United States Military Entrance Processing Command is the vital link between recruiting and training today's armed forces. The command's motto, "Freedom's Front Door " symbolizes the command's mission of determining the physical, mental and moral qualifications of every member of the armed services. There is no other door. Knocking on and walking through "Freedom's Front Door" isn't easy. While the door is open to everyone, only qualified applicants succeed. Thousands of new service members proudly walk through that door each year to fill the ranks of our nation's armed forces.
USMEPCOM, with headquarters in Building 3400, Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Great Lakes (North Chicago), IL, is a joint service command under the direction of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy and is staffed by representatives of all branches of the Armed Forces. The command, through its 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations, determines whether applicants are qualified for enlistment based on standards set by the Department of Defense and the services. Two sectors and 12 battalions provide intermediate management of the MEPS. Eastern Sector and Western Sector Headquarters are colocated with the headquarters in North Chicago. Each sector is subdivided into six battalions responsible for five to six MEPS within their region.
"From green walls to red carpet" is an accurate description of how the examination process has evolved through the years. Reflecting the command's "Red Carpet" treatment for applicants, processing at the MEPS is tailored to the needs of today's applicants. This is a radical departure from the old practice of herding young people through a maze of examination stations in drab, green-walled military buildings. Today's applicants are treated with dignity and receive a relaxed first military experience thanks to a combination of individual customer orientation and modern, efficiently designed facilities.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, known as the ASVAB, is an integral part of applicant qualification. The command administered 460,000 enlistment ASVAB tests during fiscal year 2011 at the 65 MEPS and more than 445 Mobile Examining Team sites throughout the country. The ASVAB is offered as a pencil and paper test at MET sites and as a Computerized Adaptive Test(CAT-ASVAB) at the MEPS. Either version of the ASVAB provides basic qualification and assurance that enlistees have a strong chance of success in specific technical training and occupations.
Additionally, 658,000 high school students were tested under the Department of Defense Student ASVAB Testing Program during the 2010-11 school year. The student ASVAB provides a counseling tool for guiding students in their academic and vocational program while furnishing a"talent pool" of qualified potential enlistees to the military recruiting services.
Thorough medical examinations are used to determine applicants' physical qualifications for enlistment. Near the end of fiscal year 2011, more than 380 MEPS physicians administered 310,000 medical examinations. These examinations help ensure that applicants can meet the demanding physical challenges of basic training and military service.
Background screening of applicants is equally important to military entrance processing. It includes pre-enlistment interviews, fingerprinting and initiating Entrance National Agency Checks.
By determining applicants' qualifications for enlistment, USMEPCOM provides military training centers with fully qualified, motivated, top-notch recruits. During fiscal year 2011, 227,000 young people met those rigid standards en route to service in the armed forces.
In the event of mobilization, the USMEPCOM mission would adjust to meet the requirements for induction and deployment of forces. If our national security is threatened and mobilization is required, the number of people processed would quadruple, with most individuals reporting through the Selective Service registration system.
Processing today's armed forces requires USMEPCOM to have a highly competent, technical and motivated team of professionals. Each MEPS military and civilian member is a vital part of attaining the ultimate goal ... bringing the nation's best young people on to the country's defense team.