Army eases education enlistment requirements amid recruiting challenges

The Army is suspending education requirements for potential recruits, saying a high school diploma or GED is no longer required before a new soldier can head into basic training.

The move comes as the Department of Defense faces its most daunting enlistment challenge in years.

Joining the military without a high school diploma has been an option in recent years, but only on a limited basis.

“Opening this category for a limited time will allow the U.S. Army to provide a service path to a broader group of highly qualified candidates, enabling them to serve the nation,” Army officials said. in a statement to the Washington Times.

The new policy means that potential recruits who did not graduate from high school due to “uncontrollable circumstances”, such as working to support the family or caring for a family member with health problems, will not be considered ineligible for service because they do not have a degree, Army officials said.

The new policy will not cover the Army Reserve or the National Guard.

Although the military has offered financial incentives to enlist, in some cases up to $50,000, no additional incentives will be offered to those who enlist without a high school diploma.

The Pentagon is struggling to overcome a number of recruitment issues, ranging from obesity and previous drug use by potential recruits to competition from the civilian sector, which can offer more money.

Army Chief of Staff General James McConville recently testified before Congress that less than a quarter of eligible Americans are even qualified to enlist without a waiver.

NBC News reported that only 9% of those eligible for service intended to do so, citing an internal Department of Defense survey.

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