U.S. Army Tries New Recruiting Tactics

Discussion in 'Warfare / Military' started by Lil Mike, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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    It's tough to recruit in a good economy...

    U.S. Army Tries New Recruiting Tactics After Missing Targets

    CHICAGO—The U.S. Army is experimenting with new recruiting tactics as it struggles to connect with young people who have other job options in a strong economy.

    Last year the nation’s largest military branch recruited just under 70,000 troops, about 10% short of its target of 76,500, which marked the first time in a decade the Army missed its goal. For this fiscal year ending in September, they met a more-modest goal of 68,000.

    Experts say the military’s appeal has been waning among young people, and a tight labor market is typically the toughest time to recruit.

    In a pilot program in Chicago, the Army is tailoring its message by neighborhood, adjusting advertising and staffing to match an area’s demographics. The program here is part of a push into nearly two dozen cities where the Army has missed targets in the past. Across the country, the service is tapping into market data the way corporations or political campaigns might, and it is making sure recruiters are the first ones who get issued new eye-catching uniforms.



    Although I don't deny that a flashy uniform can appeal to a 17 or 18 year old, I'm not sure that's going to help to much. Any ideas on how to incentivize military service?
     
  2. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    This has long been an issue, and shows that in fact the economy is doing very well.

    Whenever the economy is doing good, military recruiting always drops. This was why in 2007 they were offering large bonuses and waiving a lot of things they normally did not do in order to get people in (or back in).

    But in my experience, there really is not much to really be done about that. Most of those who only join for money or benefits generally tend to make the worst ones. And for most who join, it is basically a calling. I have long compared those who join the military like that, much like those who go into the clergy, law, medicine, or journalism.

    Most who join had planned on it long before they were old enough to join. Very few make the choice simply because there is no other work to be found, or because of the money offered for enlisting.
     
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  3. Soupnazi

    Soupnazi Well-Known Member

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    Nope.

    Even during times of recession and a poor job market it can be hard for recruiters to meet quotas. Which the army refers to as goals or mission because it sounds better.

    Never checked, but I heard some recruiters claim that in some southern areas such as Alabama or Georgia they installed take a number devices in the offices because there were always people trying to sign up. But then in other areas such as coastal cities the recruiters had to work 20 hour days 365 just to scrape by and save their careers.

    When I reenlisted in 95 they seriously wanted to send me to recruiting school whether I wanted to go or not. Apparently at that time they were having trouble recruiting recruiters. I actually told my CO and anyone who would listen that if I was ordered there I would deliberatly fail every test and exam and get thrown out. At one point I was listening to a class by a recruiter who was trying to recruit recruiters. He actually played a short film which had Charlie Sheens monologue from the end of the movie platoon as a soundtrack. After the film he asked if anyone actually LISTENED to that solder and heard what he was trying to say. When me and a couple others pointed out that Sheen was an actor not a soldier the recruiter got pissed and threw us out of the class.

    In the end they let me reenlist to get a new MOS and post. Wasn't as good as the reenlistment deal I wanted but a hell of a lot better than being a recruiter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  4. Soupnazi

    Soupnazi Well-Known Member

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    Ok second thoughts.

    Dont know if it will work but one idea MIGHT be a campaign similar to the one from the eighties.

    Back in those days the economy was ok ( granted it was not booming but no recession either ) The whole " Be all you can be " campaign seemed to work well.

    An updated version may not solve the problem but it may help a little.
     
  5. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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    I think this is a problem beyond marketing. Although the current post 9/11 GI Bill is a really good deal, and they still have a student loan repayment program. Maybe they could promote those more?

    Ultimately the Army is recruiting for the same pool of high school graduates who are mostly going to college. They need to figure out a way to make the Army as interesting as college.
     
  6. TheKeefer

    TheKeefer Active Member

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    The manpower shortage is nothing new.

    The economy continues to get the blame, but the truth is that the kids today are less qualified to join.

    Studies show that only 29% are eligible to join. Of that 29%, there are many that have no interest in military service.

    These kids also see what Bush's boondoggle in Iraq and Afghanistan have done to servicemen and their families during the past 17 years. I wouldn't join either if I knew I'd be spending most of my career in some middle eastern **** hole with no end game. The Navy is in the same situation with fewer ships and longer deployments. And when the ships are not on deployment, they are doing work up's, inspections, and many other useless BS exorcises in between.

    I live in the Norfolk / Virginia Beach area and speak with many sailors every day ranging from E-2's to Master Chief Petty Officers. The Chief's try to put on a good face, but the lower ranks will tell you straight out that it sucks, and they don't mind who hears it. My son in law is a Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic (AMCS) and has to work 7 days a week for months on end stripping jets of parts just to keep his air wing ready. Parts that should be readily available to begin with.

    66% of the Navy Strike Fighters are grounded for lack of pilots and spare parts.
    https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2...-thirds-of-us-navys-strike-fighters-cant-fly/

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/10/politics/us-navy-planes-grounded/index.html

    Then the Navy, while trying to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to meet it's commitment, came out with a phony report saying that Oceana Naval Air Station had it's fighter jets up to 80% ready status. A total BS report.

    https://news.usni.org/2019/04/05/42436

    The sailors down at the Norfolk piers have it the pretty much same way. They spend more time with "social indoc's" than they do actual training. They don't have the funding to fix much of anything on board, or the expertise to fix anything if they did have the funding. The ships are full of sailors just staring into their cell phones all day long.


    Pfffffft! I wouldn't voluntarily serve in today's military either.
     
  7. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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  8. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    A lot of that is also the regional culture. By percentage, more enlist from rural areas than from urban areas. And by percentage more enlist from Midwest-Southern cities than from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Of those I went to High School with in Idaho, at least 12 others enlisted. Of those I went to High School with in California, only 5 others joined (and that was a much larger school).

    And this is especially true in the SE, where there is a huge local tradition of volunteering to serve your country. The military is absolutely lousy with people from Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and the Carolinas. It seems that if you call out something like "UCLA Bruins" around a platoon, you will hear a ton of shouts back, mostly schools in the SEC.

    And it is amazingly consistent. I saw this in the 1980's, I saw it in the 2000's, I see it still today. You get the scattering form big cities, quite often individuals who are of the "lower classes" that see the military as a way to get out of their situation. Others, where it is a family tradition. I had one soldier who got a brand new Jaguar from her dad when she finished her schooling. Very wealthy family from Idaho, every child that went into the family business (farming and timber) served in the military. It was pretty much accepted that if you wanted to be more than a low person in the family trade you had to serve at least 4 years.
     
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  9. Mamluke13

    Mamluke13 Newly Registered

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    Why do they keep recruiting if they find every excuse to kick people out
     
  10. drluggit

    drluggit Well-Known Member

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    As with so many things, the obvious problems of military life all come down to priorities. Building sweet new buildings is fine, but if you take away the funding for real maintenance of existing infra, you make the place look like two worlds, new, modern, and then the third world sitting literally next door.

    With so much of the money going out for contracting, for improvements, the actual OPTAR for ongoing ops simply evaporates. And the result is what we see today. Folks who aren't interested in working in an environment that doesn't actually support the troops/sailors/marines, because it's going to the cronies instead.
     
  11. Distraff

    Distraff Well-Known Member

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    We spend too much on the military as it stands so I'm fine with a smaller military and maybe we need to invest more in robots and machines, the future of warfare.
     
  12. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Army Chicago advertising tactics:
    [​IMG]
    Army San Francisco advertising tactics:
    [​IMG]


    Army Antifa advertising tactics:
    [​IMG]


    Army outlaw motorcycle gang advertising tactics::
    [​IMG]


    Army Latino advertising tactics:
    [​IMG]

     
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  13. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    This is actually a growing problem worldwide in developed nations.

    Lowered physical fitness levels, higher levels of obesity, higher levels of crime and drug use, lower numbers with a HS diploma. All make for an ever growing percentage of potential recruits who are not eligible.

    My oldest son considered joining. But drug use, lack of a diploma and a criminal record made it impossible. This is becoming all to common nowadays. And I have heard from recruiters here in California it is even harder as drug use is on the rise in this state.
     
  14. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    That is your opinion, and nothing but your opinion. You can not realistically make the claim that people join or do not join based on your own opinions. And since President Obama was in charge for 8 of those years, your claim is pretty much void.

    And about the Navy? It has always been that way! At one time, the typical rotation was 16-24 months of sea duty, then 12-24 months shore duty. And if you are on sea duty, you are either at sea, getting ready to go to sea, or doing the work after your ship has been at sea. That is simply life in the Navy. It has always been that way, it will always be that way.

    And it does not matter if the Navy has 430 ships as it does now, or 600 ships as it did in the 1980s. That is just how the Navy is. I have buddies that spent their entire 4 years on ship duty and never got a shore duty. I knew a guy that recently retired after 30 years, and his only ship duty in that entire time was his last 2 years at his insistence. He spent 28 years entirely on shore duty. That is just how it goes.

    Oh, and the deployments have not changed. Normal deployments, 6 to 9 months. That is for most ships, especially subs, amphibious ships, and the ships that are assigned to protect or service them. It has been that way for decades, it will likely continue that way. For the carriers and the ships that support them, 18-24 months is the average. Once again, it has been that way for decades and will likely continue like that for years.

    But also, typically once a ship returns it has about the same amount of time when it returns to port for refit and replenishment. Minus a few months at the end as it does it's shakedown operations then later when it steams towards it's AO to take over for the ship that replaced it. Nothing new, been that way since before I was born, will continue that way probably for the next 100 years.

    You might as well scream that the sky is blue, and that water is wet. This type of tempo does not appeal to everybody, and it is why of all the branches I considered, the Navy was the lowest on my list. However, it does have the advantage of being the most widely traveled service.

    And it is pretty much the exact same in every single branch. In the Marines, I spent my first 3 years in a non-deployment unit doing security on a Navy base. Then 4 years in an Infantry Battalion. We were either training to prepare for a deployment, deploying, or resetting after a deployment and preparing to go into training for the next one. And that was over 30 years ago, absolutely nothing has changed since then, or in the 30 years prior to that. And after that, I did 3 years in another non-deployment unit training other security forces.

    During the Cold War, Marine Infantry typically rotated in and out of Combat units every 3-4 years, if they wished. And we used to have a lot of them to go to. Barracks Duty, Sea Duty, and Embassy Duty all had enough openings where it was easy for a grunt to spend a few years in a more "regular job" before going back to the Fleet. But now, Barracks and Sea Duty are gone so the grunts typically spend their entire career being grunts.

    Yet they are not having problems meeting recruiting goals. However, they are having some issues meeting retention goals. They have been forced to recruit more and more each year, as fewer choose to stay past their initial enlistment. Last year they had to bump up recruitment from 30k to 38k. They still hit their numbers, but unless they can find a way to give the combat arms (especially Infantry) a place to spend a year or so in "dwell time", this will likely continue.

    That is simply how the military works.
     
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  15. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    That there is my biggest beef with the military today.

    Not even counting contractors, the Department of Defense is 1/3 civilian employees. And while it is hard to actually pin down the real numbers, many estimate the number of contractors that work for the DoD at around 650,000.

    That literally means that of everybody that is paid directly or indirectly by the DoD, only half are actually in uniform. The rest are civilians.

    And the jobs that they are doing largely pisses me off! Guarding gates, cooking in the chow halls, cleaning dishes in the chow halls, issuing supplies and handling pay issues. Mowing the grass and running the gyms. Even changing light bulbs!

    30 years ago, most of those jobs were done by people in uniform. Now we pay even more money for a civilian to do it. Sure, it gives jobs to the local economy, but it also bleeds a lot of money from the DoD budget.

    I bet if we took a machete to the contractor segment of the DoD budget, we can probably shave off at least 20% if not more.
     
  16. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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    My son just ETS's a few weeks ago. He got a contractor job paying twice what he was making in the Army so it was kind of a no brainer, however he feels the Army drove him out. He was highly motivated in Basic and AIT and at that time wanted to make it a career, but the reality of his duty station crushed his spirit more or less. He couldn't stand that there weren't NCO's above him stood for the Army values they parroted.

    I think the Army can talk about pay raises and retention bonuses all they want, but if the leadership is poor, no one wants to deal with that.
     
  17. TheKeefer

    TheKeefer Active Member

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    And that is your opinion.

    You have failed to answer for........

    Fewer kids are meeting the minimum requirements now.

    The kids today get to see the news 5 minutes after events happen, the same type of news that that used to take us days and weeks to learn back in the day. They get to see far more negativity about the military than we did back in the day.

    The kids today are not going to commit to, or accept the same BS that you decided was ok in your time.

    You can pretend this isn't happening all you like.
     
  18. TheKeefer

    TheKeefer Active Member

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    The unnecessary Bush/Obama wars hangover is also a large part of it. The kids today have seen a friend or family member do 3-4-5 tours in wars with no end.

    Thank god that I stopped my son from joining after 9-11.
     
  19. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    And I think you had better go back and read again more carefully. I discussed this quite a while ago actually:

    Yea, I quite specifically talked about that issue. In fact, before you even made that post Lil Mike not only responded to my saying exactly that, but quoted it in his message also.

    Yea, and I am very happy that you talked your son out of joining. Stunning and brave.
     
  20. TheKeefer

    TheKeefer Active Member

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    Only a moron would find any satisfaction in sending their kids off to a useless war.

    Over 4,400 dead.................... for nothing.
     
  21. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Uh-huh.

    Stunning and brave of you.
     
  22. TheKeefer

    TheKeefer Active Member

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    I served my 20 years, so don't even try to tell me what it's all about.

    The kids today are not going to put up with what the uneducated, lifer, non com's and petty officers did in your time.
     
  23. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Kill commies ?

    Today's soldiers can't even pass the WW ll Army PFT today.
     
  24. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    A few years ago I remember watching a standup comedian who was poking fun at the new Army (or maybe Marines?) commercial that went something like: This is your team, you guys haven't eaten in 2 days, haven't slept in 3, and you've been on top of this mountain for a week. Do you have what it takes?

    Then comedian was like "Uh....no lol"

    I'm completely paraphrasing the segment but I understand completely what he was getting at, plus it was hilarious.

    The point is military service is hard even though your experience will vary depending on branch, job, location, etc. But even the most "normal?" of the military jobs are still likely a stark transition from the civilian lives most folks are accustomed to. In the current era of internet, social media, instantaneous communication, etc the "day to day life" of service members are more understood than ever before. There is very little if any "Not sure what I'm getting myself in to" anymore in regards to joining the military. For every super cool video a recruiter shows in the office that potential candidate has already done tons of thorough research on that particular job via internet and has probably spoken to plenty of people in the military who can give first hand accounts of what it's REALLY like.

    In the current era of never ending terrorism wars and ever increasing operations tempo's the military lifestyle is becoming less and less appealing to young folks. I often sit back and ask myself if I could rewind the clock and make myself 18 again right now with full knowledge of what life is like in the Army would I, as an 18 year old kid, agree to do it? The answer is I don't really know, and I'm a guy who never even fantasized about having any job outside of being in the military while growing up.

    A lot of the arguments are basically "Well this generation is full of pansies" or "Kids are too coddled while growing up nowadays" etc. While I do agree with some of that I think the military has to learn how to adapt with the times. Alright sure, the kids nowadays aren't the same as we were in years past, they are spoiled and scared of hard work and discipline or whatever. Fine, they are who we have to pick from, and since we aren't in the business of doing things like conscripting Red Shock Army's we have to figure out how to cater to this "different" generation of kids who we need to become future Soldiers.

    How do we do that? I think toning it down a little bit would help out honestly. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the military is simply asking too much nowadays. I understand the whole mantra of "We know you're given a lot we just ask that you give a little more" but there really does come a point where folks no longer want to "give a little more". I know this is not exactly a popular opinion among many elderly vets but the DoD is asking A LOT from its servicemembers nowadays and it's no longer a secret anymore. Folks thinking about military service KNOW THAT, they've got buddies in the service and/or they read the internet and they say screw that it's not worth it. And THAT is the problem.

    We literally have Soldiers right now fighting a war than began before they were born. We have servicemembers who have been to war 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 times during the course of their careers which is nowhere near uncommon. There comes a point to where even the most loyal and die hard of patriots has had about enough of seeing their kid born, then the next time they see their kid shes walking, then the next time they see her shes like "Whats up who are you?" There comes a point where folks get tired of missing their kids or wives birthdays or anniversary or telling their son I'm sorry again but I can't go to your ballgame Saturday I have to work again. This is happening on a routine basis to tens of thousands if not more servicemembers and has been going on for damn near 20 years and people have had enough of it.

    I'm not complaining so to speak but shedding light on the very real situation thats going on right now. This is not the military of the late 70s, 80s, and 90s anymore. What we are asking from our servicemembers nowadays is A LOT more than we needed to ask of them in years past. There are thousands and thousands of servicemembers who have spent their entire careers in a never ending revolving door of war and home and war and home. Yeah I get it, they are troops that's their job. But they are people who have lives as well and that will wear on even the most hardcore of person eventually.

    How do we attract more people to military service? Give them their lives back. That's the bottom line. Let servicemembers have a life AND be in the military, as it stands now your life IS the military for a lot of people. And that reality is no secret among 18 year old high school graduates as we sit back and seemingly can't figure out why they aren't signing up.

    All of the benefits like free healthcare, free room and board, free food, relatively decent paycheck, etc is no longer WORTH IT for what the military actually asks from you in return in the eyes of many people. It was worth it 2 decades ago, it's not worth it as much now. Kids from the 90s aren't completely foreign to kids in 2019, they aren't THAT different.

    The benefits didn't change, the pay increases with inflation so that didn't change, the barracks these kids live in nowadays are freakin' nice with little keycard personal rooms and their own kitchen and bathroom. A FAR CRY from the bunk beds and wall locker and community bathroom down the hall that I grew up in. Hell even the free DEFAC food is actually GOOD now, it looks like a high end mall food court in those places nowadays. What changed was what they are asking you to give in return for those things.

    All of those (crappy in comparison) things were absolutely worth it to us. We said Hell Yeah! for what they asked in return. Nowadays these kids live 5x better than we could ever imagine but when we tell them what we ask for in return they say go pound sand. Because that seeesaw is nowhere near balanced anymore and THAT'S the problem.

    It's not the money, it's not the benefits, it's the quality of life. Free healthcare and food and decent paycheck means absolutely nothing to an 18 year old kid who has no life anymore outside of the uniform. Give him or her that too, and they will come back. How do we do that? Slow down the tempo and let people go home and have something even remotely resembling a normal life. Time and quality of life, tackling anything but those two things is absolutely pointless in regards to increasing recruitment.
     
  25. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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    Good comments, and I agree with you that the in garrison quality of life now is much better than it was during my barracks days. But people expect that, so I'm not sure that's a selling point.

    For most of the last 17 years, I would have agreed with you about the deployment tempo, but is it really still that bad? Our forces in Afghanistan are small, and the ones in Iraq are even smaller. If deployments are as frequent and intense as they were say, a decade ago, something's gone seriously wrong in planning.

    I guess I really still don't have much of a clue on helping recruiting. I have a better idea on retention however. Although I have a ton of ideas for remolding the Army, probably the key one that would help retention is the elimination of the up or out policy. The constant push to force first termers to go to the promotion board for E-5 seems insane. Most first termers are probably not ready and don't want to be NCO's. Pushing them through to young first term Sergeants when they are not ready means poor supervisor leadership. That was probably the biggest reason my son left rather than re-up; poor leadership. Bring back Specialist 5's so that they have a pay incentive to stay in but are not forced into leadership roles before they're ready.

    I could probably write a book on this...
     

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