Recruiting Minorities: What Explains Recent Trends in the Army and Navy?

Recruiting Minorities: What Explains Recent Trends in the Army and Navy?

Recruiting Minorities: What Explains Recent Trends in the Army and Navy?

Recruiting Minorities: What Explains Recent Trends in the Army and Navy?

Synopsis

Since 2000, black representation among high-quality recruits in the Army has decreased, while Hispanic representation has increased; in the Navy, black representation has remained stable and Hispanic representation has increased. The authors identify factors that explain these trends and consider which policies are likely to be most effective in increasing high-quality enlistments among black, Hispanic, and white youth.

Excerpt

Since 2000, black enlistments have declined in the Army, as has the black share of high-quality Army enlistments. A recruit is deemed high-quality if he or she has a high school diploma and scores above average on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). The decline in black enlistments is of concern to policymakers because the Army has struggled to meet its recruiting mission in recent years, and a significant decline in a key market segment represents a potential area for improvement. Furthermore, since the start of the all-volunteer force, Congress has been concerned about the degree to which military enlistments proportionately reflect the population that the U.S. military defends. At the same time that black representation among high-quality Army recruits has declined, Hispanic representation has increased. In addition, in comparison with the Army, black representation in the Navy has been stable, and Hispanic representation among high-quality Navy recruits has increased.

This report identifies factors that are correlated with trends in black and Hispanic representation among high-quality recruits in the Army and Navy, and it considers which policies are likely to be most effective in increasing high-quality enlistments among black, Hispanic, and white youth. The report also provides information on the relative cost-effectiveness of different resources among each market segment. The report should be of interest to policymakers concerned about military recruiting, and minority representation specifically, as well as defense manpower researchers.

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