NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nevada - The United States Army 6th Recruiting Brigade welcomed six Army general officers and scores of Soldiers and civilians from around the country on the weekend of September 7-9 to the annual Army Reserve Partnership Council.
The Council brought together members of the Army Recruiting Command and Reserve Commands in an effort to synchronize recruiting for the U.S. Army Reserve. Objectives addressed included shaping the recruiting environment for FY 08 with new initiatives while building on current relationships. The Council also explored the different ways to communicate to local communities the many contributions of Army Reserve Soldiers.
The Reserve Partnership Council was a dramatic change from previous councils. Briefings were limited to two per day, followed by breakout groups which consisted of senior leaders and senior noncommissioned officers, active duty and reserve alike.
Breakout groups worked through the first two days to develop a plan for the future. The groups conducted facilitated discussions on “Formalizing Relations,” “Public Affairs and Public Relations,” and “Mechanics of Recruiting”. The culmination of these discussions was briefed to the general officers on Sunday. Conferees agreed on a range of steps to improve the coordination of recruiting efforts impacting the Army Reserve.
The group discussing “Formalizing Relations” studied issues hindering better relations. They suggested ways to improve communications flow between USAREC and USAR units at all levels. They also pointed to the need for all involved to have a good understanding of each others' mission, capabilities and assets.
The group discussing “Public Affairs and Public Relations” emphasized the improved visibility of Army Reserve units, through exterior signage, special events such as the 100th Anniversary of the Army Reserve, and integration of Army Reserve and media into recruiting events. They also targeted public misperceptions of the Army Reserve and mythbusting as important goals. Better use of assets for community outreach was discussed, as was a web page as a one-stop-shop to help with enlistment programs and opportunities.
The third group, which discussed the “Mechanics of Recruiting”, concentrated on formalizing the synchronization of effort with events and Total Army Involvement in Recruiting. Noting that referral programs are underutilized, the group recommended that programs such as SMART 2K and others be more user friendly, and be tracked with command emphasis. The group also recommended ways of creating a stronger presence in high schools, vocational schools, colleges and the local community. The group also focused on influencing Future Soldiers by involving units in competitions and establishing basic training task lists. They also recommended providing mentorship as a positive reinforcement to Future Soldiers.
Major General Thomas P. Bostick, commander of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, attended and addressed the Council Sunday.
“This is the most lively discussion I've been in, and the best because it's the most lively,” said General Bostick. “This recruiting environment is different from anything we've ever faced. We will show the nation that we can recruit for the active duty Army and for the Reserves.” General Bostick said the Council reaffirmed his belief that the best ideas come from the field, not from headquarters.
Participants left agreeing to accomplish the objectives of improved coordination and communication with the goal of placing the best qualified applicants in Army Reserve units.
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