US Army Eliminates “Moral Character” as Requirement for Service
The US Army recently published an updated version of Army Regulation 601-210, Active and Reserve Components Enlistment Program. The new version, dated 8 February 2011, makes an interesting change. From the list of revisions at the front of the regulation:
Changes all references of “moral qualification or waiver” to “conduct qualification or waiver” (throughout).
The words “moral character,” a mainstay of the prior version, now occur only one time in the entire publication. Unfortunately, it appears to have been implemented with a simple “find and replace” of the word “moral.” For example, where it once said:
Applicants with a criminal history (regardless of disposition) or questionable moral character…
It now says
Applicants with a criminal history (regardless of disposition) or questionable conduct character…
What, precisely, is “conduct character?” Also, while “moral qualification” has been changed to “conduct qualification,” the very next sentence still says recruits can be “morally disqualified.”
That notwithstanding, the change may clarify some other questionable terminology with which the Army often had to cope. It raised eyebrows when people said they needed to get a “moral waiver” to enlist in the Army. Now, they simply need a “conduct” waiver.
On the other hand, “moral character” means more than simple conduct.