LifeCourse Associates works with the armed services to recruit, train, and retain a rising generation of Millennial recruits—and to harness the generational strengths of veteran Boomer and Gen-X service people.
Since promotions are typically linked to age, there is a close, though ever-shifting, association between military rank and generation. Today, for example, privates through captains in the U.S. Army are almost entirely Millennials; staff sergeants and field-grade officers (majors and colonels) are Gen Xers; and senior NCOs and top commanders (two-star generals and higher) are Boomers. Each of these groups came of age and entered the military in a different era. Each has its own attitudes and habits—and its own understanding of how the military fits into their lives. Recruiting organizations that grasp these contrasts become far more effective.
Our clients have included all of the branches of the U.S. armed services. We have keynoted USAREC’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. We have given serial seminars to every recruiting officer in the U.S. Coast Guard in Galveston, Texas. We have screened new advertising for the national office of the U.S. Army Reserve in Washington, DC. LifeCourse helped the Joint Recruiting Advertising Program redesign their annual joint recruiting research instrument to better track the core Millennial traits. We have conducted workshops for officers in the Illinois ARNG in Chicago, Illinois.
General James L. Jones, the current U.S. National Security Advisor and a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general, met with LifeCourse to discuss improving the Corp’s generational strategy at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Lieutenant General Michael D. Rochelle, Deputy Chief of Staff G-1 for the U.S. Army, awarded a Department of the Army Award of Excellence to LifeCourse president and co-founder Neil Howe for his contributions at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The armed services first turned to LifeCourse Associates over a decade ago. In 1999, J. Walter Thompson brought us in to help the U.S. Marine Corps turn around a sudden recruiting slump. The Corps had perfected a Gen-X-targeted recruiting pitch, but this pitch was falling flat with the new generation of Millennial youth. We explained how they needed to understand the roots of this generational transition to achieve success, and helped them put our solution into action. Recruiting surged.
In the years that followed, LifeCourse guided nearly every other branch of the armed services through the initial transition from Gen-X to Millennial recruiting messages. In 2000, the Army asked us to produce a custom publication on how recruiters could appeal to Millennials. The Recruiting Millennials handbook was put into the hands of all 8,000 U.S. Army recruiter and has served as a guidebook for every branch of the U.S. military. Throughout the services, today's team-focused, parent-targeting military ads are a testament to our Millennial messaging strategy.
We are prepared to help the military with new recruiting challenges that lie ahead, including co-recruiting the Gen-X parents of late-wave Millennial recruits— parents with very different attitudes and priorities from the Boomer parents of first-wave Millennials. Recruiting commands may also need to adjust to changes in the national mood, including a period of rising national urgency which we predicted in our book The Fourth Turning.