The Future of Army Recruiting Needs a Marketing Officer


You are in luck; this is a short article.

Just kidding, strap in.

United States Army’s decision to create a specialized recruiting force, with the addition of a new MOS, 42T, or talent acquisition specialist, marks a significant development in their recruitment strategies. We welcome the Army’s thoughtful approach to long-range strategic planning regarding recruiting. One note is the lack of officer involvement, a missed opportunity. According to the Army, “commissioned officers are the managers, problem solvers, key influencers and planners who lead enlisted Soldiers in all situations. They plan missions, give orders, and assign Soldiers tasks (U.S. Army, 2023).” No matter what changes are employed, officers will lead the charge, either successful or not. Informed or not. Experienced or not, the Army needs a dedicated corps of officers to develop and lead ROTC and recruiting units.

Also, we use the titles ‘Marketing’ and ‘Recruiting’ interchangeably, but understand we believe that the title of this fictional officer is Recruitment Marketing Officer. Why? Per Hireology (Gunderson, 2021):

“Recruitment marketing is a higher-level concept. It’s the practice of creating and enhancing your company’s brand as an employer over time. Much like regular marketing, it involves communicating what makes you unique to your target audience, spreading those messages across channels that your audience uses, and influencing job seekers to apply to your open roles.”

Hireology, 2021

The Recruitment Marketing Officer would employ the Army’s national marketing strategies and work in a critical role to help provide bottom-up refinement to the national marketing office.


United States In the ever-evolving landscape of military recruitment, the United States Army has always been at the forefront of innovative strategies. With the recent decision to establish a specialized recruiting force consisting of talent acquisition specialists known as MOS 42T, the Army is poised to revolutionize its approach to finding the best candidates for service. This move highlights the Army’s commitment to long-range strategic planning and adapting to the evolving needs of the modern military. While creating the MOS 42T is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, the announcement overlooks one crucial aspect: officer involvement. In the grand scheme of recruitment, officers play a pivotal role in leading the charge, regardless of the changes implemented by the Army. Whether it’s the success or failure of the recruitment efforts, their level of knowledge and experience directly impact the outcome.

The Army must have a dedicated corps of officers who can effectively develop and lead ROTC and recruiting units. With the introduction of a specialized recruiting force, the Army recognizes the need for expertise in finding and attracting top talent. However, this emphasis on enlisted personnel should not overshadow officers’ critical role in recruitment. By involving officers in recruiting efforts, the Army can tap into their insights, leadership qualities, and ability to connect with potential recruits on different levels. This integration of officer expertise will help shape the future of Army recruiting and ensure recruiters focus on getting the most qualified individuals to serve their country. In this article, we will explore the importance of dedicated officers in Army recruiting and delve into the potential benefits they bring to the table. We will discuss how officers can contribute to the development and leadership of ROTC and recruiting units, ultimately enhancing the overall effectiveness of the recruitment process. Join us as we unravel the untapped potential of dedicated marketing officer involvement in shaping the future of Army recruiting and why they need to address this oversight.

Why Army Marketing Officers Should be Involved in the Recruitment Process

With the introduction of a specialized recruiting force, the Army recognizes the need for expertise in finding and attracting top talent. However, this emphasis on enlisted personnel should not overshadowed by overlooking officers’ critical role in the recruiting process. Officers with platoon and company experience bring unique perspectives and experiences that can significantly contribute to shaping an effective recruitment strategy and the organization’s operation. Additionally, their firsthand knowledge from serving in a recruiting battalion as a company commander or on battalion staff allows them to provide valuable guidance and leadership to recruiters. Officers often possess strong communication skills honed through training and experience leading teams. This skill enables them to convey information about military service effectively, speak confidently with community leaders regarding military life and career paths, and answer potential recruits’ questions or concerns.

Furthermore, officers can serve as role models for aspiring soldiers. Their leadership qualities and dedication to service can inspire and motivate individuals to consider a career in the military. By actively participating in the recruitment process, officers can help cultivate a sense of pride and purpose among potential recruits, making them more likely to choose the Army as their path forward.

Retro Army Marketing Officer Retro Screenshot

The Benefits of Marketing Officer Involvement in ROTC and Recruiting Units

One area where officer involvement is particularly crucial is in ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) programs. The Army designed these programs to develop future officers through college-level military training and education. By actively engaging with ROTC units, officers can provide invaluable guidance and mentorship to cadets, helping them navigate their journey toward becoming commissioned officers. Officers can also play a vital role in recruiting units by leveraging their expertise to identify potential candidates with the necessary skills and qualities for military service. Their firsthand experience allows them to accurately assess candidates’ suitability for different roles within the Army. This ensures that Army recruiters select only the most qualified individuals, contributing to the overall effectiveness of the Army’s recruitment efforts.

Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Recruitment Process Through Officer Expertise

Incorporating officer expertise into the recruitment process has numerous benefits that extend beyond simply attracting top talent. Officers bring a wealth of knowledge about integrating Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) companies, collaborating with ROTC programs to leverage additional opportunities to serve during college, and evaluating large-scale recruitment operations within their area of operations. This knowledge allows them to provide accurate information about different roles to prospect’s influencers and help potential recruits make informed decisions about their future. Moreover, officers deeply understand the values and culture that define military service, helping defray a recruiter’s stereotype of a snake oil salesman. They can effectively communicate these aspects to potential recruits, ensuring they clearly understand what it means to serve in the Army. This transparency helps align expectations amongst recruits, their influencers, the community, and the Army, reducing attrition rates and fostering long-term commitment among those who choose to enlist.

By involving officers in every stage of the recruitment process, from initial contact to final selection, the Army can enhance the overall effectiveness of its efforts. Officers can provide valuable insights and guidance that contribute to a more streamlined and targeted approach to recruiting. Their involvement ensures potential recruits receive accurate information, personalized support, and mentorship from individuals with firsthand military service experience.

The Army Needs Marketing Officers

The Army mentioned adding a new Warrant Officer position. Still, we say expand the recently created Marketing Officer (58A) branch and leverage officers who previously served in ROTC and USAREC successfully with marketing or business analytics degrees. Why?

Instead of letting thousands of hours of experience and hundreds of thousands of dollars slowly attrit, the Army can select a handful of these officers to return to USAREC to become future Operations Officers, Executive Officers, and Battalion Commanders. Now, a battalion can start from its current operating state rather than start over every two years with a new commander. We recommend these officers fill only 50-60% of available positions. The rest can remain filled by current means.

Where Does the Army Find a Marketing Officer?

The Army has no easy starting point or year group (YG) to help guide their choices. Our recommendation is separate from the Enterprise Marketing and Behavioral Economics or 58A already focused on Army marketing strategies, advertising campaigns, and content creation (Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis (OEMA), 2021). We are looking at the leaders that work in-hand with the 58A, understanding the national plan and employs the strategy at the local level. That said, they should look at all the successful Company Commanders and the Operations Officers that served on battalion staff that made mission during the Pandemic. These officers were successful in their USAREC roles and need less education and onboarding than their peers who never served in a recruiting environment. This group creates a formidable pool of candidates for the Army. Furthermore, that pool whittles down when you consider those who opt-out due to the risk TRADOC creates for officers.

Yes, for many operational branches, TRADOC can end a career. Sad, but true. And many do not want to become at-risk due to the notorious poor rating profiles of commanders and the stigma of being in a training environment.

The good news, is here is a chance to change the narrative, retain talent, and reap a significant return on investment.

Problem: TRADOC Assignments Can Hurt Careers

TRADOC assignments are a mark of death for most operations officers. Senior leaders (Brigade Commanders) typically do not have the profile to support officers, so it becomes an internal fight for the elusive “most qualified” rating. For most officers, their tour of duty becomes a lesson in how to be gas-lighted by the Army. We’ve spoken with many officers whose careers were cut short due to TRADOC or who got back on track by ignoring TRADOC assignments. Instead of enduring a few years of hard work for nothing, most officers try to avoid it altogether while operational leaders treat TRADOC with disdain.

The good news is that the Army already has the talent within the ranks but doesn’t know how or care to access it. And no officer wants to be a guinea pig for an experimental team that may impact their promotion ability.

Make TRADOC a Professional Track for Select Officers

If anything, the Army can create a Recruiting Marketing officer. Their career path would start with a primary branch and key developmental (KD) time. Afterward, they would transition to an Operations Officer or Executive Officer in ROTC or USAREC. To ensure they remain grounded, their broadening opportunities would include positions in FORSCOM (non-KD) to “re-green” and jobs in TRADOC assignments such as Basic Combat Training (BCT) and One-Station Unit Training (OSUT). These broadening assignments ensure leaders understand the current training and operational tempo and can become legitimate leaders with the proper working knowledge and experience.

We agree our recommendation is not a perfect solution.

Would this recommendation reduce the number of positions for other officers? Yes, but let’s look at the facts. Officers entering TRADOC suffer the mark of death as many leaders do not have the profile to support the “top block” required to progress in their careers. Poor officer management and assignment stereotypes are why soldiers dread TRADOC assignments. Unlike the Marine Corps, where it is a badge of honor and a career boost to become responsible for training the next generation, no one seems to take TRADOC seriously in the Army. The recommended change in officers would not be 100% throughout USAREC, the Army needs to retain selectivity. The remaining officer fills would come from their respective branches.


Officers play a crucial role in Army recruiting. Their involvement brings numerous benefits, including their insights into military life, leadership qualities, and ability to connect with potential recruits on a personal level. By actively involving a dedicated cohort of officers in ROTC programs and recruiting units, the Army can enhance its overall effectiveness in finding and attracting top talent. Addressing this missed opportunity is essential for successfully shaping the future of Army recruiting.

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