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.

You can read the original and updated regulations (PDF).


  • Mark Flaming Jr.

    i am a 21 year old male who has dreamed his whole life of enlisting in the US ARMY and serving mycountry, however i only have a GED along with 5 misconducts and 1 nontraffic, US ARMY cut off for criminal history is 6 misconducts, so im just able to get in with a waiver. but it seems like no recruiters help get me in, ive tried everything since I was 17 to get in, Im going to college now but it really isnt for me ive just been out of school so long. is there anyone that can pls help me to find a way in so i can uphold my family’s Military Legacy and make them(along with myself) proud?

  • Mark —

    If I were to guess, there are hundreds of 18 to 20 something’s wanting a Military career with spotless records, or at the very least, one minor mistake. If we are fighting two full scale wars then you might have a chance. During the height of the Global War on Terrorism, Uncle Sam was less picky about the criminal misconduct of the younger generation. I’d suggest you find whatever it takes to stay in college and get your degree one way or another…it’s going to be the minimum for good jobs in the future.