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Army meets recruiting goals for quantity, quality

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Oct. 14, 2009) -- The Army and other services met their recruiting goals in fiscal year 2009, many exceeding both numeric goals and quality benchmarks for new recruits.

"We are pleased to report that for the first time, since the advent of the all-volunteer force, all of the military components -- active and reserve -- met their number as well as their quality goals," said Bill Carr, the deputy under secretary of Defense for military personnel policy during an Oct. 13 press conference at the Pentagon. "That's the first time that's been achieved for every component since the start of the all-volunteer force in 1973."

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All branches of the service, as well as their respective Guard and Reserve components, met or exceeded recruiting numbers for the period between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009. For the active Army, that meant 70,045 accessions in that time period -- or 108 percent of its goal of 65,000 new Soldiers.

The Army National Guard met 100-percent of its goal, the Army Reserve exceeded its goal, achieving 105 percent.

The "quality" component of last year's recruiting success refers to both the education level of new recruits and their performance on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, a subset of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB.

The Department of Defense set a benchmark for services, stating that 90 percent or greater of new recruits should have a high-school diploma. Last year, some 95 percent of Army active-duty recruits had a high-school diploma or greater. The reserve components of the Army also exceeded that standard.

Additionally, in FY 2009, 66 percent of new Soldiers in the Army scored at the 50th percentile or higher on the AFQT -- the DoD benchmark being 60 percent. Again, both reserve components, like the active Army, exceeded that goal.

While the economic downturn has contributed to recruiting numbers, Maj. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., commander, Army Recruiting Command, also said having the right number of recruiters -- across all components -- contributed to Army success in FY 2009.

"I think the most important thing that helps us with success -- whether you're talking money, resources, or advertising --- is having the right number of recruiters, Soldiers, on the ground," he said. "That's what it really comes down to."

Campbell said there were more than 8,000 recruiters in the field in FY 2009, across all components of the Army. Together, those recruiters brought in about 162,000 new Soldiers.

Campbell also said that waivers, for such things as misconduct, have gone down 37 percent. For FY 2008, there were about 370 adult misconduct waivers, he said. For FY 2009, that number was about 220.

"I think what we are seeing is a good trend in the Army, that we are able to continue to recruit young men and women," he said. "And we see waivers on our side going down."

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