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News Release


Release No: 559-98
October 28, 1998


During fiscal year 1998, the military Services recruited 179,212 first-term enlistees and an additional 6,919 individuals with previous military service for a total of 186,131 recruits, attaining 97 percent of the Department of Defense (DoD) goal of 192,332 accessions for active duty service. The Air Force and Marine Corps achieved 100 percent of their numeric recruiting goals. The Army reached 99 percent of its numeric goal, missing full goal by 776 individuals, while the Navy achieved 88 percent of its mission, realizing a shortfall of 6,892 recruits.

Fiscal year 1998 recruitment for all Services exceeded recruit quality benchmarks. Department-wide, 94 percent of all recruits without prior military service were high school diploma graduates and 68 percent scored above average on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). Virtually all prior service recruits were high school diploma graduates with above average aptitude. The quality benchmarks were established in 1992 after DoD, in conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences, developed a model that linked recruit quality and recruiting resources to job performance of enlistees. The model allows examination of the relationships between the costs associated with recruiting, training, attrition, and retention, and uses as a standard the performance level demonstrated by the recruit cohort that served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Adhering to the established quality benchmarks reduces personnel and training costs while maintaining a high-performance military force.

New recruit demographics also showed diversity. Across the Department, the proportion of African-American recruits was 20 percent, identical to fiscal year 1997. Representation of Hispanic recruits increased two percentage points from fiscal year 1997 to 12 percent in fiscal year 1998. The representation of other minorities, including Native Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders, remained constant at six percent. The percentage of women recruits was 18 percent, the same as last year.

Commenting on the fiscal year 1998 recruiting results, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy Frank Rush said, "All of the Services achieved excellent results in terms of recruit quality. In terms of quantity, there was a significant shortfall in Navy recruiting. Resource augmentations to Navy recruiting during the year helped but the full results of those increases won't be realized until fiscal year 1999. Recruiting has been challenging for several years, but it was especially so this past year because of the robust economy, the lowest unemployment in 29 years, and increased interest among potential recruits in attending college immediately after high school rather than earning money for college through military service. In that environment, military recruiters worked exceptionally hard and produced very good results in most cases."

DoD has put in place a number of initiatives to promote full success in recruiting in fiscal year 1999. Enlistment bonuses will be higher, college tuition assistance for those enlisting in critical job specialties will be more generous, and funding for recruiting advertising has been increased. Finally, the DoD is working to reduce attrition during the first term of service by improving screening practices up front, before individuals are enlisted, and by refining separation procedures to ensure that successful, motivated recruits remain in the military.

Rush concluded, "As we move toward the 21st century, the Department of Defense will continue to recruit top quality young people, keeping them ready through rigorous, realistic training, and retaining them by ensuring that the benefits of service are commensurate with the sacrifices that our military personnel must make. Working together, Congress and the administration furnished appropriate levels of recruiting resources for fiscal year 1999, and we in the Department are optimistic that the Services will achieve full success in 1999."

Statistical summaries are attached.

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