Afghan military operations and the Iraqi war have forced the US army to recruit soldiers without high school diplomas to fill its ranks.
National Priorities Project, a research group that analyzes federal data, found that the percent of Army recruits with a high school diploma dropped last year.
According to the CBS News, in a report released Tuesday the research group said that nearly 71 percent of Army recruits graduated from high school in the 2007 budget year.
All troops must have a high school diploma or an equivalent degree. The military prefers that they have a high school diploma because its studies have shown they are more likely to finish an enlistment term.
The Army’s goal is 90 percent high school graduates, which it hasn’t met since 2004. Each year since, the number of recruits with at least a high school diploma has steadily declined.
The Army has been under growing pressure to strengthen recruiting as part of an ongoing effort to increase its size.