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Presents findings from a study of the relationships between observable characteristics of military enlistees and their subsequent job performance, and the use of those relationships in a model for setting enlistment standards. Two performance measures are examined: retention (what portion of the initial enlistment tour is completed) and job proficiency. Recruit aptitudes are important predictors of success on the Army's Skill Qualification Test for Infantrymen, and on earlier experimental hands-on tests for four other Army jobs. The performance results are combined with recent data on Army recruiting, training, and force-maintenance costs in a cost-performance tradeoff model. The model yields an optimal enlistment standard for the Infantryman specialty that is close to that adopted in fiscal year 1981, and a quality mix for entering recruits about the same as the mix mandated by Congress. Adopting optimal standards Army-wide could cost $100 to $200 million.

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