The US Navy has once again lowered its enlistment standards, this time removing the high school diploma or GED requirement.
This is the second time in recent memory that the Navy has lowered requirements as it continues to fail to meet recruitment 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,” Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, the Navy’s chief of personnel, told The Associated Press on Friday.
Cheeseman said that over 2,400 interested people were turned away last year for not meeting the education standards.
“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,” Cheeseman said.
The Navy, Army and Air Force all failed to reach their recruitment goals in the last fiscal year.
The Military.com report explains, “Last year, the Navy’s enlistment goal was 37,700, but the service brought in just 31,834. This year, Cheeseman said, he set the goal higher — at 40,600. The total size of the Navy for 2024 is set at 337,800.”
“I need these sailors. So it’s a stretch goal. We’re telling our recruiters to go get 40,600 people to join the Navy,” Cheeseman said. “We don’t fully expect to get that many. But we’re going for it.”
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