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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Transcript

Presenter: Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy Bill Carr October 13, 2009

DoD News Briefing with Bill Carr From the Pentagon

MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us this afternoon. We've just finished up fiscal year 2009. And with us today to talk about DOD recruiting and retention is Mr. Bill Carr. He is the deputy undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy. And with him are members of each of the military departments to talk specifically about their recruiting efforts.

Mr. Carr will begin with a brief overview, and then take some questions, together with his colleagues from the different departments.


MR. CARR: First, welcome. We're pleased to report that for the first time since the advent of the all-volunteer force, all of the military components, active and reserve, met their number as well as their quality goals. And again, that's the first time that's been achieved for every component since the start of the all-volunteer force in 1973.

At the outset, I'd like to put in context the recruiting environment and some of the key outcomes. And a lot of this is summarized in your handouts. Now, in the 1980s, about half of American high-school students went on to college. Today, that number is about 70 percent, which is the highest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began managing that in 1959. So again, in the 1980s, about half to college, and today about 70 -- up to college from high school -- and today about 70 percent.

Now, at the same time, medical eligibility has fallen, principally as a consequence of obesity. And the obesity trends, where the body mass index is greater than 30 -- Centers for Disease Control, their website goes into all this information, and they chose the standard of 30 for body mass index, a function of height and weight.

But over 30 would be characterized by CDC as obese. And if we looked back to the 1980s, one in 20 students were obese -- young people were obese, 17 to 24, and today, instead of one in 20, it's one in four. And that creates a tighter constraint as you seek find fully qualified recruits.

Now these and other factors translate to a big task for the nation, not simply for the recruiters who are pursuing the nation's business but for the nation itself, in that they -- the military must attract over 15 percent of qualified youth. So if we took America and superimposed our qualifications for medical fitness and aptitude and so forth, then we've got to bring aboard over 15 percent of those remaining American youth who are qualified.

Another way to look at this is to say: How many do we bring aboard in a given year enlisted, active and Reserve? The answer's about 300,000.

Now if we said how many are qualified and have at least signaled an interest in joining the military, the answer would be maybe 100,000. You don't know who they are, but we do know that 15 percent -- those numbers, coincidentally, are the same, 15 percent -- of those who respond to the question "How likely is it that you'll be in uniform in the next few years," 15 percent say yes, so that's the propensity to join.

And if we take that and lay it on top of our qualifications, it means we start off with about 100,000 that we'd be trying to locate, that may be interested in us, and then the recruiters have to triple that interest level. They have to triple that number, and that's the reason recruiting remains the difficult function that it is.

And for the average recruit, it varies by service, but we'll spend something on the order of about $9(,000) or $10,000 per recruit when we consider all the costs of advertising and marketing and recruiter time, office leases and so forth. So it's an intense proposition. Those numbers, again, vary by service, and the Army's is higher than that, currently running about 22,000 (dollars) per recruit.

Now we have a number of things going to our advantage.

First, the millennials -- those born between '78 and '96 is the common reference point for that generation. And that group is described by those who study generational matters as ones who are more inclined toward service to society. That's a good thing, because that means we start off stronger with a given group of young people in that, as a group. And they've witnessed 9/11, and they have grown up witnessing different events than we did -- then they are more inclined towards service, and that's a good thing. So the millennials is a good thing going for us.

The second of three I would say is the Congress and the department, because the investment in recruiting has never wavered. So if you look over the years, and if you were to say to someone in the Pentagon, "What would be the area that's pretty sacred when it came to the budget battles?" the answer would be recruiting. Few things I can think of have a higher attention in priority to military leadership than the sustainment of the all-volunteer force. And I can talk about that if you wanted to in questions, and why it's superior to any alternative.

And finally, military pay. There's an old saying: You never get rich by joining the military. And indeed, you can't. But you will operate in the 70th percentile of earners of your time in the workforce and education. In other words, if we took -- and we know the workplace in America -- how many years in the workplace -- say 10 years -- what's their education level and what's their income -- we know that; it's knowable, and we've got it. And we sought and have achieved to place the military at about the 70th percentile, again, through a series of strong pay raises, as you've witnessed over the years, and the military, again, is at that level.

Recruits are at the 90th percentile. So if you said how much does one coming out of high school with one or two -- with a high school -- high school diploma, with one or two years in the workplace make and compare that to a new member of the military, the answer is that the military would be in about the 90th percentile of their peers when they start off. But at no time do they fall below the 70th percentile of their peers who have equal experience in the workplace and equal education qualifications.

If you really were looking at military pay raises in years past, you'd see that we took a disproportionate elevation for the non- commissioned officers.

They had a dip, we discovered, that was too low against the American norm. And so when pay raises were granted, disproportionately high pay raises were granted to junior officers and mid-grade noncommissioned officers. It's what we should have done; and we did, with the help of the Congress. And that has helped us along the way as well.

Let me turn to the specific achievements. For the active duty force overall, 96 percent this past year had a high school diploma -- that's the best since 1996; 73 percent scored above average on the aptitude test, math-verbal aptitude test. That's the best since 2004. For the Reserves, 95 percent high school diploma grad and 72 percent above average math-verbal aptitude.

And to drive this home, about 95 percent of this year's recruits held a high school diploma, compared to three-fourths of American youth: 95 percent of the recruiting class versus about 75 percent of American youth. And 70 percent came from the top half in math and verbal aptitude compared to, by definition, half of American youth.

That's a cost-effective solution. We can go into that if you wanted to. But it is a cost-effective solution to ensure that about two-thirds of your recruits are from the top-half aptitude. They're more expensive to recruit. Their performance is better, through work that we accomplish with the Natural Academy of Sciences, and sort of really matters to military performance. And we're gaining that kind of edge in the workforce with the military that we're recruiting today.

And this will mean a lot to commanders, because it means lower attrition, because a high school diploma represents stick-to-itiveness -- there's a bunch of research behind this -- which represents the capacity to complete your first three years of service: 80 percent of those with a high school diploma will complete their first three years of service, compared to 50 percent for a non-grad, and GEDs and other alternative credentials are somewhere in between 50 (percent) and 80 (percent); call it 65 (percent), 70 (percent). So the high school diploma's worth it for retention and reducing attrition early in one's career.

And it also means higher performance on the job. And there's a wealth of research if you wanted to talk about that. To demonstrate, in work we did with the National Academy of Science, that if you have strong math-verbal aptitude, whatever your occupation, you will perform it better in a hands-on test.

For example, here's 20 radios. Find the problems and fix them. How many did they find? How many did they fix correctly? Taken across a range of occupations, and the answer is that math-verbal aptitude predicts performance on the job whatever the skill.

And so that's why we ask the services -- we insist, and we have since the early '90s, that at least 60 percent come from the top-half aptitude and at least 90 percent are high-school graduates; the first because of the performance it delivers cost-effectively, and the second because of the attrition that it helps control.

Now I'd like to bring to the stage, if I could be joined by and respond to your questions, those who planned this and made it happen in fiscal year '09. And again, it's -- it really is a nifty achievement.

It's something the framers never -- I never in the published work of a Gates commission or any of the efforts leading up to the AVF saw any projection whatsoever that would have forecast anything in the neighborhood of what we've achieved this year -- certainly not in both education and aptitude, and certainly not across all services, and for sure not across all components.

So that's really an American achievement. It's not just the Defense Department, but the country decided it was going to an all- volunteer force, and the results this year for the first time we delivered beyond anything the framers of the all-volunteer force would have anticipated.

So, again I'd like to be joined by, first, from the Army, we have Major General Don Campbell. He's the commander of the Army Recruiting Command. And we can just come up here and line behind me. Thanks, Don.

For the Navy, Rear Admiral Craig Faller, the head of Navy Recruiting Command.

For the Air Force, Brigadier General Albert A.J. Stewart, from Air Force Recruiting Service.

And for the Marine Corps, Mr. Mike Applegate. He's the deputy director for Manpower and Reserve Affairs at Headquarters Marine Corps.

So these are the leaders of the recruiting enterprise for their services. And I'll take the questions and try to move as many to these gentlemen as I can. And with that, we'll take your questions.


Q Bill, how do you explain these results given the cutbacks in recruiting and the retention bonuses during the year, toward the latter half of the year especially? And the state of the economy, although it's by some measures apparently improving somewhat, it's still kind of down. Is that the primary reason for this?

MR. CARR: The -- good question. How much of this is bonuses and how much of it is unemployment and so forth?

A few answers to that. The average enlistment bonus is about 14,000 (dollars), and it goes to about 40 percent of recruits. So 40 percent of recruits receive a bonus worth about 14,000 (dollars). Now, it varies by service, and the Army is higher than the others, for example; the Air Force lower. But that's the amount that's spent.

With regard to employment, whatever happens in the economy creates either something that's working for you or working against you. And bonuses are the same thing. I was at a conference and General Stewart mentioned, for example, being on a treadmill at a speed of 7 (mph), and then when things get tougher you're asked to go at 9. But if we give money for advertising, it gets it down to 8, because you don't have to work quite as hard; people will come to you and approach you. And if we add things for bonuses, then that brings it down to a 7 or a 6, and you're back where you can keep going in the steady state.

So we -- specifically, Bill, we -- we're very strong this year in our positioning, because we hadn't anticipated, hadn't forecast, and therefore hadn't set resources for this level of employment. But next year we're trimming 11 percent, and we're estimating that's correct, but it's a risk. So we go into each year with a given amount of money planned, and then we will make adjustments and hope that those adjustments bring us to the achievement of precisely the goals that we set.

Q Can you explain -- or do you have research that shows precisely why you've had these improvements, especially in the quality goal?

MR. CARR: Yes. Because the investment per accession that we were able to deliver this year, because we hadn't built in the unemployment, as it turned out, left us with more dollars per recruit than proved to be minimally necessary, given the level of unemployment.

The math on that is, if you have a 1-percent change in unemployment, you'll have about a half-a-percent change in the supply of recruits. That's not universally applicable, but we do have models and knowledge and insights to the market that allow us to try and set our resource levels correctly. We ended up in a strong resource position in '09 relative to market interest in us, and for '10 that's being adjusted, and we fight the good fight to be sure that the adjustment is no more than it should be in order to achieve the goals that we set.

Q Very quickly, how much more did you spend -- you said $14,000 currently?

MR. CARR: Yes.

Q What did you -- is that what you spent in '09?

MR. CARR: That's what we spent in '09, yes.

Q What did you spend in '08? Can you give us a baseline?

MR. CARR: You know, Bill, let me -- could I get that for you? It is --

Q It's an increase, right?

MR. CARR: Yeah. And in fact, as we go on, if I can come back to that --

Q Fine.

MR. CARR: In fact, I think I can, Bill. About 12.

Q Thank you.

MR. CARR: Yes, sir.

Q A couple of questions, and maybe the handout which we'll get will answer this. But on the quality, you mentioned the high- school diplomas. If I recall, it was the Army -- if not solely, at least primarily over recent years -- that has fallen below the stated goal. Can you say what the year percentage was of high-school graduates in the Army?

MR. CARR: Yeah, let me ask General Campbell to address that, if I could.

MAJOR GENERAL CAMPBELL (commander, Army Recruiting Command): Yes, sir. This year --

MR. CARR: General Don Campbell, Army Recruiting Command.

GEN. CAMPBELL: The Army's high-school graduates was 94.7 -- rounded up to 95 percent. That's about 11 percentage points higher than the last year.

And just getting back to your question, sir, with respect to -- I talk to folks all the time about the economy. And while the economy, being challenging for many -- I think the most important thing that helps us with success, whether you're talking money, resources, advertising, is having the right number of recruiters, soldiers on the ground. And that's what it really comes down to.

In the Army's case, we are very well resourced this year for recruiting to be able to do the things that we need to do to bring in the young men and women that we do; a total of 162,000, when you consider all three service components from the Army: the Army, active Army; Army Reserve; and the National Guard.

And so for us, it really comes down to the number of recruiters that we have on the ground. And we'll be similarly manned in 2010, that we'll be able to continue our success. For instance, in the entry poll this year for fiscal year '10, we have over 30,000 young men and women, on a mission of 74,500, already ready to ship to training base during the course of the year. So '09 was very successful, and we anticipate '10 being just as successful.

Q How many -- how many more recruiters did you have last year than this year?

GEN. CAMPBELL: The total number -- I'd have to go back and check, but over 8,000 in the field, when you add regular Army recruiters and our Army Reserve recruiters. So over 8,000 in the field this last year.

Q Okay, and how many did you -- was that an increase from --

GEN. CAMPBELL: It was a little bit less last year, yes, sir.

MR. CARR: In fact, what General Campbell mentioned is kind of a key point going into '10, and that is, when you start a year, you don't just start recruiting from zero trying to get to 80,000; you would start with the number that are under contract to report for training in the months ahead.

And that number has, in the case of the Army, been a very tight number, on the order of 10 percent -- I'm sorry -- yeah, 12 (percent) -- on the order of 12 percent, when the Army would prefer to have had it at more than one-third. But about 12 percent of the annual task is in the bank ready to go to school. But as General Campbell mentioned, it's now north of 30,000. And so that makes for a more promising fiscal '10 and more agility if we got the numbers wrong or if we did mis-estimate it, then we have time to recover from it because we can use that pool to manage strength while we're adjusting the other investments and so forth.

Yes sir.

Q This may be a question for both, but how do you account for the drop in black enlistment in the Army and the dramatic rise in Latino enlistment in the Navy.

MR. CARR: Let me bring Admiral Fallon (sic/Admiral Faller) up. By the way, a general statement is that Army -- I'm sorry, that African-American recruiting has returned to the national average. It had been operating ahead of it, but it's back at 14 percent, which is about the national average --

Q (Off mike.)

MR. CARR: Still less than previous, and I simply want to keep in context, less than before but now at the national average. Before, it was ahead of the national average. So you're quite right. But I think with regard to minority recruiting, if Admiral Fallon (sic/Admiral Faller) could take a shot at that one.

REAR ADMIRAL FALLER (Commander, Navy Recruiting Command.): Thank you for the question. We've placed a lot of emphasis on our recruiters in the field, and much like General Campbell states the success of the Army, the success of our recruiting across the board is that field recruiter, we've protected those numbers, and should we have the right resources to get the job done.

The chief of Naval Operations has set one of his priorities as having the diverse recruits and a diverse Navy. And so we've had targeted programs, advertising, marketing and recruiting that -- and have worked hard on that to ensure that we have representative numbers of not just Hispanics but African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders in our force.

We've done very well, we think, in the enlisted ranks in those numbers, and we are at or exceed the DOD and the national norms for the percentage of a diverse force. We have some work to do in the officer ranks, and we're focused -- that's one of our challenges for the year ahead that we're really focused on, is to bring in a high- quality diverse force.

And we also talk about women when we talk about diversity, as well. And so -- thank you.

MR. CARR: Yes, sir.

Q On that question -- or did you want to --

GEN. CAMPBELL: I was just going to add, since you mentioned the Army, and in fact we are making progress with diversity. And while we have been challenged somewhat with African-Americans in the past from the standpoint of meeting our goals, this year we did see some improvement in African-Americans and in Latinos. And so I watch Hispanics -- excuse me -- I watch that very carefully. We want the Army to look like America, and the most important thing we can do is make sure that our field force understands that, as the Admiral mentioned with respect to the Navy. So the Army does, too.

I watch that on a monthly basis in talking to my commanders and making sure that we are representative of -- recruiters are representative of the nation and the Army, and that inside of that we are recruiting young men and women who represent the United States in its totality. So we work that real hard.

Q If I could add just a quick follow-up to Admiral Fallon (sic\Faller). When you see such a dramatic rise in Latino or Hispanic enlistment, is that a -- does that create a greater problem when your officer ranks don't rise to that level, you have that imbalance?

ADM. FALLER: But we look at it as a positive, that we're increasing diversity of our force, and we recognize that we need to increase those role models at the officer and the senior chief petty officer level. But it's not a problem. It's a positive we're increasing diversity overall. They become good sailors, great sailors, like all sailors. And it's just important for the long-term health that we want our Navy to look like America. And they need role models of their own cultures as well as our Navy culture.

But I think you'd find, if you talk to sailors, they think of themselves as sailors, as part of the Navy culture, first. And that's what happens when they get assimilated. And I think that's the big positive that all the services could talk to and what makes the teamwork and the camaraderie and the esprit de corps, being in the military, so -- such a good place to work.

Q I just wanted to return to the economy for just a moment. I mean, you sort of went through a lot of numbers, but how indicative is the incredibly bad economy for these record-breaking numbers? We haven't had this bad an economy since the '30s. I mean, that has to be a major force in these numbers.

MR. CARR: It was a force. And again, because our investment that we had planned on making in recruiting, given the unemployment that we had not directly forecast, allowed us to be for much of the year in a very favorable position.

In fiscal '10, we're making the 11 percent reduction based on that, and we're going to have to watch it carefully. That's pretty aggressive, but it's probably safe. If it's not, we've got a good cushion going into the year in terms of those who are under contract but haven't yet been sent to training. That was the 30 percent number we talked about earlier.

Q Are you expecting lower numbers next year if the economy improves?

MR. CARR: If the economy improves now, I think -- well, I -- I'd -- I --

Q (Off mike.)

MR. CARR: Let me say our goals would be met. Your -- very good point, and I thank you.

We were ahead of our goal this year. In other words, we say, for Defense, we'd like 90 percent to be high school diploma grad, and we hit 95 (percent), and we'd like 60 percent to be from the top half in math and verbal aptitude, and we hit well into the 60s. And yes, sir, exactly, that this year because that positioning, we were able to achieve that.

Next year we're -- you're never trying to hit just that number -- and the services have their own -- they have to be at that as a floor; they -- money of them shoot higher. The Air Force, for example, has always shot higher than that because it can, and do so with less investment per recruit than the others, because it is relatively more popular than the other services. But we go into '10 with less resource. An uncertain future -- we can forecast the economy -- good luck! -- but we will take a shot at it, and then we will put our resources out there and respond with agility and hope that next year at this time we have a story as favorable as we do this year.

Q You know, when you say you're cutting your bottom line by 11 percent -- (inaudible) -- Reserve?

MR. CARR: Recruiting -- yeah, recruiting resources across DOD -- it varies a little bit by service -- is about 11 percent reduction from a base of about 3.1 billion (dollars).

(Off mike) -- I think I had a question. Do you have a question? Yeah?

Q Yes, a question for Mr. Applegate, if I could. I was interested with 202K essentially over, what -- if you can speak toward how recruiting is going to work with the grade shaping that will also take place. You know, the opportunities will be different for recruits coming forward in the next few years, then what a recruiter would have been able to offer, potentially, you know, two, three years ago?

COLONEL MICHAEL APPLEGATE (U.S. Marine Corps, retired): I'm not sure that's true. We did make the 202K. We achieved that goal two years ahead of schedule.

We anticipated during the end strength increase, especially '07 and '08 and '09, that the accession mission would climb up and over 40,000.

I believe last year we accessed about 38,000 for the active force, and this year we were prepared to access over 40,000 for the active force. We actually cut that down to 31,400, which became our goal, because two other elements of the end-strength equation were also so positive: retention and attrition.

Our attrition rate in the Marine Corps we've been driving down for a number of years, to record lows, and our retention rate went up to record highs in the last few years. And this started before the economy went down. In '07 we saw significant improvements in retention and attrition. So those are all other pieces of the end- strength equation. Recruiting is just one-third of the end-strength equation.

So this year we drove the accession mission down to 31,000, where two-and-a-half years ago, at the start of the 202K build, we thought it would be up over 40,000. Next year we're looking at an accession mission of about 30,000. Before 202K, our average accession mission for the active force was 32,000 Marines, but even now that we're at 202(,000), we don't need to access but about 30,000 new Marines a year to maintain a 202K force.

As that turns into all the "eaches" for grade shapes you were talking about, I think what you're going to find is that our grade shapes have remained pretty constant. They're a little larger; we've -- we increased our sergeant and above requirement by about 8,700 in the growth to 202K. And what that has done is basically enlarged all the grade shapes. There's over 200 grade shapes in the Marine Corps, and they're not all exactly equal, but -- because it depends on MOS. But they've all basically enlarged a little bit.

So the young Americans that are going to the recruiting stations in FY '10, '11, they're going to end up with about the same opportunity for ops, field assignments and that sort of things. There's just going to be fewer Marines -- new Marines that we're going to need to assess, which, again, helps us improve our quality, because we can make it more competitive.

MR. CARR: Yes, sir.

I'll come back in one second. Yes, sir.

Q Quick follow-up on the diversity question. Do you have data from the fiscal year on geographic diversity -- in other words, where you recruit most from?

MR. CARR: Sure.

Q Can you talk a little bit about that? Has that changed at all? I mean, I know commensurate with it has always been --

MR. CARR: The stream has been pretty steady, and we are -- in other words, what would be our share? If we look at all of the youths in all of the counties in the United States -- all of the states, I should say -- and we ask ourselves, are we getting more or less than an average share from that state, we find now, as we've found in years past, that the military is more likely to draw better from the South and less well from the Northeast.

For example, we have them for every state, and some states do -- you know, are different from others. They're close, but the answer is it has been that way in the Northeast, I guess, back at the Revolutionary War and standing militias and so forth. But it is different by state.

And so the recruiting chiefs allocate their resources -- in fact, General Stewart, maybe you could talk about how you traced the youth trends?

BRIGADIER GENERAL STEWART (Air Force Recruiting Service): You're right, there are differences across the nation for recruiting. I think for the Air Force we drew most recruits from Texas this year, followed by California, then Florida I think were our top three; I can go back and check the numbers.

But we don't manage the recruits as much as we manage the recruiters. We know the past performance of certain zones. We are divided by zip codes across the nation and by county, and we know those areas that have performed well in the past. And when you have to add or move recruiters, you look to those areas to either, so to speak, pour gas on the fire, or to put recruiters where there hasn't been success in the past. That's how we allocate where we put our recruiters.

But we don't manage the recruits. We manage the recruiters to match what past performance has been.

Q Are there goals, whether official or unofficial, sort of on that score? In other words, if there's an area of the country that seems to be providing less recruits for you, do you try to bring that up?

GEN. CAMPBELL: In the Army, we're very similar to the way General Stewart described. We use our recruiting force, obviously, to do our business in different parts of the country. And Mr. Carr said that the data that he provided from the South and Northeast is pretty typical for the United States Army.

The thing I will tell you with respect to your question specifically is, from a geographic standpoint, we look at each different -- I have six brigades. I have a medical recruiting brigade in United States Army Recruiting Command and then five what we call non-prior service recruiting brigades.

We mission those brigades (inaudible) goals each quarter and basically on how the market trends on going in that area with respect to how recruiters are doing.

And we look at historical data. We look at current data and we look to the future.

And one of the questions: About the economy getting better, we're already looking to the future on how we can continue to do better, as well as we've done in '10.

And frankly I'm looking out to '11 already, to see how we're going to position our force, to make sure we set ourselves up for success. And one of the most important things we can do is look to that future.

So we do it by brigade, by area. And my brigades are generally responsible for different regions of the country, from the Northeast all the way to the West.

Q Just to make sure I understand, you said that seems to be a steady breakdown.

For example, the Northeast isn't lower than it's been for --

MR. CARR: No. It's about skewed low by the same proportion it's been for many years. And again that's not necessarily a good or a bad thing, it just is. And therefore you consider in your recruiting that if you wanted it to be perfectly equal, your investments are going to have to be much higher for each recruit.

And the nation would prefer homogenous. We pretty much achieve homogenous. And to make up that little increment, it probably wouldn't merit the investment that the nation would have to underwrite.

Yes, sir.

Q You said your resources are going to be down. The Army has got to continue growing. You've got authority for 15 to 22, depending how it goes. The Marine Corps has got to hold its 22. Air Force and Navy both are supposed to stop and hold where they are.

What kind of -- what numbers are we looking for, for '10? You've got to obviously recruit more soldiers. (Inaudible.) Do you know what your total is, as far as compared to this year?

MR. CARR: It's going to be -- in fact, I -- let me just -- Army is --

GEN. CAMPBELL: Seventy-four-five-twenty; about 160,000-plus again.

MR. CARR: Okay, so about 75,000 active enlisted.

GEN. CAMPBELL: Yes, sir.

Twenty thousand reserves.

MR. CARR: Twenty thousand reserves.

GEN. CAMPBELL: Sixty thousand National Guard.

MR. CARR: And 60,000 National Guard.

And Admiral Faller.

ADM. FALLER: Thirty five active, 35,000 active. When you add in reserves and officers, right around 43, roughly the same numbers that we ended with last year.

GEN. STEWART: I only have active. But for FY '07, it was 27,760. For FY '08 then it was 31,980 and then for -- I'm sorry, 31,980 for this past year. And for FY '10 coming, it's 31,750.

COL. APPLEGATE: Then for the Marine Corps, active in '09, we assessed 31,413. As I said, our unofficial target for FY-10 is 30,000.

We're still working that out. But it's going to end up 30,000 and change.

I believe in '09, on the Reserve side, we met our goal of over 8,000, and I believe the goal for '10 for the Reserve side is going to be over 7,000. Is that correct, Steve?


MR. CARR: You can tell you're under some business pressure when you can say 31,413. It's right there because it's a pressure job.


Q Can you all talk about the issue of waivers for felonies, one in five in the Army recruits in '08 and like 46 percent in the Marine Corps? How has that changed?

MR. CARR: Let me put waivers in context. Thanks, Bill.

About one in five recruits is waivered -- we're not talking felonies -- gets a waiver. They don't fully meet the standards -- one in five. Of those, two-thirds are conduct and one-third are medical. Of those 20 percent, about one percent are -- I'll call it felony. It's serious misconduct because that term varies across states, but call it a felony if you wish. About one percent -- and that's two per thousand -- would have a serious misconduct or felony conviction, and about four per thousand would have been arrested for a major misconduct offense, but not under adverse adjudication. In other words, they were found not guilty, not put on parole, not anything; they were simply -- it was simply terminated.

So again, one in five get a waiver. Most of them are for conduct, a lot of them for medical, but it's only two per thousand that are major misconduct with adverse adjudication.

Now, if you look at those, it is a -- it is not a case where someone went to prison. It's typically a case of -- I'll give you a couple of examples. Young person sets a beehive on fire. The shed next to it caught fire. That's arson; and that's a felony in that state. It happened three years prior to the time that he wanted to enlist. And I could go on with that about a dozen of these that are typical of the waivers.

Now, having said that there's that few waivers, we could go into, if you wanted, one of the recruiting commanders to discuss, okay, how -- what do you have to go through in order to even receive a waiver? Because for the big misconduct, one of these gentlemen is almost certainly -- or a general officer right next to him -- is going to be making those decisions.

It's not delegated. And so it's a very tough scrutiny.

I was at -- end of last week in New York City at Cornell at a -- a sub-campus of Cornell. And present was academics from Princeton and so forth. And when they looked at -- and the topic was what are we going to do about people who had an offense -- because it's captured now in automated systems -- what are we going to do in the American workplace about those who have an offense and can't get a job as a warehouse worker because they had a shoplifting offense when they were 15. And that was kind of the discussion.

And a couple of things came out of it. One is that if you have committed an offense, you're not prone in that direction for life, that at the end of about four years on average, even for aggravated assault and serious things like that -- and we can reprieve the research -- but after about four years, you're no more likely to offend than the general population. And after four years, you're less likely to offend.

So a couple of things. One, when we say serious misconduct, most of them, as I've just pointed out, were never even convicted of it, but we'll chalk them up as being in that group because if you were arrested for it, we want to know all about it and we'll chalk you up as a felony waiver, even though it did not result in an adverse adjudication.

Secondly, that if we look at you, you're going to be -- somebody's going to be doing a lot of work to gather the case and get community leaders to stand behind you and offer statements, and you'll end up with the case in front of a general officer.

And finally, if you make it through all that, the likelihood is -- and the fact is -- that you'll do as well as your counterparts who came in without a waiver. I think if you asked -- and I would be glad to provide the -- some of the national experts -- they would cite from that conference that DOD probably has the most transparent meritocracy of a waiver process that can be had from an employer in this nation.

Q Can you compare those figures to the previous set of figures -- the 1-5s, the 20 percent --

MR. CARR: It'll be less in '09. We won't have it done until the end of October. And we'll get it out then. So we have a lot of stuff, we don't have that detail. It'll be less and it'll be significantly less, but I can't say how much less until we get the actual data.

Q Do you see a correlation between that and your high-school graduation rate increases?

MR. CARR: I think that there is a correlation when you're in a favorable resource posture. Then you can take less risk. There is some risk. The pressure is on aptitude, so if a service -- and you can ask these gentlemen what they would do -- if they were to say, "Gosh, Bill, what do you think? We're going to have to be a little bit tight. Should we allow in a misconduct waiver, or cut aptitude?" the misconduct waiver is the best bet, because you will gain the aptitude you otherwise wouldn't have had. That translates to performance, agility, capacity to figure it out on the ground. And the felony is probably -- or the misdemeanor, vast majority; we're talking, again, 2 percent is a felony; most of them are misdemeanor. That's not going to haunt you, and that's not going to affect your performance.

Q How much of your medical waivers are for obesity?

MR. CARR: The majority. And I'd have to get you the number, but the majority is obesity.

Yes, sir.

Q Can I ask of General Campbell, sir, the levels of cats -- the lowest categories, I believe they're Cat(egory) 3's, A's and B's?


Q Cat 4's? Thank you.

GEN. CAMPBELL: Yes, sir.

Q Those numbers have been on the increase the last couple of years. Can you tell us now if they have bottomed out, whether you're now at zero? Or this past year, where were you?

GEN. CAMPBELL: In the -- well, in the Department of Defense, you know, we can enlist that category up to 4 percent. Last year, it was over 3 percent for the United States Army, and about 3-point-something for the Army Reserve. This year, for the Army active duty, it was 1.5 percent, and the Army Reserve was 1 percent. So we obviously are trending down.

And I can tell you that for the entry pool, the future soldier entry pool for fiscal year '10, of which I talked a minute ago -- 32,000 -- 99 percent of those have high-school degrees. And it's well less than 1 percent are Category 4's. Of that 32,000, it's like 0.30. So the numbers continue to go down for the Army.

But as you well know, those soldiers -- those folks are fully qualified to join the Army, as we've screened and vetted them. And I know my predecessor talked a lot about that last year, and their qualities and their service. And we value their service, and will continue to.

I'd like to go back to your point about the waivers, if I could, just for a minute. The Army waivers were down 37 percent overall. That's conduct waivers. Medical was -- is tracking with what Mr. Carr said.

I think the good news for the Army is last year General Bostick stood up here and told you that he had 370-some major misconduct -- adult major misconduct. This year, it's 220. That's part of that decrease in what we're seeing in waivers. And so I think what we're seeing is a good trend in the Army, that we're able to continue to recruit quality young men and women, and we see waivers on our side going down.

MR. CARR: We got time for one more, please.

Q If I could follow up on the -- (inaudible) -- again, was there a self-imposed limit of two percent --


Q -- (inaudible) -- at any time, or are you imposing any limits this year?

MR. CAMPBELL: The only limit I have is four percent. Obviously, I watch it very carefully to make sure that we give everybody an opportunity. But I have not imposed any cap on the Army other than what Department of Defense and the Army tells me to, which is four percent.

MR. CARR: And we do have -- sorry, we'll wrap it up. But we do have, in that handout, a wealth of material, and if questions or if we can get anything more, let Public Affairs know. And we're glad to tell this amazing -- it really is a neat accomplishment to be at this stage in the history of the all-volunteer force.

Thanks a lot for coming.


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