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Report: Army Insists It Won't Seek Waivers for High Risk

Report: Army Insists It Won't Seek Waivers for High Risk
(Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 November 2017 04:22 PM

The Army insisted Wednesday it had not and will not approve enlistment waivers for anyone with a history of self-mutilation or other documented serious mental health conditions.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said recruitment standards have not been adjusted to meet goals to grow the force, asserting the policy on considering such waivers had been delegated to a lower level for approval, USA Today reported.

USA Today, citing a Sept. 7 memo, first broke the story about the relaxed standard Monday, triggering an angry response from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

Miley said Wednesday, however, the author of the memo was not authorized to write it — and the memo did not have the effect of changing policy. The Army went public with its disavowal after McCain threatened to hold up Pentagon nominations, USA Today reported.

The outlet said Milley met Tuesday night with McCain to assure him the memo would be rescinded.

"The bottom line is there has been no change in standards," Milley said during a breakfast with reporters, Stars and Stripes reported.

"Since 2017, there has been no one to come into the Army that has not met the Department of Defense standards for behavioral health and/or personal conduct. When it says we are letting people in with a history of cutting themselves, of self-mutilation, that is not true. When it says we are letting people in with serious mental health conditions, with bipolar disorder, that is not true."

According to USA Today, Milley said the Army had done a "terrible" job explaining the policy — and credited USA Today for bringing the issue to his attention.

The service faces a goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year's goal of 69,000, USA Today reported the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.

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Enlistment waivers for anyone with a history of self-mutilation or other documented serious mental health conditions is not in the Army's plans now, according to a USA Today report.
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2017-22-15
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 04:22 PM
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