People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.That is the least of the problems they can make.
The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year's goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
“The decision was primarily due to the increased availability of medical records and other data which is now more readily available,” Taylor's statement to USA TODAY said. “These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories.”
While bipolar disorder can be kept under control with medication, self-mutilation _ where people slashing their skin with sharp instruments _ may signal deeper mental health issues, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.
If self-mutilation occurs in a military setting, Cameron Ritchie said, it could 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.
I don't know about you, but I would rather be in a 80% manned unit, than a 100% manned unit loaded with 20% administrative burdens. Heck, make that 80% to 85% even ... or 80% to 81% ... you get the idea.
You are always going to have problems with people. They can be fragile and imperfect ... but in the name of all that is holy would you inject that problem in to the system from the start ... with full knowledge?
I think we have lost the bubble on avoiding administrative burdens.
This kind of burns my hide a bit. What this does is let the recruiters make their metrics, but at the cost of pushing the problems down the line to be dealt with, fixed, or consequences suffered by the operational side of the house.
"Hey look!" they'll say, "Look at all the high ASVAB scoring recruits we brought in!"
Then you look at the details, "...but many have significant mental health issues. You're bringing in damaged smart people."
"...but, look at their numbers! Now, give me my Army Comm for the month. Let someone else worry about TS-SCI access, combat stress, and access to the most powerful conventional weapons on the planet."
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