THE BLOG

When a U.S. Passport Just Isn't Good Enough

08/06/2014 11:59 pm ET | Updated Oct 06, 2014

Most of us think a U.S. passport is the "gold standard" of proof of American citizenship. Think again.

All three "flavors" of American citizens -- native-born, naturalized and those born abroad -- may apply for U.S. passports, but only native-born Americans may use their passports to prove their citizenship when enlisting in the Army National Guard. If you are a naturalized or foreign-born American, your shiny, blue U.S. passport won't mean squat to the Guard.

This makes no sense. It's also not the rule for the regular Army. What's going on over at the Guard?

It's possible that the Guard relied on outdated and incomplete guidance from 2002 and 2007 OPM memos. We'll never really know unless some intrepid reporter forces the Guard to come clean.

Loyal Americans wanting to join the Guard now come in two classes: native-born and "other." "Army Strong" is a registered recruiting slogan for the regular Army. The Guard's slogan is "Always Ready, Always There." Maybe their slogan should be "Always Suspicious of Naturalized and Foreign-Born Americans."

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