WASHINGTON (TND) — A new boot camp prep course in the U.S. Army is drawing criticism after reportedly offering "lower-performing" prospective recruits additional instruction they can use to pass recruitment requirements.
Since its launch in August, the new program at Fort Jackson, South Carolina has graduated more than 5,400 soldiers, according to the Associated Press.
The new program reportedly gives recruits up to 90 days of instruction, for both academic and fitness goals.
Given as an example of one of the new program's success stories, Pvt. 2nd Class Daysia Holiday told the AP that the experience was like "basic training without the yelling."
We helped each other out throughout basic training, so it was easy," Holiday reportedly said, referring to her fellow new program classmates. "All of us actually passed, so it was a good experience. And we all keep in touch."
Holiday reportedly had tried and failed for two years to pass the Army's academic requirements, but after 90 days of new program instruction, she finally passed by raising her score by 20 points.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told the AP that the new program gives prospective recruits a "leg up." The new program also apparently boosts performance in other areas as well.
During basic training, certain young individuals who show a little bit more leadership skills than others get selected to have leadership positions,” she said. “And what we’re seeing is the kids coming out of the prep course are often the ones who are being chosen for that.”
A spokesperson for the Army Center for Initial Military Training told the AP that as of March 17, almost 8.400 people had been admitted to the new prep course and over 5,400 have graduated and been admitted to basic training.
Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis, the head of Army Recruiting Command, reportedly said the new program "has been largely very, very successful."
It [the new prep course] instills a level of positively and confidence in those future soldiers," Davis told the AP.
We're preparing our troops to fail," one Twitter account said, attaining over 90 likes so far. "We're going to lose a major war."
Is this parody? Please, please tell me it is. If they think yelling is loud wait until they hear someone scream 'incoming,'" another critic on Twitter added.
The criticism was very similar to backlash to a report recommending that the Marine Corps drop "gender-specific salutations" for drill instructors.
Other social media users pushed back at the criticism, with a few telling the critics to actually "read the article."
Don't really get the criticisms in the comments," one reply read. "This doesn't replace basic training, it's a prep course for people who need it. They still go to basic. The reality is that most Americans are not in good enough shape, and it's great the Army is willing to fund the improvement."
The Navy and Air Force are both reportedly considering similar prep programs.
These efforts are all in service of boosting recruitment in the United State military, according to the Associated Press.