Recruiting Costs Soar
WASHINGTON -- Recruiting costs per enlistee hit an all-time high in 1999 even as two of the military's four branches failed to reach recruiting goals, figures released by the armed forces show. In the past five years, the cost per recruit has risen by as much as 74% in the case of the Air Force and in double-digits in the other services. The military has had to spend more to persuade young people to put off college and forgo enticing civilian jobs. Although few expect spiraling recruiting costs to spark calls to bring back the draft, the Pentagon's continuing struggle to fill the ranks could raise questions about the long-term viability of the all-volunteer military. ''The high cost of recruitment is the elephant in the living room that nobody wants to notice,'' says Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University. ''It's costing an arm and a leg.'' The Pentagon spent $1.8 billion on recruiting this year, less than 1% of its total budget.
But at a time when resources are already stretched thin, every dollar spent on recruits before they take the military oath is a dollar that can't be spent on training or housing once they're in:
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