Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy Alphonso Maldon Jr. announced that active duty recruiting trends across the Services are beginning to take a favorable turn, attributing the trends to a talented recruiting force, improved business practices, and powerful new incentives used to attract young people to the military.
"Today, there is a war for talent. The department continues to explore smart and innovative ways to capture the interest of youth while boosting recruiter productivity. We know that we have a terrific recruiting force that is working harder than ever before. Because of their work, we are continuing to improve in a very tough environment," Maldon said.
Army exceeded its target for the month of July by 2,382, and Air Force exceeded theirs by 767. Both Services are optimistic that they will achieve their Fiscal Year 2000 requirements. In fact, Air Force already has enough people in the Delayed Entry Program to meet their needs for the fiscal year. Navy and Marine Corps are on target for their fiscal year-to-date goals.
In the Reserve Components, the Marine Corps Reserve and Army National Guard still have contracts to write, and Air National Guard were successful through July. The other Reserve components fell short of planned numbers. Quality in both the Active and Reserve components remains high with 91 percent of new recruits holding high school diplomas and 67 percent scoring above average in aptitude.
"In achieving these successes, the department has introduced several new incentives, expanded the number of recruiters, and adjusted business practices. We are doing better this year than we had done last year at this time, but there's still a lot of work to be done," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy Vice Adm. Patricia A. Tracey.
Below is a description of some of the initiatives that have been launched.
Incentives - The maximum enlistment bonus for the Army, Navy and Air Force increased in fiscal 2000. The Army and Navy now offer a $20,000 enlistment bonus and the Air Force offers $12,000. For the first time, the Army and Navy also allow new recruits to combine two incentives - the enlistment bonus and a college fund "kicker." In a few Army skills, recruits can receive an enlistment bonus of up to $12,000, as well as the $50,000 college fund. Navy is offering summer bonuses up to $20,000 based on education level to encourage quality people to ship this summer and has initiated a junior college scholarship program. Beginning in April 2000, the Air Force instituted a college loan repayment program. All Services offered a seasonal bonus to encourage young people to ship to basic training in April and May.
Recruiters - The Air Force started fiscal 2000 at 88 percent of its authorized recruiter manning (1,068 against an authorization of 1,209); however, by May 1, it had achieved full manning and increased production recruiters to 1,450. In an effort to stimulate recruiting productivity, the Air Force assigned 169 individuals with prior recruiting experience to temporary recruiting duty for four months. The Army and Air Force also implemented policies to keep recruiters originally scheduled to move during the summer months in place for the remainder of the fiscal year. All Services employ recruiter aides, recent graduates of basic training, to return to their hometowns to help local recruiters.
Public Service Announcement - DoD created a public service announcement entitled "Teens" that showcases young people from communities across America who have benefited themselves and their country by joining today's military. It strives to remind the public of the opportunities for military service.
Increased Military Internet Traffic - This effort is intended to capture a larger share of the available youth market through improved Web sites and expanded use of Internet media. One aspect of the initiative is to locate Internet-capable kiosks in high youth traffic areas such as shopping malls, high schools, and community colleges.
Expanding Outreach - The Department has a number of initiatives underway to reintroduce the public to the extraordinary Americans who serve the country in the Armed Forces. For example, the Department sponsored the "Fantasy Career in Today's Military Contest" in partnership with Yahoo! in which five individuals will experience life in the military.
Other initiatives are focused on modernizing and streamlining recruiter processes leaving recruiters more time to meet potential recruits.
"We can't take today's trends as an assurance of future achievement. These new initiatives are helping to build toward future success, " Maldon added.