Last December, the U.S. Department of Defense suspended the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest Program, which responsible for recruiting foreign nationals living legally in the U.S. who have mission-critical foreign language, cultural, and medical skills, in exchange for an expedited path to citizenship.
In an October announcement, the Defense Department introduced two policies that indicate a longer and more strenuous vetting process for the program. These policies foreshadow a coming shift in the ability to recruit military personnel with critical skills.
Recruits brought in under the program serve as interpreters, physicians, and nurses, providing skills that simply cannot be quickly grown in-house, and can mean the difference between life and death on the battlefield. By making the process to obtain citizenship through the program more challenging, the U.S. military is hurting mission readiness, as well as its ability to properly maintain its all-volunteer force.
The reasons for the program's suspension are two-fold. Some lawmakers have pointed to the potential for foreign infiltration as a primary cause to end or tighten the program. Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) criticized the program’s vetting process as rife with security problems, citing the “lack of discipline in [the] implementation of the program.”
Read the full commentary in Independent Journal Review.
More from CNAS
CommentaryWomen in Combat: Five-Year Status Update
It has been five years since the ban on women in combat was lifted in 2015 and women began integrating previously closed combat arms billets in January 2016. Five years is the...
By Emma Moore
CommentaryVA must improve access to high-quality care for transgender veterans
Nearly two years ago, I argued that then-incoming VA Secretary Robert Wilkie should expand care to transgender veterans, removing the exclusion of gender confirmation surgery ...
By Kayla M. Williams
CommentarySharper: Global Coronavirus Response
As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human...
By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
CommentaryVeteran Benefits in the DMV Metro Area
In the post-9/11 era, a “sea of goodwill” made up of organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors has formed to support veterans, service members, their familie...
By Nathalie Grogan