Cover: A Snapshot of the Department of the Air Force Total Force Recruiting Integration

A Snapshot of the Department of the Air Force Total Force Recruiting Integration

Survey Results and Implications

Published May 5, 2022

by Tracy C. Krueger, Sandra Kay Evans, Sara E. Barth, Angela Clague, Diana Gehlhaus, Norah Griffin, Ryan Haberman, Jennifer J. Li, Julia L. Melin, Claude Messan Setodji, Nelson Lim

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Research Summary

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Research Questions

  1. To what extent are recruiters familiar with TFR?
  2. What is the nature of lead sharing among DAF recruiters?
  3. What are recruiters' overall levels of satisfaction with currently available technologies?

Recognizing the need to enhance the effectiveness of its recruiting efforts across the force, the Department of the Air Force (DAF) is determined to integrate its recruiting activities, which are currently distributed across six accession sources — the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service (Regular AF), U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and U.S. Air Force Civilian Service — into a more unified approach. Total Force Recruiting (TFR) aims to unite the previously siloed entities, standardize processes, and optimize technologies. However, in the absence of a systematic evaluation, it is difficult to identify the nuances of this progress.

To support the continued development and sustainment of TFR, the authors designed and deployed a measurement tool, Total Force Recruiting Panel–Technology and Integration Survey. In this report, the authors discuss the results of the survey to provide baseline data about the state of TFR in the DAF from late 2019 that can inform leaders of the Total Force Recruiting Council leaders to guide TFR initiatives.

Key Findings

  • Total Force Recruiting Panel–Technology and Integration Survey was completed by 1,105 respondents across all six DAF recruiting entities, a 42-percent response rate.
  • In the area of TFR Knowledge, over 90 percent of recruiters surveyed report knowing what TFR means, but their explanations were mixed. A sizable minority of Regular AF and Air National Guard respondents doubt TFR benefits and cite competition as a barrier.
  • In the area of Lead Sharing (Recruiter Networks), the survey suggests that lead sharing is occurring among all recruiting entities and that formally documented leads underrepresent lead sharing in the DAF. Acquaintanceship and proximity increase the probability of lead sharing. Applicant fit is the primary reason for sharing, and incentives can encourage more sharing.
  • In the area of Technology Perceptions, primary recruiter technologies have time delays and are not interoperable, but some entities' technologies are perceived as useful.


  • TFR Knowledge: (1) Further define and disseminate a concrete, detailed definition of the end state for TFR. (2) Enhance engagement with recruiters by addressing their concerns about TFR.
  • Lead Sharing (Recruiter Networks): (1) Explore the nature of a lead-sharing relationship with each entity to establish realistic norms based on entity differences. (2) Manage recruiter expectations about the desired flow of leads shared between the different entities. (3) Build and sustain relationships among recruiters from different entities. (4) Use lead-sharing incentives, and evaluate their effectiveness. (5) Monitor and provide support for informal lead sharing. (6) Assess differences in lead sharing among recruiters.
  • Technology Perceptions: (1) Plan for how technology (e.g., a single Customer Relations Management tool) will support larger TFR objectives. (2) Determine how the organization, policy, and training for technology should be aligned to TFR.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Force Management Integration and conducted within the Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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