Why do so many candidates fail to become Reconnaissance Marines?

With an attrition rate of over 50 percent, the Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC) is one of the more difficult Special Operations selection programs in the U.S. military. Adding the rest of the Recon pipeline to the equation, and the attrition rate skyrockets.

In an effort to improve the success rate of the pipeline, Captain Albert Cole Nowicki wrote his thesis in the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) on the subject.  Before commissioning, Captain Nowicki was an enlisted Recon Marine (served also in a Force Reconnaissance company) and Marine Raider, so he certainly knows his stuff.

According to the abstract, Captain Nowicki’s thesis “conducts a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the criteria used to select candidates for the BRC. The research uses multi-variate logistic regression models and survival analysis to determine to what extent the current requirements to attend the Basic Reconnaissance Course are indicators of success. Using data from multiple cohorts of BRC students, this research develops a predictive model that allows the Marine Corps to more successfully recruit and train the most likely candidates to graduate BRC. The results of this study suggest that the Physical Fitness Test and General Test are the most significant predictors of success.”