Update on Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest Pilot Recruiting Program

Monday October 5, 2009

What is it?

The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) pilot recruiting program is enlisting a growing number of legal non-citizens who reside in the U.S. These recruits provide the Army critically needed foreign language skills and health care expertise. Those who meet the program's requirements and enlist are, like other non-citizen servicemembers, eligible for expedited U.S. citizenship.

Why is the Army doing this?

The Army needs medical practitioners (surgeons, dentists, nurse anesthetists, etc.) or Soldiers who speak foreign languages deemed critical, such as Pashto (a language of Afghanistan), Persian-Dari, Persian-Farsi, Urdu, Arabic, Swahili and Igbo. Thirty-five different languages are being recruited though this program.

Also, the leader of Special Operations Command, Admiral Eric Olson, asked the services to pursue the MAVNI program because it is "operationally critical" to expand such capabilities.

What has the Army done?

Not set to expire until December 31 (unless the secretary of defense extends it), the MAVNI pilot program already has recruited 380 critical foreign language speakers as of August 31.

On the medical side, 34 health care professionals have joined the Army so far, another 7 have completed the rigorous and lengthy credentials approvals process, and an additional 228 applications are being processed. Army medical recruiters are pursuing another 2, 205 leads on interested health care professionals.

Besides having the sought-after skills, MAVNI recruits are well educated. Of the foreign language speakers recruited, 36 percent have a bachelor's degree and an additional 29 percent who have at least a master's. The average Armed Forces Qualifications Test score is 80, far above the Army average of 60.

By recruiting non-citizens, is the Army lowering recruiting standards?

MAVNI recruits must meet higher standards than other Army enlistees. They must have a high school diploma, score at least 50 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, and speak a critical foreign language or be a licensed health care professional. MAVNI recruits are not eligible for any enlistment waiver for misconduct. MAVNI applicants are screened thoroughly by the Army, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State.

What's the way ahead?

The program seeks to recruit a total of 297 legal non-citizens with medical/dental skills and 593 critical foreign language speakers by December 31.


For more information and/or for application:

- Enlisted applicants (critical foreign language skills)
- Medical personnel
- Defense Department fact sheet





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October 2009

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