Pang Says 1996 Recruiting Efforts Produced Quality Force
By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 1996 DoD's chief of force management policy said the military successfully recruited the right quantity and quality people to serve in America's fighting forces during fiscal 1996.
Fred Pang also said DoD will continue its efforts to recruit the best candidates for military service. He said this while announcing DoD met its recruiting goals for fiscal 1996.
"The department will continue to emphasize recruiting top quality men and women into the force," said Pang. He said DoD plans to do this by keeping the resources needed to provide rigorous, realistic training. He said he also wants to guarantee military benefits match the "enormous sacrifices" military personnel make in serving the country.
Defense officials said more than 180,000 people joined the military during the fiscal year. Pang especially praised service recruiters in achieving DoD goals. "To support today's hightech, volunteer force, we must recruit the best, most capable young men and women possible," said Pang. "We are proud to say our track record shows success. The services established tough recruiting goals, and our recruiters came through."
Pang acknowledged problems many recruiters face in meeting their missions. With the defense drawdown winding down but still under way, youth interest in the military dropped. He said there were perceptions the military was not hiring.
He also said there were perceptions that military service involved personal risk given recent deployments to Bosnia, Somalia and Haiti. "Fortunately, Congress provided the necessary resources for increased advertising," he said. "We were able to counter those negative perceptions and improve youth awareness about the opportunities and benefits of military service."
DoD's recruiting quality benchmarks require 90 percent of all recruits graduate from high school. Sixty percent of those must have above average scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test. Pang said 1996 recruits exceeded marks in both categories. He said 96 percent of fiscal 1996 recruits without prior military service were high school diploma graduates. Nearly 70 percent scored above average on the test.
Officials said the proportion of black recruits remained at the same 19 percent DoD-wide as last year. In addition, Hispanic recruits remained at 9 percent.
Women recruits during the fiscal year dropped one percentage point, from 18 to 17 percent. Defense officials said they attribute the drop to a reduced proportion of women entering the Navy. The Navy stopped its "genderneutral" recruiting efforts because of constraints in berthing capacity aboard its vessels.