(PresidentialHill.com)- It was reported last week that the Pentagon recently implemented new rules that allowed 700 recruits rejected over a previous diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to join the military without a waiver.
The rule changes, which took effect in June 2022, permit individuals diagnosed with 38 different medical conditions to join the military provided they have no symptoms and required no medication for a designated number of years depending on the specific condition, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Those diagnosed with ADHD, for example, must be symptom-free for three years, while those diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder must be symptom-free for seven years.
According to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, the Army should be “cautious” when admitting those with mental health issues and should “constantly be refreshing our approach and looking at conditions in this society.”
The Pentagon’s new recruiting rules come as the US Army is facing recruitment shortages.
In the last fiscal year, recruitment for the Army fell short of its goal by 15,000. The Army subsequently reduced its recruitment goal for FY2023 by 15,000.
According to current statistics, only 23 percent of young Americans meet the necessary standards for joining the military while less than 10 percent are even interested.
Under the revamped rules, potential recruits with a history of ADHD will be able to join if they have completed high school or college, held a job, and have been symptom- and medication-free for three years.
Army Lt. Col. Kim Helgemoe, a member of the Pentagon’s Accession Policy that sets medical admissions standards, said the symptom-free period is to ensure that the recruit is capable of making it through the initial entry training and can “hopefully” have a “successful military career.”
However, those with a history of depression or other mental health issues, or who have taken medication for those conditions, must first obtain a waiver to join the military.
Additionally, no recruit can be on medication when entering basic training.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon will assess the effectiveness of the new program in six months after it has accumulated a year of data to study.