The Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel will have to sign off on certain waivers for recruits, according to a new policy released Monday by Army Secretary Mark Esper.
This reverses a policy from a year ago that allowed the U.S. Army Recruiting Command to approve those waivers. But now, waivers for psychiatric or behavioral health issues, a previous medical discharge and misconduct will need approval from the higher authority.
“The message is, the Army is raising standards because we say quality over quantity any day of the week,” Esper told reporters Monday, according to Army Times.
When the policy was changed one year ago, critics said the Army was lowering standards. Esper took office after that change and said the waiver authority needed an adjustment.
“We think, upon review—and, again, based on my feelings—in some of these cases, I want to bring it back up to a higher level review because I want to see the effects of this whole-person concept.”
He said, too, that the Army plans to better track soldiers who are allowed in with waivers.
“We aim to kind of track, in raw terms, the performance of a person with waivers, and really understand better how they perform in the long term,” he said.
He said leaders often note that they spend 90 percent of their time responding to 10 percent of their soldiers.