Defense Secretary calls for improving recruiting, strengthening ROTC

13News Now Mike Gooding has the story

NEW YORK, N.Y. (WVEC) -- In building the '"Force of the Future," Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced today that the Pentagon is launching new efforts to improve military recruiting and to strengthen the R-O-T-C.

This isn't sweeping change, like getting rid of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," or, allowing women on the front lines of combat. It's more about marketing, and messaging, and finding new ways to find the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of tomorrow.

Military recruiting is shrinking, with 40 percent of recruits coming from just six states and, people from rural areas being twice as likely to serve as those from urban areas.

"Building the force of the future isn't going to happen overnight," Carter said. "It's going to be a generational effort and this is just going to be the beginning."

It's time, Carter said, to change course.

"In doing so we're going tor reach out to the American people wherever they are, which as you know, isn't just on T.V. anymore, but increasingly in different places online," he said. "And we won't just
speak to potential recruits, we'll speak to everyone,  including parents, grandparents, coaches, teaches, guidance counselors and more who might influence a potential recruit."

Carter also announced new initiatives to strengthen the Reserve Officers' Training Corps in the hopes of reaching more diverse American communities. Carter said DOD would develop data-driven ways to accurately measure and assess effective ROTC units and to share best practices.

A key component, he said, is treating ROTC instructors better.

"That's why I've directed the military services to ensure that their officer promotion selection boards more appropriately value those who serve as ROTC instructors," he said.

Carter noted that less than one percent of Americans have served in the military.

 "Ultimately," he said, "What we're selling is service and mission, and being part of something bigger than yourself."


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