Increasing Numbers of U.S. Army Recruits Enlist Some Years After High School
Apr 22, 2014
The group of high school graduates who did not enlist immediately after graduation but later join the Army has made up a significant and increasing portion of total enlistments. This report presents the results of a survey of 5,000 Army recruits designed to answer questions about why they did not immediately enlist and why they later chose to do so.
Insights from a New Survey of Army Recruits
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Since the advent of the all-volunteer force, little attention has been paid to high school graduates who do not enlist immediately after graduation, primarily those who seek employment in the private sector of the economy. However, over time, this group has made up a significant and increasing portion of total enlistments. However, since 2005, the majority of the Army's recruits has not joined directly out of high school but has instead made the decision to join at a later time. Why these recruits initially chose not to join when they had the opportunity after graduating from high school and why they changed their minds several years later and enlisted are the subjects of this report. Given the importance of older recruits to the Army, the authors examine what is known about these recruits, their performance during military service, and why they came to join the Army after first choosing another postsecondary path. The results of a survey of 5,000 Army recruits designed to answer this question are presented. Finally, the implications of the survey results are discussed, along with suggestions of ways to gain additional insights by tracking this survey cohort through their Army careers.
Who Are the Older Recruits and How Successful Are They in the Army?
Why Do Older Youths Join the Military?
Surveys of Army Enlistees and the American Youth Population
What We Learned About Older Recruits: An Analysis of Survey Results
Conclusions and Recommendations
The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.
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