Army Recruiters Stand Down to Refocus on Values
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 20, 2005 Army recruiters are taking a pause today to refocus on values, as investigations are under way to see if some recruiters are cheating to make quotas.
"We're going to have a values stand-down day to take a look at who we are as an institution and what we represent," Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, the Army's senior recruiting officer, told reporters today at the Pentagon.
Rochelle noted that seven cases involving alleged recruiter improprieties at different locations across the country are now being investigated.
One widely reported case involves a recruiter in Houston who allegedly threatened a potential recruit with arrest if he didn't show up for a meeting. And some recruiters in Colorado have been accused of offering advice on how to pass drug tests and falsify documents. Citing his potential role in adjudicating the cases under investigation, the general didn't talk about any case specifically.
Recruiters shouldn't be taking improper "shortcuts" to bolster their numbers, Rochelle noted. This type of behavior, he asserted, is "simply not acceptable."
The current recruiting environment is challenging the Army's 7,500 recruiters, Rochelle acknowledged, noting his service is now about 6,600 active-duty recruits below quota as recent data shows the propensity of young people to join the Army continues to fall.
Sustained land combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, combined with a low unemployment rate, are driving "the most challenging conditions we have seen in recruiting" since the all-volunteer Army began in 1973, Rochelle noted.
But cheating isn't the answer, the two-star general emphasized, noting that's one of the messages being delivered during today's stand-down.
Rochelle said all recruiters today are required to watch an unscripted videotaped message from him as part of today's stand-down. Secondly, he said, commissioned officers and noncommissioned officers with U.S. Army Recruiting Command will reaffirm their oaths to the Army.
Recruiters will also discuss why personal integrity, values and ethics are important and necessary in their work, Rochelle said.
The American public "can rest assured - rest absolutely assured - that we hold every single recruiter to the highest level of adherence to those values," he said.