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The percentage of recruits requiring a waiver to join the Army because of a criminal record or other misconduct has more than doubled since 2004 to one for every eight new soldiers, USA Today reported Monday.

The percentage of active and Reserve Army recruits granted “conduct” waivers for misdemeanor or felony charges increased to 11 percent last fiscal year from 4.6 percent in fiscal 2004, the paper reported, citing Army Recruiting Command statistics, which also showed that so far this fiscal year, which began last October, 13 percent of recruits have entered the Army with conduct waivers.

A recruit needs a waiver if he or she has one felony or serious misdemeanor or more than three minor misdemeanors, the paper reported. A single charge of possessing marijuana or driving under the influence requires a waiver; minor infractions include disorderly conduct, trespassing or vandalism.

No waivers can be given for a number of serious offenses, including sexual crimes or offenses related to drug or alcohol addiction, USA Today wrote.

The paper also reported that the percentage of high school graduates among Army recruits was 79 percent last year, compared with 91 percent in 2001.

The Air Force and Navy, smaller forces which have fewer troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, generally haven’t faced the same recruiting pressures, the paper wrote. Waivers for the Marine Corps have remained relatively flat for the past four years, according to Pentagon data.

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