Cover: Resources Required to Meet the U.S. Army Reserve's Enlisted Recruiting Requirements Under Alternative Recruiting Goals, Conditions, and Eligibility Policies

Resources Required to Meet the U.S. Army Reserve's Enlisted Recruiting Requirements Under Alternative Recruiting Goals, Conditions, and Eligibility Policies

Published Jul 14, 2022

by Bruce R. Orvis, Craig A. Bond, Daniel Schwam, Irineo Cabreros


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Research Questions

  1. How effective are Army resources in generating Army Reserve contracts?
  2. How do changing recruiting environments, Army recruit eligibility policies, and accession requirements affect the required recruiting resource levels and mix to meet the recruiting mission?
  3. What can the Army due to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Reserve recruiting?

The U.S. Army has several levers at its disposal to try to meet its recruiting mission, with resources jointly used for both Regular Army (RA) and U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) accessions. These resources differ in their cost per additional recruit produced and the lead time necessary to change individual resourcing levels and affect enlistments. The Army can also modify recruit eligibility policies to help it achieve its accession requirement within available resources. Recruiting resources and enlistment eligibility policies work together as a system to produce RA and USAR recruits, and understanding their interactions under varying requirements and environments enables decisionmakers to use their limited resources more effectively and efficiently to achieve the Army's accession requirements.

The authors present a model—the Reserve Recruiting Resource Model (RRRM)—designed to optimize the resource levels and mix needed to achieve future USAR recruiting goals under changing enlisted accession requirements and recruiting environments and alternative eligibility policies for potential recruits. The model also enables comparison of alternative courses of action. This research builds on prior work by the RAND Arroyo Center on the effectiveness and lead times of alternative recruiting resources. In their results, the authors discuss using the RRRM to predict annual accessions from a specified baseline resourcing plan and provide several examples of how the tool can be used to assess potential recruiting resource and policy trade-offs or to prepare for alternative recruiting requirements via optimization of recruiting resources used for USAR recruiting.

Key Findings

  • Although accession requirements have been lower in recent years, the demand for quality recruits has risen, and the recruiting environment has changed.
  • Planned enlistment waiver rates have remained low, which puts pressure on the number of potential recruits.
  • The resources used to attract new enlistees—such as recruiters, bonuses, and advertising—differ both in their productivity and in the time required between the decision to use a resource and the ability to do so, as well as between resource use and enlistment response.
  • In the past, the Army has limited recruit eligibility in good recruiting environments to increase recruit quality; in contrast, during difficult recruiting times, the Army has increased eligibility to help ensure achievement of the accession requirement.
  • Understanding how recruiting resources and enlistment eligibility policies work in concert and how the optimal levels and mix of recruiting resources vary under different recruiting requirements, eligibility policies, and environments is key in enabling decisionmakers to use the Army's limited resources to effectively and efficiently achieve the Army's accession requirements.


  • Army planners should use the RRRM tool to consider the potential cost and resourcing requirements of a variety of recruiting contingencies, and to strategically examine resource and policy trade-offs.
  • Future research should link the RRRM and the Regular Army Recruiting Resource Model, which are two valuable additions to the Army's planning tools.
  • The RRRM should be updated in the future to reflect the effectiveness of recruiting resources.
  • Future refinements could also include integration with existing planning and budgeting models and with the Reserve Recruit Selection Tool, which provides information on first-term outcomes and costs when recruit eligibility policies are changed.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the Personnel, Training, and Health Program within RAND Arroyo Center.

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