The United States Military Entrance Processing Command is the vital link between recruiting and training America’s armed forces. The joint-service command evaluates applicants by applying established Department of Defense standards during military processing, thereby providing continual military enlistments, thus strengthening national security.
The command’s national headquarters and its Eastern and Western Sector headquarters are located in North Chicago, Illinois. Twelve battalions provide direct support to and oversight of 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations and two Remote Processing Stations. These 67 efficiently designed stations are located on military installations, and in both federal and commercially leased buildings, throughout the contiguous United States and in Honolulu, Hawaii; Anchorage, Alaska; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The command is staffed by approximately 20 percent uniformed personnel and 80 percent Department of the Army civilians who weave USMEPCOM's values of Integrity, Teamwork, Professionalism and Respect into every aspect of military processing. The command’s more than 3,000 personnel provide “Red Carpet” treatment to applicants and are committed to sustaining the quality of the All-Volunteer Force through state-of-the-art enlistment screening.
Applicant screening includes three main portions – a testing evaluation, medical evaluation, and background investigation.
There are two versions of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB – student and enlistment. The ASVAB Career Exploration Program offers the student version, a validated aptitude test and interest assessment. The CEP offers career planning tools and assists high school students in using ASVAB results for career exploration. Student ASVAB results also provide a “talent pool” of qualified potential enlistees to the military recruiting services. More than 316,000 high school students took the student ASVAB
during the 2020-21 school year. During that same year, 317,000 applicants took the enlistment ASVAB, also used to match military applicants with career fields.
In the next step of processing, medical personnel perform thorough medical examinations at MEPS or RPS. The examinations evaluate an applicant’s medical history and current physical condition in an effort to determine if the applicant can meet the challenges of initial entry training and military service. In fiscal year 2021, 448 physicians administered more than 250,000 medical examinations.
Background screening of applicants is equally important to military entrance processing. It includes pre-enlistment interviews, fingerprinting, and initiating Entrance National Agency Checks.
By determining applicants’ qualifications for enlistment, USMEPCOM provides the nation’s nine initial entry training centers with fully qualified recruits. During fiscal year 2021, 227,000 young people met those rigid standards and raised their right hand to take the Oath of Enlistment.
Having recently celebrated 40 years as an independent command, USMEPCOM is focused on improving its processes and advancing its technological capabilities. In 2021, the command introduced a new processing system to manage its millions of records and move toward paperless processing. Currently, USMEPCOM is setting the conditions to implement the Military Health System’s new electronic health record, which when fully deployed, will provide a single health record for service members, veterans, and their families.
The command’s motto is “Freedom’s Front Door,” and, although all are welcome to approach, only those who meet Department of Defense standards will make it through. There is no other door, and passing through Freedom’s Front Door is not always easy. USMEPCOM exists to ensure only qualified men and women become United States Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Space Force Guardians.