The2nd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Saturday, July 12, 2003, at<MeetTime> 9:30 AM, at the United States Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky. Representative Mike Weaver, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order.
Members:Senator Dan Seum, Co-Chair; Representative Mike Weaver, Co-Chair; Senators Virgil Moore, Joey Pendleton, Albert Robinson, Katie Stine, Elizabeth Tori, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Tom Burch, Mary Harper, Tanya Pullin, Tom Riner, and Dottie Sims.
Guests: Dennis Bray, Jackson Bray, Lewis Seelbach, Mark Honeycutt, Geoff Pinkerton, Fred Stine, Fred Stine VI, Spencer Kimball, Max Bezold, Tyler Graves, Ian Burch, Michael Burch, and Melony Roberts.
LRC Staff: Scott Varland, Todd Stephens, John Gillig, Donna Holiday, and Wanda Gay-Hollon.
Co-Chair Weaver began the meeting by requesting that a resolution in honor of Martin Andrew Tori II be read. A Committee staffer read the resolution adjourning the Interim Joint Committee on Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection in loving memory and honor of Martin Andrew Tori II. Senator Elizabeth Tori thanked the Committee for the display of sympathy, honor, and respect paid to her husband and encouraged each member of the Committee to relish each day. Co-Chair Weaver remarked that he had served alongside Martin Tori over 25 years ago at Fort Knox. He noted that those members not present would be made aware of the Committee’s consideration of the resolution. He was sure that all Committee members would support the resolution.
Co-Chair Weaver continued the meeting by reminding the Committee of the letter that he co-authored with Co-Chair Seum, at the Committee’s behest, requesting $250,000 to retain a Washington based consultant to assist with Kentucky’s efforts during the current round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC 2005). He acknowledged that the letter was successful, and that the Committee had accomplished something unheard of in the middle of a budget cycle by securing the necessary funding to hire a consultant. The money had been approved at the recent meeting of the Legislative Research Commission, and the contract is currently being processed. In addition, the law firm originally hired to assist in BRAC 2005 efforts, and whose contract expired June 30, was also rehired to assist BG (Ret.) Jim Shane, Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs.
Co-Chair Weaver said that the reason for bringing the Committee to Fort Knox was to provide the members with an opportunity to hear about the mission of United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC). During BRAC 2005 the Secretary of Defense may direct that as many military operations as feasible be combined. Because USAREC is larger than the Navy, Air Force, and Marines Recruiting Commands, Co-Chair Weaver suggested that Fort Knox might be an ideal place to headquarter all recruiting services.
Colonel Peter Vangjel, Deputy Commanding General (West), welcomed the Committee to USAREC and introduced Colonel Melanye Arnold, Deputy Chief of Staff.
Colonel Arnold began by mentioning that she had over 14 years of experience at various levels within USAREC. She provided a brief overview for her presentation and began with a discussion of the strategic environment of the Army. An outline of the information discussed by Colonel Arnold is contained in a PowerPoint presentation included as part of the meeting materials archived in the LRC library.
Colonel Arnold said that the United States Army looks to instill the values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage into every soldier. The Army is celebrating the 30th year of the all-volunteer force, an accomplishment that many believed would be difficult to attain. According to Harris Polls, the military ranks as the institution in which the American public have the most confidence. In 1971, the Gates Commission authorized some of the basic incentives to help create an all-volunteer force. Incentives included increased pay levels, cash bonuses for enlistments, and choice of first duty station for new recruits. These original inducements have been expanded to encourage military service. Colonel Arnold highlighted two lessons that have been learned through the volunteer Army concept. One, USAREC’s success in meeting recruitment goals over time is cyclical in nature and directly related to the level of funding provided for recruitment activities. USAREC’s meeting recruitment goals in any given year is usually followed by a reduction in resources with the result being a lower number of enlistments. The reduction in enlistments eventually results in the appropriation of additional funding which results in increased enlistment levels. Second, recruiting high quality enlistees is expensive but remains cheaper over the long-term. Quality recruits result in soldiers who are more likely to complete their service, perform better, and improve readiness.
Colonel Arnold presented an analysis comparing the levels of several key components in determining quality recruits from 1974 to 2003. In 1974, the Army consisted of 783,330 soldiers compared to only 480,000 in 2003. The percentage of recruits entering the Army with a high school diploma was 50.1% in 1974, compared to 94.9% in 2003. Additionally, 71.2% of new recruits in 2003 scored in the highest test category on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This number was only 52.5% in 1974. The Army’s recruiting budget has increased to $1.074 billion in 2003 (including advertising and incentives) compared to only $267 million in 1974.
Kathleen Welker, Deputy G-5, United States Army Recruiting Command, interjected that increases in quality marks (i.e., high school diploma, high ASVAB scores) were a result of the Army’s emphasis on quality recruits. In 1974, when the volunteer Army concept was launched, Vietnam was ending and the American public was not happy with the military, creating uncertainty as to the quality of individuals who would enlist. Today, the higher quality marks are important, as the sophistication of military resources requires a more technologically savvy recruit.
Recognizing from the numbers presented that 5.1% of new recruits do not have a high school diploma, Co-Chair Weaver asked what score these recruits have to obtain on the ASVAB to be accepted into the Army. Ms. Welker responded that such recruits would need to be in the highest category, or what is referred to as I-IIIA. Co-Chair Weaver commented that because of this fact, many recruits entering service without a high school diploma would have a higher test score than those entering with a high school diploma. Colonel Arnold agreed. She explained that the 25% of recruits who do not score in the highest test category are required to have a high school diploma as a means of demonstrating dedication regardless of intelligence level. Recruits who do not have a high school diploma are required to demonstrate a higher level of intellectual proficiency by scoring well on the ASVAB. Co-Chair Weaver mentioned that during the period from 1974 to 1980, when the number of new recruits with high school diplomas was just over 50%, it seemed as if the Army must have lost a lot of time on bringing recruits to an acceptable educational level. Colonel Arnold and Ms. Welker agreed. Co-Chair Weaver then asked if the Army did anything to help the 5.1% of new recruits entering without a high school diploma to acquire a GED. Ms. Welker clarified that all new recruits are required to have a high school credential of some form before entering military duty. She stated that given the many forms of education today, such as charter schools and homeschooling, not all recruits have a traditional high school diploma, but all recruits must have completed high school.
Representative Sims asked if new recruits interested in going into a technology field are required to take any specialized exam other than the ASVAB. Colonel Arnold replied that the exam is the same and that the ASVAB has the capability to predict aptitudes within areas. Scores from the ASVAB are used to determine the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) choices available to the recruit.
Representative Burch asked if the Army would enlist a young person who scored extremely well on the ASVAB but did not have a high school diploma. Colonel Arnold answered that the Army is not allowed to enlist any person who does not have a high school credential. Representative Burch asked if a person without a high school credential would even be given the ASVAB for the purpose of recruitment. Colonel Arnold said they would not.
Representative Sims asked at what age the Army stops considering people for recruitment. Colonel Arnold remarked that 35 years of age was the cutoff for initial entry.
Co-Chair Weaver questioned if there was an initial test given to assess the suitability for military duty and then if once enlisted an additional test is given to determine aptitudes. Colonel Arnold answered that the ASVAB is the only exam used; however, once enlisted a recruit may retake the ASVAB if he or she wishes to switch to another MOS. Co-Chair Weaver then asked if the composite score on the ASVAB could be equated to an I.Q. score. Colonel Arnold stressed that the ASVAB was designed to test for aptitude and is not necessarily an indicator of intelligence.
Senator Stine inquired as to how Kentucky’s high school students have scored on the ASVAB in comparison to students from other states. Colonel Arnold did not have specific statistics for Kentucky but offered to gather those materials. Senator Stine said she would appreciate having those numbers because she understood that Kentucky’s scores had not increased, and that in fact, since 1990 Kentucky’s scores have stagnated or even decreased.
Referring to the requirement under federal law that students with certain learning disabilities, such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), be allowed more time to complete standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, Representative Riner asked if such considerations were given when administering the ASVAB. Colonel Arnold stated that additional time was not given for the ASVAB. She further mentioned that to her knowledge ADD disqualified an individual from being eligible for military service. She added that a young person who had taken medications related to ADD, such as Ritalin, was automatically disqualified from military service. Representative Riner clarified that many of these children had not been on medication but merely needed more time in processing information. He then asked if preparatory materials where available for the ASVAB. Colonel Arnold answered that because of a military rule recruiters were not allowed to participate in preparing students to take the test; however, materials are available from outside sources and many schools inform their students of those materials. He then asked how long students had to complete the test. Ms. Welker replied that respondents have three hours to complete the test. She also mentioned that most high schools administer the ASVAB not only for military recruitment purposes, but also, as an excellent tool to help students assess their future educational or vocational goals.
Co-Chair Weaver drew attention to the difference in the number of active duty soldiers in 1974 (783,330) compared to 2003 (480,000). He also mentioned the significant increases in technology during that same time period and the fact that in 1974 over 50% of new recruits did not have high school credentials. Noting the stresses put on today’s Army as a result of the many missions and worldwide presence of our troops, he asked if USAREC had considered how many people would be unqualified to work in a technologically advanced military should it be necessary to increase the current number of active Army through a draft. Colonel Arnold responded affirmatively. She pointed out that while a draft was not something for consideration by USAREC, the Army has considered the other scenarios. Co-Chair Weaver reviewed the three tiers of defense (active duty, reserves and National Guard, and Selective Service) and stated that it was his contention that should a draft be reinstated a large number of persons would be unqualified to serve in a technologically advanced Army.
Senator Robinson asked if the statistic presented for the percentage of new recruits with high school diplomas included all types of high school credentials. Colonel Arnold responded that the statistic indicated only traditional high school diplomas. She further stated that in the statistic provided, the difference between the percentage of new recruits with high school diplomas and 100% of all recruits represents the percentage of students with other types of high school credentials such as a GED.
Representative Sims inquired whether there were any significant differences in ASVAB scoring levels related to gender. Colonel Arnold remarked that although each gender does have sections of the exam on which it tends to score better, there is no significant difference in overall ASVAB scores attributable to gender.
Representative Pullin wanted to confirm her understanding that not just those students interested in military duty take the ASVAB, but that high schools administer the exam to other students as an aid in determining educational and vocational options. Colonel Arnold said yes. She elaborated by mentioning that the Army encourages the use of the ASVAB, because it provides valuable information for guidance counselors whether a student is considering military service or not. Co-Chair Weaver added that he personally knows a guidance counselor who uses the ASVAB in this manner with all students, because it is free to administer and provides very useful information.
Senator Stine said the ASVAB costs nothing while the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) costs $45 million every time it is administered.
Moving to the next point, Colonel Arnold emphasized that the Army’s recruiting mission is greater than all other service branches combined. She presented recruiting goals for the active Army (73,800), National Guard (63,000), and Army Reserves (42,400). She further pointed out that USAREC does not recruit for the National Guard but does recruit for the Army Reserves. Combined, the Army’s accession goal for fiscal year 2003 is nearly 180,000 new troops.
Co-Chair Weaver asked if the Marines Recruiting Command was combined with the Navy Recruiting Command or if it was separate. Colonel Arnold replied that each of the branches has its own separate recruiting command. Co-Chair Weaver continued by suggesting that should a directive be issued by the Secretary of Defense during BRAC 2005 to combine into joint operations as many missions as possible, given USAREC’s size and available physical resources, Fort Knox seems a good candidate to headquarter a joint recruiting service.
Colonel Vangjel interjected that when data calls go to the Office of the Secretary of Defense that there will be locations within the other branches of service that are sizeable enough to headquarter a joint recruiting command. He suggested that while Fort Knox may have some unique advantages to support the argument for headquartering a combined recruiting service, as of now, USAREC has not been guided to consider that option. He explained that there are some technical nuances in combining recruiting services including the fact that each branch is recruiting from the same group of candidates.
Colonel Arnold continued her presentation by discussing the complexities of the Army recruiting mission. The potential pool of recruits is very small when criteria that disqualify a person from service are considered. Nearly 23% of the recruiting market is medically or morally disqualified. Non-high school diploma graduates account for nearly 41% of disqualifications from service eligibility. An additional 15% of the potential recruiting pool are college students. Colonel Arnold emphasized that the Army does not recruit on college campuses in order to avoid diminishing the number of college graduates. The Army only recruits from colleges those students who leave school or cannot afford to continue. In total, the military recruiting commands have a potential pool of 1.49 million persons from which to recruit.
Colonel Vangjel interposed some comments about the advertising budget for Army recruiting. USAREC has done an extensive job of collecting data on young persons. He inferred that the data demonstrates that young people are in search of something, and the Army has had to use various incentives to successfully enlist new recruits. The Army has used its advertising budget to study these trends and to successfully market to the changing demands of young people.
Senator Stine commented that she was surprised at the number of potential recruits who are medically or morally disqualified. She questioned whether these numbers represented an increase over previous years. Colonel Vangjel explained that although the numbers have increased over time, these numbers do not necessarily demonstrate a change in society. His explanation was that the Army’s standards have also continued to increase over time, and today’s potential recruit is of a higher caliber than in the past. As technology continues to progress and the Army reevaluates its needs, the Army is trying to put together a more successful, efficient, and cost-effective force.
Senator Robinson asked if the traditional physical standards for entering the service are still being maintained despite the necessary emphasis on technologically astute soldiers. Colonel Arnold stated that the physical fitness standards for the Army have changed very little. However, the young people who are entering the service are not as physically fit when they enter the service as in the past. She cited fewer physical fitness requirements in schools as a contributor to this dilemma. The Army’s Accession Command has developed a Human Dimensions Lab to evaluate ways in which recruiting can help improve the physical fitness of new recruits before they arrive at a training base. Senator Robinson questioned whether the physical standards would have to be lowered to recruit young people with the technology skills necessary, or if the Army could continue to recruit quality soldiers who have both the physical and intellectual abilities. Colonel Arnold said the Army’s intent was to bring young people up to the physical standards of being in the Army. Colonel Vangjel concurred. He said the conditions under which soldiers have to operate have not changed and the Army will continue to work to help new recruits meet the physical challenges presented to them. USAREC is working closely with Accessions Command and other units at Fort Knox to determine ways in which recruiting can assist in helping new recruits overcome the fear and mental anxiety toward the physical requirements of basic training. He pointed out however, that recruits today want to be successful and often find it within themselves to work hard and overcome the challenges before them.
Representative Burch thanked Colonel Arnold for discussing the physical fitness issue and mentioned that in the next 10 years about 25% of young people will be considered obese. He reminded the Committee that he has introduced legislation twice in recent sessions that would put physical education back into schools, and he suggested to the Committee that the armed forces are a compelling reason why his legislation would have positive benefits.
Senator Tori wanted to know what percentage of those considered medically disqualified from military service had taken Ritalin. Colonel Arnold did not immediately know the percentage but said she would gather that information for the Senator. Senator Tori expressed that the use of medications such as Ritalin has become a problem for school systems across the United States.
Co-Chair Weaver asked what types of behavior are considered as morally disqualifying. Colonel Arnold responded that many activities constitute moral disqualification and gave felonious behavior or drug use as examples. She said that a single isolated incident would not necessarily disqualify a person from service but that a history of even minor criminal activities could. Co-Chair Weaver suggested that there was a time when the court system would recommend military duty as a possible sentence. Colonel Arnold agreed but stated that today the Army cannot accept the enlistment of a soldier if the recruiter is aware that the person was given the choice of military duty instead of criminal punishment. Ms. Welker added that from the Army’s perspective it was not conducive to a high quality force to put potential felons into military service.
Representative Burch proposed that there might be some benefit from military service for persons who have been involved in criminal behavior. In the past, some of these people have become very good soldiers when exposed to discipline and responsibility. Co-Chair Weaver agreed. Ms. Welker informed the Committee that USAREC does provide waivers on a case-by-case basis to determine the suitability for military service for individuals deemed morally disqualified.
Co-Chair Weaver informed the Committee of a program called Bluegrass Challenge that works with potential felons, of which about 15% are accepted into military service. Colonel Vangjel reiterated that USAREC evaluates waivers on a case-by-case basis to provide opportunity to those disqualified under general recruitment standards.
Senator Westwood asked how many colleges in Kentucky still offered ROTC. When he attended the University of Kentucky there was a requirement to take ROTC, and he believed that ROTC would be a good program to increase the number of recruits from colleges. Colonel Arnold was not aware of the total, but she clarified that ROTC is not within the USAREC mission. She explained that USAREC is responsible for recruiting enlisted soldiers and that ROTC’s mission relates to officers. She further reiterated that the Army does not recruit enlisted soldiers from among actively attending college students. USAREC does make referrals to ROTC units for college students interested in becoming officers. The Army purposely avoids recruiting on college campuses to avoid diminishing the number of individuals pursuing and completing college degrees. Senator Westwood asked if JROTC was a separate program. Ms. Welker answered that it was.
Co-Chair Weaver commented that JROTC was a recruiting tool. Colonel Arnold suggested that JROTC presented awareness by having individuals wearing the military uniform in schools.
Senator Robinson mentioned a situation that arose with a constituent. Explaining that a young man with exceptionally high academic marks and test scores was turned down for military service by a local recruiter because he attended a Christian school, Senator Robinson questioned if there was an explanation for the young man’s denial. Ms. Welker stated that the high school credentials for entering service must be from an accredited school. USAREC has an educational services division that evaluates each school against state requirements to determine whether a school meets accreditation standards. She also mentioned, not knowing the specifics, that there might have been other criteria that made the young man ineligible for duty. She offered her personal assistance to Senator Robinson in investigating the matter. Colonel Vangjel assured the Committee that if the student’s application package was complete that the recruiter would make every effort to assist in enlisting him into military service.
The next topic addressed was the propensity of young adults to commit to military service. Overall propensity for enlistment has declined since the 1970’s. During the last 30 years, the number of young adults who say they “definitely will” join the military has remained stable. However, the number who respond that they “definitely won’t” has increased 34% since the late 1970’s. Due to the Army’s recruiting needs, it is necessary for the Army to try to recruit from the pool of individuals who are committed against military service. Colonel Arnold went on to explain that part of the reason for the use of incentives during the recruitment phase of enlistment is to convince young individuals that the military has something to offer them.
Senator Stine asked if recruiters from the other service branches were able to enlist the largest number of the 7.7% of individuals who are propensed toward military service. Colonel Arnold explained that because of the lower number of recruits required by the other service branches their recruiting goals could be met by enlisting only individuals who say they “definitely will” join the military. This situation, compounded by the fact that the Army must recruit more individuals than all other service branches combined, requires that the Army focus on recruiting individuals with a negative propensity toward enlistment. Senator Stine was interested in knowing what number of the 7.7% of individuals responding “definitely will” the Army was able to recruit in comparison to the other branches. Colonel Arnold did not have those figures. Colonel Vangjel noted that the numbers being presented did not take into account the fact that some of the individuals who “definitely will” serve in the military will face medical or moral disqualifications before entering, further lowering the total pool of eligible recruits. To meet recruitment goals, the Army must recruit three enlistees for every one enlistee recruited by the other branches of the military. Ms. Welker stressed that Army recruiters must work very hard to enlist new recruits.
Representative Riner expressed his concern over the low number of individuals inclined to join the military. He felt that there must be a misunderstanding about the nature of learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, that is keeping the Army from recruiting potential recruits. General George Patton and President John Kennedy were mentioned as two examples of individuals with dyslexia who served very successfully in the military. Representative Riner surmised that each of these individuals had one other characteristic in common, a lot of heart, which seems to overcome the types of concerns the Army appears to have about the possible success of individuals with learning disabilities. He asked who he, or other members of the Committee, could speak with to try and get the policy changed. Ms. Welker was not certain that dyslexia was a disqualifier from military service but insisted that she would get an answer to the inquiry. Colonel Vangjel added that in many cases it is not the medical condition, but rather the medications taken to treat the condition, that disqualify individuals from service. Regardless of this fact, he committed to investigate the matter further. Ms. Welker also reminded the Committee that it is possible for an individual to receive a medical waiver to allow enlistment. Representative Riner suggested that the General Assembly could possibly consider legislation that would require physicians to advise young people of the negative consequences of receiving prescriptive treatment for conditions like ADD in relation to military service opportunities. Colonel Vangjel cautioned that his staff should be allowed to provide more comprehensive information on the Army’s official rule on dyslexia and other learning disabilities before the legislature considers making a broad policy statement on the issue.
Colonel Arnold concluded this portion of her presentation by highlighting the Army’s production trends for the last 12 years and reminding the Committee of the Army’s overall success in recruiting. A key component to continued success is a stable and fully funded advertising budget. Ms. Welker noted that during Desert Shield/Desert Storm the Army suspended all advertising resulting in a loss of awareness among the public. During that same time period, the Army was downsizing which added to the misconception that the Army was not recruiting new individuals. During Iraqi Freedom the Army continued its advertising campaign to maintain a high level of public awareness about the opportunities available.
Colonel Arnold resumed the meeting with the recruiting update portion of her presentation. There are 1,713 active recruiting stations located mainly in high traffic commercial areas. In October 2002, the Army began a transformation to unify all recruiting operations under the Army Accessions Command. USAREC is one operation now under that Command. The Command also includes officer accessions, military entrance processing for all service branches, and initial entry training.
The fiscal year 2003 (FY 03) USAREC recruiting goals were presented to the Committee. USAREC will recruit 73,800 regular Army and 26,400 reserve Army enlistees this year. To date, USAREC has enlisted 53,713 active Army and 20,879 reserve Army recruits. The Army is also having increased success in recruiting for Special Forces.
In Kentucky, USAREC has 30 recruiting stations representing four recruiting battalions. The payroll for the 887 employees is $41.6 million. The local sales impact is nearly $36 million, and the local income impact is nearly $43 million. In FY 03, Kentucky has had 969 regular Army enlistments and 372 enlistments in the United States Army Reserves.
Ms. Welker lead the next portion of the briefing relating to marketing America’s Army. The FY 03 advertising budget for the Navy, Marines, and Air Force is $88.1 million, $46.6 million, and $82.2 million respectively.
The Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) is a marketing program that teams the Army with industry and public sector agencies. The program guarantees veterans leaving military service interviews with some of the country’s largest corporations. By forecasting employment needs for several years in the future, and guaranteeing interviews to veterans, the companies ensure themselves a well-trained, experienced, and responsible workforce.
Senator Westwood commended USAREC on the PaYS program but inquired why more companies were not involved in the partnership. Ms. Welker clarified that the list was only representative of the companies involved, and that 57 companies currently participate. However, she said the Army limits the number of recruits offered this option, because there is some concern that soldiers will not stay in the military past their initial term of enlistment when such a strong incentive toward private sector employment is offered. The program is only offered to 10% of new recruits annually. Kentucky has 535 PaYS contracts from five companies.
Colonel Arnold concluded the presentation. She outlined a few things that the Kentucky General Assembly can do to assist the USAREC mission. First, legislators can promote the Army as a place of opportunity wherever they go throughout the state. Legislators can refer companies as potential PaYS partners. Also, legislators can encourage school districts to consider free aptitude testing in high schools.
Senator Seum asked how USAREC qualifies the education credentials of immigrants who want to enlist. Colonel Arnold replied that USAREC has a department that reviews and converts educational credentials earned in foreign schools according to specific criteria. Senator Seum questioned how the Army deals with the fact that schools in many foreign countries are not of the quality of American schools, and he asked if the standards are lowered in such a case. Ms. Welker responded that the standards are the same for all individuals. Colonel Arnold explained that if a school is recognized as an accredited institution in its country, then the Army will evaluate the coursework completed and determine whether the recruit has the necessary educational credentials to enlist.
Representative Pullin asked if the state gives any hiring preference to veterans. Members of the Committee stated that it did.
Colonel Vangjel thanked the Committee for their attendance.
The Committee toured the USAREC Cyber Recruiting Station and viewed a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX).
Representative Tanya Pullin made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Senator Katie Stine seconded the motion. The motion passed. The meeting adjourned at 3:30p.m.