One of the Trump Administration’s goals is to expand America’s military force and in order to accomplish that goal, the Army has decided to relax the standards for recruits. According to the Military Times, fitness standards, tattoo regulations and marijuana use will be eased.
According to a report by USA Today, the Army has been dipping into so-called “Category Four” recruits to try to meet a goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers, up from 69,000 new soldiers last year. Category Four recruits are those who score in the bottom third of Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery testing.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter made the announcement earlier this week. Carter’s “Force of the Future” reforms are an attempt to improve recruiting metrics while retaining top talent.
“We’re going to review and update these standards as appropriate,” Carter said in a speech to reserve officer training corps cadets at the City College of New York. “Some of these things we’ll never be able to compromise on. And we will always have to maintain high standards. But at the same time, these benchmarks must be kept relevant for both today’s force and tomorrow’s, meaning we have to ensure they’re not unnecessarily restrictive.”
According to the Military Times reporting:
Rules regarding recruits marijuana usage are getting a new look. As thousands of prospective recruits are now living in states where medical and recreational marijuana is now legal, Carter is instructing top personnel officials to consider pilot programs to “assess the feasibility and impact of updated standards” on the issue of “past marijuana use,” according to a fact sheet provided by the military.
Previously, the Army policy was to deny recruits with past marijuana use. The new policy will allow recruits who admit to previously consuming marijuana as long as they vow never to do so again.
Earlier this year, the Air Force clarified its position on admitting recruits with past marijuana experience. As reported in Military.com back in January:
The Air Force will still have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to airmen smoking or using marijuana, but how many days, weeks or months prior to enlisting that a potential airman used will no longer be a limiting factor. The service is no longer considering how long it has been since an airman used marijuana prior to service in a move to “standardize” the questions asked of potential recruits.
Air Force admission sources were inconsistent on what timeframe was acceptable for prior marijuana use. “Standards of pre-accession marijuana use were different for getting into the Air Force Academy vs. Air Force Recruiting Service for enlistment or officer training school vs. AFROTC,” said Air Force spokesman Zachary Anderson.