Army Tightening Standards on Both New Recruits and Re-Enlistment

In order to meet its personnel goals of downsizing to 490,000 soldiers by 2017 (in March the Army was down to 558,000 from a high of 570,000) the Army is tightening the requirements of those who hope to enlist and those who hope to re-enlist.

During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army accepted soldiers with misdemeanors, medical problems, low test scores, and even some with felonies in order to meet the personnel requirements of two simultaneous conflicts. Now, these two conflicts are mostly over and with budget cuts the Army must downsize quickly. While the Army hopes that most of the cuts will be through voluntary attrition, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, thinks that around 35 percent of those that leave may be involuntary - forcing out soldiers who can't make the tougher re-enlistment standards. The enlistment standards are also getting tougher; in 2009 there were 546 recruits allowed in with misconduct waivers, and 220 allowed in with conviction - last year only 189 recruits with misconduct waivers (and no recruits with convictions) were allowed to enlist.

Monetary bonuses are also being cut, with only six jobs currently available for bonuses: interpreter/translators, cryptologic linguists, medical laboratory specialists, divers, and explosive ordnance disposal soldiers. These bonuses are also down from a high in $16,000-$18,000 in 2008 to $3,300-$3,500 now. Looking at bonuses across the entire Army, in 2008 the Army paid out around $860,000 in bonuses, while in 2011 the Army paid out just $77,000.

In short, if you want to enlist(or re-enlist), make sure to keep yourself clean of any problems with the law, get in shape, study for the ASVAB, and don't be to picky about your job or your bonuses - this is the time when you're just lucky to get in!

More information can be found in this article.

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