Military accessions vital to national interest

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Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) is a recruitment program by the United States Department of Defense, through which legal non-immigrants (not citizens or legal permanent residents of USA) with certain critical skills are recruited into the military services of US.[1] Certain health care professionals and experts in certain languages meet eligibility requirements for recruitment through this program.[2] MAVNI was spearheaded by immigration attorney Margaret Stock, a former U.S. Army Reserve and West Point professor.[3]

Soldiers belonging to the enlisted rank, and recruited through this program, become citizen of the United States usually at the end of their Basic Combat Training (BCT). An announcement from the Pentagon in October 2014 declared that certain people belonging to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) category may become eligible for the MAVNI program.[4]

In 2008, when the program started, it was a one-year pilot program with a cap of 1000 recruits.[5] Following the success of the pilot, the program was renewed. As of December 2014, the program has been extended until 2016, with a raised cap of 5000 recruits.[1] Enlistments are permitted for both active-duty and reserve assignments, but not in the National Guard.

The MAVNI program has several notable recruiting successes; for example, the program enlisted Saral Shrestha, the U.S. Army Soldier of the Year for 2012,[6] and Augustus Maiyo, the winner of the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon.[7] It also enlisted world class athletes like Paul Chelimo, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist at 5000 meters and many others.[8] MAVNI recruits of the Army have a lower attrition rate than other recruits[9], and many hold higher educational credentials than other enlistees. Around 30% of MAVNI recruits were assigned to Special Operations units due to their language abilities, which facilitate operations in foreign speaking lands.[10] Several MAVNI recruits have written about their experiences in the program.[11]

As of December 2016, MAVNI is under review and closed indefinitely.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Military accessions vital to national interest (MAVNI) program eligibility" (PDF). Department of Defense, USA. November 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  2. ^ Stock, Margaret D. (2012). Immigration Law & the Military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard. American Immigration Lawyers Association. pp. 17–19. ISBN 978-1-57370-317-8.
  3. ^ "Margaret Stock". MacArthur Fellows Program. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Military enlistment program for immigrants with special skills put on hold, creating frustration". Fox News. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  5. ^ Bennett, Jonah. "US Army To Double Immigrant Recruitment Caps". Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  6. ^ Cuningham, Henry (October 23, 2012). "Fort Bragg's Sgt. Saral Shrestha named 2012 Soldier of the Year". Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  7. ^ Hipps, Tim (November 1, 2012). "Maiyo Wins Marine Corps Marathon, Leads All-Army to Victory". IMCOM Public Affairs. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  8. ^ Siskind, Gregory (August 4, 2016). "Immigrants of the Day: Rio Olympics Edition – The Track and Field Team". Immigration Attorney. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  9. ^ Horton, Alex (8 July 2017). "How the Pentagon ending its deal with immigrant recruits could hurt the military". Washington Post. Washington Post. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  10. ^ Tyson, Ann. "Immigrants Race to Enlist in U.S. Military". Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  11. ^ Sharma, Umesh (May 13, 2011). "Not the War Umesh Sharma Expected". Harvard Ed Magazine. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "Broadcast Message 1611-10 Upcoming PDSO DSO and RO ARO Annual Verification" (PDF). U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.