For a time during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army lowered its recruiting standards, raising the number of recruits who entered the Army with moral, medical and criminal - including felony - waivers.
Recruits with misdemeanors, which could range from petty theft and writing bad checks to assault, were allowed into the Army, as well as those with some medical problems or low aptitude scores that might otherwise have disqualified them.
A very small fraction of recruits had waivers for felonies, which included convictions for manslaughter, vehicular homicide, robbery and a handful of sex crimes. The sex crimes often involved consensual sex when one of the individuals was under 18.
In 2006, about 20 percent of new Army recruits came in under some type of waiver, and by the next year it had grown to nearly three in 10. After the Defense Department issued new guidelines, the percentage needing waivers started to come down in 2009.
Now, as the Army moves to reduce its force, some soldiers will have to leave.
Officials say they hope to make cuts largely through voluntary attrition. But Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, has warned that as much as 35 percent of the cuts will be "involuntary" ones that force soldiers to abandon what they had hoped would be long military careers.
"This is going to be hard," said Gen. David Rodriguez, head of U.S. Army Forces Command. "This is tough business. As we increase things like reenlistment standards, some of the people who were able to reenlist three years ago won't be able to reenlist again."
The Army, in an internal slide presentation, is blunt: "Reenlistment is a privilege, not a right; some 'fully qualified' soldiers will be denied reenlistment due to force realignment requirements and reductions in end strength."
In a memo earlier this year, Army Secretary John McHugh laid out more stringent criteria for denying reenlistment, including rules that would turn away soldiers who have gotten a letter of reprimand for a recent incident involving the use of drugs or alcohol, or some soldiers who were unable to qualify for a promotion list.