The U.S. Army Special Forces have had initial success with recruiting new members directly from civilian life. The Special Forces had done this from 1952 to 1988, when it switched to just taking people who were already in the armed forces. This yielded a slightly higher percentage of people passing all the screening and training tests. But over the past few years, recruiting has been less successful, the Army wants to expand the force and Special Forces retirements are increasing. So direct recruitment has returned and has, so far, been successful. Last year, when the program began, the goal was 400 men, but 460 acceptable candidates were found. This year, the army is going for 600. The candidates must pass demanding physical and mental tests, and then sign a five year enlistment contract for service in the infantry. A bonus of $13,000 is offered for those who complete their five year contract. This is useful because nearly fifty percent of candidates for Special Forces jobs do not pass the training. It is tough, academically, physically and psychologically. For those who do not make it, the army seeks to keep them as infantry NCOs, or even officers. The civilians recruited via this program are quality folks, and the army likes to keep them, even if they turn out to be unsuitable for Special Forces. While few candidates have any problem with the nine weeks of basic training, the two years of Special Forces training can be grueling, demanding and exhausting. Currently, the Special Forces are about 20 percent understrength.