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Research Questions

  1. What effects did consolidated recruiting efforts have on the ability of recruiters to attract and place qualified candidates?
  2. To what extent did consolidating recruiting efforts affect efficiency?
  3. What challenges did a recruiter face working to recruit individuals to enlist in a component in which the recruiter may not have served?
  4. How satisfied were recruiters with the pilot program?

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) mandated a pilot test of a program in which Army recruiters were authorized to recruit individuals into any of the three components and to receive credit for an enlistee for a period of not less than three years.

This report provides the following: details about the design of the pilot test; a three-year analysis of the effects that consolidated recruiting efforts had on the ability of recruiters to attract and place qualified candidates; a determination of the extent to which consolidating recruiting efforts affected efficiency; and a discussion of challenges associated with a recruiter working to recruit individuals to enlist in a component in which the recruiter may not have served and of the satisfaction of recruiters with the pilot program.

Overall, the program's effects on contracts and efficiency were small and not statistically meaningful. Given the absence of statistically or substantively meaningful effects on contract production or recruiting efficiency, as well as certain stakeholder concerns, the Army decided to terminate the pilot program after the third year.

Weaknesses in the implementation of the program are highly likely to have contributed to the absence of meaningful differences in production between the test and comparison sites. But on balance, considering the organizational and operational changes required and related costs, the study team concluded that it is not likely that the Army can, particularly in the near term, overcome the challenges to launch a successful cross-component recruiting program.

Key Findings

  • Overall, the program's effects on contracts and efficiency were small and not statistically meaningful. Weaknesses in implementation of the program are highly likely to have contributed to the absence of meaningful differences in production between test and comparison sites.
  • In some cases the enlistment incentives received for cross-component contracts exceeded those available for same-component recruits. Almost all cross-component contracts written by Army National Guard recruiters were written into the active-duty Army.
  • Recruiters' experiences with the program were mixed. Some saw little value and an adverse effect on workload, while many at more-successful locations said the program helped them make mission. One difference between sites was that the relationship between U.S. Army Recruiting Command and Army National Guard recruiters appeared to be better at the more successful sites.
  • Given the absence of statistically or substantively meaningful effects on contract production or recruiting efficiency, as well as certain stakeholder concerns, the Army decided to terminate the pilot program after the third year.
  • On balance, considering the organizational and operational changes required and related costs, the study team concluded that it is not likely that the Army can, particularly in the near term, overcome the challenges to launch a successful cross-component recruiting program.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower and Reserve Affairs and conducted by the Personnel, Training, and Health Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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