WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter today announced new
efforts to expand military recruiting and to reinvigorate the Reserve Officers’ Training
Corps, or ROTC, program on college campuses to attract a broader segment of young
people into military and public service.
Carter spoke to an audience at The City College of New York, the first stop during a trip
this week to New York, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio to highlight steps the Defense
Department is taking to ensure the future strength, readiness and technological edge
of the nation’s men and women in uniform.
The new personnel and policy changes the secretary announced today build on four
Force of the Future initiatives that he announced last November, January and June.
These include building and increasing on- and off-ramps for technical talent to flow in
both directions, increasing retention among the ranks through increased support to
military families, and improving talent management for the military officer corps and
for the DoD civilian force.
Expanding Military Recruiting
To draw talent for the all-volunteer force from the entire population pool calls for helping
an entire generation better understand who the military is and what it’s about, Carter
said, introducing the fifth link to the force of the future.
“It requires a comprehensive effort across the Department of Defense, expanding
geographic, demographic and generational access in our military recruiting — this being
the focus of our fifth link to the Force of the Future,” he added.
The department will start by improving how it communicates the value of military life,
telling its story in more places, in more ways and to a broader range of audiences, and
Carter said that will be done among other ways by changing how the department
highlights its mission through advertising.
Helping the Services Recruit
The department also will help the services improve their own recruiting efforts, the
secretary said, and the services will experiment with helping their recruiters be more
mobile, leveraging technology so they can recruit across wider geographic areas.
Carter said recruiters also will review some of the benchmarks kids now have to meet to
join the military, including their current physical fitness, tattoos they got when they were
younger, single parenthood and others.
“Some of these things we’ll never be able to compromise on — we’ll always have to
maintain high standards — but at the same time these benchmarks must be kept relevant
for both today’s force and tomorrow’s, meaning we have to ensure they’re not
unnecessarily restrictive. So we’re going to review and update these standards as
appropriate,” he said.