The US Army is moving to end the requirement for grunts to have a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate amid a recruitment drought facing it and other branches of the Department of Defense.
In a statement Thursday, the Army announced that beginning in October, applicants can be accepted if they meet the criteria of being 18 years old or above, and scoring 50 or above on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
The ASVAB is a multiple-choice test in science, math, word knowledge, comprehension and verbal expression, electronics, automotive and mechanical skills, and is administered by the military’s entrance processing command.
Ordinarily, recruits with a high school degree or GED can serve as infantrymen and cavalry scouts with an ASVAB score of just 31 or above. The same goes for Navy seamen and Army National Guard troopers. The Marines’ passing score is a bit higher, with 32 points or more required, while the Air Force, Coast Guard and Air National Guard are considered the elite, with a passing score of 36, 40 and 50, respectively. The maximum ASVAB score is 99. Scores are broken down further by specialty within each branch.
In a related development last week, the Army relaxed its tattoo policy, allowing recruits to sport ink on their hands, necks and behind the ears without filing lengthy waiver exceptions taking weeks to process. That policy change is the second time since 2015 that the Army has relaxed tattoo regulations, previously throwing out limits on the number of pieces of body art on a recruit’s limbs. Face, frontal neck tattoos are still a no-no under the new rules (with the exception of religious face tattoos), as are any designs which could be considered offensive, extremist or containing hateful words or images.