Navy Lowers Enlistment Requirements Again as Recruiting Challenges Continue

( – It’s no secret that the US military is struggling with its recruiting efforts. The Navy missed its goal in fiscal year 2023 (FY2023) by more than 7,000, according to USNI News. As a result, it established higher goals for FY2024, but to do so, it’s also lowering its enlistment requirements.

Previously, in order to join the US military, an enlistee had to have a GED or a high school diploma. Now, the Navy is dropping that requirement, but there’s a catch. To qualify for enlistment, the recruits will have to score at least 50 out of 99 on the qualification test. Speaking with The Associated Press, Navy Chief of Personnel Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman said the Navy “get[s] thousands of people into [its] recruiting stations every year that want to join… but do not have an education credential,” so they get turned away.

In 2023, approximately 2,400 recruits were denied the opportunity to serve their country because of it. Cheeseman believes at least 500 could have met the required score on the qualifications test. This marks the first time in more than 20 years that the Navy is dropping the educational requirement. The last time it happened was in 2000. To make up for last year’s shortfall, the branch is also extending its recruiting goal for FY2024. It wants to bring in 40,600 people. Cheeseman said he needs the people, “So it’s a stretch goal,” even if they don’t expect to meet it they’re “going for it.”

The Navy wasn’t the only branch that failed to meet its recruiting goals. The Air Force and Army both fell short, too. It’s been an ongoing issue for the Army, which fell short in FY2022, as well, by 15,000. However, the Air Force will only waive the educational credential if applicants score 65 or higher on the qualifications test, setting the standard higher than the Navy.

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