An Army strategy implemented in August is raising a lot of questions. Recruits with a history of mental illness or drug abuse no longer face automatic disqualification.
The Army is now willing to grant waivers to those who’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, those with a history of self-harm, and those with drug-filled pasts.
“The decision was primarily due to the increased availability of medical records and other data which is now more readily available,” Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said to USA TODAY. “These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories.”
It’s an interesting decision considering the current political climate. President Trump himself spoke recently about the need to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people.
Soldiers who struggle with their mental health will likely have a tougher time adapting to combat situations. No one can predict who will be overwhelmed on the battlefield, but we can say that someone who suffers from bipolar disorder will have struggles that the average soldier won’t.
“With the additional data available, Army officials can now consider applicants as a whole person, allowing a series of Army leaders and medical professionals to review the case fully to assess the applicant’s physical limitations or medical conditions and their possible impact upon the applicant’s ability to complete training and finish an Army career,” Taylor said.
“These waivers are not considered lightly.”
Clearly, the Army is desperate for recruits. But is allowing people with known mental illnesses to enlist the answer?
Is the army that desperate for recruits?? Let's give people with a history of mental illness a high powered weapon and show them how to use it. Considering recent events sounds like a bad plan to me.
— lucytwoshoes (@lonestarlucy2) November 13, 2017
(Source: USA Today)