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Based on indications of increased difficulty in meeting recruiting goals, in spring 1994 the Army Chief of Staff and the Deputy of Secretary of Defense asked RAND to examine recent trends in the recruiting market and to assess their implications for meeting accession requirements. An initial examination of the 1994 market concluded that the pool of interested high-quality young men was adequate to meet DoD needs. But the system appeared to be less effective in tapping into this supply of potential enlistees. The longer-term analysis, reported here, confirms the reduced effectiveness of recruiting, and also finds that the significant increase in FY97's accessions required to sustain the post drawdown force, coupled with a smaller decline in youth's interest in military service, translates into a possible supply shortage. The decline in recruiting productivity is most likely due to a number of factors; until they are addressed, meeting accession goals will require a greater level of recruiting resources or different management practices. The researchers offer two short-term actions for consideration: (1) increase recruiting resources and (2) reduce the requirement for high-quality non-prior-service male accessions by recruiting more women, accepting more prior-service accessions, or changing the quality goals. Longer-term actions should be aimed at trying to enhance the cost-effectiveness of recruiting in the post drawdown environment. This could include: rethinking recruiting management and the cost benefit of alternative recruit quality levels; considering more marketing strategies and enlistment options, particularly ones that would improve the military's ability to recruit persons interested in attending college; and optimizing the match between monthly accession goals and training infrastructure costs.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Trends in Supply and Demand Factors

  • Chapter Three

    Propensity Analysis

  • Chapter Four

    Conversion of Potential Supply

  • Chapter Five

    Summary and Recommendations

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army, and by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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