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crossposted from unbossed

A new study by the Government Accountabiilty Office concerns confirms and complaints that military recruiters have been overly aggressive in their methods.

The new report is Military Recruiting: DOD and Services Need Better Data to Enhance Visibility over Recruiter Irregularities, GAO-06-846 (August 8, 2006). You can read the whole report at that link.

And for those who want a taste of what it says, friends, I am going to take the lazy person's way out, because I don't think I could do a better job of summing up the findings that GAO does in its Abstract. So here goes but with a couple extra paragraph breaks added for easier reading and some italics for emphasis:

The viability of the All Volunteer Force depends, in large measure, on the Department of Defense's (DOD) ability to recruit several hundred thousand individuals each year. Since the involvement of U.S. military forces in Iraq in March 2003, several DOD components have been challenged in meeting their recruiting goals. In fiscal year 2005 alone, three of the eight active and reserve components missed their goals. Some recruiters, reportedly, have resorted to overly aggressive tactics, which can adversely affect DOD's ability to recruit and erode public confidence in the recruiting process. GAO was asked to address the extent to which DOD and the services have visibility over recruiter irregularities; what factors may contribute to recruiter irregularities; and what procedures are in place to address them. GAO performed its work primarily at the service recruiting commands and DOD's Military Entrance Processing Command; examined recruiting policies, regulations, and directives; and analyzed service data on recruiter irregularities.

DOD and the services have limited visibility to determine the extent to which recruiter irregularities are occurring. DOD, for example, has not established an oversight framework that includes guidance requiring the services to maintain and report data on recruiter irregularities and criteria for characterizing irregularities and establishing common terminology. The absence of guidance and criteria makes it difficult to compare and analyze data across services and limits DOD's ability to determine when corrective action is needed. Effective federal managers continually assess and evaluate their programs to provide accountability and assurance that program objectives are being achieved.

Additionally, the services do not track all allegations of recruiter wrongdoing. Accordingly, service data likely underestimate the true number of recruiter irregularities. Nevertheless, available service data show that between fiscal years 2004 and 2005, allegations and service-identified incidents of recruiter wrongdoing increased, collectively, from 4,400 cases to 6,500 cases; substantiated cases increased from just over 400 to almost 630 cases; and criminal violations more than doubled from just over 30 to almost 70 cases.

The department, however, is not in a sound position to assure Congress and the general public that it knows the full extent to which recruiter irregularities are occurring.

A number of factors within the recruiting environment may contribute to irregularities. Service recruiting officials stated that the economy has been the most important factor affecting recruiting success. Almost three-quarters of active duty recruiters responding to DOD's internal survey also believed that ongoing hostilities in Iraq made it hard to achieve their goals. These factors, in addition to the typical challenges of the job, such as demanding work hours and pressure to meet monthly goals, may lead to recruiter irregularities. The recruiters' performance evaluation and reward systems are generally based on the number of contracts they write for applicants to enter the military.

The Marine Corps is the only service that uses basic training attrition rates as a key component of the recruiter's evaluation. GAO previously recommended that the services link recruiter awards and incentives more closely to applicants' successful completion of basic training.

DOD concurred with GAO's recommendation, but has not made this a requirement across the services. The services have standard procedures in place, provided in the Uniform Code of Military Justice and service regulations, to investigate allegations of recruiter irregularities and to prosecute and discipline recruiters found guilty of violating recruiting policies and procedures. In addition, to help recruiters better understand the nature and consequences of committing irregularities in the recruitment process, all services use available information on recruiter wrongdoing to update their training.

Originally posted to shirah on Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 05:08 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Heh (5+ / 0-)

    My soon-to-be-ex-step-nephew signed up for the Army, then decided he didn't want to go so he flunked out of high school.  They contacted him last year and said he could still join and they still had an obligation for him.  At this point my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were divorcing, and M did a bunch of lovely things like slashing tires, breaking doors and setting fire to the lawn.  So he's got an arrest record and restraining orders out the wazoo.

    But the military still wants him.

  •  Prior GAO diaries (5+ / 0-)

    may be found here about insecurity and here about TSA and here about Tax Fraud by Charities, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Rebuilding Iraq and here about Border Insecurity.

    These reports are a great resource.

    •  How bout? (0+ / 0-)

      I was thinking that with your clicky talents a view to what is on the table to get a recruit?
      Like the sighn up bonus edumacation offers and such.
      Part of the basis of the failed top brain has brought to the table is if it doesn't work, throw more money at it. Your money/debt.

      It's out "There" just OPEN your eyes.

      by Clzwld on Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 06:33:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  GAO is often a lagging leading indicator. (0+ / 0-)

      thanks for the digest!

      Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

      by MarketTrustee on Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 07:00:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Present Trends Continue, the Army will be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    richly veined, perhaps even dominated, by honkey supremacists, homophobes, small-time criminals, psychopaths, and fundamentalists.

    With so many people disconnected from everyday life, such a force is not going to defend the country, but instead will threaten it.

    In the hands of megalomaniacal fundamentalist officers, such a force would not have much compunction acting against perceived liberal elements of the population.  

    This is why we need a draft, and soon.  


    Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car. © 2006 All Rights Reserved

    by oblomov on Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 06:51:32 AM PDT

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      Even though I am a pacifist, I think it is wrong in a democracy not to make the burden of fighting fall on all.

      Exhibit A may be George W. Bush. Had he really been subject to the draft on a par with the kid from the ghetto or barrio, he might have become a better man. Protecting him from the draft was important in turning him into the man we see today.

      Some have suggested that we look at the disproportionate burden the war is placing on the poor as the quid pro quo for the rich paying a larger part of the taxes. Maybe we could give them a choice: your money or your life? Now they get to keep both.

  •  this is a major scandal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shirah, MarketTrustee

    It probably has contributed to the string of outrages committed by US troops in Iraq. The ringleader in the recent rape/murder plot is said to have been an undesirable recruit, for example.

    If I could add a few news stories: Associated Press, Reuters. There was also a good report on NPR yesterday.

    •  lessee the numbers .. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smintheus, shirah


      Allegations of wrongdoing by U.S. military recruiters jumped by 50 percent [...]
      6,600 cases in fiscal year 2005 from 4,400 a year earlier. [...]
      Substantiated cases rose to almost 630 cases from 400, and criminal violations jumped to 70 from about 30

      that's why i call GAO the "lagging leading indicator".
      can't wait to see YoY by Aug, 2007 (mebe 2008, depending on joe's committee standing ...)

      Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

      by MarketTrustee on Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 07:10:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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