Aaron L. Jacob

Project title: Recruits Requiring Waivers for Pes Planus have a Higher Level of Attrition than Fully Qualified

Degree: MPH | Program: Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2008 | Faculty advisor: Matthew C. Keifer


To maintain an effective force structure, all service branches must replace personnel regardless of the mechanism of loss. The ideal recruit should be free from any disease or disorder that may prevent them from completing their service obligation. In order to minimize these losses, all military recruits are subjected to a screening medical examination to identify disqualifying conditions suspected or known to be incompatible with successful military service. If a disqualifying condition is identified, the potential recruit is either denied entry into the military or a waiver is granted on a case by case basis following a detailed evaluation. This study examined the disqualifying condition of pes planus (flat foot) among new military recruits, specifically recruits who have been granted waivers.

The purpose of this study was to determine if recruits receiving waiver for pes planus experience attrition at a higher rate compared to a matched fully qualified comparison group without pes planus or waivers. The study hypothesis was that enlisted recruits entering military service for the first time, having received a disqualifying diagnosis of pes planus, experience attrition (prior to service obligation completion) at a higher rate compared to those not requiring a waiver.