WASHINGTON, April 19 (UPI) -- The economic downturn has improved the quality of U.S. Army recruits, and the service has stopped accepting felons and drug abusers, officials said.
Thanks to rising unemployment and security gains made in Iraq, the Army is on track this year for the first time since 2004 to meet the military's goals of ensuring that 90 percent of recruits have high school diplomas, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
And in the meantime, the Army has stopped issuing waivers for recruits with criminal records, a practice that had led some senior officers to worry that wartime pressures were threatening to bring down the all-volunteer force, the newspaper said.
"We are not even going to consider" applicants testing positive for drugs or alcohol, or those who have adult felony convictions for such crimes as assault, arson and robbery, Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, told the Post.
He added that Army recruits previously only had to wait six months to reapply after failing a drug test, while the service daily was processing up to 10 requests for drug and felony waivers.