RAND Creates New Recruiting Forecasting Tool for Army

By Mandy Mayfield

Photo: Army

The RAND Corp. has developed a new forecasting tool that can help Army leaders find new recruits.

The Army reached out to the corporation to better understand and predict the potential recruiting pool, said Jeffrey Wenger, senior policy researcher at RAND.

The service wanted to determine “how they could think about reprogramming resources so that they could achieve their recruiting goals,” Wenger said.

“We built them a suite of tools, one of which is a forecasting model to determine whether or not the recruiting environment was going to be particularly difficult,” he added.

The effort was tricky for RAND because there are a number of elements associated with recruitment that are out of the Army’s control, he noted.

Some issues that factor into the ability to attract people to join the military include the state of the national economy, the unemployment rate and the Army’s operating environment.

The reduction in casualties associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has aided recruitment, he said.

However, the robust job market has created hurdles for enticing people to serve.

Overall, Wenger believes the Army is approaching a time when it will be difficult for the service to recruit its desired number of soldiers. With 70,000 recruits in 2018, the Army fell short of its 76,500 goal, Training and Doctrine Command Commander Gen. Stephen Townsend said earlier this year in Arlington, Virginia, at the Association of the United States Army’s headquarters.

However, there are strategies the Army can implement to reach its goals, he said.

Providing varying forms of compensation, putting more recruiters on the ground or even lowering recruitment standards can help attract new soldiers, Wenger said.

“As the Army sees that they’re not going to make their recruiting goals, they [can] flip some switches,” he said.

Forecasting recruitment is of the utmost importance for the Army as it attempts to maintain desired troop levels, Wenger said.

“In order to maintain the correct force structure and be able to have a sufficient … end strength … you need to be constantly recruiting in the Army so that you can replace and maintain your capabilities,” he added.

Topics: Army News

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