In August 2023, the U.S. Army released its latest attempt to reach potential recruits from the generational cohort known as 'Generation Z.' Called "First Steps," it's a series of brief "documentaries" that attempts to capture the spirit and emotions associated with life as a young recruit. A drill sergeant is never seen, but we can hear marching cadence in one of the videos, a siren song that quickly morphs into a sick beat.
Will these spots resonate with Gen Z, the generation of Americans born after 1997? The Army certainly hopes so: In 2018, it invested $4 billion in marketing over the next 10 years to reach them. But so far, that effort has come up short, with the Army expecting to fall 15,000 recruits short of its goal in 2023 -- the largest shortfall of all branches of the U.S. military. The Navy expects to be 10,000 recruits short while the Air Force will miss its goal by 3,000; only the Marine Corps believes it will meet its own needs.
Gen Z interest in military service is low and only dropping lower. The Wall Street Journal reports that only 9% of American youth ages 16-21 said they would consider enlisting in 2022, which is down from the 13% recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears no one wants to join the military, and the military can't seem to figure out what to do about it.
Also Read: The Army Could Not Effectively Address Gen-Z's Misconceptions About Army Life
There is one Gen Z officer who believes he has the answer to the military's recruiting woes. Second Lt. Matthew Weiss is a 25-year-old Marine Corps intelligence officer whose new book, "'We Don't Want You, Uncle Sam: Examining the Military Recruiting Crisis with Generation Z" lays out what he believes are some of the major problems his generation has with military service -- and what the military can do about it.
Before joining the Marine Corps, Weiss worked for Anduril Industries, now a defense contractor specializing in artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons systems. During Weiss' time there, it was a tech startup, and he observed how the company attracted new talent as they graduated from college, even in a highly competitive sector.
Weiss went on to study business at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, earning a bachelor's degree and an MBA there. Though young, a newly minted Marine Corps officer with his background might have some of the answers the Department of Defense has spent years and billions searching for.
Weiss breaks down the book into four parts, analyzing Gen Z recruitment, bringing military working conditions and generation expectations into alignment, an analysis of sociocultural influences and "Scope of Service," how the military can give back to society.
Some of Weiss' proposed issues are ones the military might expect from Zoomers. based on what it thinks it knows about the youth of America. Others might be wholly unexpected. But there are places where the values of military services and the values of Gen Z align.
For starters, the book says Gen Z needs an impact they can strive toward; a unique calling, bigger than the individual. Weiss suggests determined mentorship, where Gen Z service members would provide a certain number of hours per year talking to potential recruits, a "Z-Z, heart-heart meaning discussion."
Weiss also believes the current military pay structure is "incongruous" for a generation that watches their peers gain followers on social media. In their mind, better performance should mean more money. To that end, he suggests performance bonuses be added to military pay for those who succeed.
A somewhat counterintuitive suggestion Weiss offers is rooted in Gen Z's connection to devices. Some, Weiss believes, are being "crushed" by the "constant pinging," causing them to crave time to be unplugged from the rest of the world. The military can offer this like no other institution, he says, with real-world responsibilities and experiences away from their devices.
Those are just a few interesting examples. In all, Weiss offers 21 chapters of fact-based problems and solutions written with "the intention of diagnosing and solving a real and serious issue facing our nation," coming from the personal experiences of a Gen Z military officer who did a lot of research to help solve it.
“We Don't Want You, Uncle Sam: Examining the Military Recruiting Crisis with Generation Z” is on sale now in both paperback and on Amazon Kindle e-readers.
-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at email@example.com. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, or on LinkedIn.
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FORT KNOX, Ky. – A team of Soldiers and civilians from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command completed the Army Knowledge Management Representative Course taught by members of the Combined Arms Center from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, July 18-20.
Students were given an overview of Knowledge Management as detailed in the Army Technique Publication 6-01.1, which provides doctrine for the organization and operations of the KM section and establishes the doctrinal principles, techniques, and procedures necessary to effectively integrate KM into the operations of a brigade and higher.
Everetta Davis, knowledge management chief, 1st TSC, requested the mobile training team come to Fort Knox to provide training to 1st TSC personnel who attend her KM working group, so that they could learn the value of KM.
“They provided this training in order to jump start our KM working group and to assess our KM maturity level. We also wanted to explore how our unit could enhance our organizational performance using techniques for effective knowledge management,” Davis explained.
“The training consisted of the fundamentals of data literacy and the people, processes and tools components of knowledge management,” Davis added.
Davis received some insightful advice and specific points of contact to help refine processes currently in place, as well as create processes that could benefit the 1st TSC in the future.
“This will benefit the 1st TSC, because it provides us with a roadmap so that we can successfully assess, design, develop, pilot, and implement systems that work better for us,” she added.
“The KM process creates, organizes, applies, and transfers knowledge and we will use this process based on our requirements and the requirements of our mission, Davis explained.
Sgt. Akoh Bagoudou, senior information technology specialist, 1st TSC, attended the three-day training. “One of the benefits of this class is that it showed participants that KM is more than just tools, but it is part of Army Doctrine and involves all of us at all levels,” he explained.
“The biggest thing I got out of this training is that a significant part of KM involves capturing tacit knowledge, knowledge residing in people's minds, and converting it into explicit knowledge, documents, databases, and more,” Bagoudou said.
As an IT Specialist, Bagoudou uses and understands most of the KM tools to complete daily tasks, but his overall KM knowledge was low prior to completing this course.
After completing the training, he said, “I am fully equipped and loaded to perform my duty as KM.
“Overall, this KM training equipped me with the knowledge and tools to effectively manage knowledge within my section, my unit, or organization. It empowered me to drive the implementation of KM strategies that enhance productivity, innovation, and decision-making processes,” Bagoudou shared.
Davis hopes to have the training team return in a year to conduct another assessment. “I believe that the value of this class and an honest look into our people, processes, tools, and organization can only benefit us in our future endeavors,” she concluded.
We were ranked in the Top 5 nationwide by Washington Monthly for the percentage of students that participate in ROTC over the past 5 years. Our battalion is relatively large for the size of our school. The small-school feel of Clarkson, along with the strong military presence on campus, makes it a comfortable and supportive place to train in becoming an Army leader.
In the North Country of New York, environmental training opportunities are abundant. The Adirondack Mountains are just minutes away with their trails and nature preserves. Also, Clarkson is located near Fort Drum, which allows close contact with one of the most deployed divisions in the Army, the 10th Mountain Division.
There are also outreach opportunities. Every year, we team up with campus clubs to send care packages to deployed soldiers who will spend their holidays overseas. Come be a part of something special with the Clarkson Army ROTC cadets.
Video: Blackhawk helicopters visit Clarkson
BEIJING -- A new edition of a study outline on Xi Jinping's thinking on strengthening the military has been published.
The Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission (CMC) organized the compilation work of the new edition based on the original version of the study outline published in 2019.
This edition of the study outline expounds on the significance, scientific system, essence and practical requirements of the thinking. It fully demonstrates the thinking's latest development and will serve as fundamental material for its study, according to an official statement.
The CMC recently issued a circular calling for careful study and utilization of the new edition of the study outline.
The Indian Army is hosting the Battle of Minds Quiz 2023, a national-level quiz competition for school students. The quiz is open to all students from classes 6 to 10. Know the details here.
Indian Army’s Battle of Minds Quiz
To raise awareness and motivate the youth, the Indian Army announced the Battle of Minds Quiz 2023 on the occasion of the 25th year of Vijay Kargil Diwas.
Source: Press Information Bureau
This is a national-level quiz competition that will be held for school students. The quiz is designed to test the knowledge and innovation of young minds and to promote the values of the Indian Army, such as courage, determination, and teamwork.
The Press Information Bureau states: “In a momentous stride towards fostering knowledge and empowering the youth, the Indian Army proudly unveiled ‘Battle of Minds’ - Indian Army Quiz 2023 along with its captivating logo, today at the Manekshaw Centre in Delhi Cantonment.”
“To announce the commencement of 25th year of Kargil Vijay Divas celebrations, the quiz competition celebrates the victory of the Indian Armed Forces in the Kargil War rendering a heartfelt tribute to the bravery and courage of those who made that victory possible,” it adds.
The event will take place in a hybrid mode both offline and online and it is aimed at students aged 10-16 years.
Further, the quiz will have 5 rounds which include:
The participation of female students from all co-ed schools is compulsory. This is to ensure that there is equal participation of boys and girls.
Registration for this quiz is free and there are a lot of exciting prizes for the winners. The Press Information Bureau mentions: “Conduct modality of the quiz competition focuses on five key elements, namely,
To conclude, the Battle of Minds Quiz 2023 is a great way for students to learn more about the Indian Army and its role in national security. It is also a chance for them to showcase their knowledge and patriotism.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, has called on personnel in the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to document their experiences to advance the frontiers of military knowledge.
He explained that, books which mostly contain historical truths and factually verifiable information could help eradicate misrepresentations about military and security matters and shape the notion of current and future personnel.
"I see a lot of stalwarts whose personal profiles will not only make interesting reading but also teach life changing lessons to posterity while immortalising your memory in the annals of literary works," the CDS said in a statement read on his behalf by the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu in Accra yesterday.
He was speaking at the launch of a 202 page book authored by Brigadier General Daniel Kwadwo Frimpong (Rtd).
Titled, "The Military My Life," the book chronicles the life and career experiences of the author during his early years in school through his 43-year military career.
It contains information about some of the major historical events of the 1970s and 1980s and also gives a personal experience of the dramatic, and often tragic events of the 1979-1982 period when attempted coups, coups and counter-coups were the order of the day.
The book provides firsthand accounts of events during the revolutionary period and highlights roles some officers played in the captured happenings of the time. "The pen is mightier than the gun. Through it, we are able to pen down our memoirs like what Brigadier General Dan Frimpong has done and contribute to public discourses on topical national and global issues which create long lasting impact on generations yet unborn and that is a value that no amount of money can buy," Vice Admiral Amoama stated.
Brigadier General Frimpong (rtd) also reiterated the need for personnel to write down the knowledge and experiences gathered during their career course.
He explained that documentation of experiences help to protect and safeguard history and prevent others from twisting occurrences to meet their interest.
"We must prevent others from re-writing our own history. If we write down our history, the fact is kept and not twisted.
"The absence of books on career knowledge means we must always reinvent the wheel. So long as we do not write, we will always go back and that's not helpful," Brigadier General Frimpong (rtd) stated.
Additionally, he advised current military personnel to maintain high professional standards in their workings saying that, professionalism was key in promoting the values of the GAF.
He said, professionalism could be realised through the personnel keeping a high level of integrity in their dealings.
"The work of a military thrives on intelligence, knowledge and many other skill. However, without integrity, professionalism is discarded which reflect badly on any military personnel," Brigadier General Frimpong (rtd) stated.
It all started in the Deer Park Public Library. In 1987, at age 13, I found a copy of Tim O’Brien’s “Going After Cacciato,” a novel about a platoon searching for a GI who left his unit during the Vietnam War. I fell in love with the characters and saw myself in Eddie Lazzutti, the soldier who turned every tragic situation into comedy. I tore through the book in three days and by the end, I knew I wanted to be a soldier forever.
Last week my time as a soldier culminated with a formal retirement ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base. I was not quite a soldier forever: I served for 27 years. If the Army would have let me, I would have kept going.
In the aftermath of that ceremony, I’m feeling a frenzied range of human emotions, both positive and negative. Joy, regret, loss, sorrow, triumph — too much to process right now.
When I reflect on my Army career, time seems to collapse in on itself; Twenty-seven years in the blink of an eye. I entered that world as an artilleryman. We were an Army with green camouflage uniforms, black boots and a sense that the United States, having vanquished the Soviet Union, had no real adversaries left.
All the rest seems to have happened in an instant:
Throughout my service, I’ve revisited “Going After Cacciato” as often as I needed to. The characters, so full of love for one another, have always served as a reminder of why I was moved to serve.
It was a rewarding, meaningful near-three decades of service for my wife and me. It was my final assignment, as communications director for U.S. Central Command (CentCom) — a position of strategic importance that connected me to the top of the U.S. government — that was the most important, and most meaningful.
It’s fitting that we served our final assignment and our final years here in Tampa. CentCom, the American command with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Middle East, is a critical institution for the country and the world. Every day, the CentCom headquarters buzzes with activity.
I lived on MacDill Air Force Base, less than 1 mile from the headquarters of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCom). I passed that headquarters every day. Combined, CentCom and SOCom were the foundation for America’s response to 9/11, the two commands leading the Global War on Terror. One or both of these organizations have been central to virtually every major U.S. military operation of the past 35 years, from the Persian Gulf War to the Osama bin Laden raid, and everything in between.
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So many great leaders have retired from either CentCom and SOCom and blended in with the Tampa community. They return to the base as if they’ve never left. Over time, MacDill Air Force Base and South Tampa have grown together like two connected organs. Like many before us and many after us, my family is settling down here. We’re not sure what’s next, but we’re certain it will be rewarding.
As I drove off of MacDill Air Force Base for the final time this past week, I reflected on the novel that set me on this path. In particular, I thought of a passage that is particularly meaningful to me right now. Toward the end of the book, Lt. Paul Corson, Cacciato’s platoon leader, offers advice to his men: “And now it is the time for a final act of courage. I urge you: March proudly into your own dream.”
Here in Tampa, that’s exactly what I will do.
Joe Buccino is a newly retired U.S. Army colonel. His last post was as communications director of U.S. Central Command. He is the owner and CEO of Grave of Bulkington Media.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – Members of 5th Armored Brigade Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention teams attended the 49th Annual National Organization for Victim Assistance Training Conference to enhance the unit’s commitment to serve and resource sexual assault survivors here July 31- Aug. 3.
The national conference boasted various subject-matter experts and workshops to enhance skill sets and foster networking between the more than 2000 attendees consisting of U.S. military SHARP professionals and their counterparts across other government agencies, victim advocates, and crisis responders.
“As a victim advocate, I found the NOVA conference to be a great opportunity to brainstorm with other professionals in the field during the workshops,” said Sgt. 1st Class Stephanique J. Jones, victim advocate with TF Viper, 2-364th TSBN. “Our goal is to provide the best support and care to survivors and help them make an informed decisions, so the more we learn from others, the more we can offer.”
NOVA also serves with credentialling through the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP), which was established to standardize sexual assault response to victims and professionalize victim advocacy roles of Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocates through continued skill-based education.
“I joined NOVA to grow my knowledge of D-SAACP and help new and credentialed victim advocates navigate the process of credentialing,” said Alisa M. Winchester, NOVA D-SAACP manager and human resources first lieutenant with 85th U.S. Army Reserves Command. “My work as a victim advocate for TF Viper, 2-309th Training Support Battalion, 5th AR Bde. last year set the foundation for helping others which I hope to continue by advancing the field of victim advocacy and connecting to a leading professional network in education, training, and development with the NOVA community.”
This year’s NOVA conference theme, ‘the power of connection,’ resonated with attendees.
“This was the most beneficial conference to me in my five years serving as a victim advocate because I was able to connect with other victim advocates within the command and across our nation,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jackie E. Holland, D-SAACP certified victim advocate with Task Force Conquer, 1-289th Training Support Battalion. “Additionally, we were able to learn more about the Independent Review Committee findings and changes that are being made. I discovered that President Joe Biden had just signed an executive order designating a Special Trial Counsel for sexual assault cases removing the decision to prosecute away from commanders.”
On July 28, just days before the conference kicked off, President Biden signed an order removing key-decision making power from commanders and transferred to independent military prosecutors.
“The changes that are projected to take place this December include adding more full-time civilian personnel to the SHARP Program,” said Loquitta Collier, 5th Armored Brigade victim advocate. “In theory, I believe this makes it easier for uniformed personnel to come forward with a sexual harassment or sexual assault report to someone who is not a member of their chain of command. The NOVA conference revealed new changes to the SHARP program taking effect next year, which is a step towards positive change, and I look forward to the program’s progression.”
Guest speaker Mayra Guillen, founder of the I am Vanessa Guillen Foundation and policy reform advocate, highlighted the timeline of major events that led to historic reform to the uniformed code of military justice.
“Advocacy has led to an executive order by President Biden establishing sexual harassment as a military offense Jan. 26, 2022, which will protect our service members and give justice and accountability to silenced victims,” said Guillen. “My sister Vanessa [Guillen] was a very kind-hearted, determined person and I know that she would of wanted me to keep going… so for us to be here today, with just this past Friday, one of the greatest reforms was signed by President Biden which transfers key decision-making authorities from commanders to specialized, independent military prosecutors in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, murder, and other serious offenses by amending the UCMJ, I hope she is proud of everything we have been able to do in her honor.”
The U.S. Army's SHARP Program is the Army's integrated, proactive effort to end sexual harassment and sexual assault within our ranks. Sexual harassment and sexual assault have no place in the Armed Forces. For more information on the SHARP program, please visit www.safehelpline.org or call 1-877-995-5247.
A Russian military blogger this week accused his country's military officials of encouraging soldiers to exaggerate their successes in destroying Ukrainian equipment.
In reporting on the blogger's post, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) on Thursday wrote the blogger said Russian servicemen have been instructed to "report false successes on their missions to please their commanders and claimed that commanders and peers actively discourage Russian military personnel from writing honest, but 'dull' and negative reports."
The Washington, D.C.-based think tank said the blogger indicated that Russian soldiers have staged some scenes of battle destruction. They have allegedly done this by filming helicopter and artillery units "firing on the same, previously damaged Western-provided armored fighting vehicle from different angles and on different days and reported them as separate kills at least three times," according to the ISW.
Images and videos from the frontlines of the war that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched in February 2022 are a constant presence on social media, and Telegram is now a favored platform for voices from both sides of the conflict. Military bloggers, or milbloggers, have become especially influential in Russia, and many of these writers claim to have military knowledge in Telegram posts.
As a sign of the influence these journalists now have over Russian public opinion, Putin held a direct meeting with several milbloggers on June 13 to discuss issues related to the war.
A milblogger who posts under the name "Colonel Shuvalov" on Telegram made the accusations of Russian soldiers exaggerating their battlefield successes. WarTranslated, an independent media project that translates materials about the war into English, shared Shuvalov's August 7 post—which could not be independently Checked by Newsweek—on the site X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday.
"Now I'll say a vile and unpopular thing, but let at least one active officer point that out if I'm lying: Before, and after the appearance of Western military equipment—in general, a very popular way to give a good result upwards is to beautifully fire at the enemy's already destroyed equipment," Shuvalov wrote, according to WarTranslated.
The blogger then reportedly described how a United States-made Bradley fighting vehicle destroyed by Russian forces could be used for maximum exposure.
He said the Bradley can "be beautifully fired at from helicopters, and tomorrow you can hit it from self-propelled guns. With video recording, reports, and all the right angles. So this becomes not one, but three wrecked Bradleys."
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense via email for comment.
The ISW noted Colonel Shuvalov said that "everyone in the Russian military knows that servicemen do this and that the Russian military leadership has no intention of stopping servicemen from making false or embellished reports."
The think tank wrote other milbloggers have made similar accusations in the past as well as have suggested that the Russian Ministry of Defense may be using these fabrications as a way to "inflate Ukrainian losses."
"The Kremlin has previously used wildly inflated Ukrainian armored vehicle losses to portray Russian defensive operations as extremely effective," the ISW said.
The Niagara Falls Storage Site has been the home of buried Manhattan Project waste for decades. The Army Corps of Engineers is closing in on plans to clean it up.
LEWISTON, N.Y. — The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been tasked with overseeing the cleanup and remediation of the Niagara Falls Storage Site since 1997.
The NFSS, as it's often referred to, sits on the land that was once Lake Ontario Ordnance Works.
LOOW, as it's often referred to, was a 7,500-acre TNT manufacturing facility built in 1942. When it went online in October of that year, the factory produced 390,000 tons of TNT every day.
But even at the height of World War II, there's only so much TNT the military needed. Production at the facility halted nine months later in July 1943.
Shortly after the TNT manufacturing ceased, the Manhattan Engineering District began sending waste to the Niagara County Site.
Everything from uranium, radium, cesium and thorium have been detected throughout the LOOW and NFSS site.
Since 1997 the Army Corps of Engineers have conducted routine testing and monitoring of the Interim Waste Containment Site, the clay-covered pit where 250,000 cubic yards of Manhattan Project waste have been stored. The IWCS was first built in 1986.
When it was constructed, the IWCS only had a 25 to 50-year lifespan, and finding a more permanent solution for the waste was always a priority for the USACE.
Last week they awarded a $40 million contract that will begin phase one of the remediation in property around the IWCS within the Niagara Falls Storage Site.
"This is not the interim waste containment structure. It's everything outside of that," said Amy Gaskill, public affairs specialist for the USACE Buffalo District. "We've been sampling and doing investigations along this site for many years and understand exactly where these pockets of contaminants are."
While USACE knows where the contamination outside the interim waste containment site is, the best way to remove it off site has yet to be determined.
"What the contractor is going to be doing for us is developing a work plan in this first phase, to help us understand how they're going to safely move these contaminated soils off site so that there is no risk at all to human health outside of this facility," Gaskill said.
A public hearing will be hosted by the Army Corps of Engineers in February 2024, after that the design will take several more months to complete.
"We're going to developing our work plans over the cold months," said project manager Brent Laspada. "We're anticipating probably somewhere in the spring summer timeframe we'll be doing the majority of the work here."
Laspada says the phase one work will take about one year to complete.
Completing phase one will make way for the $500M phase II, where the Army Corps will oversee the complete removal of nearly 390,000 tons of waste that is currently residing in the IWCS.
While that project is still several years from beginning, the decision to remove all the waste, according to Laspada, was the fight the community put up throughout the 90's and early 2000's.
"One of the things we heard was remove it, and get rid of it," Laspada said. "We listened as an organization."