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Military Attrition: DOD Needs to Better Understand Reasons for Separation and Improve Recruiting Systems (Testimony, 03/04/98, GAO/T-NSIAD-98-109).

GAO discussed its work on the attrition and recruiting of the military
services' enlisted personnel, focusing on: (1) the historical problem of
attrition and its costs; (2) the Department of Defense's (DOD) lack of
complete data on why enlistees are being separated early; (3) GAO's
recommendations on ways to improve the screening of recruiters and
recruits; and (4) DOD's actions thus far to respond to GAO's
recommendations.

GAO noted that: (1) despite increases in the quality of DOD's enlistees,
about one-third of all new recruits continue to leave the military
service before they fulfill their first term of enlistment; (2) this
attrition rate is costly in that the services must maintain
infrastructure to recruit and train around 200,000 persons per year; (3)
solving the problem of attrition will not be simple in large part
because DOD does not have complete data on why enlisted personnel are
being separated; (4) in GAO's work, it has concentrated on what it has
found to be major categories of separation, such as medical problems and
fraudulent enlistments; (5) because these types of separations involve
services' entire screening processes, GAO has reexamined these processes
from the time recruiters are selected, through the time that applicants
are prescreened by recruiters, through the medical examinations
applicants undergo, and through physical preparation of recruits for
basic training; (6) the process of attracting quality recruits and
retaining them involves many service entities and many processes; (7)
GAO has recommended ways to improve the: (a) data DOD collects to
analyze reasons for attrition; (b) services' criteria for selecting
recruiters; (c) incentive systems for recruiters to enlist persons who
will complete basic training; and (d) services' mechanisms for
identifying medical problems before recruits are enlisted; (8) many of
these recommendations have been incorporated into the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998; (9) DOD and the services have
already taken some positive steps in response to GAO's recommendations
and the National Defense Authorization Act; and (10) however, GAO
believes that DOD needs to take further action to change the criteria by
which recruiters are selected, provide recruiters with more
opportunities to interact with drill instructors, and revise recruiters'
incentive systems to improve their quality of life.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  T-NSIAD-98-109
     TITLE:  Military Attrition: DOD Needs to Better Understand Reasons 
             for Separation and Improve Recruiting Systems
      DATE:  03/04/98
   SUBJECT:  Attrition rates
             Military recruiting
             Military enlistment
             Military personnel
             Enlisted personnel
             Statistical data
             Military discharges
             Employee incentives
             Medical examinations
             Military cost control
IDENTIFIER:  Armed Forces Qualifications Test
             DOD Delayed Entry Program
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Before the Subcommittee on Personnel, Committee on Armed Services,
U.S.  Senate

For Release on Delivery
Expected at
2:00 p.m., EST
Wednesday,
March 4, 1998

MILITARY ATTRITION - DOD NEEDS TO
BETTER UNDERSTAND REASONS FOR
SEPARATION AND IMPROVE RECRUITING
SYSTEMS

Statement of Mark E.  Gebicke, Director, Military Operations and
Capabilities Issues, National Security and International Affairs
Division

GAO/T-NSIAD-98-109

GAO/NSIAD-98-109T


(703236)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  DOD -
  GAO -

============================================================ Chapter 0

Mr.  Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

We are pleased to be here today to discuss our work on the attrition
and recruiting of the military services' enlisted personnel.  At the
request of this Subcommittee, GAO has conducted a series of jobs to
determine why the attrition of enlisted personnel during their first
terms of duty has remained relatively constant despite the increased
quality of new recruits.  Our work has included (1) a report
outlining the reasons for attrition during the first 6 months of an
enlistee's term,\1 (2) a report recommending how recruiter selection
and incentive systems could be improved to increase recruiter
performance and the likelihood that enlistees will complete their
first terms,\2 (3) an ongoing study to identify reasons for enlisted
attrition after basic training, and (4) an ongoing study of the
process of screening incoming recruits to detect criminal
backgrounds. 

Today, we would like to discuss the historical problem of attrition
and its costs; the Department of Defense's (DOD) lack of complete
data on why enlistees are being separated early; our recommendations
on ways to improve the screening of recruiters and recruits; and
DOD's actions thus far to respond to our recommendations. 


--------------------
\1 Military Attrition:  DOD Could Save Millions by Better Screening
Enlisted Personnel (GAO/NSIAD-97-39, Jan.  6, 1997). 

\2 Military Recruiting:  DOD Could Improve Its Recruiter Selection
and Incentive Systems (GAO/NSIAD-98-58, Jan.  30, 1998). 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:1

Despite increases in the quality of DOD's enlistees, about one-third
of all new recruits continue to leave military service before they
fulfill their first term of enlistment.  This attrition rate is
costly in that the services must maintain infrastructures to recruit
and train around 200,000 persons per year.  For example, in fiscal
year 1996, the services' recruiting and training investment in
enlistees who separated before they had completed
6 months totaled $390 million. 

Solving the problem of attrition will not be simple in large part
because DOD does not have complete data on why enlisted personnel are
being separated.  In our work, we have concentrated on what we have
found to be major categories of separation, such as medical problems
and fraudulent enlistments.  Because these types of separations
involve the services' entire screening processes, we have reexamined
these processes from the time recruiters are selected, through the
time that applicants are prescreened by recruiters, through the
medical examinations applicants undergo, and through the physical
preparation of recruits for basic training.  The process of
attracting quality recruits and retaining them involves many service
entities and many processes. 

We have recommended ways to improve (1) the data DOD collects to
analyze reasons for attrition, (2) the services' criteria for
selecting recruiters, (3) the incentive systems for recruiters to
enlist persons who will complete basic training, and (4) the
services' mechanisms for identifying medical problems before recruits
are enlisted.  Many of these recommendations have been incorporated
into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998
(P.L.  105-85).  On the basis of ongoing work, we hope to recommend
ways that attrition can be reduced after enlistees reach their first
duty stations and ways that the services can better screen for
enlistees with criminal backgrounds. 

DOD and the services have already taken some positive steps in
response to our recommendations and to the National Defense
Authorization Act.  However, we believe that DOD needs to take
further action to change the criteria by which recruiters are
selected, provide recruiters with more opportunities to interact with
drill instructors, and revise recruiters' incentive systems to
improve their quality of life. 


   HIGH RATE OF ATTRITION
   CONTINUES DESPITE INCREASES IN
   RECRUIT QUALITY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:2

By 1986, recruit quality was at historically high levels.  All
services had met or exceeded their overall enlistment objectives for
percentages of recruits who held high school diplomas and scored in
the top categories on the test taken to qualify for military
service.\3 Specifically, the percentage of recruits with high school
diplomas increased from 72 percent during the 1964-73 draft period to
92 percent in 1986.  Also, 64 percent of new recruits in 1986 scored
in the upper 50th percentile of the Armed Forces Qualification Test,
up from 38 percent in 1980.\4 The services' success in recruiting
high quality enlistees continued through the 1980s and into the
1990s, with the percentage of high school graduates reaching a high
of 99 percent in 1992 and the percentage of those scoring in the
upper half of the Armed Forces Qualification Test peaking in 1991 at
75 percent. 

Studies of attrition have consistently shown that persons with high
school diplomas and Armed Forces Qualification Test scores in the
upper 50th percentile have lower first-term attrition rates.  For
example, for those who entered the services in fiscal year 1992 and
had high school diplomas, the attrition rate was 33.1 percent.  For
persons with 3 or 4 years of high school and no diploma, the rate was
38.9 percent; and for those with General Education Development
certificates, the attrition rate was 46.3 percent.  Similarly, those
who scored in the highest category, category I, of the Armed Forces
Qualification Test had an attrition rate of 24.7 percent, and those
in category IVA had a rate of 40.7 percent. 

Increases in the quality of DOD's recruits since the 1970s, coupled
with the lower attrition rates of those considered "high quality"
recruits, logically should have resulted in lower first-term
attrition rates throughout the services.  However, factors other than
education and Armed Forces Qualification Test scores appear to be
influencing the early separation of recruits.  First-term enlisted
attrition has remained at 29 to 39 percent since 1974.  For enlistees
who entered the services in fiscal year 1992,\5 first-term attrition
was 33.2 percent.  The Army's attrition was the highest of all the
services, at 35.9 percent, followed by the Marine Corps at 32.2
percent, the Navy at 32 percent, and the Air Force at 30 percent. 

The highest portion of attrition occurs during the early months of
enlistees' first terms.  Of enlistees who entered the services in
fiscal
year 1992, 11.4 percent were separated in their first 6 months of
service.  Attrition was fairly evenly distributed over the remaining
period of enlistees' first terms.  The rate was 3.4 percent for those
with 7 to
12 months of service, 7.3 percent for those with 13 to 24 months of
service, 6 percent for those with 25 to 36 months of service, and 5
percent for those with 37 to 48 months of service. 


--------------------
\3 See our report Military Recruiting:  More Innovative Approaches
Needed (GAO/NSIAD-95-22, Dec.  22, 1994). 

\4 The Armed Forces Qualification Test is a composite of 4 of the 10
components of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.  This
battery of tests is given to applicants at high schools, Military
Entrance Processing Stations, or independent sites and is used to
determine whether applicants are qualified for enlistment and
military job specialties. 

\5 Fiscal year 1992 is the most recent year for which we have
complete data from the Defense Manpower Data Center on enlistees who
entered the services and would have been able to complete 4-year
enlistment terms.  These attrition statistics include persons with
2-, 3-, and 4-year terms, which would have expired in fiscal years
1994, 1995, and 1996. 


   ATTRITION IS COSTLY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3

On the basis of DOD-provided cost data, we estimated that in fiscal
year 1996, DOD and the services spent about $390 million to enlist
personnel who never made it to their first duty stations.  Of this
total cost, which includes the cost of DOD's training and recruiting
infrastructure, about $4,700 was spent to transport each recruit to
basic training; to pay, feed, house, and provide medical care for the
recruit while at basic training; and to transport the separated
recruit home.\6 We estimated that if the services could reduce their
6-month enlisted attrition by 10 percent, their short-term savings
would be $12 million, and their long-term savings could be as high as
$39 million. 


--------------------
\6 We used Navy data to estimate the cost of transporting recruits to
basic training, supporting them while there, and separating them. 
The other services were unable to provide comparable data. 


   DOD DOES NOT HAVE DATA
   AVAILABLE TO ESTABLISH
   APPROPRIATE TARGETS FOR
   REDUCING ATTRITION
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4

DOD and the services need a better understanding of the reasons for
early attrition to identify opportunities for reducing it. 
Currently, available data on attrition does not permit DOD to
pinpoint the precise reasons that enlistees are departing before
completing their training.  While the data indicates general
categories of enlisted separations based on the official reasons for
discharge, it does not provide DOD and the services with a full
understanding of the factors contributing to the attrition.  For
example, of the 25,430 enlistees who entered the services in fiscal
year 1994 and were discharged in their first 6 months, the data
showed

  -- 7,248 (or 29 percent) had failed to meet minimum performance
     criteria,

  -- 6,819 (or 27 percent) were found medically unqualified for
     military service,

  -- 3,643 (or 14 percent) had character or behavior disorders, and

  -- 3,519 (or 14 percent) had fraudulently entered the military. 

These figures were based on data maintained by the Defense Manpower
Data Center and collected from servicemembers' DD-214 forms, which
are their official certificates of release or discharge from active
duty.  Because the services interpret the separation codes that
appear on the forms differently and because only the official reason
for the discharge is listed, the Data Center's statistics can be used
only to indicate general categories of separation.  Therefore, DOD
does not have enough specific information to fully assess trends in
attrition. 

In an attempt to standardize the services' use of these codes, DOD
issued a list of the codes with their definitions.  However, it has
not issued implementing guidance for interpreting these definitions,
and the services' own implementing guidance differs on several
points.  For example, if an enlistee intentionally withholds medical
information that would disqualify him or her and is then separated
for the same medical condition, the enlistee is discharged from the
Air Force and the Marine Corps for a fraudulent enlistment.  The Army
categorizes this separation as a failure to meet medical/physical
standards unless it can prove that the enlistee withheld medical
information with the intent of gaining benefits.  The Air Force and
the Marine Corps do not require this proof of intent.  The Navy
categorizes this separation as an erroneous enlistment, which
indicates no fault on the part of the enlistee. 

To enable DOD and the services to more completely analyze the reasons
for attrition and to set appropriate targets for reducing it, we
recommended that DOD issue implementing guidance for how the services
should apply separation codes to provide a reliable database on
reasons for attrition. 


   REDUCING ATTRITION WILL NOT BE
   SIMPLE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5

In the absence of complete data on why first-term attrition is
occurring, we examined the various pre-enlistment screening processes
that correspond to the types of separations that were occurring
frequently.  For example, because a significant number of enlistees
were being separated for medical problems and for fraudulent entry,
we focused our work on recruiting and medical examining processes
that were intended to detect problems before applicants are enlisted. 
These processes involve many different military personnel. 
Recruiters, staff members at the Military Entrance Processing
Stations,\7 drill instructors at basic training, instructors at
follow-on technical training schools, and duty-station supervisors
are all involved in transforming civilians into productive
servicemembers.  The process begins when the services first identify
and select personnel to serve as recruiters.  It continues when
recruiters send applicants to receive their mental and physical
examinations at the Military Entrance Processing Stations, through
the period of up to 1 year while recruits remain in the Delayed Entry
Program,\8

and through the time recruits receive their basic and follow-on
training and begin work in their first assignments. 

Reexamining the roles of all persons involved in this continuous
process is in keeping with the intent of the Government Performance
and Results Act of 1993, which requires agencies to clearly define
their missions, to set goals, and to link activities and resources to
those goals.  Recruiting and retaining well-qualified military
personnel is among the goals included in DOD's strategic plan
required under this act.  As a part of this reexamination, we have
found that recruiters did not have adequate incentives to ensure that
their recruits were qualified and that the medical screening
processes did not always identify persons with preexisting medical
conditions.  We believe that the services should not measure
recruiting success simply by the number of recruits who sign
enlistment papers stating their intention to join a military service
but also by the number of new recruits who go on to complete basic
training.  We also believe that the services' mechanisms for
medically screening military applicants could be improved. 


--------------------
\7 A military applicant is sent to 1 of 65 Military Entrance
Processing Stations located throughout the country to (1) take the
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery to determine whether he or
she is qualified for enlistment and a military job specialty and (2)
undergo a medical examination to determine whether he or she meets
physical entrance standards. 

\8 After it has been determined that a military applicant is
qualified, the applicant is sworn into the service and enters the
Delayed Entry Program.  When an applicant enters the Delayed Entry
Program, he or she becomes a member of the Individual Ready Reserve,
in an unpaid status, and awaits being called to active duty.  An
individual may remain in the Delayed Entry Program for up to 1 year. 


      RECRUITER SELECTION AND
      INCENTIVE SYSTEMS ARE
      CRITICAL IN ENLISTING
      RECRUITS WHO ARE LIKELY TO
      COMPLETE THEIR FIRST TERMS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5.1

We found that recruiters did not have adequate incentives to ensure
that their recruits were qualified.  Accordingly, we have identified
practices in each service that we believe would enhance recruiters'
performance and could be expanded to other services.  Specifically,
in our 1998 report on military recruiting, we reported that the
services were not optimizing the performance of their recruiters for
the following reasons: 

  -- The Air Force was the only service that required personnel
     experienced in recruiting to interview candidates for recruiter
     positions.  In contrast, many Army and some Marine recruiting
     candidates were interviewed by personnel in their chain of
     command who did not necessarily have recruiting experience.  The
     Navy was just beginning to change its recruiter selection
     procedures to resemble those of the Air Force. 

  -- The Air Force was the only service that critically evaluated the
     potential of candidates to be successful recruiters by judging
     their ability to communicate effectively and by using a
     screening test.  The Army, the Marine Corps, and the Navy tended
     to focus more on candidates' past performance in nonrecruiting
     positions. 

  -- Only the Marine Corps provided recruiter trainees with
     opportunities to interact with drill instructors and separating
     recruits to gain insight into ways to motivate recruits in the
     Delayed Entry Program.  This interaction was facilitated by the
     Marine Corps' collocation of the recruiter school with one of
     its basic training locations. 

  -- Only the Marine Corps conducted regular physical fitness
     training for recruits who were waiting to go to basic training,
     though all of the services gave recruits in the Delayed Entry
     Program access to their physical fitness facilities and
     encouraged recruits to become or stay physically fit. 

  -- Only the Marine Corps required all recruits to take a physical
     fitness test before reporting to basic training, though it is
     well known that recruits who are not physically fit are less
     likely to complete basic training. 

  -- Only the Marine Corps' and the Navy's incentive systems rewarded
     recruiters when their recruits successfully completed basic
     training.  The Army and the Air Force focused primarily on the
     number of recruits enlisted or the number who reported to basic
     training. 

  -- Recruiters in all of the services generally worked long hours,
     were able to take very little leave, and were under almost
     constant pressure to achieve their assigned monthly goals.  A
     1996 DOD recruiter satisfaction survey indicated that recruiter
     success was at an all-time low, even though the number of
     working hours had increased to the highest point since 1989. 
     For example, only 42 percent of the services' recruiters who
     responded to the survey said that they had met assigned goals
     for 9 or more months in the previous 12-month period. 

To improve the selection of recruiters and enhance the retention of
recruits, we recommended that the services (1) use experienced field
recruiters to personally interview all potential recruiters, use
communication skills as a key recruiter selection criterion, and
develop or procure personality screening tests that can aid in the
selection of recruiters; (2) emphasize the recruiter's role in
reducing attrition by providing opportunities for recruiter trainees
to interact with drill instructors and separating recruits; (3)
encourage the services to incorporate more structured physical
fitness training for recruits into their Delayed Entry Programs; (4)
conduct physical fitness tests before recruits report to basic
training; (5) link recruiter rewards more closely to recruits'
successful completion of basic training; and (6) encourage the use of
quarterly floating recruitment goals as an alternative to the
services' current systems of monthly goals. 


      SCREENING PROCESSES DO NOT
      FULLY IDENTIFY PERSONS WITH
      PREEXISTING MEDICAL PROBLEMS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5.2

We have also found areas in which the medical screening of enlistees
could be improved.  Specifically, DOD's medical screening processes
did not always identify persons with preexisting medical conditions,
and DOD and the services did not have empirical data on the
cost-effectiveness of waivers or medical screening tests.  In
summary,

  -- the services did not have adequate mechanisms in place to
     increase the likelihood that the past medical histories of
     prospective recruits would be accurately reported;

  -- DOD's system of capturing information on medical diagnoses did
     not allow it to track the success of recruits who received
     medical waivers;

  -- the responsibility for reviewing medical separation cases to
     determine whether medical conditions should have been detected
     at the Military Entrance Processing Stations resided with the
     Military Entrance Processing Command, the organization
     responsible for the medical examinations; and

  -- the Navy and the Marine Corps did not test applicants for drugs
     at the Military Entrance Processing Stations but waited until
     they arrived at basic training.  To improve the medical
     screening process, we recommended that DOD (1) require all
     applicants for enlistment to provide the names of their medical
     insurers and providers and sign a release form allowing the
     services to obtain past medical information; (2) direct the
     services to revise their medical screening forms to ensure that
     medical questions for applicants are specific, unambiguous, and
     tied directly to the types of medical separations most common
     for recruits during basic and follow-on training; (3) use a
     newly proposed DOD database of medical diagnostic codes to
     determine whether adding medical screening tests to the
     examinations given at the Military Entrance Processing Stations
     and/or providing more thorough medical examinations to selected
     groups of applicants could cost-effectively reduce attrition at
     basic training; (4) place the responsibility for reviewing
     medical separation files, which resided with the Military
     Entrance Processing Command, with an organization completely
     outside the screening process; and (5) direct all services to
     test applicants for drugs at the Military Entrance Processing
     Stations. 


   INCLUSION OF GAO'S
   RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE NATIONAL
   DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR
   FISCAL YEAR 1998
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6

In its National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998
(P.L.  105-85), the Congress adopted all recommendations contained in
our 1997 report on basic training attrition, except for our
recommendation that all the services test applicants for drug use at
the Military Entrance Processing Stations, which the services had
already begun to do.  Specifically, the act directed DOD to, among
other things, (1) strengthen recruiter incentive systems to
thoroughly prescreen candidates for recruitment, (2) include as a
measurement of recruiter performance the percentage of persons
enlisted by a recruiter who complete initial combat training or basic
training, (3) improve medical prescreening forms, (4) require an
outside agency or contractor to annually assess the effectiveness of
the Military Entrance Processing Command in identifying medical
conditions in recruits, (5) take steps to encourage enlistees to
participate in physical fitness activities while they are in the
Delayed Entry Program, and (6) develop a database for analyzing
attrition.  The act also required the Secretary of Defense to (1)
improve the system of pre-enlistment waivers and assess trends in the
number and use of these waivers between 1991 and 1997; (2) ensure the
prompt separation of recruits who are unable to successfully complete
basic training; and (3) evaluate whether partnerships between
recruiters and reserve components, or other innovative arrangements,
could provide a pool of qualified personnel to assist in the conduct
of physical training programs for new recruits in the Delayed Entry
Program. 


   DOD AND SERVICE ACTIONS IN
   RESPONSE TO GAO'S
   RECOMMENDATIONS AND THE FISCAL
   YEAR 1998 DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION
   ACT
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:7

DOD and the services have taken many actions in response to our
recommendations and the requirements in the Fiscal Year 1998 Defense
Authorization Act.  However, we believe that it will be some time
before DOD sees a corresponding drop in enlisted attrition rates, and
we may not be able to precisely measure the effect of each particular
action.  While we believe that DOD's and the services' actions
combined will result in better screening of incoming recruits, we
also believe that further action is needed. 

As of January 1998, DOD reported that the following changes have been
made in response to the recommendations in our 1997 report:  (1) the
Military Entrance Processing Command is formulating procedures to
comply with the new requirement to obtain from military applicants
the names of their medical insurers and health care providers; (2)
the Accession Medical Standards Working Group has created a team to
evaluate the Applicant Medical Prescreening Form (DD Form 2246); (3)
DOD has adopted the policy of using codes from the International
Classification of Diseases on all medical waivers and separations and
plans to collect this information in a database that will permit a
review of medical screening policies; (4) DOD plans to form a team
made up of officials from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of
Defense (Health Affairs) and the Office of Accession Policy to
conduct semiannual reviews of medical separations; and (5) all
services are now testing applicants for drugs at the Military
Entrance Processing Stations.  We believe that these actions should
help to improve the medical screening of potential recruits and
result in fewer medical separations during basic training. 

In its response to our 1998 report on recruiting, DOD stated that it
concurred with our recommendations and would take action to (1)
develop or procure assessment tests to aid in the selection of
recruiters and (2) link recruiter rewards more closely to recruits'
successful completion of basic training.  The Office of the Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy is planning to work
with the services to evaluate different assessment screening tests. 
This office will also ensure that all services incorporate recruits'
success in basic training to recruiter incentive systems. 

We understand that DOD plans to form a joint service working group to
address the legislative requirements enacted in the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998.  Specifically, the working
group will be tasked with devising a plan to satisfy the legislative
requirements for DOD and the services to (1) improve the system of
separation codes, (2) develop a reliable database for analyzing
reasons for attrition, (3) adopt or strengthen incentives for
recruiters to prescreen applicants, (4) assess recruiters'
performance in terms of the percentage of their enlistees who
complete initial combat training or basic training, (5) assess trends
in the number and use of waivers, and (6) implement policies and
procedures to ensure the prompt separation of recruits who are unable
to complete basic training. 

We believe that the steps DOD and the services have taken thus far
could do much to reduce attrition.  It appears that the
soon-to-be-formed joint service working group can do more.  As the
group begins its work, we believe that it needs to address the
following six areas in which further action is needed. 

  -- First, we believe that DOD's development of a database on
     medical separations is a necessary step to understanding the
     most prevalent reasons for attrition.  However, we believe that
     DOD needs to develop a similar database on other types of
     separations.  Until DOD has uniform and complete information on
     why recruits are being separated early, it will have no basis
     for determining how much it can reduce attrition.  Also, in the
     absence of the standardized use of separation codes,
     cross-service comparisons cannot be made to identify beneficial
     practices in one service that might be adopted by other
     services. 

  -- Second, we believe that all the services need to increase
     emphasis on the use of experienced recruiters to personally
     interview all potential recruiters or explore other options that
     would produce similar results.  DOD agreed with the general
     intent of this recommendation but stated that it is not feasible
     in the Army due to the large number of men and women who are
     selected annually for recruiting duty and to the geographic
     diversity in their assignments.  While it may be difficult for
     the Army to use field recruiters to interview 100 percent of its
     prospective recruiters, we continue to believe that senior,
     experienced recruiters have a better understanding of what is
     required for recruiting duty than operational commanders. 

  -- Third, we believe that an ongoing dialogue between recruiters
     and drill instructors is critical to enhancing recruiters'
     understanding of problems that lead to early attrition.  DOD
     concurred with our recommendation to have recruiter trainees
     meet with drill instructors and recruits being separated or held
     back due to poor physical conditioning.  However, the Air Force
     has no plans to change its policy of devoting only 1 hour of its
     recruiter training curriculum to a tour of its basic training
     facilities.  We believe this limited training falls short of the
     intent of our recommendation. 

  -- Fourth, we believe that the services should incorporate more
     structured physical fitness training into their Delayed Entry
     Programs.  All the services are encouraging their recruits to
     become physically fit, but there are concerns about the
     services' liability should recruits be injured while they are
     awaiting basic training.  DOD is currently investigating the
     extent to which medical care can be provided for recruits who
     are injured while in the Delayed Entry Program. 

  -- Fifth, we believe that, like the Marine Corps, the other
     services should administer a physical fitness test to recruits
     before they are sent to basic training.  DOD concurred with this
     recommendation, and the Army is in the process of implementing
     it.  The Navy and the Air Force, however, do not yet have plans
     to administer a physical fitness test to recruits in the Delayed
     Entry Program. 

  -- Finally, we continue to believe that the services need to use
     quarterly floating goals for their recruiters.\9 DOD did not
     fully concur with our recommendation on quarterly floating
     goals.  DOD believes that floating quarterly goals would reduce
     the services' ability to make corrections to recruiting
     difficulties before they become unmanageable.  We believe,
     however, that using floating quarterly goals would not prevent
     the services from managing their accessions.  The floating
     quarterly goals we propose would not be static.  Each
     recruiter's goals would simply be calculated based on a moving
     3-month period.  This floating goal would continue to provide
     recruiting commands with the ability to identify recruiting
     shortfalls in the first month that they occur and to control the
     flow of new recruits into the system on a monthly basis.  At the
     same time, such a system has the potential of providing
     recruiters with some relief from the problems that were
     identified in the most recent recruiter satisfaction survey. 


--------------------
\9 Under the current monthly goal system, recruiters are under
pressure to make their quota every single month and, as a result,
have difficulty taking leave.  Under a quarterly floating goal
system, recruiters would still be assigned monthly goals, and their
performance would still be evaluated on a monthly basis.  However,
each month the current month's goal would be added to the goals of
the previous
2 months and compared to the recruiter's performance during that
3-month period, rather than comparing the current month's performance
to the current month's goal. 


-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:7.1

Mr.  Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement.  We would be
happy to respond to any questions that you or the other Members of
the Subcommittee may have. 

*** End of document. ***




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