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USAREC launches autonomous recruiting pilot

USAREC Public Affairs

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused an expedited shift to virtual recruiting for U.S. Army Recruiting Command, highlighting the potential for success with mobile operations.

To ensure recruiting noncommissioned officers have the tools they need to operate efficiently and remotely, the command is beginning an Autonomous Recruiting Operations pilot Oct. 1.

One station from each of USAREC’s six recruiting brigades will identify two recruiting NCOs to take part in the yearlong pilot to evaluate and continuously improve tools that will enable greater mobility for recruiting NCOs.

Each brigade will identify which station will take part in the pilot. Leadership will assess the progress every 90 days and expand the number of recruiting NCOs and stations, as appropriate, throughout the year. Recruiting NCOs will be assigned recruiting areas and mission parameters, and they will receive a recruiting toolkit to get started.

“The toolkit provides recruiting NCOs with everything they need to virtually process applicants,” said Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis, USAREC deputy commanding general. “That includes the technical equipment and a government-operated vehicle to allow them to do their jobs in the way that works best for them away from traditional stations. Commanders have the latitude to deploy a range of leadership approaches to support the ARO mission.”

ARO is designed to advance USAREC from the current recruiting methods into the future of recruiting NCOs working autonomously and capable of working away from their assigned recruiting station. The pilot is designed to demonstrate that recruiting NCOs can operate and process in both the physical and virtual planes.

The foundation of ARO relies on identifying the right recruiting NCOs who will work well autonomously. Recruiting NCOs must be self-motivated and demonstrate mastery in both the art and science of recruiting. Autonomous recruiting NCOs will determine which tools and techniques (physical or virtual, mobile or static) best suit themselves to most efficiently accomplish the mission in the assigned area and market.

“Our goal for ARO is for more of the recruiting force to operate autonomously and for a demonstrable increase in write rates, enlistments and market penetration,” Michaelis said. “We know at some point we’ll have to operate with a reduced number of recruiting NCOs, and ARO will enable USAREC to recruit the needed quality force with smaller numbers.”

Once ARO is well-established, the command team believes USAREC will be able to sustain returning some billets to operational units to better handle the needs of today’s Army and adjust its recruiting facilities to better accommodate smaller command numbers.