(National Sentinel) Recruiting: Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he will block Trump administration nominees to the Pentagon until the Army satisfactorily explains a controversial new policy the service quietly implemented in August.
McCain and Sen. Jack Reed, the committee’s ranking Democrat, share concerns about the policy.
“If you took a poll of this committee right now I doubt if you’d find a single one who would be approving of this practice, which we now find out about reading the daily newspaper,” McCain said.
The Army enacted a policy allowing people with a history of self-mutilation, bipolar disorder, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse to seek waivers to join the Army, The Blaze noted.
The service did not announce the policy when it was implemented.
Potential recruits must provide a “clear and meritorious case” as to why the Army should accept them.
The policy was implemented to address recruiting shortfalls, casting a wider net to more potential recruits. But McCain and others in Congress see nothing but problems with the notion.
The Army has a goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September of 2018. Last year the goal was 69,000, but to hit it the Army had to lower standards for acceptable scores on aptitude tests and granted more waivers for marijuana use.
McCain blamed the Trump administration and the Pentagon for not informing Congress of the change.
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Since the Army would not reveal how many waivers it has issued since the policy was enacted, McCain said he’ll not move Pentagon nominees forward until he gets some answers.
“The United States Army will not respond to us as to how many waivers have been issued since the policy was changed,” McCain said. “What you do to us here is you face us with an unacceptable option, and that is, to get the information, which you just verbally heard…is to stop confirming people for jobs.”
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