Armed Forces Enlist More Criminals

Trend may undermine 'military readiness,' lawmaker says
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2008 8:29 PM CDT
A U.S. soldier of the 101st Airborne Division patrols as Afghan women pass by in Mandozai, in Khost province, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 19, 2008.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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(Newser) – The US Army and Marines are signing up more felons in an effort to overcome flagging enlistment, the AP reports. The Army doubled its recruitment of felons last year and the Marines upped theirs from 208 to 350—including conscripts with sex crime and manslaughter convictions. The rise in felon recruits "may be undermining military readiness," said Rep. Henry Waxman, who revealed the data.

But a Pentagon spokesman told the AP that waivers for felony crimes are "granted only after a thorough review." He said that "low unemployment, a protracted war on terror, a decline in propensity to serve" are among factors making US military recruitment more difficult.