Studies reveal that only three out of every ten Americans in the eligible enlistment age range would meet the minimum requirements to qualify for service eligibility. These requirements include possessing a high school diploma or GED, being drug free, having a clean criminal record, being physically fit, and scoring high enough on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude (ASVAB) test. All of the service branches are concerned with the dwindling population of eligible new recruits.
The Army is taking the first steps towards increasing the population of eligible potential-recruits by broadening the assessment of individuals wishing to enlist. The Army is considering altering its recruiting criteria to look at non-cognitive indicators of what’s likely to make someone successful in the military.
The Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel, Lt. Gen. James McConville, said the service is increasingly realizing that ASVAB scores aren’t the only good predictor of what will make a successful soldier. The Army looks at many of its senior enlisted leaders as an example. These proven soldiers may not have scored well on their ASVAB tests or SATs, but through the course of their military careers, they have displayed a resiliency and tenacity for mission accomplishment that far exceeds what any tests currently given can gauge.
Scientists at the Army Research Institute have begun to explore new ways to measure desirable traits that are difficult to capture with the currently offered standardized tests. The future tests will be able to determine traits such as how adaptable a soldier would be and how resilient a potential recruit might be when exposed to stressful situations. Army officials believe that this method of testing could benefit some future applicants who wouldn’t score well on traditional tests.
The modern U.S. Army needs members in its forces who can rapidly innovate in response to quickly unfolding crises around the world. For this reason, the Army is no longer as interested in how well a potential recruit scores on a vocational or academic test. They are looking for resilient soldiers who can adapt and overcome stressful environments. And they are developing a way to identify those men and women through non-cognitive measures.
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Military Connection: Army Rethinks Enlistment Tests: By Debbie Gregory