People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under a new policy. We’re going to give people with a history of mental illnesses guns and grenades, machetes but we keep hearing we shouldn’t allow people with mental problems have guns.
The Army needs 80,000 new soldiers by September 2018. Last year, they took in 69,000, loosening up the restrictions on poor scores on aptitude tests, gave waivers for pot smokers, and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
The Army banned the mentally ill in 2009 because of the epidemic of suicides among troops but they now feel they have enough medical information on potential recruits to lessen the risk.
They will be at high risk nevertheless some experts say.
USA Today pointed out that those who self-mutilate might be disruptive for a unit. A soldier slashing his or her own skin could result in blood on the floor, the assumption of a suicide attempt and the potential need for medical evacuation from a war zone or other austere place, they wrote.
Accepting recruits with poor qualifications can cause problems the USA Today report says. In 2006, for example, an Iraqi girl was raped and her family killed by U.S. soldiers, one of whom required waivers for minor criminal activity and poor educational background to join the Army, the article continued.
They will consider the whole person when selecting candidates and won’t take more than 4% of the marginally unqualified.
They need to widen the pool of recruits in an economy that is doing well.