The percentage of Army recruits with at least a high school diploma dropped again last year continuing a trend that has worsened since the start of the Iraq war. National Priorities Project, a research group that analyzes federal data, found that nearly 71% of Army recruits graduated from high school in the 2007 budget year. All troops must have a high school diploma or an equivalent degree. In some cases the Army has paid for some recruits to take GED preparation courses and the test. The Army’s goal has been 90% high school diploma graduates, but this has not been achieved since 2004. The National Priorities Project noted the percentage of “high quality” recruits–those with high school diploma who scored in the top half on the military’s qualification test– delcined from budget years 2004-2007. In that period the number of high-quality recruits fell from about 61% to nealry 45%.
Graduation figures in themselves need not attest to the quality of an individual’s performance in the military, but the figures revealed by latest data indicate that increasngly the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being fought by those who come from lower economic groups in American society.