WASHINGTON – The Army met its recruiting goal for November by
again accepting a high percentage of recruits who scored in the lowest category
on the military’s aptitude tests, Pentagon officials said Thursday, raising
renewed concerns that the quality of the all-volunteer force will suffer.
The Army exceeded its 5,600 recruit goal by 256 for November, while 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 between 16 and
30 out of a possible 99 on the military’s aptitude test, said officials
who requested anonymity.
Last month, the Baltimore Sun reported that the Army reached its recruiting goals
in October by accepting 12 percent from these low scorers, known as Category IV
recruits. The Army may accept no more than 4 percent annually, according to Defense
Department rules. While officials last month disclosed the percentage accepted
in October, Thursday they refused to reveal the November figure.
“We are not giving out (aptitude test) categories during the course of the
year,” said Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command at
Fort Knox, Ky.
Still, Army officials continue to say that at the end of the recruiting year,
next Sept. 30, the total percentage of Category IV soldiers will be no more than
For more than a decade, the Army kept its Category IV soldiers to 2 percent of
its recruitment pool.
But last year, faced with a difficult recruiting climate because of the war in
Iraq, Army Secretary Francis Harvey decided to double the number of Category IV
“We will be at 4 percent at the end of the fiscal year, that’s what
matters,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a spokesman for Army personnel.
The increasing reliance on the lowest-scoring recruits is troubling to former
officers who fear that the quality of the force will erode.
They say that the increasingly high-tech Army needs even more qualified soldiers.
And with troops facing more complex duties involving nation building and peacekeeping
duties, good judgment is more important.