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1997 Recruiting Objectives Exceeded

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 1997 – Despite tough goals, military recruiters came through, announced Fred Pang, assistant defense secretary for force management policy.

"To support today's high-tech, volunteer force, we must recruit the best, most capable young men and women," Pang said. "The armed forces have again enlisted the right quantity and quality of new recruits from throughout American society to meet personnel requirements."

In fiscal 1997, 94 percent of the services' 188,609 first-time enlistees held high school diplomas and 69 percent scored above average on the Armed Forces Qualification Test. In addition, 8,472 individuals with previous military experience re-entered service.

DoD quality benchmarks require 90 percent high school graduates and 60 percent above average on the enlistment test. Most prior-service recruits were high school graduates with above average test scores.

New recruit demographics show diversity in the ranks. The proportion of black and Hispanic recruits rose 1 percent each to 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The percentage of women recruits stayed at 19 percent.

"Recruiting has been challenging over the past several years," Pang said. "With the Defense Department drawdown, there was a corresponding drop in recruiting resources. Money for advertising, education benefits and enlistment bonuses declined, and the number of recruiters declined."

Pang said the reductions led to a drop in youth interest. In response, Congress provided advertising resources to counter the perception "we weren't hiring" by promoting the opportunities and benefits of military service.

"The department will continue to emphasize recruiting top quality men and women into the force; keeping them ready by providing rigorous, realistic training; and retaining them," Pang said, adding service benefits should be equal to the sacrifices military personnel make.

(from a DoD release)

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