WASHINGTON – US Army officials said Wednesday that the 247-year-old military branch is facing its biggest recruiting challenges in decades and hopes a new plan will revive its ability to attract young people: a rebrand.
Or at least a reboot of the old slogan, “Be All You Can Be”, used during the 1980s. Officials unveiled two new TV commercials as part of its rebranding for the effort featuring actor Jonathan Majors.
“Clearly all the military services are facing the most challenging recruiting landscape in decades,” said Army Secretary Christine Wermuth. “So it’s a perfect time to launch our new brand.”
He added, “I’m so excited that we’re bringing back a new version of ‘Be All You Can Be’ because I think it really speaks to the many possibilities the military has to offer.”
America spent nearly 20 years at war after the September 11, 2001 attacks, spurring military recruitment until the US formally withdraws from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, speculation has raged about whether the US could be drawn into the conflict, especially if Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his pursuit of a NATO-allied country like Poland.
During the unveiling event, Wermuth said that all military services are facing “the most challenging recruiting landscape in decades”. He added that the Army’s new slogan is “intended to speak to the many possibilities the Army provides.”
Gen. James McConville said that people who don’t have relatives in their families who served in the military may not realize that there are “endless possibilities.”
“Your American soldiers are not only masters of combat weapons, but we have doctors, we have lawyers, we have logicians, we have coders,” McConville said.
Asked what can be done to bridge the gap between the civilian and military worlds in terms of recruiting, Wermuth said the military is working to increase its visibility.
McConville noted that the military has become a “family business”, with a high percentage of men who come from families with military experience.
“Now we need to get out into the communities and away from our bases and camps and make sure that the American people, parents, teachers and young men and women are aware of the opportunities that exist for success in the United States.” exist for,” he said.
Wermuth said the army has set a “very ambitious target” of 65,000 recruits for this year – a jump from last year’s target of 50,000, with 45,000 recruits last year the army fell short of that target.
Wermuth said the Army is spending more on marketing for its recruiting efforts this year with a budget of $117 million.
According to Wermuth, the military is spending more on recruiting incentives such as bonuses targeted at military occupational specialties, which are more difficult to fill, and on its preparation courses for future soldiers.
Wermuth said, “I think we need to keep doing this for a few years because you know, as I often say, we didn’t get into this challenging recruiting landscape overnight.” “And I think it will take us more than a year to get out.”
According to several US military and defense officials, every branch of the US military was struggling to meet its fiscal year 2022 recruiting targets. Numbers obtained by NBC News found both a record-low percentage of young Americans eligible to serve and a slim fraction willing to consider it.
Last year, an Interior Defense Department survey obtained by NBC News found that only 9% of those young Americans were interested in serving in the military, the lowest number since 2007.