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Army to Revamp Recruiting Strategy After Missing Yearly Goal

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Young Lee, a section chief with the California Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Command, talks with youth program cadets on Aug. 7, 2018, during National Night Out in Seal Beach, California. National Night Out is a nationwide event held at locations across the country to bring communities together with their local first responders and community-based organizations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Crystal Housman)
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Young Lee, a section chief with the California Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Command, talks with youth program cadets on Aug. 7, 2018, during National Night Out in Seal Beach, California. National Night Out is a nationwide event held at locations across the country to bring communities together with their local first responders and community-based organizations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Crystal Housman)

The U.S. Army's top official on Monday pledged to overhaul the service's accessions strategy a little over a month after it missed its annual recruiting goal for the first time in 13 years.

"It's no secret that we did not meet our accessions goals this year," Army Secretary Mark Esper told an audience at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Association of the United States Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition.

As part of the service's personnel reform effort, Esper said that revamping the Army recruiting strategy was "one of the most important and urgent steps in this reform."

The Army failed to meet its recruiting goal for fiscal 2018, falling short of the target of 76,500 by about 6,500 soldiers, The Associated Press reported.

"Meeting our manpower needs of quality personnel requires a new strategy that will broaden our reach across America," Esper said. "Our new campaign will focus on major cities around the country with a much greater presence in social media while continuing our efforts in traditional locales. It will be holistic."

The Army's traditional accessions model that relies "almost exclusively on Army recruiters to bring in next-generation soldiers is no longer sufficient," he said.

"We must adopt the mindset that everyone is a recruiter. ... We are all recruiters -- officers, enlisted, generals, privates, active, retired, [National] Guard, Reserve -- you name it -- even spouses and moms. We need your help moving forward," Esper said. "Americans need to know their Army, but it's on us to get out and meet them."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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