Flexible Management:

A Must for Effective Armed Services Recruiting

FPCD-80-64: Published: Sep 18, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 18, 1980.

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The effectiveness and integrity of recruiting programs in the armed services are influenced to a very large degree by policy and resource allocation decisions made within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the service headquarters. If recruiting managers and other involved officials have increased flexibility to appropriately adapt policy and resources to ever-changing conditions of market supply and demand, recruiting goals can be accomplished and malpractice and other irregularities reduced. A GAO review critiqued five management factors in decisionmaking processes involving OSD and service staff relationships.

Perhaps the greatest stumbling block to achieving recruiting goals is the inflexibility inherent in the management of service recruiting programs. This inflexibility is particularly evident in: (1) the absence of readily available nonmonetary policy-change alternatives which can be used as management tools within existing funding levels; and (2) the insistence that the recruiting objectives be fixed well in advance, although properly matching recruiting resources and nonmonetary policies to these goals is generally not possible because of the uncertainties of congressional action and the recruiting marketplace. In addition, the requirement for all services to obtain congressional committee approval for spending additional recruiting funds through reprogramming, no matter how small the amount, hinders management's ability to quickly adjust its recruiting program to developing problems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should: (1) monitor the services' implementation of the recruiting objectives as stated in the Consolidated Guidance, related documents, and service program objective memorandums to determine that the guidances are being interpreted with reasonable flexibility; (2) improve the recruiting data monitoring and analysis within OSD by obtaining more staff and more funds for such activities, including long-range analyses; (3) direct each service to develop a formal plan concerning nonmonetary, standby enlistment initiatives which recruiting managers can use to quickly adjust to changes in the recruiting marketplace; (4) direct the Army to improve recruiting data gathering and analysis in the National Guard and Reserve; and (5) direct the Army and the Air Force to further integrate their Active, Reserve, and National Guard decisionmaking activities.

    Agency Affected:


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