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DOD News Briefing with Under Secretary Stanley From the Pentagon

Presenters: Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford L. Stanley
October 12, 2010

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                 COLONEL DAVID LAPAN (Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Media Operations):  Good afternoon, all. 

                 With us in the briefing room today is Dr. Clifford Stanley, the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.  He's here to talk to you about this past year's recruiting and retention efforts. 

                 He is joined today by representatives of the four military services, who will talk specifically about their efforts.  They are Major General Donald M. Campbell, Jr., who is the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command; Brigadier General Balan Ayyar, who is the Commander of Air Force Recruiting Service; Rear Admiral Craig S. Faller, the Commander of Navy Recruiting Command; and Mr. Michael F. Applegate, the Director of Manpower Plans and Policies Division, United States Marine Corps. 

                 Dr. Stanley will provide an overview, and then some of the service reps will be making brief statements, and then all five will be available to take your questions. 

                 And with that, Dr. Stanley? 

                 DR. STANLEY:  All right.  Thanks so much, Colonel Lapan, and good afternoon, everyone. 

                 I'm really happy to be here today, because we have what obviously is a good-news story for this past year, for the recruiting.  But I want to emphasize that, although we're talking about this past year, as the Undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness I'm looking at next year and years out so that, as we look at the data, successful; as we look at the fact that we have an all-volunteer force that has done exceptionally well, that we have really, really good sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines -- this is about our nation and our nation being ready and the recruiting forces dedicated to helping them to be ready.  And we have to keep our eye on the mission. 

                 And I can speak now as a person who understands the recruiting mission.  When I look over here at these fine, upstanding citizens, as we would say, their mission is a constant, because as soon as they meet the mission for the month, they're now to the next mission.  And so there are a lot of recruiters out there right now in the field, in the trenches, actually making a difference. 

                 And we've achieved some all-time highs.  Now, this past couple of years, we are now marking -- or looking at a time when we're actually achieving -- 99 percent of our recruits, the people coming in, are high-school graduates.  That's significant in itself.  And although we know that, even where we go for high-school graduates and also the fact that we have the highest rates we've had now in years in the armed forces qualification tests as well as high school -- those significant results in themselves speak, again, to the future and to our nation.   

                 Recruiting is always going to be a challenge.  It's still a challenge. And we have to go places sometimes where we don't necessarily have, I would say, always the return on investment -- because recruiters are everywhere within our society.  They have to go there, go to places, small towns, sometimes big cities, sometimes in states that may not have necessarily historical results.  But the bottom line is keeping that presence of the uniform, keeping the presence of what we do in the military, is being very significant and very important for what we're doing. 

                 Our economy has something to do with this, but not everything.  A lot of people would think that, as we look at where we are right now in terms of the challenges facing us, it's more to it than the economy.  To a person, serving their nation, doing it with honor, being patriots seems to be the recurring theme that comes up every time we look at and talk to those who are wearing a uniform today, and we're still proud to have that in our active and our Reserve component, and our Guard. 

                 Waivers.  I know there have been questions in the past, but I will tell you that waivers have always been and will probably continue to be a part of the overall, I would say, whole person concept, because in this society, we don't have a perfect society.  But there are all kinds of reasons for waivers, and not to focus too much on that but just to tell you that nothing sacrifices our quality, because everyone that's serving is qualified.  They're qualified.  Our people, our men and women in uniform, are the best ever.  And when you listen to the things they do today, every day, in the Continental United States, overseas, in combat, in war, in harm's way, they're serving our nation with pride and with dignity, as professionals.   

                 So again, we talk about the quality, but I know you have questions.  We'll get to your questions as we look at the details and specifics.  I'm going to ask our service reps to join us, if you would, at this time, and we'll be open to your questions. 

                 Yes, sir. 

                 Q     Mr. Secretary, the economy is a factor, you've said.  Is there some kind of a precise or very general correlation between unemployment rate at 9.6 percent or whatever it is right now -- if that could -- dips down to 7 (percent) or if it dips down to 5 (percent), do you -- do you know how your recruit pull will diminish as a result? 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Well, I think primarily because of what I've said already, it's not precise.  There are so many things in terms of the propensity to serve.  That's the first thing.  We have communities that have very strong commit -- propensity to serve.   

                 There are other variables, too, not just in terms of the job or employment market.  But you're going to find other reasons that go into whether or not we're even at war, what we're doing and how we're serving and things like that. 

                 Now, I'm going to allow our experts to also weigh in on that, because I think they know a little bit more about this on a daily basis than I do. 

                 Go ahead. 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Yes, sir.  I'm Major General Don Campbell.  I command the United States Army Recruiting Command. 

                 I will tell you that as I look to the future, I think one thing will remain constant, and that is if you -- if you look at 17-to-24- year-olds, for all of our services, only about three in 10 of those young men and women are going to be qualified to serve, when you talk in terms of education, you talk in terms of conduct and you talk of terms in medical.  And so as we look to the future, that's got to be factored in.   

                 We know that as the economy turns, our business will get a little tougher.  But I believe if we set the conditions now in the Army like we're trying to do and focus on quality of life, taking care of our soldiers and our families and focusing on those tools that allow them to recruit in difficult environments, then we'll be okay.  But the bottom-line premise for all services will be that three in 10 is the number that we're going to have to choose to look at in 17-to-24-year- olds. 

                 Q     Just to follow up, say unemployment drops by 3 percent.  Do you know that you're recruiting budget has to go up by 30 percent?  Or any -- is there any formula like that -- 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  No, I don't have a specific formula.  But my instincts tell me obviously that business will get a little bit more challenging.  And it's how you posture yourself for the future.   

                 And when you look in terms of the funding that we're going to be allocated for recruiting and retention and the numbers of recruiters, which, for me, are the most important, the number of men and women that I can put in America's streets that recruit those great young citizens. 

                 COL. LAPAN:  Yes, sir. 

                 Q     General Stanley -- (inaudible).  You look into the future, the Senate Appropriations Committee cut about $500 million out of the recruiting and reenlistment bonus, and the House Defense Subcommittee hasn't finished their work, but they took a billion dollars out of personnel account.  You know, are -- would that be -- you know, would you have concerns if they cut that deeply into your personnel, particularly recruit -- your bonuses? 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Well, speaking from the Department of Defense perspective, I'm not concerned about that right now.  But I will say that, from a recruiting standpoint, we have actually reduced some aspects of our forecast now in terms of recruiting and our recruiting budget and what we've forecast.  But I will say that we're still required to recruit almost 300,000 men and women each year.  We know that, and we have to forecast and figure out where we go from there. And even the efficiencies that we're going through right now in review, in the Secretary of Defense, we're looking at how we save money in OSD, for example, in some of the departments that we have, and then having that money passed back to the services so they can accomplish their mission. 

                 So obviously we don't have a budget yet for next year in NDAA, but the bottom line is that we're focused on that.  And still we have to recruit, because we cannot maintain an all-volunteer force if we're unable to have the numbers of people that we have to come in. 

                 Q     Do you think that if you cut deeply in bonuses, that would -- that could handicap you? 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Well, you're talking now about bonuses. 

                 Q     Yeah, for -- enlistment and reenlistment bonuses. 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Okay, understand. 

                 Q     You've had good -- you've had good -- excellent retention -- 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Right. 

                 Q     -- and obviously good recruiting, but you know, if the economy goes up, bonuses might become more important. 

                 DR. STANLEY:  I don't -- I'm going to allow the services to respond specifically, but I'll address it in general, that we will always have bonuses to a certain degree because there will be occupational fields, specialties that will require special incentives. We know that, because no matter where the economy is, there are some folks who have opportunities no matter where they are.  The quality's still there. 

                 And I'm going to pause there for a second because I think there's some probably expert advice coming in about two seconds.  Right here. 

                 MR. APPLEGATE:  I don't know about the "expert," Dr. Stanley. I'm Mike Applegate, director of Manpower Plans.  In my job, it's a little bit more encompassing than just accession, as we make up the accession, the reenlistment, the promotion plans, and we also track attrition quite a bit.  

                 And so this gets at your question because I worry quite a bit about both accession and reenlistment bonuses.  Now the Marine Corps increased its end strength from roughly 180,000 to 202,000, and got there a couple years early.  And for that, we received large increases to both our enlistment bonus and selective reenlistment bonuses. 

                 We made the end strength goals a couple years early, and we have given back by the end of FY '10.  We've reduced our SRB (Selective Reenlistment Bonus) and enlisted bonus by 60 (percent) to 70 percent.  SRB is roughly 70 percent.  EB (Enlisted Bonus) is roughly 50 percent.  So we've given that back a little bit. 

                 But the point is, the levels we're at now are still a little bit higher than they were pre-202k, and they are at levels that address what General Campbell was talking about and Dr. Stanley was talking about in that recruiting and retention is a 365-day-a-year job.  It is somewhat impacted by the economy, but not totally.  And there isn't a scientific metric where you can say if X goes down three percent, budget has to go up Y. 

                 But we do have a rough idea, from tracking history and all the ups and downs in the economy since the all-volunteer force came into effect over some 30-some years ago, as to roughly what we need to be able to put the right recruiting force out on the street and recruit Americans from all over the country to try to best match the face of the nation as much as possible, with the right quality and right skills and all that. 

                 So we feel that we have -- we have already reduced our bonus budgets sufficiently, taking into account all of those things.  It's not just the economy, but it's also the force shaping we're doing right now. 

                 Our recruiting command made its accession mission this year, roughly 33,000 total force, and then 28,000 on the active side.  But I don't look at it at the 28,000 number.  I look at the 41 individual skill missions.  The smallest one, parachute rigor, about 41 of those, up to the biggest one, infantry.  That's what's important now, and that's where we need the bonuses, both the enlisted bonus and the re- enlistment bonus, for quality and force shaping to make sure that the numbers are right all across the board. 

                 COL. LAPAN:  Yes, sir. 

                 Q     The secretary just gave a speech at Duke that garnered a lot of attention, partly because he talked about the focus on recruiting being in certain parts of the country, so that in some ways the military force now is kind of distinct from the general population. Are there tangible ways in which you're looking at assessing some of the concerns that the secretary raised in his speech? 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Absolutely.  In fact, the secretary's speech at Duke sort of underscores not only our success this year but -- as I opened up, I talked about looking to the future.  We continue to focus in all areas of our nation, but we know that we have pockets, we have things that we can do better.  I think you should always try to do better.   

                 So we now are finding that there are certain schools, we find that our officer corps -- it may not be -- it is not as diverse as it should be or could be, not as representative of different colleges, universities.  So we're focusing on that, doing that.  

                 The recruiting mission is a constant, and I would say that geographically we continue that focus, to look at get -- bringing in the expertise that we needed.  So yes, I would say we're doing that. 

                 That mission that goes out to the services, I'll let them talk the specifics of how they do it.  From a -- from the OSD standpoint, we are definitely focused on making sure -- ensuring that we have a force that represents our nation.  We're doing that very well in some areas, but we know we need to improve.   

                 I'd like to see if anyone would add anything to that. 

                 ADM. FALLER:  Good afternoon.  I'm Craig Faller, representing Navy and Navy Recruiting Command, and proud to represent America's Navy and our men and women. 

                 We take very seriously complete coverage of this country.  And our recruiting stations are spread, and we have requirements for our recruiters to get into all the schools and to -- and to keep contact and access.  And we work really closely with the other services in that endeavor, because you never know where that one next great talented future leader's going to come from.   

                 Certainly there are areas that are more propense from others -- for us, generally near the coast, the coastal cities, where there's Navy and Navy influence.  And I think the other service(s) would make similar connections.   

                 But in my own case, I grew up in western Pennsylvania, and the ocean was a long ways from home, not a lot of Navy from there.  So I don't think that I see in the job and the travels I make any areas where we're moving away from.  And we take it all and attack it all very seriously.   

                 It's another point to make about this quality.  Quality's up, but the quality we seek is not just walking in the door.  We go find it. And I think that all other services would make that same statement. Thank you. 

                 Q     (Off mike) -- with the Army and the Marines.  The secretary specifically talked about how historically they tracked certain parts of the specific regions of states even that were easiest for them to recruit from. 

                 And that's where they invest all their money in, because they know that that's where they can get recruits.  As we were -- 

                 Q     And you were talking specifically about the Army and Marines? 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Well, I mean, I inferred that it was Army and Marines.  So I'd like to ask them if they concur?

                 Q     Okay. 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Didn't -- to answer your question, I talked a little bit about it last year.  As we look at the Army, my job is to make sure that the Army looks like America, that we are a diverse organization that supports America.  I can tell you that we watch very carefully the numbers that we recruit in all the major ethnic categories, and make sure that we look like America. And this year, our numbers are within certain percentages that I'm comfortable with when we talk in terms of the quality -- qualitative military available -- quality military available.  And that's those 17-to-24-year-old youth that are in the United States. 

                 And we position ourselves to make sure that we do that.  Just like the admiral, we're in high schools, we're in colleges.  And my job is to make the Army a diverse organization.  We do that pretty well every year, and I'm pretty proud of our team in doing that. 

                 Q     Actually, could I follow on that?  Yeah, the secretary, I think, was talking geographically, also.  He spoke specifically about the Army being able to recruit very well in the Southeast and the Mountain West, and not a lot from New England and the Far West.  Do you -- is there a way that you can possibly flood the area with recruiters to perhaps attract more recruits from those areas? 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Well, I -- we have five what we call nonprior- service brigades that recruit across the country, and they are primarily in those geographic areas.  And I will tell you, woe be it for me to counter the secretary's comment, because I won't.  But the point is that, as I look at those five brigades, as I mission them, based on the mission that I get from the Department of the Army, they're all -- they are all doing very well against the mission in the total numbers that I look at, in terms of the mission that I give each specific brigade. 

                 And as we look at it from a diversity standpoint, they're doing fairly well. 

                 Yes, sir. 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Just one closing comment -- well, not closing, but just a comment for perspective.  But when I say we can do things better, the secretary was setting the stage for doing things better because those are areas of things that we -- you know, there are areas that we aren't -- not doing as well.  But overall, the recruiting forces are going out there recruiting, but using the data, figuring out how you assess in certain areas, how you concentrate shifting -- I won't tell the service how to do that right now, but the bottom line is that there are things we can do better.  

                 Yes, sir. 

                 Q     Well, speaking of -- on the theme of looking like America, how has the Army changed its fitness requirements?  There's been some talk that it's -- that it's gone a little lax on the standards.  There was the situp controversy.  Can you explain that and what effects this has had on the recruitment numbers? 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Sir, I can't specifically talk to the situp controversy.  That would be Lieutenant General Hertling's area. He's the deputy commanding general for initial military training.  I can tell you that every young men or women that comes in -- that goes into the Army -- and this year we recruited 74,577 active-duty and regular Army, and over 26,000 Army reservists -- were qualified to come in the Army, physically and educationally.  And when it comes to the standard that they meet when they go through the Military Entrance and Processing site, which is the MEPS, and they get to initial military training, they've met the standard that I'm required to get them to. 

                 Q     Has that changed since -- General? 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  No, sir.  No, sir.  Not for me. 

                 COL. LAPAN:  Yes, sir. 

                 Q     Can I ask, when you look at these charts and you look at the propensity-to-serve studies and these sort of metrics, you can see that the recruiting community is coming out of a very difficult few years back in '06, '07, maybe a little bit into '08. 

                 Can you point to anything as you -- as you come out of that?  For a variety of reasons, is there any lessons learned, anything that you all look back on those couple years that, you know, might help you prepare for inevitably when the lean years come again? 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Okay.  (Off mike) -- services. 

                 GEN. AYYAR:  Sure. 

                 Well, it's an excellent question.  My name is Balan Ayyar.  I'm the commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service.  And these are exactly the things the services are thinking about as the labor market tightens and the economy improves, whether we're positioned right, and it's not an exact science, as many of my colleagues mentioned to you.   

                 But there are some general lessons, and it first is, I think, the importance that -- the importance of presence of our recruiting network in communities.  You know, I think we've alluded to it, but recruiting is ultimately a very human endeavor, and it's interaction between our professional recruiters across the services and young men and women and influencers in local communities. 

                 And of course some understanding about the services is critical, and so the way that the services really advertise in a national sense who they are, what they're about and what they believe helps our recruiters kind of establish a presence in those communities. 

                 And so the thing that we're learning about is the different tools that are available to us and how those tools intersect with, you know, factors in the economy, and it kind of determines our success.  But I think it starts with a really exceptional recruiting force -- in the Air Force's case, those are all volunteers -- and physical presence in these communities. 

                 And the second part is a really prominent and easily understandable national marketing strategy that helps Americans who don't have the proximity to a military base -- helps them understand the kinds of wonderful opportunities there are serving their country, for these highly qualified young Americans who may be interested in the service. 

                 No secret; we're all looking for the same -- you know, whether you're a company or whether you're the Department of Defense, we're all competing for the same small pool of highly qualified young  Americans.  And so that competition is getting fiercer -- there should be no -- you know, no bones about that -- as the economy improves. 

                 And so we've got to really sharpen ourselves for that. 

                 Thank you. 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Yes, sir.   

                 Q     Sir, I'd like to ask, if you look at that chart, you see the last two years have been very good, and that matches with the economy for one reason. 

                 Another big issue was the GI Bill.  And I was wondering if I could get some feedback from yourself and from the other recruiting chiefs as to what the new, post-9/11 GI Bill has meant to your recruiting success. 

                 DR. STANLEY:  Well, I know, in general, that that -- it's been a lot, because it's not -- it's -- when you think about the all-volunteer force today, we're not just talking about those in uniform. We're also talking about their family members.  And to be able to give to your family some of that opportunity to go to college, to have post-secondary education, that's very significant.  So, I know from a general effect that that has improved. 

                 We also have been trying to create something that happened, as you know, from World War II, where we had a generation of folk -- people who actually benefited.  We now have an opportunity now to benefit a whole nation of youth who are serving -- youth, people who are serving, period.  I call them all "youth," but you know what I'm saying. 

                 I'll allow the services to be more specific. 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  The post-9/11 GI Bill has made a big difference in the -- in United States Army recruiting, as I look and talk to our noncommissioned officers and our officers who are out providing the strength for the Army every day. 

                 In fact, I'm using it to send my daughter to school.  And I use my Army story when I talk to young men and women about the opportunities to serve and the educational benefits, from loan repayment to bonuses.  But it's specifically the GI Bill in providing opportunities.  So I think it's had a big -- in the Army, from my perspective, it has helped tremendously, and it's provided young men and women with another option and another great reason to serve their country. 

                 DR. STANLEY:  (Off mike.) 

                 ADM. FALLER:  I'd like to add on that post-9/11 GI Bill is one of the most positive things that I've seen in my time in service for educating our force.   

                 And it's -- I talk to future sailors or their family and make it really simple:  We are giving you the honor of serving your country, a full scholarship to college that you can use or you can transfer to your spouse or children.  And that's very powerful.  And that benefits our military because, I think, it really has helped us attract higher-quality individuals. 

                 It also benefits this country, because the second- and third- order effects that we're going to see across the country in terms of more people flowing into education as a result of this generous benefit the Congress has given us is going to have tremendous strategic effects for years to come. 

                 GEN. AYYAR:  Colonel Lapan, with your permission. 

                 COL. LAPAN:  Yes, please, go ahead. 

                 GEN. AYYAR:  I certainly agree with my colleagues, but I also might add that, you know, the effect to our airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines that are serving really can't be underestimated.  In fact, in one sense it recognizes the sacrifice that they've -- their families have endured.  And their ability, as they move across different states, to serve, to be able to choose an education and be able to now then afford that education for their -- for their children is really just remarkable.  And I think -- so the effects on retention are certainly wonderful. 

                 I'd like to say on the Air Force side that it's had an impact in the recruiting environment.  It's one of a broader package of benefits that we talk to young recruits and parents and influencers about, and it's certainly compelling.  Most of the young Americans that we talk to in the Air Force about serving are thinking, you know, big thoughts and are not so -- the influencers and coaches and other important people in their lives are very interested in this benefit.  We find that young Americans are more interested in what kinds of things they'll be doing in the service and less about -- but certainly education is a continuing -- as we poll our airmen that have been recruited, education is a continuing kind of powerful force on their decision. 

                 Thanks. 

                 Q     If I can just ask one follow-up on the transferability aspect of it. 

                 Because, General Campbell, you said that your daughter -- you're going to send your daughter to school.  The propensity to enlist is pretty high among the sons and daughters of military folks.  Are we, in effect, with that transferability, at all shooting ourselves in the foot for future generations of the pool of recruits:  that they don't need that education benefit; that it can be passed down from their parents that they might have followed into service? 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  I think your statement -- your statement, as I've studied it, is true, regardless:  propensity to serve.  I come from a military family; my wife comes from a military family.  And I think it's -- you're obviously going to be propensed to serve. 

                 I haven't seen it, and it's probably a little too early to really do a -- an in-depth study.  I believe it is -- all my colleagues have said that it just offers a wonderful opportunity for young men and women.  It gives them another choice and another option as they look down the road, whether they stay for three -- or in my case, 32 -- years.  And it's the opportunity that I think they're looking for. 

                 You know, for instance, in the Army, this year we have almost 15,000 young men and women enlist, out of those 90-some-thousand that had at least a semester of college or more.  And now they have the opportunity to continue with education or, if they already have a degree, provide those benefits to their spouse or to their children, like I'm doing. 

                 Q     So the propensity to enlist is going up, the rate is going up?  And do you anticipate that surviving perhaps an economic -- (off mike)? 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Well, we obviously -- as my colleagues have talked to, we'll talk up, from an advertising and marketing standpoint, the post-9/11 GI Bill.  I think it has been a wonderful tool and incentive as we deal with young men and women, talk to them about education.  Because most of the young men and women that we deal with who want to come in the Army, whether they stay in on not, they want to work on a -- on an education.  They want to go to -- they want to get an associate's, they may want to get a bachelor's, they may want to get a master's or pursue a Ph.D.  And it just affords them the opportunity, or their family members, and it's a great tool. 

                 Q     But overall -- well, the overall propensity for youth to enlist -- I mean for American youth -- is the propensity to enlist going up, down, staying the same? 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Well, sir, from a -- I'll let -- 

                 MR (?):  Go ahead. 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Well, from the Army's perspective, it's been pretty flat the last couple years, as we look at the surveys out there and all the tools that we use.  You know, I'm not going to give you the exact percentage, but I -- from a propensity standpoint, I think when you talk to young men and women, it will go up as the -- as they look at the 9/11 -- the post-9/11 GI Bill and the opportunities that it provides for them. 

                 Q     And the Army specifically reached out to, like, the influencers -- the coaches, the parents, the teachers.  How's that program gone?  Having gotten an awful lot of mail from the Army on that, I just thought I'd ask. 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Well, sir, are you 42? 

                 Q     (Laughs.)  I'm way above that. 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Sir, we spend a great deal of time, and I'm sure like my colleagues do, talking to Americans -- you know, influencers, parents, coaches, counselors.  It's had a great benefit. 

                 We do -- we have advisory boards in virtually every one of our battalions, and we have 38 of them.  And I believe that those advisory boards, as we connect with America, which is the point that we've talked about here, allow us to do that, allow us to gain access to schools, allow us to have access in the communities and show that we're part of the fabric of that community.  And it really enables the young men and women to make an important decision as they go along, because they've got somebody who understands a little bit about what we're doing, because they've come to meetings with us and sat down and looked at the educational benefits or the 150 ways that you can be a soldier -- or 93 ways you can be in Army medicine.  So lots of opportunities to provide that, and the influencers have been a big help across the country. 

                 COL. LAPAN:  Yes. 

                 Q     Access to high schools has been a problem in the past.  I haven't seen anything on that recently.  Has that problem disappeared, or were you not -- you having that -- able to get access to the high school, I mean, and the records that you need? 

                 A     Okay.  You get that? 

                 A     Access? 

                 DR. STANLEY:  I'll take that.  And I'll give you the general numbers because there's thousands and thousands of high schools. 

                 Overall, it's pretty good access.  Recruiters do run occasionally into little pockets here and there, individual high schools where they're sort of stiff-armed.  But overall I think if the commander of Recruiting Command was here right now, he'd say overall it's pretty good.  It's something that we constantly work on to try to improve it in those small, small pockets where there is some resistance. 

                 COL. LAPAN:  Time for one more. 

                 Q     If I could add, just to General Campbell.  During the lean years when recruiting suffered, the Army came through with various initiatives such as raising the age of recruitment to 42, establishing a GED school so that new recruits could get their GED so they could qualify for the high school requirement.  There was also the cat IV waivers that went up.  How many of those are being scaled back now, or do you plan on scaling them back?  Or are there any plans just to keep it all in place? 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Let me -- what do you mean in terms of scaled back? 

                 Q     Well, do away with it.  Part of the reason why the age -- the maximum age was raised, I think -- I think it was at 35 at one point, it was 38, then 40 -- 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Right. 

                 Q     -- now it's 42 -- was to draw in a wider, more diverse pool, but also an effort to get more applicants. 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Sure. 

                 Q     Do you envision now that you don't need that anymore, and that you -- because you are getting a bumper crop, if you will, of new recruits, that you don't need that? 

                 GEN. CAMPBELL:  Well, first of all, let me just point to -- I wouldn't say that we've always suffered.  Has it been a little bit more of a challenge?  Yes, sir, it's been a little bit more of a challenge, from the lean years, as you described. 

                 As I look to the future, and I look at the economy, and I look at our force and where we're postured, and I look at the gains that we've made when we talk in terms of quality of life just in Army recruiting because that's what I know, from a policy perspective it wouldn't -- you know, it wouldn't be applicable for me to comment.  The Army will decide, based on what I provide them, do we need to change the age limit, do we need to change waivers. 

                 We have -- you know, the department will come out a little later with the waiver statistics, but just in general we've had another good year when you look in terms of the quality of the force -- 99 percent high school degree; 64 percent -- these are regular Army -- one to three alphas, and less than a half a percent category fours -- Army Reserve pretty close to those same numbers.  And with an entry pool of 33,276 this year as we work on a mission of 67, and I look to the future, I don't think that we'll drastically change the standards.  I think for the foreseeable future, we've just got to be postured for, quote, that time when it gets a little tougher and make sure that we have the right numbers and we're well-resourced.  I'm well-resourced in the Army recruiting to do my job, to recruit for America's Army. Similarly, I'm well-manned, and I think I will be for the foreseeable future. 

                 DR. STANLEY:  We want to thank you very much. 

                 We want to also thank our recruiters, who have done a phenomenal job this year and continue to do a great job of serving our nation. They represent not just individual services, but our entire nation. 

                 And we thank you so much for your time today.  Thank you. 

                 Q     Thank you.