Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 101

ALL-VOLUNTEER FORCE (Photos by Sgt. Richard Hoppe, 123rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment) Applicants are sworn into service 7 October 2014 at the Military Entrance Processing Station on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Yet, it is struggling under current, less rigorous standards to acquire both the quantity and quality it needs today. Societal Challenges: Drying up the AllVolunteer Force Talent Pool America wants not only capable men and women to join the military, but also it requires highly motivated volunteers. Americans’ regard for their service members continues to be strong relative to other professions; they place military service at the top.1 0 However, despite such widespread and sustained public respect, the desire to serve among young people of military age, eighteen to twenty-four years, has slowly but steadily declined.11 Schools, as well as industrial and commercial interests in the civilian sector, recognize the same potential as DOD does in these young people, but they are increasingly better able to better compete for it. As a result, today’s potential volunteers have what they might consider more attractive options in the civilian sector than in military service, from college enabled by school loans to a wave of cooperative work-school options near home. One consequence of the increasing society-wide demand for talent is the trend among civilian recruiters to identify and recruit based on potential, not MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 developed competency in a given skill. In the 2014 article “21st Century Talent Spotting,” international search consultant Claudio Fernández-Aráoz highlights the global demand for high-quality potential as opposed to demonstrated skill development. He recommends companies focus on identifying and recruiting talent based on key aspects of potential, including a person’s motivation, determination, and curiosity.12 Although Fernández-Aráoz focuses on executive leadership, the military can apply two key conclusions from his observations. First, the talent market at all levels is tightening, with little relief in sight. Second, DOD’s talent acquisition model should shift from recruiting for skills to focusing on identifying and recruiting for perceived potential. However, DOD currently has no proven ways to assess potential and then win in the competition for recruits. To highlight the vital need for an improved recruitment system adapted to present circumstances, it is useful to observe that in the talent market of 2016, the military’s pipeline for identifying and developing senior military enlisted leaders of 2035—in what most would agree will be a much more complex security environment due to technological advancements and demographic changes—will be rife with competition. 95