The U.S. Navy is starting to enlist individuals who didn’t graduate from high school or get a GED, marking the second time in about a year that the service has opened the door to lower-performing recruits as it struggles to meet enlistment goals.
The decision follows a move in December 2022 to bring in a larger number of recruits who score very low on the Armed Services Qualification Test.
Both are fairly rare steps that the other military services largely avoid or limit, even though they are all finding it increasingly difficult to attract the dwindling number of young people who can meet the military’s physical, mental and moral standards.
Under the new plan, Navy recruits without an education credential will be able to join as long as they score 50 or above on the qualification test, which is out of 99. The last time the service took individuals without education credentials was in 2000.
“We get thousands of people into our recruiting stations every year that want to join the Navy but do not have an education credential. And we just turn them away,” said Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, the Navy’s chief of personnel, in an interview Friday with The Associated Press.
He said that of the more than 2,400 who were turned away last year, as many as 500 of them could score high enough to get in. He said he has already sent an order to his recruiters to start the new expanded effort, adding, “I’m hoping all my recruiters have called all 2,442 of them in the last 72 hours, and we’ll see how it goes … We’ll try to get some test takers this weekend.” . . . .
The other services have largely balked at such changes, citing concerns that lower-performing recruits may be more likely to wash out of boot camp or could present more disciplinary problems over time. . . . . (read more on AP News)
U.S. Navy, Faced with Recruiting Nightmare, Begins Accepting High School Dropouts (Legal Insurrection, 28 Jan 24, by Capt. James Nault, USN ret)
Recruiting numbers are so bad, the Navy will no longer require high school diploma or GED to enlist