Monday, December 19, 2005

Quality is dropping in recruiting

Last week, in an e-mail concerning Army recruiting for November, I wrote to Mr. M that I strongly believed that two things were going on that were a little bit wierd. The first was that the November 2005 goal was significantly below the November 2004 goal, and the second piece of information that I wanted to find an answer on was the quality of recruit. October 2005, as I blogged about last month had 12% of recruits come into the Army as Cat. IV recruits, which is the lowest quality that is acceptable. The DOD has an internal quality assurance check of taking in no more than 4% of all recruits as Cat. 4, so if that objective is to be met, then the Army in the first month of recruiting used up 18% of their entire allotment of Cat. 4 recruits for the fiscal year, with eleven recruiting months left in it. So I was very curious as to what the November Cat. 4 numbers were, for I suspected that they would be high as we have a two year pattern of behavior of the Army dropping standards to hold onto their numbers.

Matt Yglesias at Tapped did some reading so I did not have to and found the following LA Times article with the following two informaton points:

"The Army exceeded its 5,600 recruit goal by 256 for November, and the Army Reserve brought in 1,454 recruits, exceeding its target by 112. To do so, they accepted a "double digit" percentage of recruits who scored from 16 to 30 out of a possible 99 on the military's aptitude test, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

Pulling the November and October officila DOD press releases and then grabbing the data that has been released, we can do a quick anaylsis of how much does this quality drop allow for the Army to meet their objectives.
If we assume "double digit" percentage is exactly 10%, and we assume that the Army only recruited these individuals because they had tapped out all higher than Cat. IV prospects, and we assume that the 4% objective was held as a firm ceiling, then the Army would have been short 100 recuits of the November objective. If the percentage of Cat. 4 was 12.5%, then the shortfall under these same assumptions would have been 240 recruits for November, and if the Cat. 4 percentage was 15%, then the shortfall of recruits would have been 390 for the month. Quality is dropping significantly to make numbers.
The next interesting quote is the following:
""We will be at 4% at the end of the fiscal year, that's what matters," said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a spokesman for the Army."

This claim is extraordinarily dubious. The October Cat. 4 group used up 18% of the total year's allotment of Cat. 4 recruits if the objective of 96% Cat 3 or better recruits are met for FY-06. Assuming, and this is a very favorable assumption that "double digit" means exactly 10% of November recruits are Cat. IV, and assuming equal distribution of recruits between active and reserve formations, that means 586 new recruits are Cat. IV in November. The Army wants to recruit 80,000 individuals this fiscal year, which means 4% for the year is 3,200 recruits as Cat. IV.

November, at this conservative, lowballed estimate would eat up 18% of the total allowable pool, so combined with October, the Army has used up 36% of their allotment of Cat. IV recruits to pull in 13.5% of their entire recruiting goal, or roughly 3 times as many Cat. 4 recruits have been pulled in then they should be. To hold 4% for the year, the next 70,000 recruits can not exceed 2.9% Cat. IV, or a reduction of 70% or more in current Cat. IV rates. And that drop must happen in December or the target goals get even lower quicker. These numbers get tougher if you assume double digits means something greater than 10%.

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