The U.S. Army will always face challenges recruiting the soldiers it needs, but an uphill battle is no excuse not to strive to do better —or learn from other countries' modernization efforts.
The U.S. and British Army's new recruiting strategies suggest two distinct approaches to recruiting young people for military service. "Your Army Needs You" is the British Army's next effort in its overarching "This is Belonging" campaign, which focuses on an underrepresented aspects of service: camaraderie. Comparatively, the U.S. Army in October unveiled "Warriors Wanted," its first campaign in two years, with a conventional focus on the nitty-gritty of warfighting.
While both campaigns attempt to gain the interest of the elusive 18-to 24-year-olds who make up 'Generation Z' (born 1996 and later), it is clear the British Army is more adept at responding to changes in youth populations, how war is waged, and the need for flexibility in recruiting.
Fundamentally, the British Army is seeking to increase the pool of recruits by increasing interest in military service: "This Is Belonging" aims "to give aspiring recruits the belief and confidence that they can thrive in the Army no matter who they are, or where they come from." The U.S. Army, in comparison, has continued to advertise a traditional narrative of the Army as the primary instrument of the U.S. military to defend freedom abroad — emphasizing high caliber weapons, helicopter insertions, and munitions — rather than focusing on the Army as a career and life choice.
The different emphasis of each campaign is evident in the British Army's outreach. The first years of the "This Is Belonging" campaign featured thoughtful commercials focusing on camaraderie, respect, and individual strengths, all underlined by the British Army motto: Be the Best. Accompanying posters depict soldiers on patrol together, waiting together, and eating together.
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