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FY 2008 Military Recruiting Statistics

Overall Year


Updated October 13, 2008

The Department of Defense (DOD) has announced its recruiting statistics for the active and reserve components for fiscal year 2008.

All of the active duty and reserve branches met or exceeded their recruiting goals for the fiscal year.

DOD is calling this the strongest recruiting year they've had since fiscal year 2004. Notably, the Army and Marine Corps had raised their recruiting goals for fiscal 2008, as both services continue to grow their ranks to meet the demands of the wars on two fronts. In fact, the Army was the sole active-duty service to exceed its goal by a full 1 percent, recruiting 517 more soldiers than its 80,000 target.

However, 20 percent of recruits joining the Army in fiscal 2008 required a waiver for medical or conduct reasons. The Army granted 372 waivers to allow recruits with felony convictions to enlist, although this number is down from 511 in fiscal 2007.

Also, only 83 percent of Army recruits in fy 2008 had high school diplomas. While this is below the DOD goal of 90 percent, it's up from 79 percent in fiscal year 2007. All other active-duty and reserve services met or exceeded the 90 percent goal, except for the Army Reserve, which came in at 89 percent.

Overall, more than 92 percent of recruits enlisted in fy 2008 hold a high school diploma, contrasted with 75 percent of the general U.S. population in the same age range.

Nearly 70 percent of new active-duty recruits scored 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and about three-quarters of new recruits come from neighborhoods that are at or above the U.S. median annual household income of about $50,000.

In addition to the Fiscal Year recruiting numbers shown in the table at the bottom of this page, the active duty Army and Navy exceeded their fiscal 2008 reenlistment targets. Although the Marine Corps retained far more first term personnel than last year, it did not meet its ambitious first term reenlistment goals and it achieved 95 percent total retention. The active duty Air Force missed its end-of-year mission in each reenlistment zone. DOD expects to see Air Force retention rates improve gradually through fiscal 2009, and anticipates that the Air Force will meet its fiscal 2009 end strength mission. Air Force retention suffered in a tumultuous year for the service, although officials did not release specific numbers. Part of the problem, was that the Air Force was drawing down its force at the start of the fiscal year, and therefore did not have strong retention incentives in place. The Secretary of Defense cancelled the Air Force's reduction in end strength about mid-year, but it was too late to stop the flow of airmen leaving the service. Expect to see higher recruiting goals for the Air Force in Fiscal Year 2009, as they try and make up the difference.

Fiscal Year 2008 Recruiting Statistics to Date

(October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008)

FY 2008 Recruiting

Componant Accessions Goal Percent
80,517 80,000 101
38,485 38,419 100
Marine Corps
37,991 37,967 100
Air Force
27,848 27,800 100
Air National Guard
10,749 8,548 126
Air Force Reserve 7,323 6,963 105

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