As we approach the end of this fiscal year, we've noticed an increase in the number of recruiting improprieties (RI) as compared to last year. As I look at individual RIs, there seems to be a common theme; "Rushing to Failure". Here are some examples of what I see as the cause and effect:
- Applicants are projected prior to all source documents being scanned into the ERM - recruiters stating, "My center leader told me to project him now to reserve a slot at MEPS."
- The recruiter fails to ask or completely indicate all pertinent medical or moral information quickly selecting 'no' for every question believing that indicating all the information - however minor it may seem - will needlessly delay the application
- Knowingly entering false information regarding an applicant's references, where they lived, and employment history stating, "The applicant couldn't recall," and rather than take the time to find out, enters 123 BS just to get to the next screen.
- Center leaders not taking the time to review the application with applicants to ensure all information is accurate stating, “I had no time that day.”
- Guidance counselors enlisting applicants not qualified for a particular MOS stating, “They didn't take the time to reference the correct messages or qualification information because they were in a hurry.”
- Guidance counselors, senior guidance counselors and/or operations personnel failing to QC the entire packet stating, “They didn't have time or they thought someone else should have caught it.”
There are countless more examples of rushing to failure and/or taking shortcuts resulting in a suspected or actual impropriety. When a Soldier or civilian knows and understands what the standard is and decides to violate that standard, excuses about being in a hurry, not thoroughly checking, or just signing off on something to further the process is simply not tolerated.
Nowhere else in the Army are Soldiers trusted to enact a legally binding, life-changing contract between the government of the United States and its' citizens. When an applicant has made the decision to join the Army, we owe it to them, the applicant, their family, and the U.S. Army to take the utmost care in fulfilling that decision accurately and completely in accordance with law, regulation and policy.
That care is displayed by ensuring their enlistment documents are valid and legible, the information in their enlistment record is complete and accurate, and their history of medical and moral information is fully revealed. Taking shortcuts goes against every principle of standard outlined in our regulations, principles of the values about who we are as an organization, and the trust we have earned by the people of this country.
The few minutes you think you are saving by taking shortcuts is far outweighed by the time, money, and man-hours lost as a result of a recruiting impropriety investigation - not to mention the risk to your career and reputation as a professional.
We will have to appoint an investigating officer who will be busy collecting evidence instead of dedicating time to moving their unit forward. The battalion and brigade commander must also take the time to review the case and appropriately act instead of spending time leading their unit. Then Recruiting Standards Directorate will have to review before forwarding the cases that come to me for action.
Do not forget that if investigated, we will flag you against any favorable action, which could possibly cause hardship for yourself and your family - all just to save a few minutes of extra time and effort.
Consider also, the impact on the applicant and their family. The trust they placed in you as a professional may come into question. Imagine the frustration when, as a minimum, their enlistment is flawed and must be corrected. Or worst case, their enlistment results in fraud and they are taken as a loss or sent home from the reception battalion. How likely will they speak well of you or Army recruiting to others?
We must focus on the fundamentals of how we do business and doing what is right when building a packet. We have numerous checks to ensure we get it right. The USAREC staff and I are trying to streamline the number of checks, but how can I minimize these QC steps when we continuously fail to adhere to standards.
We have seen increases in concealment of medical information, moral records and dependents. The most drastic increase by far has been in falsifying/omitting official documents.
Taking shortcuts and failing to enforce quality control procedures is contrary to the rights and interests of our government, the values and professional ethics of our Army, and fails to safeguard the individuals whom we enlist.
"No one more professional than I." Think about it!
Strength Starts Here!
MG Allen Batschelet