The U.S. military continues to struggle to achieve recruiting goals and having already increased the use of moral waivers to allow convicted felons to join the military, now the standards are being relaxed to allow those who are over the weight/obesity standards to enlist. Of course, LGBT Americans are still off limits regardless of who law abiding and physically fit they are so that Christianists and nut cases like Elaine Donnelly can feel superior. The excuse for the newest round off waivers is that Americans are getting more over weight rather than admit that fewer good recruits want to enlist due to the Iraq War debacle. It's pretty pathetic actually. Yet we continue to hear that there will be no immediate action to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell by the Obama administration even though DADT daily forces out qualified service members. Here are highlights from the Christian Science Monitor:*
The waistlines of America's youth are expanding, shrinking the pool of those eligible to join the US military. But an Army program is giving overweight enlistees a second chance – and helping the military with its own expansion. The recently-introduced waiver program allows enlistees who don't qualify for the military because of their weight a chance to shape up after joining. So far, the program has helped the Army make its recruiting goals in what remains a tight recruiting market.
"We support any service who comes up with a scientifically defensible way of expanding the market [of recruits]," says Curtis Gilroy, director of accessions policy for the Pentagon. Such waivers had been studied for years but the program wasn't implemented until fiscal 2007, when it admitted about 1,500 individuals through the program (just a small slice of about 80,000 recruits).
The Army has struggled the most with recruiting. Although it has met its active-duty goals in recent years, it has had to issue other waivers and let in more high school dropouts in order to do so. At the same time, the military is expanding through next year. The Marine Corps, which is not using the weight waiver, is growing to 202,000 and the Army will reach its "end-strength" goal of 547,000 this year. Many experts would like to see the military grow even larger to meet demands.