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Military Recruiting Tools & Methods

Prior to the outbreak of World War I, military recruitment in the US was conducted primarily by individual states.[2] Upon entering the war, however, the federal government took on an increased role.

The increased emphasis on a national effort was reflected in World War I recruitment methods. Peter A. Padilla and Mary Riege Laner define six basic appeals to these recruitment campaigns: patriotism, job/career/education, adventure/challenge, social status, travel, and miscellaneous. Between 1915 and 1918, 42% of all army recruitment posters were themed primarily by patriotism.[2] And though other themes - such as adventure and greater social status - would play an increased role during World War II recruitment, appeals to serve one’s country remained the dominant selling point.

Recruitment without conscription

After World War II, military recruitment shifted significantly. With no war calling men and women to duty, the United States refocused its recruitment efforts to present the military as a career option, and as a means of achieving a higher education. A majority - 55% - of all recruitment posters would serve this end. And though peacetime would not last, factors such as the move to an all-volunteer military would ultimately keep career-oriented recruitment efforts in place.[3] The Defense Department turned to television syndication as a recruiting aid from 1957-1960 with a filmed show, Country Style, USA.

On February 20, 1970, the President’s Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force unanimously agreed that the United States would be best served by an all-volunteer military. In supporting this recommendation, the committee noted that recruitment efforts would have to be intensified, as new enlistees would need to be convinced rather than conscripted. Much like the post-World War II era, these new campaigns put a stronger emphasis on job opportunity. As such, the committee recommended “improved basic compensation and conditions of service, proficiency pay, and accelerated promotions for the highly skilled to make military career opportunities more attractive.” These new directives were to be combined with “an intensive recruiting effort.” [4] Finalized in mid-1973, the recruitment of a “professional” military was met with success. In 1975 and 1976, military enlistments exceeded expectations, with over 365,000 men and women entering the military. Though this may, in part, have been the result of a lack of civilian jobs during the recession, it nevertheless stands to underline the ways in which recruiting efforts responded to the circumstances of the time.[5]

Indeed, recommendations made by the President's Commission continue to work in present-day recruitment efforts. Understanding the need for greater individual incentive, the US military has re-packaged the benefits of the GI Bill. Though originally intended as compensation for service, the bill is now seen as a recruiting tool. Today, the GI Bill is "no longer a reward for service rendered, but an inducement to serve and has become a significant part of recruiter's pitches.” [6]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_recruitment

Existing content:

Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) -
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) -
Delayed Entry Program/DEP/FSP -
Facts About Recruitment -
Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies (JAMRS) -
Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) -
Mission Readiness -
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) -
National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program -
Opt Out/Student lists -
Project PASS -
Recruiting in Specific Communities -
Recruiter Access -
Starbase DOD -
Troops to Teachers -
Young Marines -

This section is still under development. Watch for future content on the following topics:

  • Recruiter methods manuals/regulations
  • Educators’ tour
  • Career fairs
  • Military Media & PR
    • Advertising
    • Video games
    • Army Experience Center
    • Recruiting vans
    • Film & TV
    • Public Events
  • Recruiter abuses
  • Articles
  • Last modified
    Tuesday, 05 November 2013
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