The “New” Enlistment Rules

The Pentagon has developed a single, joint enlistment waiver system that incorporates four categories of offenses, ranging from major misconduct to traffic offenses. At a Pentagon press briefing July 2, Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, explained that, although the services may employ waivers to the new standards, which go into effect Oct. 1, the single-set of categories will enable the Pentagon to “provide reliable comparisons across services, over time.” The effort took two years to complete, said Carr, in part because of different legal interpretations state by state as to what constitutes, for instance, a felony or a misdemeanor. The key, he added, is that “everybody’s on the same sheet” for reporting purposes. The services still have some leeway, but as he explained, “When you publish a joint standard, then some of your discretion is forfeited.” Under the new joint rules, a service Secretary would have to grant a “conduct waiver” if the potential enlistee has been convicted of one major misconduct offense or two misconduct offenses or shows a pattern of misconduct, which is broken down into one misconduct and four non-traffic offenses or five or more non-traffic offenses. And, to further aid reporting data, all the offenses listed for each of the four categories has specific codes. (Shown in Table 1 of DTM 08-018) Are the rules tougher? Dennis Drogo, the Air Force chief of enlisted accessions policy, and a key contributor to the system, told reporters: “You can’t necessarily say what required a waiver before is either more or less stringent now. It’s different.”