Saturday, November 04, 2006

Who Are the Recruits?


Like their peers in 1999 and 2003, recruits in 2004 and 2005 came primarily from middle-class areas. Poor areas are proportionally underrepre­sented in the wartime years (2003–2005).


Given the nature of the military rank structure, most enlisted recruits do not have a college edu­cation or degree. Members of the armed forces with higher education are more often commis­sioned officers (lieutenant and above). In 2004, 92.1 percent of active-duty officer accessions held baccalaureate degrees or higher.

While the military has changed its policies to allow flexibility in recruiting standards, it has cer­tainly not abandoned them. The current guidelines allow each force the flexibility to accept recruits who satisfy only one criterion: either a high school diploma or an above-average score on the AFQT, which is a standard equal to or exceeding the gen­eral youth population.



With regard to income, education, race, and regional background, the all-volunteer force is repre­sentative of our nation and meets standards set by Congress and the Department of Defense. In con­trast to the patronizing slanders of antiwar critics, recruit quality is increasing as the war in Iraq contin­ues. Although recent recruiting goals have been dif­ficult to meet, reenlistment is strong and recruit quality remains high. No evidence supports argu­ments for reinstating the draft or altering recruiting policies to achieve more equitable representation.

Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Enlistment, 2003–2005
by Tim Kane, Ph.D.
Center for Data Analysis Report #06-09