FORT KNOX, Ky. –
The vice chief of staff of the Army visited U.S. Army Recruiting Command headquarters Oct. 22 to discuss the critical role recruiting plays in the Army’s overall mission and talent management goals.
Gen. Joseph Martin applauded the ability of USAREC’s Soldiers and civilians to adapt and overcome various challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a rapidly changing employment ecosystem.
“Every single one of you matters,” he told the staff members and brigade leaders in attendance in person and online. “We as an Army cannot exist without what you do for the Army. If we can’t recruit Soldiers, it’s an existential threat to the United States Army.”
Martin discussed the increasingly generous employment benefits private industry is offering to today’s workforce, driving home the fact that the Army is in a race to compete for talent.
The number of competitors vying for the attention of today’s youth is at an all-time high, Martin said, and the Army has the additional challenge of multiple layers of cognitive, physical and moral requirements.
“We want fit, we want character, and we want resilient people to join the Army,” Martin said. “That is not easy to achieve in this day and age.”
To continue to adapt to the changing environment, Martin encouraged USAREC personnel to continue to be creative, transparent, and willing to let Army senior leaders know where support may be needed at every command level.
“You are very important to the United States Army,” he said. “I thank you for what you’ve done. The mission will become more difficult, but I believe you all are up to the task.”
Question and answer session with the VCSA
Question: Where is the Army going in regards to the Army Combat Fitness Test?
Martin: The Army is going to continue to take that data gathered and make decisions on the ACFT. So far, we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on the test. What I’ve learned from taking the ACFT is one - it’s a great workout; two - to train for it, you have to do functional fitness. There are a lot of good reasons to do the ACFT.
Question: It’s still out there in the news in regards to what happened to Spc. Vanessa Guillen. What are some of the initiatives happening to address concerns parents have about their daughters joining the Army?
Martin: So it’s not just about messaging here, it’s about changes in the Army. We are committed to implementing the recommendations from the Fort Hood Independent Review. What happened with Vanessa Guillen is a tragedy. Sexual assaults are all tragedies. The People First Task Force will ensure Soldiers are better protected, but if families are not willing to give up their sons and daughters to serve in the Army, that’s a threat to our future. There is continual progress, but it’s also a complicated process.
Question: In regards to the People First Initiative and some of the changes they’ve made and propose making, one change is putting all SARCS in a centralized location and getting rid of the collateral victim advocates and SARCs. With an organization like USAREC, how will that be done, or will there be an exception to policy put in place?
Martin: We are working on something similar to a fusion cell. We are taking the Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs), the special victim prosecutors, and those who care for our victims out of the units and putting them in a place where the victim can go and receive complete care there. It’s with the idea that they have a place where they feel more comfortable receiving the care they need. So that group, because it’s separated from the chain of command, will deliver results in terms of accountability. So we’ll find out. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know what that will look like in USAREC, but we’ve got to consider many things and conduct a pilot and figure out if it is feasible.