The 2 + 2 + 4 Recruiting Experiment

Design and Initial Results

by Richard Buddin, J Michael Polich

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This Note describes the design and first six months of experience for a national experiment on a proposed new recruiting program for the U.S. Army. The program, called the "2 + 2 + 4" recruiting option, is one of the tools the Army believes could help sustain its ability to attract high-quality young people during difficult recruiting periods in the future. The authors present RAND's design for the test as a controlled experiment, similar to earlier enlistment incentive tests, and present preliminary tabulations of results during the first six months of the test. The test established a framework for systematic assessment of the 2 + 2 + 4 program and set up a precise mechanism for possible future tests of other enlistment options through individually randomized assignment in the REQUEST system. The test showed that a substantial number of recruits are willing to commit for two years in the Selected Reserve to obtain an Army College Fund benefit. It also showed that offering the 2 + 2 + 4 option has led relatively few recruits to choose a short term of service in place of a longer term or to move from a combat to a noncombat skill. It is too soon to determine whether the program led to a significant increase in the total number of high-quality recruits entering the Army.

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