from military.com: More recruits with criminal records, including felony convictions, are being allowed to join the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, as the armed services cope with a dwindling pool of volunteers during wartime.
The military routinely grants waivers to take in recruits who have criminal records, medical problems or low aptitude scores that would otherwise disqualify them from service. Most are moral waivers, which include some felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic and drug offenses.
Defense Department statistics show that the number of Army and Marine recruits needing waivers for felonies and serious misdemeanors, including minor drug offenses, has grown since 2003. Some recruits may get more than one waiver.
The Army granted more than double the number of waivers for felonies and misdemeanors in 2006 than in 2003...
"Our armed forces are under incredible strain, and the only way that they can fill their recruiting quotas is by lowering their standards," said Rep. Marty Meehan, a Massachusetts Democrat who has been working to get additional data from the Pentagon. "By lowering standards, we are endangering the rest of our armed forces and sending the wrong message to potential recruits across the country."