Got a Record? No Problem

US military wants to ease entry, but some officers worry about 'problem children'
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2007 8:19 PM CST
The Pentagon is mulling making it easier for recruits to join the military.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Seeking to swell enlisted ranks, the Pentagon may let more minor criminals enlist in the military, the AP reports. "I do believe it needs to be done," an Army official said of the proposed plan. "There are really anomalies out there"—like recruits who have youthful indiscretions, such as drugs, stealing, or setting a bee hive on fire by mistake. About three in 10 already need past crimes waived to sign up.

But some officers who have met with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicated that they already have discipline problems in the ranks—one called them his "problem children." The number of recruits needing waivers for criminal behavior has jumped by 3% since 2006; most waivers are for drug offenses or serious misdemeanors.