Pentagon developing plan to scrutinize recruits with green cards and other foreign ties
Almaty. January 17. KazTAG - The Pentagon, citing terrorism and espionage fears, is developing a plan to scrutinize prospective recruits with foreign ties, including some U.S. citizens, after a related effort targeting thousands of green-card holders was blocked by a federal judge last year, reports the Washington Post.
The new policy, still in development, will be distributed to the military services by no later than Feb. 15, according to two Defense Department officials and several department memos obtained by The Washington Post. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.
The new vetting is likely to screen thousands of recruits per year who have what the Pentagon considers “foreign nexus” risks, including some Americans who marry a foreign spouse or who have family members with dual citizenship, the memos said. Anyone identified for the screening would not be allowed to attend recruit training until they are cleared, a process that could take days for some but drag on much longer for others.
One draft document, labeled “predecisional,” has circulated in recent weeks among senior officials and others who oversee recruiting. It is attributed to Joseph D. Kernan, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and James N. Stewart, who performs the duties of undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, a post President Trump has left without a permanent political appointee since Robert Wilkie left it to run the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“One primary concern associated with qualifying for these positions relates to the potential counterintelligence or terrorism risks,” the memo says. " . . . The Department must implement expanded foreign vetting and screening protocols to identify and mitigate the foreign nexus risks.”
Defense officials declined to comment on the memos, saying the new policy is undergoing legal reviews and that some changes could be made.
The documents show the Pentagon to be grappling with the dual challenge of thoroughly screening prospective recruits for potential security threats and finding enough men and women willing to join the military. The armed forces have long sought green-card holders as recruits, marketing such jobs as a chance to attain U.S. citizenship.
The initiative comes as the Trump administration continues to take unprecedented steps to curb immigration to the United States. Many of its efforts have been halted by federal courts, including the president’s efforts to bar Central Americans from seeking asylum in the United States, end a deferred-action program for young, undocumented immigrants and withhold funds from “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with certain immigration enforcement efforts.
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