During the coming decade, the Army faces a serious challenge to its manpower quality and quantity. The Department of Defense announced recently that the aptitude screening tests used during the late 1970s were incorrectly calibrated, thereby inflating test scores of recruits (OASD, MRA&L, 1980). The decline in Army recruit aptitude appears to have led to diminished manpower effectiveness as measured by on-the-job performance. Assuming a continued all-volunteer force (AVF), restoring Army manpower quality and quantity to draft-era levels will require substantial increases in Army recruiting expenditures. Since these developments are fairly recent and have received relatively little public discussion, the author documents the magnitude of the decline in Army recruit quality and shows its impact on job performance. He then discusses a research approach for determining "optimal" quality mixes, and what it might cost to restore Army recruit quality to pre-AVF levels.
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