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Since 2000, black representation among high-quality recruits in the Army has decreased, while Hispanic representation has increased; in the Navy, black representation has remained stable and Hispanic representation has increased. (Recruits are considered to be high-quality if they have graduated high school and score above average on the Armed Forces Qualification Test.) The decline in black enlistments is of concern both because black youth have traditionally been a key market segment for the Army and because Congress has expressed concern about the degree to which military enlistments proportionately reflect the population that the U.S. military defends. Asch, Heaton, and Savych examine military and civilian data to identify factors — such as differences among blacks, Hispanics, and whites in their responsiveness to various recruiting tools and their views on the war in Iraq — that explain these trends. The authors conclude with a discussion of which policies are likely to be most effective in increasing high-quality enlistments among blacks, Hispanics, and whites.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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