ARLINGTON, Va. -- A professional force that is lethal and representative of the American population is a vital strategic asset, and evolving to recruit and maintain that smart, fit, lethal all-volunteer Army is the most important thing that the Army's Training and Doctrine Command is working on, said TRADOC commander Gen. Stephen Townsend in remarks at a recent Association of the U.S. Army event in Arlington, Va.

To build a modern force to compete with near-peer adversaries in a Multi-Domain operations environment, Townsend said, TRADOC must evolve its talent management efforts into a 21st century high-tech digital talent acquisition model. He said to do that will require modernizing recruiting, exploring new methods, ideas and incentives, and finding out what the people the Army aims to attract want in a career, and developing ways to provide it that the "standard ... GI-issue career management system doesn't offer."

He used Army cyber as an example.

"Cyber is a growth industry, and very much so in the Army, and we are doing different things to attract folks into the cyber field and we are being successful at it," Townsend said. "But at the same time it's growing, and we've got to continue to be successful at attracting people."

The general pointed to successful Army efforts to recruit for cyber and other specialties that may be expanded to more career fields. These include the cyber direct commissioning program to bring qualified civilian applicants into the Army as cyber officers, and the Army musician program that brings qualifying musicians into the Army at the staff sergeant level.

At the same time, Townsend said, recruiting efforts must appeal to Americans' sense of national service.

"We need to change the conversation about national service, not just service in the military, but the value and responsibility, even the obligation, I think, to serve your country, your community," he said.