Army lowers standards to boost recruiting

The U.S. Army recruited more than 2,600 soldiers under new lower aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits in the throes of an unpopular war and mounting casualties.

The recruiting mark comes a year after the Army missed its recruitment target by the widest margin since 1979, which had triggered a boost in the number of recruiters, increased bonuses, and changes in standards.

The Army recruited 80,635 soldiers, roughly 7,000 more than last year. Of those, about 70,000 were first-time recruits who had never served before.

According to statistics obtained by The Associated Press, 3.8 percent of the first-time recruits scored below certain aptitude levels. In previous years, the Army had allowed only 2 percent of its recruits to have low aptitude scores. That limit was increased last year to 4 percent, the maximum allowed by the Defense Department.

The Army said all the recruits with low scores had received high school diplomas. In a written statement, the Army said good test scores do not necessarily equate to quality soldiers. Test-taking ability, the Army said, does not measure loyalty, duty, honor, integrity or courage.

Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a private research group, said there is a “fine balance between the need for a certain number of recruits and the standards you set.”

“Tests don’t tell you the answer to the most critical question for the Army, how will you do in combat?” Goure said. But, he added, accepting too many recruits with low test scores could increase training costs and leave technical jobs unfilled.

“The absolute key for the Army is a high-school diploma,” Goure said.

About 17 percent of the first-time recruits, or about 13,600, were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving. That is a slight increase from last year, the Army said.

Of those accepted under waivers, more than half were for “moral” reasons, mostly misdemeanor arrests. Thirty-eight percent were for medical reasons and 7 percent were drug and alcohol problems, including those who may have failed a drug test or acknowledged they had used drugs.

The Army said the waiver process recognizes that people can overcome past mistakes and become law abiding citizens.

Army Brig. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo said that adding more recruiters enabled the Army to identify more recruits. “We got the right people in the field in the right places in the right numbers,” said Cucolo, the chief spokesman for the Army.

About two-thirds of the recruits qualified for a bonus _ an average of $11,000 each. Some in highly valued specialties, such as special operations forces, can get up to $40,000 in extra cash.

The Army National Guard and the Army Reserve both fell slightly short of their recruiting goals. The Reserves recruited 25,378 of the targeted 25,500; and the Guard recruited 69,042 of the targeted 70,000.

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Associated Press Writer Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.

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© 2006 The Associated Press

30 Responses to "Army lowers standards to boost recruiting"

  1. gypsy  October 10, 2006 at 6:51 pm
  2. David Rosenberg  October 10, 2006 at 9:08 pm
  3. Jenifer D.  October 11, 2006 at 5:21 am
  4. Doubtom  October 11, 2006 at 7:12 am
  5. cirkyl  October 13, 2006 at 5:10 pm
  6. Taras  December 10, 2006 at 6:54 am
  7. angryrob  October 10, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    I am considering the possibility that the real reason they decided to shorten the slogan from “Army of One” to “Army Strong” is to accommodate the new lower standard applied to new recruits. Besides, “Army of One” implies there may be some math involved, hehe, math bad.

  8. Jack  October 10, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Alread all the hired mercenary guns we can’t afford, geriatriacs, and illegal aliens they can recruit swapping citizenship for service whether or not language difficulties cause deaths in general other military. What’s next–paraplegics, 10 year olds, or the mentally massively challenged? Oh and Goure must be “mistaken” or misleading us since the illegals don’t have to have high school diplomas.

  9. TruePatriotWarrior  October 10, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    It is ironic, to say the least, that we require certain minimum standards for our soldiers but any jackass can be elected to office or become President of the United States.

  10. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    I hear they aren’t testing recruit’s eyes anymore – they’re just counting them.

  11. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    I hear they aren’t testing recruit’s eyes anymore – they’re just counting them.

  12. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    I hear they aren’t testing recruit’s eyes anymore – they’re just counting them.

  13. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    I hear they aren’t testing recruit’s eyes anymore – they’re just counting them.

  14. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    I hear they aren’t testing recruit’s eyes anymore – they’re just counting them.

  15. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    I hear they aren’t testing recruit’s eyes anymore – they’re just counting them.

  16. gypsy  October 10, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    I’m reminded of the old ethnic joke about why (fill in the blank for ethnic identified profession) only permits a half hour lunch break. The reason: Any longer and they’d have to retrain. When that joke comes to be told about the US Army, I have to wonder, who are they supposed to be protecting, and how?

  17. David Rosenberg  October 10, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    The Army is making a terrible mistake. Making Numbers more important then substance, is creating an Army of misfits, drug users and incompetentce. The Stockade will hold more then the Barracks. On the fighting front, it will not rely on who is watching the back of soldiers. Mistrust on the battle field will lead to bigger numbers also, on the Death list and in the hospitals. Take some pride Army, forget the Numbers, think of the men.

  18. Jenifer D.  October 11, 2006 at 5:21 am

    I can say I am shocked, shocked I tell you at the audacity of a motto change in just five short years. I joined the Army when the motto was “Be all you can be”.. The “Army of One” motto I still don’t get! How about this; “The Proud, The Many, The Dead On The Battlefield”? I say it’s more fitting with the times, don’t you think?

  19. Doubtom  October 11, 2006 at 7:12 am

    Rosenberg bemoans the “misfits” the Army will get by lowering standards. Just how “fit” does one have to be to qualify as cannon fodder? I would think that if you’re going to send guys off to get blown to bits by IEDs, the less fit the better. Sort of culling the group so to speak.

    I would also think that the more of a misfit you are, the less likely you are to question when your superiors send you off to fight and die in a phony, immoral and illegal war.

    Since our Congressional whores have proved themselves to be “unfit”, (which is close enough to “misfit”) they should lead the new misfits into contact with the insurgents and their IEDs.

    See, life is simple, man makes all the complications.

  20. cirkyl  October 13, 2006 at 5:10 pm

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  21. Taras  December 10, 2006 at 6:54 am

    The ones with the lowest scores are going to fufill one role, and one role only in today’s military other than cook or latrine “technician.” They’ll be bullet stoppers and landmine detectors for the Neocon Fascist’s so called New American Century. What that really means is the creation of an empire with the worst of the Nazi, Japanese, Ottoman and the Mongol empires. ALL of them were empires of death and destruction.

  22. angryrob  October 10, 2006 at 2:49 pm
  23. Jack  October 10, 2006 at 3:10 pm
  24. TruePatriotWarrior  October 10, 2006 at 4:01 pm
  25. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:43 pm
  26. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:43 pm
  27. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:43 pm
  28. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:43 pm
  29. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:44 pm
  30. James Rodgers  October 10, 2006 at 5:44 pm

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