The Pentagon has finally published its long-awaited policy allowing cadets and Midshipmen to continue their education at the nation's service academies if they have children while enrolled, instead of having to leave school.
Under the prior policy, cadets who admitted to either procreating or giving birth to children were in violation of their service academy's rules, could have been kicked out, and might have been on the hook to pay back the cost of their education. Reforms to that policy were mandated in the National Defense Authorization Act passed in December 2021.
The Pentagon was given a year to implement the policy, but the formal guidance process dragged on nearly a year past the due date. Changes to the Department of Defense instruction were finally updated Nov. 1, according to the document.
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The policy now officially recognizes temporary guardianship plans created by cadets and Midshipmen that direct who will care for their child while they finish their education — a practice already put in place by the academies in lieu of Pentagon guidance. The child can't live at the service academy. Those who give birth will be granted anywhere from one year to two years of leave and will be temporarily waived from physical fitness requirements through pregnancy.
“A cadet or Midshipman who becomes pregnant may be granted a leave of…