- Nearly 12 percent of Army recruits who entered basic training this year needed a special waiver for those with criminal records, a dramatic increase over last year and 2 1/2 times the percentage four years ago, according to new Army statistics obtained by the Globe.
With less than three months left in the fiscal year, 11.6 percent of new active-duty and Army Reserve troops in 2007 have received a so-called "moral waiver," up from 7.9 percent in fiscal year 2006, according to figures from the US Army Recruiting Command. In fiscal 2003 and 2004, soldiers granted waivers accounted for 4.6 percent of new recruits; in 2005, it was 6.2 percent...
- Since 2003 the Pentagon has taken unprecedented steps to try to meet its recruiting goals, including lowering education standards, raising the maximum age, and steadily increasing the amount of bonuses for new volunteers. But granting more waivers for criminals, specialists said, could end up backfiring.
One former senior Defense official, who remains a consultant to the Pentagon, said there is growing concern in the ranks that members of street gangs have been joining the military and then engaging in criminal activity.
A spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigative Division said he was not aware of any formal investigation into gang activity in the Army.
But David Isenberg , a senior analyst at the British American Security Information Council, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, said studies from past decades indicate that soldiers with criminal histories were more likely to violate military regulations.
Not to mention this: as a parent how would you feel about your son or daughter signing up to serve alongside these people?