Among Americans surveyed by the Pentagon who were in the target age range for recruiting, only 13% had parents who had served in the military, down from about 40% in 1995. The military considers parents one of the biggest influencers for service.
An expert on military personnel policy said middle-class parents, including those who are newly middle class, often encourage their kids to go to college before they select careers, which hurts recruiting for enlisted personnel.
“Changing the mind of parents is the really tough part, particularly if these are parents who worked really hard for their children to go to college,” said Kate Kuzminski of the Center for a New American Security. She noted that recruiting ads increasingly target the parents of potential recruits. “That’s where they’re trying to win the hearts and minds.”
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