Following are highlights of U.S. military recruiting and retention numbers and policy, as briefed to the Pentagon press corps on July 11 by Dr. David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
All four of the Department of Defense active duty services met or exceeded their goals for recruiting to the active-duty military for the month of June. (Percentages: Army 102, Navy 100, Marine Corps 105, Air Force 101.)
All four active duty services also have met or exceeded their year-to-date (Oct. 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006) goals for active-duty recruiting (Army 104 percent, Navy 100 percent, Marine Corps 101 percent, Air Force 101 percent).
All four services are projected to meet their active-duty retention (number of military members staying in service) goals for the current fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2005 through Sept. 30, 2006).
June 2006 marks the 13th month in a row that all services reached their active-duty recruiting goals.
Five of the six reserve components met or exceeded their June recruiting goals, with the Navy Reserve not reaching its 100 percent goal but recruiting 95 percent. (Army Reserve 121 percent, Navy Reserve 95 percent, Marine Corps Reserve 103 percent, Air Force Reserve 100 percent, Army National Guard 101 percent, Air National Guard 119 percent).
Four of the six reserve components have met their year-to-date goals (Army Reserve 101 percent, Navy Reserve 83 percent, Marine Corps Reserve 101 percent, Air Force Reserve 104 percent, Army National Guard 103 percent, Air National Guard 92 percent).
The U.S. military recruits close to 300,000 men and women a year, including the Reserve components. These men and women should be praised and recognized for their willingness to serve a cause larger than themselves.
The Defense Department has not sacrificed quality to fill recruit ranks. The Department aims to have 90 percent of new recruits have a high school diploma, have 60 percent score in the upper half of a mental aptitude test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test), and aims for recruits to have high moral standards.
The Army allows no more than 4 percent of recruits to have scored in the lowest category (category 4) of the ASVAB test. For many years the Army had a self-imposed 2-percent limit, but raised it to 4 percent in 2005. The congressional ceiling has been set at 20 percent since fiscal 1983. In the late 1970s, as many as 45 percent of Army recruits could be drawn from category 4.
Today’s all-volunteer force is more experienced and also better compensated for it, giving the United States a far more effective military.
Despite demands made on the force, interest in staying in the services remains high. There have been a surprising number of people in the Reserves who have volunteered to be mobilized a second or even third time. This reflects the troops’ willingness to serve and their commitment to the success of the missions in the areas where they serve.