The Army is drawing from less intelligent recruits, offering hundreds of millions in bonuses and handing out weed waivers to attract new soldiers at a time when the economy is on the road to recovery.
In an attempt to reach a goal of 80,000 new soldiers, the Army has accepted more and more troops from Category Four, which is where recruits are placed when they score in the lower third on military entrance tests, USA Today reports.
The issue with accepting less intelligent recruits is that RAND Corp has determined that more intelligent troops are superior fighters.
“We made a conscious decision to bring in some more Category 4 soldiers during the months that it is most difficult for us to meet the training seat requirement,” Army Recruiting Command head Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow told USA Today.
Since the unemployment rate is only 4.5 percent, the Army has had to accept more troops from Category Four, though the upper limit of recruits from that category is 4 percent. In fiscal year 2017, 1.9 percent of new troops were from that lower category, which is up from .6 percent in 2016.
Moreover, the Army has forgiven past marijuana use and made it so that lieutenant colonels can issue waivers, as in the past, only two-star officers could do so. In fiscal year 2017, the Army handed out 506 waivers, compared to only 191 waivers the previous year.
“The big thing we’re looking for is a pattern of misconduct where they’re going to have a problem with authority,” Snow told USA Today. “Smoking marijuana in an isolated incident as a teenager is not a pattern of misconduct.”
In general, the problem of recruiting new soldiers is only increasing. A study in 2014 showed that about two-thirds of youth in America would not be able to join the military because of obesity, failure to obtain a high school diploma and body modifications like tattoos and ear gauges.
At the time, then-head of the Army Recruiting Command Maj. Gen. Allen Batschelet said only about 1 percent of America’s youth are “eligible and inclined to have a conversation with us” regarding military service.
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