This just seems really odd. A child needs their mother and father. Can’t people wait until after they graduate and start their career to begin a family like they did in saner times?
The Pentagon has finally published its long-awaited policy allowing cadets and Midshipmen to continue their education at the nation’s service academies if they have children while enrolled, instead of having to leave school.
Under the prior policy, cadets who admitted to either procreating or giving birth to children were in violation of their service academy’s rules, could have been kicked out, and might have been on the hook to pay back the cost of their education. Reforms to that policy were mandated in the National Defense Authorization Act passed in December 2021.
The policy now officially recognizes temporary guardianship plans created by cadets and Midshipmen that direct who will care for their child while they finish their education — a practice already put in place by the academies in lieu of Pentagon guidance.
The child can’t live at the service academy. Those who give birth will be granted anywhere from one year to two years of leave and will be temporarily waived from physical fitness requirements through pregnancy.
“A cadet or Midshipman who becomes pregnant may be granted a leave of absence for good cause by the [military service academy] superintendent,” the updated Pentagon instruction reads. “In most cases, a one-year leave of absence will be sufficient. In unique circumstances, the MSA superintendent can grant a leave of absence not to exceed two years.”
The child will be able to take advantage of Tricare health coverage as well as other benefits like exchange and commissary privileges, but cadets and Midshipmen will not “receive additional benefits, pay, or allowances as a result of their gaining a dependent until commissioned into active-duty service,” according to the instruction.
As the Pentagon lagged on creating and implementing its guidance, Military.com reported last month that service academies were honoring the spirit of the law in the meantime. . . . (read more on Military.com)