Army Recruiting Analysis in a Time of Stand-Down

For Immediate Release

National Priorities Project
Contact: 

Suzanne Smith, Research Director
413.320.8530 (cell), smsmith@nationalpriorities.org
Jo Comerford, Executive Director
413.559.1649 (cell)

Army Recruiting Analysis in a Time of Stand-Down

On the eve of a significant nation-wide army recruiter stand-down – February 13, 2008

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. - A new NPP analysis highlights a significant gap in the Army's
2008 quantity and quality goals. Using census material, combined
with data on 2008 Army enlistment obtained through a Freedom of
Information Act, NPP research also uncovers a continued trend of
disproportionate recruits from southern states. This quantity and
quality-focused release will be followed by one on February 18, 2009
highlighting neighborhood income and race.

This
work is a result of an expanded NPP initiative, which now includes a
database of 2004-2008 military recruitment numbers broken down by zip
code, county and state. A snapshot analysis and overview of current
military recruitment data, which includes a ranking of counties by
recruits per thousand youth, charts and tables on a particular
county, zip code or state is available at
www.nationalpriorities.org.

"Analysts
project a $60 billion increase in the 2010 defense budget, largely
tied to increasing troop levels. This increase does not include a
six month supplemental funding request to pay for the US wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq, which is expected to approach, if not exceed
$70 billion," notes Suzanne Smith, Research Director for National
Priorities Project. "These budget figures, combined with a call
for increased troop numbers, are striking in light of a report
recently issued by a Pentagon advisory group which noted that 'rising
costs of military personnel, their healthcare and overhead'
exacerbated the problem of an 'unsustainable' Defense Department
budget in tough economic times."

NPP's
new data shows:

  • While
    the army claims 80,517 new army recruits this year, surpassing its
    goal of 80,000, in actuality, its figures reflect the number of
    individuals with whom they have some form of - often non-binding -
    contract. The number of accessions, or actual recruits who reported
    for duty in 2008, was 69,357.

  • The
    percent of recruits with regular high school diplomas, at 74% is 16
    percentage points below the army's goal of 90%. This is the fourth
    year running that the army has missed its "quality" goal.

  • The
    highest recruitment rates - defined as the number of recruits per
    thousand of 15-24 year-old population - were found in the south
    with Texas, Florida and Georgia ranking in the top five states.

Jo
Comerford, NPP's Executive Director adds, "Four years of missed
recruiting quantity and quality goals, and recent news of the
investigation of four stress-related suicides in the Houston
Recruiting Battalion since 2005, raise important questions which must
be tackled. Not only are education rates down but evidence shows
increases in physical and felony waivers, the latter having doubled
from 2006 to 2007. It stands to reason that we must ask whether the
Army has exhausted its potential supply of new quality recruits. Its
announced intent to increase its base by 65,000 new recruits, should
signal a clarion call for a new look at the impact - especially on
army personnel - of an ever-expanding military. A new approach to
national security is what is needed. Clearly, we are being called to
a new strategy - for this new day."

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The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent.  Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels.  For more information, go to http://nationalpriorities.org.

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