The Air Force achieves its recruitment objectives, changes attitudes around work and training
As the Air Force is on track to meet its recruiting goals for the first time in five years, signaling a welcome change as the military branch continues to grow and add a twin service.
The Air Force is on track to meet its goal of recruiting 42,000 recruits in 2021, as the fiscal year is about to end in just over a week.
The active duty component of the service hasn’t had too much trouble getting the corps it needs – it has hit its mark every year since 1999.
The elements of the reserve and the national guard, however, were not as successful.
“I have to say I’m pretty excited about making the final force for the first time in my tenure,” Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee said during a roundtable with journalists at the Air Force Association conference.
The numbers have been grim for recruiters as fewer and fewer young Americans are interested in joining the military. A recent Defense Department study found that only 11% of young adults are interested in the military.
The Air Force is also experiencing extremely high retention rates due to the economic uncertainty of the global pandemic. Scobee said the fewer people leaving the active duty component, the less reserves the reserve has to bring those people into the fold.
The service has also changed course in recent years when it comes to recruiting. Gen Z worries about things like climate change, work-life balance, and being treated more like a human than a cog in a wheel.
The Air Force has changed some of its policies to deal with this by adding more parental leave and relaxing uniform standards. He has also gone to great lengths to increase diversity and inclusion by conducting follow-up studies to his original Department of Defense-commissioned race report.
He’s also making overtures to Gen Z in unorthodox ways.
The Air Force has its own video game team, which travels and participates in competitions. It also broadcasts live events and uses games as an entry point to talk to kids.
The Space Force is explicit about their work-life balance and career opportunities. Its new human capital strategy focuses on recruiting people who are not inclined to enter the military, prioritizes work-life balance, and uses data to better place guardians.
“We need to think differently about talent management for the Space Force to be successful,” the strategy says. “We are creating a regulated market approach to talent management that integrates and strengthens equity, development and human dignity. It enables individuals to follow paths informed both by their preferences and their understanding of the demands of the Space Force. To that end, we design and implement a new approach to talent management to harness and leverage each person’s unique strengths to nurture high-performing, interconnected teams.
The strategy allows permeability within the service and professions so that members are not stuck in a profession they chose at the age of 18. It will also attempt to cater to people interested in specific areas to follow their passions and give the military a wide range of options and colors for their needs.
Space Training and Readiness Command, which rose last month, reflects not only on work-life balance, but also how much training and work can be virtual.
“One of the things we need to think about is what training events do we need to run as live events? The STARCOM commander, the brigadier. General Shawn Bratton said.
He added that Space Force is not a service that has to be deployed very often in an operational environment. Tutors will work primarily on computers and therefore in-person training is not imperative.
“What we need to think about is how do we improve in virtual space so that the training is as good or equal to what they see in orbit?” Said Bratton.