New Pentagon Ad Campaign Asks Parents to Support Military Service

 A mother embraces her son during Plebe Parents' Weekend at the U.S.Naval Academy in Annapolis. Maryland. (US Navy photo)
A mother embraces her son during Plebe Parents' Weekend at the U.S.Naval Academy in Annapolis. Maryland. (US Navy photo)

The Pentagon announced Friday it has launched a new media campaign to encourage parents and educators to "engage youth in conversations about military service."

"Their Tomorrow" features content that has aired on broadcast and cable television, as well as streaming radio, in an attempt to bridge an ever-widening disconnect between many Americans and the U.S. military, according to a Defense Department press release.

"We understand there's a disconnect between the American public and their understanding of the military, especially when compared to previous generations," Matt Boehmer, director of the DoD's Office of People Analytics, said in the release.

In 1995, 40 percent of youths had a parent who served, compared with only 15 percent today, a shift that has had a negative impact on recruiting, according to the release.


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This is not the first time military leaders have talked publicly about the shrinking number of potential recruits, who come mainly from families with members who have served in the military.

Approximately 29 percent of America's youth "meet our entry requirements, and only four percent of that pool have a propensity to serve," Army Secretary Mark Esper told an audience recently at the 2018 Association of the United States Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition.

"In many ways, our military has grown isolated from parts of society as the services become more and more of a family business," he said as he announced a new recruiting strategy targeting 22 major cities and increasing the service's presence on social media.

The new DoD campaign includes "four, 30-second spots depicting critical military skills and how parents can engage in open conversations about joining," according to the release.

The DoD-funded advertisements were developed by the Pentagon's advertising agency, MullenLowe.

"This campaign addresses public misperceptions and concerns broadly while bringing awareness to the opportunities that exist in today's military -- all in an effort to increase the likelihood that adult influencers will support and recommend a young adult's decision to join, and that those who see the ads will consider the military as a realistic option for their futures," Boehmer said.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at

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