How The Pentagon Met Their Recruiting Targets While Recruiting Less People

Earlier in the week the Pentagon bragged about meeting their recruitment goals for the year. I thought this was a little strange considering, no matter how much people feel about the world with Obama as opposed to Bush being in the White House, the same negative incentives to recruitment (i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan) are still present. I thought maybe it was a sign of desperation due to lack of jobs.  Fred Kaplan (via Andrew Sullivan) found the answer–they reduced their goals allowing them to meet their target despite a decrease in recruits:

According to the Pentagon’s report, the Army’s goal for fiscal year 2009 was to sign 65,000 new recruits. It actually signed 70,045—amounting to 8 percent more than the target.

But the picture is less bright than it seems. Though the Pentagon’s report doesn’t mention this fact, in each of the previous two years, the Army’s recruitment goal was 80,000—much higher than this year’s. The Army met those targets, but only by drastically lowering its standards—accepting more applicants who’d dropped out of high school or flunked the military’s aptitude test.

This year, the recruiters restored the old standards—a very good thing for troops’ morale and military effectiveness—but they signed up 10,000 fewer new soldiers.

It is, in other words, not the case that high unemployment or a new public spirit is leading more young men and women into the Army. It’s not the case that more young men and women are going into the Army at all.

In addition to reducing their recruiting goals they also reduced their retention goals.

I guess it is somewhat like reducing the goal of universal health care to less than one hundred percent coverage.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘I guess it is somewhat like reducing the goal of universal health care to less than one hundred percent coverage.’
    I really love this line, Ron.
    If Jeffrey Ferguson doesn’t eventually return from the abyss, you should consider taking over The Snarking Lot.

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