Assessment of Combined Active/Reserve Recruiting Programs
This report examines the long-term effects of an experimental Army program that links active and reserve tours. The program, called the "2+2+4 recruiting option," allows new entrants to serve a two-year tour in the Active Component (AC), a two-year tour in a Selected Reserve Component (RC) unit, and then four years in the Individual Ready Reserve. RAND designed the new enlistment option and evaluated the program in a congressionally mandated, controlled experiment. An earlier study showed that the program expanded the market for high-quality enlistees and helped staff hard-to-fill Army occupations. This study shows that 2+2+4 participants are more likely to complete their AC tour and join a RC unit than are other high-quality recruits. Program participants had lower first-term attrition and reenlistment rates than other high-quality recruits, so the program increased the pool of soldiers separating from the AC and available to the RC. In addition, the RC affiliation rate was 80 percent for 2+2+4 participants, as compared with only 43 percent for other recruits. The study concludes that the program helps the AC achieve its recruiting objectives and that it channels trained, experienced personnel into the RC.