lowering its entrance standards with regard to education, physical fitness, and crime since the end of the Cold War, that process has accelerated since the invasion of Iraq. And this is something that the incoming Army Secretary should address.

The numbers are shocking when you actually see the scope of the issue:

Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer, points out that in 1992 98 percent of recruits had a high school diploma. By 2004, that number had fallen to 86 percent. In 2007, only 79 percent of Army recruits had completed high school. Whereas nearly everyone in the Army had a diploma 15 years earlier, by 2007, fewer than four out five soldiers did.

In terms of maintaining a professional force, the numbers of “conduct” waivers are even more troubling. For felonies or serious misdemeanors (or three minor misdemeanors), the Army granted entrance waivers to 4.6 percent of its recruits in 2004. That number had more than doubled to 11 percent at the end of 2007. And in the first half of 2008, the number ballooned to 13 percent. To put it starkly, this means that one out of every eight Army recruits now has a criminal record.”

Actually, it’s probably higher than that: recruits with fewer than three misdemeanors don’t need a waiver, and so aren’t included in that 13%.

The idea that over one in eight Army recruits has a criminal record is really scary. But hey: at least they aren’t lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender!

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