Improving Strategic Resource Management in the Air Force Recruiting Enterprise

Challenges and Next Steps for Policymakers

by David Schulker, Nelson Lim, David Knapp, Bruce R. Orvis

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Maintaining enough trained personnel to accomplish the U.S. Air Force's missions begins with the recruiting enterprise. Generating roughly 30,000 new enlistment contracts annually demands significant resourcing; planners must decide how many full-time recruiters are necessary and how much to budget for national advertising, local marketing events or activities, and enlistment incentives. Partly because of the scale of resources at stake, the use of marketing resources by the Air Force and other military services has attracted the attention of auditors and Congress, and planners must be prepared to justify their resource plans based on the expected return on investment. To help Air Force decisionmakers, the authors describe challenges associated with measuring the effect of recruiting resources, identify specific limitations that prevent the Air Force from making data-enabled resource-planning decisions, and offer recommendations for overcoming key obstacles.

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This research was commissioned by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Force Management Integration and conducted within the Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program of RAND RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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