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No Worries on Quality?

February 22, 2007—The military services have met or exceeded the Defense Department’s benchmarks for quality in active force recruits, according to data provided to the House Armed Services Military Personnel Committee last week by David S.C. Chu, DOD’s top personnel official. Some news reports have suggested that the services—the Army in particular—have significantly reduced their standards to ensure they get enough recruits. The department’s goal for 2006 was to have 90 percent of new active duty recruits with high school diplomas; 91 percent had diplomas, which far surpasses the national average of 80 percent, said Chu. Another measure of quality DOD uses is its goal to have 60 percent of recruits score above the 50th percentile on the Armed Forces Qualification Test—overall for 2006 68.5 percent met or exceeded the goal. However, here the Army did lower its standard somewhat, recruiting fewer—58.2 percent—than the goal. The Air Force, on the other hand, exceeded the goal at 79.4 percent. —Lauren Bigge