Infantry: August 16, 2002


Even before September 11, 2001, the army was having trouble getting enough qualified candidates for the Special Forces. Drawing recruits largely from junior sergeants who were very smart, in excellent physical shape and willing to make a radical career change provided a small recruiting pool. So they reintroduced the policy of allowing civilians to apply directly. This can be tricky (it had been tried earlier, with mixed results). The recruit is taking a risk. If they flunk out (and most candidates do) they will be stuck with a three year obligation in the army anyway. This often causes unhappy soldiers. This time, the army is trying to make candidates more aware of what they are getting into and doing more screening before the civilian candidates sign their enlistment contract. There are a lot of civilians who are Special Forces material, but it's difficult to spot them before getting the applicants through SFAS and SFQC. Since screening for commandos began during World War II, there has been a lot of research into developing better screening procedures, but no one has been able to shorten the process by much or come up with a short, foolproof, test.


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