Military Recruitment


Attracting qualified recruits and the costs associated with essential skills training make military recruitment an ongoing challenge; low recruitment affects, among other things, enlistee counts, unit readiness, and morale. RAND has provided objective evaluations and recommendations that support decisionmakers' efforts to monitor and manage military recruiting, including examinations of demographic groups and communities where recruiting could be more successful.

  • Commentary

    Demystifying the Wealth Gap to Inform Military Talent Management Decisions

    Wealth disparities across gender and racial/ethnic minority groups affect current and future service members. A better understanding of these disparities can help the Department of the Air Force and the Pentagon take actions that bridge the wealth gap and promote equality and inclusion.

    Jan 29, 2024

  • Report

    What Americans Think About Veterans and Military Service

    The U.S. public's confidence in the military is declining, but perceptions of veterans are overwhelmingly positive. Over half of Americans would discourage a young person close to them from enlisting, but 61 percent would encourage them to join as an officer, via ROTC or a service academy.

    Dec 14, 2023

Explore Military Recruitment

  • Report


    Are Current Military Education Benefits Efficient and Effective for the Services?

    This research takes a mixed-methods approach to examine the effects of military education benefit programs on recruiting and retention-related outcomes, and to assess how the two largest education benefits may work together.

    Jun 19, 2017

  • Report


    Cyber Power Potential of the Army's Reserve Component

    Describes the availability of personnel with cyber skills in the private sector and the number of Army reserve component soldiers available to support the Army's cyber mission needs.

    Jun 15, 2017

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Assessing the Army's Ability to Regenerate Its Active Component End Strength

    This analysis modeled the Army's ability to increase ("regenerate") its active component end strength over five years -- starting from end strengths of 450,000 and 420,000 -- to provide the number of deployable troops available in 2010.

    May 3, 2017

  • Report


    Evaluating the Army's Ability to Regenerate: History and Future Options

    This analysis modeled the Army's ability to increase ("regenerate") its active component end strength over five years -- starting from end strengths of 450,000 and 420,000 -- to provide the number of deployable troops available in 2010.

    May 3, 2017

  • Report


    Assessing the Use of Employment Screening for Sexual Assault Prevention

    This report reviews employment screening policies and procedures to assess how helpful these may be for Air Force sexual assault prevention efforts and also reviews self-reporting of behaviors, background checks, and personality tests.

    Mar 9, 2017

  • Report


    Strengthening Prior Service–Civil Life Gains and Continuum of Service Accessions into the Army's Reserve Components

    This report combines quantitative and qualitative methods to understand service member decisions upon exiting the Regular Army, particularly the decisions of whether, when, and how to affiliate with the Reserve Component.

    Sep 27, 2016

  • Staff Sgt. Roger L. Whaley speaks with a candidate at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Radcliff, Ky.


    Recruiting Strategies to Support the Army's All-Volunteer Force

    The all-volunteer U.S. Army has been in existence for more than 40 years but its success hinges on its ability to meet its recruiting requirements. A new model can help the Army analyze the cost of different recruiting strategies, resource mixes, and eligibility policies in a range of recruiting environments.

    Mar 31, 2016

  • Advisor Training Cell prepares female engagement team for Marine Expeditionary Unit employment, at Camp Pendleton, California


    Women in Special Security Forces: What the U.S. Can Learn from the Afghans

    The contributions of the women in Afghanistan's special security forces demonstrate the unique value that women can bring to special operations forces in socially conservative societies. They are successful in tactical roles and in operations requiring interaction with the community.

    Mar 28, 2016

  • Two teens using laptops


    The Military Should Increase Efforts to Find and Enlist Young Hackers

    Some notorious cyberattacks have been carried out by computer-savvy teens. They don't all have criminal intentions, they just have a particular aptitude for writing code and operating in cyberspace. The U.S. military should consider embracing and cultivating this pool of talent.

    Mar 10, 2016

  • A fish-eye view of a rack of computers


    Using Big Data to Identify the Concerns of Potential Army Recruits

    How has interest in military careers evolved over time and by geographic location? And what are potential recruits' biggest concerns related to the Army? Anonymous data from Internet searches can provide insight.

    Mar 9, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Building a Skilled Cyber Defence Workforce for the EU Military

    National recruitment and retention programs for cyber defence specialists for the military in addition to education, training and exercises will play a vital role for successful Cyber Defence.

    Feb 22, 2016

  • Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver are congratulated at Ranger school graduation at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, August 21, 2015


    RAND Studies Help Inform Pentagon Decision to Open Combat Roles to Women

    RAND researchers addressed topics such as whether members of U.S. special forces are ready to integrate women into their ranks and what lessons may be learned from other militaries that already have integrated women into combat positions.

    Feb 5, 2016

  • Special Operations Forces utilize the Melrose Air Force Range's rough terrain and unique layout to conduct realistic training, November 8, 2012


    Considerations for Integrating Women into U.S. Special Ops Forces

    A survey of special operations forces (SOF) personnel identified their concerns with allowing women to fill SOF positions. Many said they thought mission effectiveness and unit cohesion would suffer as a result.

    Dec 16, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Implications of Integrating Women into Marine Corps Infantry

    The gender integration experiences of foreign militaries, as well as U.S. civilian police and fire departments, can provide valuable lessons for the U.S. Marine Corps as it considers making more opportunities available to women.

    Dec 3, 2015

  • Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro prepares to hike to her platoon's defensive position during patrol week of Infantry Training Battalion near Camp Geiger, N.C. in Oct. 2013


    Integrating Women into the Marine Corps Infantry

    The gender integration experiences of foreign militaries — as well as U.S. civilian police and fire departments — can provide valuable lessons for the U.S. Marine Corps as it considers making more opportunities available to women.

    Dec 3, 2015

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Implications of Integrating Women into USMC Infantry

    The Marine Corps Combat Development Command asked RAND to study the integration of women into infantry combat roles. Researchers reviewed the literature, conducted interviews, estimated costs, and developed an approach for monitoring integration.

    Dec 3, 2015

  • U.S. Marine Corps General, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has a meet and greet with airmen on Yokota Air Base, Japan, November 4, 2015


    Investing in Military Human Capital

    A new effort to review the military's personnel system will focus initially on policies to assign, evaluate, and promote service members. To truly address systematic challenges, however, the scope will need to widen to include how the various military services might size, structure, and support key missions.

    Nov 5, 2015

  • U.S. Army Specialist visits his former high school as part of the Army Special Recruiter Assistance Program


    Go Slow on Arming Recruiters

    Several important voices have argued for arming military recruiters in the wake of the recent shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Giving them a chance to fight back against an active shooter may be a sound proposition, but practicalities of military recruiting suggest a patient and thoughtful policy review.

    Jul 31, 2015

  • Report


    Understanding Low Survey Response Rates Among Young U.S. Military Personnel

    A review of major online U.S. military surveys found very low response rates among young enlisted members. The authors explore possible explanations, why such rates might not reflect bias, and what to do before investing to increase participation.

    Jul 9, 2015

  • Tool


    Diversity Outreach and Recruiting Event Site Selection (DORESS)

    Presents a user guide for Diversity Outreach and Recruiting Event Site Selection (DORESS), a piece of software created by RAND to assist the Air Force in identifying diversity outreach and recruiting event sites.

    Nov 20, 2014