Vetting is a common process used by employers and organizations of all types to determine whether someone is suitable for a particular job or position.
When someone is vetted by the military, they are carefully screened and thoroughly investigated to ensure that they are capable, trustworthy, and reliable.
Vetting is an especially important process for the Armed Forces to select troops that meet professional standards of conduct and character.
Read on to understand what vetting troops means in the military and why it is necessary.
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What Does Vetting Troops Mean In The Military?
Vetting troops means that each recruit will undergo a strict background check before they are allowed to join the military.
This procedure typically begins at the individual’s military entrance processing station (MEPS) for the branch they wish to join.
Every recruit is investigated at the local, state, and federal level in a process similar to security clearance.
This vetting allows the Department of Defense to thoroughly check each potential service member in terms of their character and conduct.
The goal of the process is to determine whether recruits meet the Armed Forces’ standards in terms of:
- Financial responsibility
- Emotional stability
- Criminal activity
Background information in these areas helps military branches to determine whether potential troops are fit to serve.
In addition, such vetting allows each branch to identify any risks when it comes to security and/or safety issues.
Vetting doesn’t just apply to recruits hoping to enlist in the military.
Officers are also vetted before promotions to ensure exemplary conduct and that they meet the mental, moral, physical, and professional standards required for their position.
Differences Between Vetting In The Military And Civilian Sectors
Most companies and organizations use some type of vetting during the application process.
This usually includes some kind of background check to assess a person’s qualifications and/or to verify their application information.
Certain occupations are associated with stricter vetting procedures such as political candidates and law enforcement.
This means that politicians and police officers, for example, are subject to much greater scrutiny in terms of their past experiences, behaviors, and actions.
However, vetting in the military, in general, is much more stringent than vetting procedures in the civilian sector.
This is due to the scope of duty, honor, commitment, and responsibility required of military service members.
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Why Are Troops Vetted In The Military?
Troops are vetted in the military to ensure that they are suited to serve honorably and successfully in their particular branch.
Like any form of employment, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines hold jobs that require quality work, necessary skills, honesty, and reliability.
Vetting troops through background checks and other thorough measures allows the military to hire qualified and reputable recruits.
The vetting process also allows the military to exclude those who are not fit to serve, for whatever reason.
In addition, many job positions in the Armed Forces involve classified information that is related to national security.
An in-depth vetting process and background investigation will ensure that the military hires service members who are reliable, trustworthy, honest, and loyal.
Potential recruits with a history of criminal offenses, financial difficulties, certain medical issues, drug use, and even emotional instability may not successfully enlist due to the strict military vetting process.
However, this is necessary to avoid compromising themselves as military members, in addition to putting the lives and well-being of others at tremendous risk.
Most organizations vet their members to ensure that they are a good fit.
In the military, the stakes are much higher in terms of security and safety.
This is why troops in the military are vetted for their moral character as well as their professional conduct.
Exemplary moral character is important in the vetting process of troops.
Each branch of the military sets forth enlistment standards for moral character to limit acceptance of recruits who may pose a security risk or become a disciplinary case.
Troops are expected to uphold principles of order, morale, and discipline.
Therefore, recruits must undergo a moral character screening in terms of credit and criminal backgrounds.
This includes investigating criminal records, credit issues, and even juvenile adjudication records.
Professional conduct is also essential for service members and is integral to the vetting process of troops.
In each branch of the services, members must commit to their duty, mission, and comrades.
Therefore, troops must adhere to the highest of professional conduct.
This includes following job instructions, the chain of command, and all military protocols.
In addition, troops must show professional conduct in working with other service members regardless of rank, gender, or other factors.
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How Is Someone ‘Vetted’ In The Military?
In the military, the vetting process typically begins with a potential recruit’s application to join a particular branch.
As part of the application, all potential military recruits must complete and submit a questionnaire.
This questionnaire requires disclosure of background information related to criminal history, past drug use, etc.
Honest responses are expected during all stages of the military vetting process.
In addition to providing accurate and true information on an application, most potential enlistees go through an extensive interview with a recruiter.
During this interview, the recruiter will ask several vetting questions about subjects such as criminal history, education level, medical issues, etc.
This personal interview is an important stage of military background checks so that applicants have the chance to clarify their responses and provide any additional, relevant information.
In addition, the military will often conduct interviews with others in relation to the potential recruit such as family members, friends, employers, educators, and professional references.
These interviews are designed to provide other viewpoints in terms of the recruit’s conduct and character.
During the processing stage at MEPS, recruits can expect to be vetted through the following typical procedures:
- Fingerprinting for screening through FBI criminal database
- Extensive FBI background check at federal, state, and local levels
- Drug test in the form of monitored urinalysis exam
- Financial records and credit check
- Driving record check
- Marriage records check
- Criminal offenses/history check
- Verification of previous employers
- Verification of previous addresses
- Check for previous names/aliases
- Education records check
- Medical examination
- Other evaluations
Many people may find the strict background checks and evaluations performed by the military prior to enlistment to be somewhat invasive of a recruit’s privacy or extensive beyond reason.
However, the vetting process for all branches of the Armed Forces must be thorough, in-depth, and stringent due to nature of military service and the high stakes of security and safety.
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Joining and serving in the U.S. military is considered a privilege.
Due to the nature of being part of the Armed Forces, troops must adhere to the highest standards of character and conduct.
Vetting troops is designed to assess the history of personal character and conduct among potential recruits.
However, a perfect background is not expected in order to enlist.
Therefore, when you go through the vetting process, it’s essential to be truthful and upfront about your past.
This means responding with the truth from applications to interviews.
That way, anything that is uncovered during vetting and background checks will be anticipated, and you will have demonstrated that honesty and responsibility are part of your current character and conduct.