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POLICE STATE / MILITARY -
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Army accepts more low-aptitude recruits

Posted in the database on Saturday, December 17th, 2005 @ 16:22:05 MST (879 views)
by Tom Bowman    FortWayne.com  

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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 4 percent.

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 soldiers.

“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.



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