[Vision2020] Editorial: Cut Back Moral Waivers

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Mon Sep 3 18:17:10 PDT 2007

What follows is an editorial written by the Army Times staff concerning the
unacceptable and unconscionable lessening of Army entrance standards.

It is my opinion that Bush's war is most contributory negligent in this
lessening of standards.  As combat tours extended from 12 months to 15
months, as troop strength in Iraq grew from 130,000 to well over 160,000,
and as more and more recruiters were failing to meet their quota, the number
of readily available troops drastically deteriorated.  

This left two options:

1)  Lower entrance standards by granting more and more enlistment waivers to
those potential enlistees who would otherwise fail to meet entrance
requirements for physical, educational, or moral reasons.

2)  Activate the draft.

For obvious reasons option #1 was far more attractive to the Bush
administration than explaining to the American public why there is no such
thing as a deferment as the Bush twins and so many other congressional
offspring enjoy the security of executive privilege.


>From the September 10, 2007 edition of the Army Times


Editorial: Cut back moral waivers
Army Times Staff

One of the hallmarks of the Army as a society within a society is that
soldiers agree to live by the stricter rules of conduct, appearance and
personal choice that come with being a member of a special community.

Those who join agree to respect the chain of command and adhere to the
regulations laid out in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Ready
compliance with all Army standards, big and small, is critical to good order
and discipline and, at its ultimate, to battlefield success.

That is why the all-volunteer Army has been so selective about who joins.
Unfortunately, in this time of war, it has proven harder to maintain those
historic standards. There is no escaping the fact that many of today's
recruits would have been rejected in the past. 

The statistics tell a disturbing tale: The number of recruits needing moral
waivers to enter service is rising each year, from 4.6 percent of recruits
in 2003 to 7.9 percent in 2006 and 11 percent through the first 11 months of
this fiscal year. Moral waivers cover legal troubles ranging from traffic
convictions to felonies. That's right - more than 1,000 recruits came into
the Army in 2006 with felonies on their records. 

Gang problems are also on the rise. Recent reports by the FBI and the Army's
Criminal Investigation Command show that gang-related activity in the U.S.
military, particularly the Army, is increasing. Since 2004, the FBI has
identified gang members from Fort Hood to Fort Polk and elsewhere, and
connected them to drug dealing, assaults, robberies, weapons offenses and a
homicide. CID reports 61 suspected gang-related incidents last year, versus
just 12 in 2003. 

The Army cannot afford to drop its standards so low that it takes convicted
criminals into the ranks, nor can it afford to lose soldiers and critical
leadership time to sorting out gangland culture clashes in the ranks.
Noncommissioned officers and commanders have enough challenges without
having to police ex-convicts. family members shouldn't have to tolerate them
in their communities. Recruiters should not be allowed to enlist them. 

It's time for Army leaders to clamp down on moral waivers, even if it means
having to work harder and spend more money to fill the ranks.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil
and steady dedication of a lifetime." 

--Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

More information about the Vision2020 mailing list