It has taken a while, but the Army finally announced its new recruiting motto yesterday. It’s been known for a few months behind closed doors, but the cat is out of the bag, and yet again, the Army looks to its history for some kind of solution to a current issue or problem. Judging by the response on various social media platforms, the fossil crowd, of which I am now a part, is hooting with glee that the Army is going back to its most famous recent recruiting slogan. Like the immortal Lee Corso says on ESPN’s College Gameday program, “Not so fast.”
There are three reasons why I am not convinced in the least that this return to the old school is a good idea. Firstly, it’s simply lazy and I am quite certain the gurus in the Army Marketing Department didn’t do the research or understand why “Be All You Can Be” was successful forty years ago. Secondly, and this is the most important issue to me, is the Army’s growing authenticity movement problem. I’ll get into that in far greater detail later in the column, but looking back as a way forward generally doesn’t work. Finally, it seems that the Army is looking for a quick win to help solve the current recruiting woes, and this really doesn’t hit the mark. Sloganeering might work for limited-duration political campaigns in the 21st Century, but it’s not going to solve the Army’s recruiting woes. . . .
. . . And so it should come as no real surprise that the return to the “Be All You Can Be Motto” was going to occur. Another throwback slogan to a time and place where the Army felt good about itself might work, but it’s probably not going to. That motto was a feature that worked within a certain time and place, with a real existential threat in the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact, a President who rightly saw the need to revamp the US Armed Forces after Vietnam and the 1970s All-Volunteer Force struggles, and the well-crafted reform of the pay and benefits system within the US Armed Forces creating the conditions for the Active Army to grow to 780,000 personnel by the end of the 1980s. The old folk saying “You can never go home again” comes to mind here.
Look, I really hope this motto catches on, and the youth of America, and their parents, but it’s an overly simplistic approach to think it alone will make a major difference.
Finally, the last aspect of the current Army desire for authenticity is perhaps the most critical. Leaders of major organizations, whether it’s corporate, governmental, non-profit or anything else, should be able to provide a vision for the future which is appealing, exciting and based on the shared experience of the team. By continually focusing on the past, it seems like the Army doesn’t offer much in the way of the future. People want to join organizations that are dynamic and vibrant, that offer adventure and challenge you intellectually and physically…so where is that future vision?
This might be unnecessarily harsh, Don Surber, A military run by whiners, but maybe not.
The people running the military today are not up to the task. They proved it by whining to the Washington Post about Congress using the $858 billion defense budget to override the military's covid shot mandate.
The Post is so concerned that it took down its paywall to make the military whine available to everyone, even we rubes in the boondocks.
The story said, "The Biden administration fumed Wednesday at the near-certainty that Congress will strip away the Defense Department’s requirement that all military personnel be vaccinated against the coronavirus, upending a politically divisive policy that has led to the dismissal of nearly 8,500 service members and numerous lawsuits disputing its fairness."
The generals and admirals cannot handle it. What do they say about orders? Before you can give them you have to learn how to take them.
It's the golden rule, them with the gold, rule.
Linked at the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 12.12.22. Thank's Kevin!