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The authors examine the prevalence and consequences of irregularities by military recruiters. Recruiter irregularities are uncommon — using the services' data for tracking allegations between 2007–2009, the authors document about 1 allegation per 1,000 applicants. Between 1 to 3 percent of the recruiter workforce is involved in substantiated allegations in a given year, with concealment or falsification representing the most common form of irregularity. Exploring Army contract data, the authors compare the characteristics of those signing contracts at the end of the recruiting month — when recruiters are under the greatest pressure to meet their monthly recruiting quotas — with those signed earlier in the month. Recruiters appear less likely to carefully screen recruits and more likely to sign marginal applicants at the end of the contract month, leading to some negative outcomes among these enlistees. While undesirable behavior on the part of applicants and/or recruiters appears more prevalent at the end of the recruiting month, patterns in contracts across the course of the recruiting month also suggest the incidence of unreported irregularities is likely to be low.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Background on Recruit Processing and Recruiter Management

  • Chapter Three

    Data

  • Chapter Four

    Results on Allegations

  • Chapter Five

    Analyses of Contract Data

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Overview of Recruiting Policies and Procedures Regarding Improprieties

  • Appendix B

    Derivations

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the 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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