How Do We Recruit, Train and Retain the Right People for the Future Force?

June 18, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

This afternoon, panelists discussing challenges the military is facing today in recruiting, training and retaining personnel agreed that parents are playing a larger role in young people's decision to join the military services. Many recruiters today find themselves explaining the benefits the armed forces offer ot only to 17- to 24-year-olds but also to their parents as well. "The propensity for the families to encourage their children to go into the service is low. People are saying the military is a good way to go, but why don't you wait for a while," Maj. Gen. Sean J. Byrne, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Human Resource Command said.

Several members of the panel also commented about the generational change that has occurred during the past few decades. The millennial generation has different priorities, including raising families and supporting their local communities. In addition, high school and college students grew up with the Internet and instant access to information. Keeping this in mind is important when it comes time to determine the best ways to retain personnel in the services.

Despite reports that the military has lowered its standards for recruits, many of the panelists contended that this is not the case. More than 90 percent of the recruits have high school diplomas and two-thirds of them are in the top half of their classes in math and science, explained Dan Gardner, director, readiness and training, policy and programs, Office of the Secretary of Defense.

In terms of training, Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, USMC, command sergeant general major, JFCOM, called for more capabilities in the area of immersive simulation training for ground troops so they are better prepared when they go into battle.

MCPOCG Vince Patton III, USCG (Ret.); MG Sean J. Byrne, USA; Dan Gardner; CMC Gregory Shaw, USN; SgtMaj Bryan B. Battaglia, USMC

Listen to the complete panel here (mp3 link):
How Do We Recruit, Train and Retain the Right People for the Future Force?

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