Army Must Fix Outdated Recruiting Website to Reach Today's Youth: General

FILE - In this June 4, 2017, file photo, new Army recruits take part in a swearing in ceremony before a baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
FILE - In this June 4, 2017, file photo, new Army recruits take part in a swearing in ceremony before a baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The general leading the Army's new recruiting strategy said Monday that one of his first priorities is to fix the service's recruiting website, which hasn't been updated in a decade.

Before the Army missed its recruiting goal by more than 6,000 soldiers last year, "goarmy.com was updated [last in] 2009 ... after we missed mission in 2008," Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, told an audience at an Association of the United States Army event.

One of the top recommendations that emerged from the after-action review on last year's recruiting shortfall was "Fix goarmy.com," he said.

"We have done sort of an interim fix," Townsend said. "I went on there and went looking for how to enlist in the Army and become an infantryman. I had a hard time finding that. So, we have fixed that initial interface. ... The interface with America's youth has vastly improved in the last 90 days, but we've got a big project to fix all of it."

Modernizing goarmy.com is just one part of improving how the Army communicates with potential recruits, he said. Another big part will involve using social media, he added.

"Until recently, we didn't even allow our recruiters to even be on social media," Townsend said. "We've got to text with America's youth. We've got to be on Twitter. We've got to be on Snapchat. We've got to be on Instagram. ... We've got to be on the social media that they are on."

The Army also launched a new marketing campaign in October dubbed "Warriors Wanted." The series of short videos featured combat-arms soldiers conducting realistic battlefield training and aired on digital ads on social media and cable-TV programs aimed at Generation Z.

The first Warriors Wanted video depicted soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment fast-roping out of helicopters.

"That attracts a certain number of folks," Townsend said. "When I saw that first commercial, I said, 'Sign me up right now. I am ready to go for another 30.' But it doesn't attract everybody."

As successful as these commercials have been, he said the Army plans other video ads that show job opportunities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

"The first commercial in the next series of commercials is going to be one that I hope will show some STEM-type of activity in it and technical fields -- [unmanned aerial vehicles], aircraft repair, cyber, those kinds of things. There are a lot of young people that are interested in that."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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