US Navy to Allow High School Dropouts to Enlist Amid Recruitment Shortfalls

The US Navy will now allow people with no high school diploma to enlist as it relaxes recruitment requirements to attract more recruits.

The service has been struggling to enlist new sailors, missing its recruitment goals for 2023 by as many as 7,000 personnel.

According to Navy Chief of Personnel Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, recruits without an education credential will still be allowed to join as long as they score 50 or above on the 99-item qualification test.

“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,” he told AP.

Last year, the service disqualified more than 2,400 applicants who did not have at least a high school diploma. Among them, 500 scored high enough on the qualification test.

Once in effect, it will be the first time the US Navy will remove education credentials from its recruitment requirements since 2000.

‘I Need These Sailors’

The move to lower entry standards in the US military is rare and has been rejected by other services.

High-ranking officials fear that those who made it through recruitment without meeting the standard are more likely to fall victim to disciplinary issues or be discharged from basic training.

Cheeseman acknowledged these risks, saying the service had to make the move in order to recruit more sailors and meet operational demands.

He also said the 2,400 applicants who were turned down last year will be called up again to take the test.

“I need these sailors… We’re telling our recruiters to go get 40,600 people to join the Navy. We don’t fully expect to get that many. But we’re going for it,” Cheeseman stated.

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