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Rod Powers

One in Eight Army Recruits Require Moral Waiver

By April 7, 2008

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According to a story in the Army Times, one out of eight new Army recruits require a waiver to enlist, a rate which is more than double what it was during Fiscal Year 2004. In 2004, 4,6 percent required a moral waiver for criminal history or other past misconduct. During last fiscal year, the rate had jumped to 11 percent. So far, during Fiscal Year 2008, which began on Oct. 1, 13 percent of new recruits have required a moral waiver.

According to the article, most waivers involve misdemeanors. The Army has granted 4,676 conduct waivers among the 36,047 recruited from October through late February.

April 8, 2008 at 2:45 pm
(1) Jimmy says:

Were these waivers for convictions?
If a person has been arrested and not convicted of the recorded offense it shouldn’t pose a problem. ACD’s are a lesson in and of themselves.

April 8, 2008 at 4:37 pm
(2) John Scanlan says:

Some of the finest NCOs I have had the honor and privelege of serving with started their careers with far less than stellar backgrounds. The Military has always served as a “breeding ground” of sorts…some of the results were good-to-great; others, sadly, not so great. Bottom line…give the kid a chance. If, in spite of the waivers and such, he/she fails to adapt, toss em out! Military leaders, of late, seem to have become obsessed with the numbers game, much to the exclusion of potential. One of the Commanders’ responsibilities is, through delegation to his NCO staff, to recognize and develop this potential. My observations, during the last several of my 21 years, show this to be either non-existent or based on popularity contests, to the exclusion of effort and results.

Let em’ serve!

The Sarge

April 8, 2008 at 4:59 pm
(3) Jeff says:

It is unfortunate that due to fiscal constraints, so many uneducated, dishonest individuals who may have been former criminals have been given such power to make personnel decisions far beyond what their pay grade should allow. This fact has and will continue to cause great misfortune in all four military branches.

The military needs more good officers to aid commanders in making wise decisions. All but the highest-grade NCOs should be precluded from this process, and they should be strictly monitored by commissioned officers disinterested NCOs’ individual ambitions.

April 9, 2008 at 10:13 am
(4) Carolyn says:

I would have to agree with “The Sarge” being a veteran and going through the process to re-enlist right now has posed some of the very “waiver scenerios” that they are talking about. Am I a bad person? Nope. Did I come from a horrible place? Yes I did. I seen the Army, and still do, as an opportunity to improve your life. As “Sarge” said some of the finest NCOs that proudly serve and defend us all today (to include our right to complain here) did not come from the picture=perfect background.

Everyone deserves a chance to get back up and try again. Let ‘em serve

SGT. Greasemonkey!
GO Ordinance!

April 9, 2008 at 3:09 pm
(5) me says:

yep, numbers, thats all that matters. it sucks because that is who gets to come over here with me.

April 20, 2008 at 3:54 am
(6) Chris says:

Maybe it’s the police writing more tickets and less warnings?

April 21, 2008 at 10:00 pm
(7) usmilitary says:

>>Maybe itís the police writing more tickets and less warnings?<<

Part of that is probably true. I initially joined the Air Force in 1975, and my high school years were in the early 70s. At that time, 9 times of out 10, unless you got caught doing something really, really wrong (such as hurting someone else), the cops handled it by calling your parents, without charges.

However, during that period of time, gangs weren’t as prevelent, and it was a rare occurance when one high school kid shot or stabbed another. It was also rare when one high school kid engaged in Armed Robbery, or sold/used hard drugs. Sign of the times.

September 6, 2008 at 7:56 am
(8) Chris says:

I say they should serve I am in the Air Force Active Duty and Civil Engineering(Electrician). I beleave the military changes people and I came in with not the best past but as to my surprise when I went to my technical training school many of my fellow students had shady pasts and just decided to change there lives. Every now and then you get that kid who beleaves I dont have to do anything or listen to know one like he still a civilian but they just lazy so kick them out I cant trust nobody with my life like that if they dont want to be here.The military is a good thing for troubled people to change and do something better with there life.

Proud to Serve

January 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm
(9) Hubert says:

Back in the 1950′s and early 1960′s when you broke the law the judge gave you a choice.
Prison or the military.
Some of the worst hoodlums and punks I knew chose the military. In 1958 I had 18 friends in the National guard and reserves. The recruiters big saying was. Join the guard or reserves and you don’t have to go in the “real” military and you get a check every month. A few retired with 40 years. Never left the USA. The military is a great place for some.

April 6, 2009 at 5:39 pm
(10) justin says:

Not anymore!!!Ive been waiting since Feb. to enlist in the guard and found out today they are no longer excepting moral/medical waivers. Are they so ahead on personnel that they can do this?From my experience most all potential recruits at MEPs required a waiver, Im dissapointed mostly because I needed a moral waiver…Yet all of this time they’ve aloud people with violent felonies, drug offenses, & everything else to enlist but now you gotta wait until their recruitment goals are not met. Did you know they even enlist immigrants that arent even official American citizens to join?Kinda ate up but oh well

April 19, 2009 at 4:32 am
(11) HURRY UP says:

if you never give a person a chance to learn and grow from their mistakes then weve lost our way as Americans. No. the military is not for everybody. yes, some can be fine Soldiers when given the proper environment and training to learn and grow as individuals. No one is perfect and if we never give them a chance to succeed then we will never know and could possibly lose a fine Soldier. if they dont conform them thank them for atleast being brave enough to attempt to serve their country. Some dont have enough spine, intestinal fortitude or honor to even try to give back to a country that has given them so much. If they dont meet the standard and you try to help them and they just dont work out then send them home but dont judge before you gove them a chance

June 6, 2009 at 11:25 pm
(12) scarlettdimario says:

I am disappointed about the waiver issue, because I will require a moral wavier and medical. But how I see it is that I am 25 right now, I have 16 years to enlist, and I will try every fiscal year, until they get tired of seeing my name come across their desk. I will enlist into the military.

August 27, 2009 at 11:17 am
(13) Cody says:

As I understand, the services aren’t allowing any moral waivers at the moment. Is this factual, and if so when will they start allowing moral waivers to enlist?

August 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm
(14) usmilitary says:


Right now, probably due to the poor civilian job market, none of the services are having any problems meeting and exceeding their recruiting goals.

Waivers are generally considered when the military services need to approve waivers in order to get enough people to enlist. In short, as long as people are clammoring to get into the military, don’t expect to see too many waivers considered.

December 2, 2009 at 1:17 pm
(15) USAtrue says:

I am a sex-offender, level 1. In my state this is a class “b” mis. and is considered statutory. I admit I made a mistake, but this was a mistake of not knowing the person or asking questions – the most relevant was that of age. Also, I am x-military and would love to join the military again. Constantly I train and study all military information, and “if” I am allowed to re-enlist I think I will be an outstanding soldier. My qualms with this country is that it can chew people up and spit them out, but if a person shows no re-offense, provides good moral and ethical character representation, I think this should be seriously considered. Since military deals with war and death, IMHO what is a simply crime. The criminals in the country far outweigh the numbers of enlisted persons. And as much as I hate to admit this, the majority of criminals are better physically, mentally, and have stronger capacities to be soldiers than most children right out of school. I support the US and wish to defend it from all attacks at home and abroad and wish that leaders up the chain will realize this. Everyday at 0500 I am up training, reading, writing and refining all my skills just waiting for the opportunity to serve. Think about it like this, if people dislike criminals or people with records -like everyone does not have one- then why not send them to war. I am ready and not afraid to die. Lately, I have talked to many young NCOs and other officers, and think to myself, “These children have no idea and virtually no experience.” Just because you can run, swim, and PT until your nuts earn you a tab doesn’t mean anything. The same goes for Delta, SF, ST6 soldiers. It’s one thing to be elite, but it is another to have the ability to take a life. Ultimately, this is a job of the soldier -to defend, to protect, to kill if necessary. Most kids enlisting these days have no interest in the country. They are simply looking at that G.I. bill. Me, what am I looking at? I’m one of those that was born to always fight, I’m one of those that has seen death and it doesn’t turn my guts inside out, I’m one of those that can take life in order to defend this country. In no way do I endorse it, but only in the context of serving this country and doing what needs to be done. All of you need to think long and hard about criminals based on the fact that American builds more prisons than any place in the world, and the rate people are being criminalized, soon you will have nothing but a criminal nation. In my mind, there are only two types of criminals, those who are caught and those who are not. I include those who are not to everyone because I know that the majority commits crimes all the time whether petty or serious. US Military, I’m ready, you know where and who I am, so when your ready, let’s get down to business.

December 9, 2009 at 1:43 pm
(16) ileana says:

specifically 3F due to tch leve 25,the only way my son can go back to boot camp is if the waiver for drugs is lifted. It was stupid from his part if i knew i would do something, he tried because he was leaving. I’m still upset and i will for long time because that’s not he’s personality. He came back and have done everything he’s recruter tells him but in October they told him that no waiver will be lifted as of that time. He want’s to go back he was doing great and we have recommendation letters from his drill seargent and instructor. To bad, sometimes i think they treat him like a criminal, he wants to show that he can be one of the few and one of the proud

December 15, 2009 at 1:56 am
(17) Waiver Kid says:

I think applicants for the military need to be judged on a case, by case, basis. Psychological observation, and certain testing could be put in place for certain disqualified applicants. Simply saying “We don’t need you”, and coming across as saying “We don’t want you” is horrible for civilian morale. Also, its kind of contradictory for the military to have the capability to deny a person of having a second chance, when their soldiers die to give it. I want to be able to support the people of my country in a proactive manner that will also support my family (outside that of social work or community service).

March 24, 2010 at 9:50 pm
(18) Tangee Townsend says:

My husband was given a general discharge under honorable conditions. He is allowed to get back in as long as he has the moral waiver and a dependency waiver. This is my thoughts…My husband is an outstanding father, husband and employee. He has held a stable job since getting discharged. He has maintained his financil stability providing for 6 children and me as I am a stay at home mom. All my husband wants is a second chance to prove that he is an excellent soldier.. he has done his tour in Korea and 2 to Iraq. They have given out mor moral waivers to convicts and felons then they have to them men and women who actually want to SERVE their country instead of those who are just looking to get in because the jobmarket sucks…it is in my husbands blood to be a soldier…his dad is a retired CW-5 his brother is a LTC and my husband was striving to becaome a Warrant Officer himself. When will they ever lift this No waiver Policy??? and realize that there are great people who made a few mistakes that DESERVE a second chance….EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE JUST NOT A THIRD!!!!!!!

May 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm
(19) Jason says:

So why is it I cant get a waiver? When i was 16 two people I was with tried to rob two other people and since i was there and did nothing to stop it i was charged with them. My attourny advised me to plead guilty seeing as it wouldnt affect me when i was an adult because this was a juvinile offense so my mother and I agreed and I plead Guilty to attempted storng armed robbery now i am 27 and trying to join so i can give my wife and kids a better life and serve this country. So why is it so hard for me to get in? i’ve made mistakes but i have learned from them. what else can i do? I took the asvab passed that told them about what was all on my record and now they are saying tough luck. I just want a shot. I have to much riding on the line to mess it up. Anyone have any suggestions?

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