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Army Recruiting – Supplying our Nation with Peace Keepers

Russell Davidson
University of Phoenix
MGT 554 Operations Management
Kraig Rushing
April 17, 2006
Army Recruiting – Supplying our Nation with Peace Keepers

One of the oldest and proudest organizations in our nation’s history has been the United States Army. The ever-present guardians of the nation’s liberties and freedoms, the Army has always been there when called upon whether in times of war or peace. This protection our nation is only possible because of those who volunteer to serve. The military continually relies on a constant supply of new personnel to maintain their ability to protect and defend our nation. However, finding those willing to serve and those who are qualified to serve is probably the most difficult task each branch of the military faces. As with any company or organization, the United States Army continually seeks new and brighter applicants who are willing to serve. These applicants make up the individual product produced and supplied to the nation thus ensuring the nations security and freedoms. Sure there are those who are eager to serve but to ensure the Army maintains the required troop strength there must be a system in place to help bring additional personnel into the service and to evaluate the applicant (product) to ensure they meet the minimum standards of the Army. That system is recruiting. Probably the hardest but one of the most rewarding jobs, recruiting helps the Army maintain troop strength while ensuring those who are enlisting are the best-qualified applicants available. As we will see, recruiting is not just about getting people to enlist in the Army. It is an intricate sometimes-complicated process, which requires long person-hours and a massive budget to accomplish. In order to evaluate the recruitment process more thoroughly we will look at the overall recruitment process. This process includes five main areas: Initial recruitment actions, testing and qualification of the applicants, medical screening, and basic training and evaluation. Throughout the process, we will make some comparisons between the United States Army recruiting process and those of other countries.
Initial Recruitment Actions Contrary to popular belief, life in the Army is not what it is made up to be. The hours are long, the pay is short, and the time away from family is a continual burden and strain. However, the need for our Army continues thus the need for new recruits continues. In this time of war and constant deployments, the job of the recruiter has become increasingly more difficult. Trying to convenience someone the military is the right job for them is hard to begin with at time. Then add in the possibility of a combat deployment and time away from family and the job just got one hundred times harder. To compensate for these problems the Army continually strives to develop newer and more focused recruiting campaigns. These include increased television, radio, magazines, Internet advertising, brochures, and billboards to name a few. The object is to try to reach the new faster paced technology wired group of young recruits. Additionally, the Army offers enlistment bonuses of varying size depending on the length of enlistment and the specialty in which the applicant enlists. Another major recruiting campaign includes providing college money in varying amounts based on the length of enlistment of the individual applicant. Advertising and additional promotional offers are so vital to successful recruiting that the recruiting and advertising budget for 2006 was $854,146,000.00. (Department of Defense Budget, 2006) One of the primary roles of the recruiter in the Army is to perform the functions of the organizations quality control representative. The recruiter must ensure they are trying to enlist the most qualified applicants available.
Testing and Qualifications After a recruiter has identified an individual, wishing to enlist a process begins to determine the applicant’s eligibility. Each is required to take an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to help identify specific capabilities and strengths of the applicant. The test consists of eight subtests: • General Science • Arithmetic Reasoning • Word Knowledge • Paragraph Comprehension • Auto & Shop Information • Mathematics Knowledge • Electronics Information • Mechanical Comprehension In comparison, the Canadian Army also requires each applicant to undergo the Canadian Forces Aptitude Test (CFAT); however, unlike the US test the CFAT consists of only three areas: Verbal Skills, Spatial Ability and Problem Solving. (Recruiting.forces.gc.ca) No matter which country offering the test each applicant must obtain a minimum score to continue through the enlistment process. Minimum scores vary depending on the level of education achieved by the applicant. A minimum score for a high school graduate is lower than that required for a person who achieved a General Education Diploma (GED). If the applicant meets or exceeds the minimum score then the applicant receives a list of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) for which the applicant qualifies for enlistment. The higher the ASVAB score the more MOS options the applicant will have. The applicant is then able to choose a particular MOS from the options provided. If the applicant does not qualify for a desired MOS then the applicant has the option to withdraw from the enlistment process, choose another MOS, or wait and retake the ASVAB to try to obtain the desired score. Once the applicant determines their desired MOS, the recruitment process will move into the next phase. This phase consists of determining if the applicant has any personal problems, which would disqualify them from enlistment. These can include certain criminal acts, pending legal actions, bad debt and drug use. The applicant will be required to answer lengthy questionnaires regarding their past and in all instances, they will undergo a background check. Those applicants trying to enlist into sensitive MOS’ will even undergo a more stringent security back ground check to see if they qualify for a secret or higher security clearance. Depending on the past behavior, an individual applicant may be able to obtain a waiver, which would allow them to continue with their enlistment. Any applicant that has a problem in their background, which cannot be waived, will discontinue the enlistment process. However, if there no discriminatory problems arise in their background the applicant moves on to the next stage of the enlistment.
Medical Screening

As previously, stated one of the key roles of the recruiter is to enlist the best-qualified applicants. Part of determining an applicant’s eligibility is evaluating their medical fitness. According to Army Regulation (AR) 40-501 Standards of Medical Fitness, the purpose of the standards contained in this chapter is to ensure that individuals medically qualified are: (1) Free of contagious diseases that would likely endanger the health of other personnel (2) Free of medical conditions or physical defects that would require excessive time lost from duty for necessary treatment or hospitalization or would likely result in separation from the Army for medical unfitness. (3) Medically capable of satisfactorily completing required training. (4) Medically adaptable to the military environment without the necessity of geographical area limitations (5) Medically capable of performing duties without aggravation of existing physical defects or medical conditions (AR 40-501, pg. 2) The medical screening includes a total evaluation of the applicant’s entire physical status. Some of the areas tested and examined include the applicants ears, eyes, internal organs, blood work, extremities, endocrine system, hearing, and dental to name a few. Another US Army counterpart, the British Army also requires his or her applicants to undergo a rigorous medical examination prior to enlistment. The British medical examination also includes several physical fitness assessment tests. If the applicant possesses a minor medical condition, which is not life, threatening or that would restrict the applicant from performing normal duties then the applicant can obtain a waiver. However, if the condition is bad enough the applicant is disqualified from the enlistment process. Once the applicant is medical qualified for enlistment they will complete the process of signing their enlistment contract. After his or her contract is completed, each applicant will be required to take an oath of office. This oath dates back to 1789 and by reciting the oath, each applicant swears to first and foremost support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. After taking their oath, the applicant then moves on with the next phase of their recruitment.
Basic and Advanced Individual Training

As any good manager should know, you cannot take a brand new employee and expect them to know and understand all of the rules and regulatory guidelines, which govern the organization. Then add in all of the guidelines, which may cover the function of the employee’s duties and responsibilities. This is no different in the military. The Army like any other corporation has an initial training program for all their new employees. That program is called basic training. Consisting of a nine-week program, basic training instills not only a knowledge of the function and make up of the Army, but trains the individual recruits on numerous basic combat tactics. Each week of Army basic training covers different areas of instruction to include basic military rules and leaders, marksmanship, first aid, numerous physical fitness challenges, and live fire exercises to name a few. (Army.com) In comparison, the Canadian Army has a basic training course called Basic Military Qualification, which lasts 11 weeks. The British basic training course consists of an initial 12-week program focusing on core military training techniques. (Armyjobs.mod.uk) Both the Canadian and British basic training courses closely mirror those conducted by the US Army. After successful completion of basic training, each individual recruit in the Army progresses on to the next phase of his or her recruitment, Advanced Individual Training or AIT. AIT consists of the corps course training for the individual MOS selected by the recruit. Courses for MOS training can vary from four weeks to over a year depending on the type of training received. The British call this Phase 2 training which lasts for 12 weeks. The British training focuses on advanced training for the individual recruit to prepare them for their actual mission within the service. Finally, after completing their basic training and AIT the recruitment process is complete. The person who started out as an individual applicant has now become a member of the US Army, a soldier. From AIT, each trained soldier goes to their individual units of assignment where they will begin fulfilling their enlistment obligation.
Cost Benefit Analysis and Recommendations

In the US Army, the total recruit training budget for Fiscal Year 2006 was $30,251,000.00. This cost only covers the nine weeks of basic training and does not address costs incurred during AIT. However, the US Army has a program called One Station Unit Training or OSUT. OSUT combines the nine-week basic training with the recruits AIT. According to the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2007 budget the cost of OSUT training for Fiscal Year 2006 was $33,940,000.00. This is an increase of $3,689,000.00 over the cost incurred with conducting basic training. Based on the minimal increase in cost for OSUT training it is recommended that the US Army evaluate conducting additional OSUT training for all incoming recruits. This would allow for an overall savings in training costs. Additionally, under the current system of separate basic training and AIT, some recruits must travel from one installation to another between basic training and AIT. This requires the US Government to incur the cost of moving the recruit from the basic training site to the AIT training site. With OSUT, the training sites for basic training and AIT are co-located on the same installation, thus eliminating the moving costs. The implications of conducting more OSUT training would require the movement of instructors from various installations to a centralized installation. This would require the movement of families as well as troops, thus there would be an initial cost for setting up the additional OSUT sties. However, the US Army is currently undergoing a Congressionally mandated Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program. This program requires several installations to consolidate or close. Development of the OSUT training sites could coincide with the BRAC thus cutting overall setup costs.
Conclusion

Maintaining the safety and security of our nation is and always has been the number one mission of the US Army. Only through continued proactive quality recruitment, can the Army hope to maintain a well-trained force capable and willing to defend our nation’s freedoms. By streamlining the basic and AIT training process the Army would make the initial entry into the service more attractive to possible recruits. None of us wants to spend large amounts of time away from friends and family nor do we want constant change in our lives. By consolidating the initial recruit, training into one location the Army would help eliminate or lessen the mental and emotional conflicts encountered by recruits during the entry process. However, no matter whether the Army continues to conduct training under the current system or through more streamlined OSUT training sites the mission of the Army recruiter will not change. That mission being the identification and recruitment of quality personnel to support and defend our constitution and our way of life.

References

Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2007 Budget (2006). Retrieved on April 14, 2006, from http://www.defenselink.mil/comptroller/defbudget/fy2007/fy2007_m1.pdf
Canadian Forces Recruiting: Aptitude Testing. Retrieved on April 13, 2006, from http://www.recruiting.forces.gc.ca/engraph/howtojoin/aptitude_test_e.aspx
Headquarters Department of the Army Washington D.C (2006). Army Regulation 40-501, Standards of Medical Fitness
Getting Ready for Basic Training. Retrieved on April 16, 2006, from http://www.army.com/enlist/step7.html.
Training. Retrieved on April 16, 2006, from http://www.armyjobs.mod.uk/RegularArmy/ArmyLife/Training/SoldierTraining/.

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