WASHINGTON — The Pentagon's personnel chief said Tuesday the military has completed its best recruiting year since 1973, meeting all its goals and bringing in a better educated group of young people.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps met goals for active duty and reserve recruiting during the budget year ended Sept. 30 – the first time that has happened since the all-volunteer force was established, said Defense Department head of personnel Bill Carr.
He told a Pentagon press conference that it's partly because of department spending on finding recruits, even as fewer civilian jobs were available due to the nation's economic problems. He also cited increases in military pay.
For the active-duty force overall, Carr said 96 percent of recruits had a high school diploma, the best showing since 1996. For the Army, it was about 95 percent, up 11 percent from the previous year. And 73 percent of Pentagon recruits scored above average on the military's math and verbal aptitude testing, the best showing since 2004, Carr said.
The military spends about $10,000 per recruit, taking into account advertising, recruiter time and office leases for recruiting stations, he said. Recruits are in the 90th percentile of earners for their education and time in the workplace, Carr said.
The Army is offering cash bonuses of up to $35,000 to retain young officers serving in key specialties -- including military intelligence, infantry an...