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Military Enlistment of Hispanic Youth

Military Enlistment of Hispanic Youth: Obstacles and Opportunities

Beth J. Asch
Christopher Buck
Jacob Alex Klerman
Meredith Kleykamp
David S. Loughran
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    Military Enlistment of Hispanic Youth
    Book Description:

    Although polls of Hispanic youth show a strong propensity to serve in the military, Hispanics are nonetheless underrepresented among military recruits. The authors discuss the major characteristics that disproportionately disqualify Hispanic youth and explore actions that could be taken to increase Hispanic enlistments.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4678-9
    Subjects: Technology, Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: Hispanic Enlistments in Perspective
    (pp. 1-6)

    The representation of Hispanics and other minorities in the military is an ongoing concern of policymakers in Congress and in the military. At the beginning of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF), in 1974, the Senate Armed Services Committee mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) publish statistics annually on the social representation of the armed forces in terms of such characteristics as race, ethnicity, marital status, and age (Senate Committee on Armed Services, 1974). This concern grew out of the social representation of the draft force during the Vietnam War and criticism that the burden of military service, and especially war...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Overview of Service Enlistment Standards
    (pp. 7-20)

    In fiscal year (FY) 2007, DoD enlisted 181,170 individuals. To ensure that these individuals were qualified for the rigors of military service, the services applied a range of standards. This chapter provides an overview of the qualifications for enlisting in active duty service established by DoD. Since individual service branches can impose more restrictive standards, this chapter also provides a summary of those standards. A more detailed listing of the qualifications is provided in Appendix A, and supporting material about qualifications is provided in Appendix B. The chapter provides input to the analyses presented in later chapters of the report....

  11. CHAPTER THREE Enlistment Qualifications
    (pp. 21-50)

    In Chapter One, we learned that Hispanics are underrepresented among military accessions. Historically, the military services have pointed to relatively low rates of high school completion among Hispanics as the principal reason for this underrepresentation, but a number of other factors may also be at play. This chapter focuses on the importance of five enlistment standards in limiting the pool of eligible Hispanics. We consider the effect on eligibility of these five enlistment standards, compliance with which we can measure reasonably well in survey data. The standards are (1) the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score, (2) body weight, (3)...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Health Obstacles to the Enlistment of Hispanic Youth
    (pp. 51-64)

    Health is a major criterion for both enlisting in the military and continuing to serve. As discussed in Chapter Two and Appendixes A and B, the screening process considers a large number of health factors. In this chapter, we discuss why we might expect health factors to screen out Hispanics disproportionately. The analysis supplements the analysis in Chapter Three. The purpose of health standards is to ensure that service men and women are medically able to carry out their responsibilities, not likely to be absent from duty because of a serious health problem, and not likely to compromise the health...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Analysis of Hispanic Military Career Outcomes
    (pp. 65-86)

    The services screen applicants to ensure that recruits meet enlistment standards and that enlistees are productive members of the military. Yet these standards can be obstacles to entry for many youth, particularly minorities. As discussed in earlier chapters, high school graduation, AFQT, and weight are the key standards that disproportionately screen out Hispanic and black youth relative to white youth.

    Several types of policy changes would have the effect of increasing minority recruitment and representation in the military. Chapter Six presents analysis relevant to the topic of recruiting more intensively among minorities who already meet the military’s entry requirements. This...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Increasing Hispanic Enlistments: Evaluating Education and Career Choices
    (pp. 87-116)

    Increasing the supply of Hispanics in the military would require (1) increasing the pool of Hispanics eligible for military enlistment, (2) recruiting more eligible Hispanics, or (3) relaxing current standards so that a larger percent of Hispanic youth qualifies for enlistment.

    With regard to the first approach, DoD could actively seek to increase eligibility given current enlistment standards by encouraging greater rates of high school graduation and educational achievement, perhaps by supporting educational and community service programs or by directly coaching and training potential recruits to pass existing standards. The second approach entails increasing efforts to recruit Hispanics who qualify...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Policy Implications
    (pp. 117-120)

    Hispanics are a growing segment of the youth population, yet are underrepresented among military recruits. Hispanic underrepresentation is puzzling, considering that Hispanic young people are more likely than other groups to express a positive attitude toward the military.

    A widely cited reason is Hispanics’ below-average rate of graduation from high school, combined with the services’ preference for recruits with high school diplomas. But other, less studied, factors may also contribute. This project was designed to analyze the factors that lead to the underrepresentation of Hispanic youth among military enlistments. Then, to help policymakers evaluate the feasibility of improving Hispanic enlistments...

  16. APPENDIX A Detailed Information on Enlistment Standards
    (pp. 121-168)
  17. APPENDIX B Service Waiver Policy
    (pp. 169-176)
  18. APPENDIX C Estimates of Prevalence of Health Conditions, by Race and Ethnicity
    (pp. 177-180)
  19. APPENDIX D Tests of Statistical Significance in Medical Disqualification Rates
    (pp. 181-188)
  20. References
    (pp. 189-194)