During the third week of March, recruiting representatives from 10 nations gathered at the USAREC headquarters at Fort Knox, Ky., for the first time to engage in open dialogue and learn from one another about recruiting processes and technologies.

"The command has always received foreign visitors interested in learning about how we recruit," said Rick Ayer, director of USAREC commander's initiatives group, and coordinator for the command's first International Recruiting Summit.

In addition, he said the Army's Recruiting and Retention School (RRS) at Fort Jackson, S.C., has for years had a program where recruiting leaders and noncommissioned officers travel to other countries, teach recruiting practices and help establish volunteer forces.

During a visit to the RRS, Maj. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., USAREC commanding general, had a discussion with the Soldier Support Institute commander about the multitude of international visits to both the Recruiting Command and the schoolhouse, and the idea came up to invite them all at once to collaborate and exchange ideas back and forth.

The command invited 15 countries to participate - some that had already been working with the command and/or the RRS, as well as countries that had approached the Department of the Army and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to learn more about recruiting. Some of the invited countries have been recruiting for all-volunteer forces for some time, while others do not have or have been working toward establishing all-volunteer forces. Representatives were able to attend from nine nations: Afghanistan, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Romania and Taiwan.

"Our all-volunteer force in the United States is in our fourth decade. We've learned a lot along the pathway to sustaining an all-volunteer force. ... It is critically important to us that we share lessons learned with our partners and allies, we want to learn from you," said Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commanding general, U.S. Army Accessions Command, who reinforced the idea of the open forum during his opening comments to the group via video-teleconference. "We shouldn't just be the host and be the ones to talk all the time. We don't have the market on all the good ideas."

Discussions during the three-day event centered on five primary areas: the recruiting process and operations; market intelligence; marketing, public affairs and outreach; manning the force and training the recruiting force. The group talked about the shared challenges common across many of the countries, but was only able to briefly delve into potential solutions to their individual issues because of the tightly-packed schedule.

Discussions filled the morning hours and each afternoon the representatives rotated through tours of the U.S. Army Accessions Support Brigade on post, the Elizabethtown Recruiting Station, the Louisville Military Entrance Processing Station, and the command's recruiting operations and cyber recruiting centers.

"We're all in the same business, we're open to good ideas and willing to share ideas that work," said Brigadier J.T. Jackson, Director of Recruiting and Training (Operations), United Kingdom. Jackson, who had previously visited the command as part of a recruiting partnership exchange, said that after seeing USAREC's Partnership for Youth Success program the United Kingdom is working on changing the way it markets the Army. In the past their Army had been marketed as a career; he said they were missing out on developing a link with business and industry to help sell it as a short-term job with future potential, such as the U.S. Army is doing with PaYS.

Campbell called the event "beyond his wildest dreams successful," and said that he hopes this open forum of collaboration will foster relationships not previously realized and serve both USAREC and its recruiting partners well in moving forward in both modernizing and establishing recruiting business practices.

"Just as we do among friends in our personal lives, we are acting as sounding boards for each other to ensure we do the right thing, efficiently and accurately in the recruiting process."

Campbell added that he would like for the summit to become an annual event and welcomed the opportunity to once again host it next year.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16