DoD Knowledge Base: FAQs

Requesting Reconsideration After Being Denied Enlistment into the Armed Forces
Published: 02/07/2007 | Updated:  03/15/2016

Can the Secretary of Defense help me join the military if I have been turned down by one or more of the military services for physical or other reasons?

We greatly appreciate your desire to join the Armed Forces. Our rules for entry are purposely tough, because in the field, the lives of your fellow service members may well depend on your physical and mental capabilities to perform as part of the unit. The military services each set and review their standards for enlistment based upon their particular mission. The Office of the Secretary of Defense does not customarily intervene in the personnel decisions of the individual services.

To appeal a decision made by a military service's recruiting command, you must submit your request in writing to the appropriate military service. Addresses for the military services are available on our site at

Please bear in mind that there are many other honorable ways to serve our Nation, including local and state police, and fire departments. Their requirements are also stringent, but vary from ours. There are also areas where your condition may not be an issue, such as the U.S. civil service. If you are interested in civilian job opportunities, I invite you to visit the website for further information.