This article is part of the "America's Army: 2023 Year in Review" content series. To view the rest of the big Army news from this year, visit the website at Army.mil/YearInReview.
WASHINGTON — In 2023 the service pushed forward with several initiatives to help Americans discover their passions, pursue their purpose, and build lifelong communities while serving.
The Army returned to its classic slogan of “Be All You Can Be” with a brand relaunch in March. The campaign is designed to spotlight the countless opportunities the service offers.
"At a time when political, economic and social factors are changing how young Americans view the world, the new Army brand illustrates how service in the Army is grounded in passion and purpose," said Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. "Serving our nation is a calling and one that is fundamentally hopeful. We want a new generation of Americans to see the Army as a pathway to the lives and careers they want to achieve."
The brand transformation was a multiyear process designed to reflect today’s Army while addressing the needs of a new generation. The brand’s new look and feel consists of a re-engineered five-point star logo coupled with the return of the popular tagline, which was initially used from 1980-2001.
Future Soldier Preparatory Course Anniversary
The Army celebrated the first anniversary of the Future Preparatory Course in August. The pilot program helped more than 8,800 eligible Americans overcome academic and physical fitness barriers to service.
The FSPC has an academic track and a fitness track, both three weeks long. The academic portion focuses on helping students improve their Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery scores while the fitness track educates students on the five Holistic Health and Fitness readiness domains.
Both tracks of the course had a 95% graduation rate in the first year of the program, with academic students increasing their ASVAB scores by an average of 18.5 points and fitness students losing an average of 1.7% body fat per week.
“The [course] is where desire meets investment, and every day these young men and women show that when provided the right resources and training, they are able to perform and meet or exceed the standards expected of every Soldier,” said Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, the Fort Jackson commanding general.
Graduates of the academic track who increase their score to a higher classification category can re-negotiate their enlistment contracts and may qualify for a different military occupational specialty or additional incentives.
This year, the Army gave out more than $15.5 million to program graduates.
The course initially started at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, but expanded to Fort Moore, Georgia in January.
All-Volunteer Force 50th Anniversary
On July 1, the Army and the nation celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the all-volunteer force. The move was made by President Richard Nixon’s administration in 1973 to fill the U.S. military ranks with Americans who chose to serve rather than with draftees.
Over the next five decades, the Army continued to evolve from its draft days. Enlistments went from two years to varying lengths depending on a Soldier’s career path.
The Army now offers more complex education and training for more than 200 jobs in science, cybersecurity, combat forces, aviation, medicine, law and more.
Innovations to training have been added to set Soldiers up for success, including Holistic Health and Fitness as well as new approaches to mental, sleep, physical and spiritual readiness.
“Our Soldiers, from the newest E-1 to the most experienced generals come from all over the country, from many different backgrounds, from multiple demographics, races and ethnicities,” Wormuth said. “At the end of the day, what unites us is our shared Army values. That and our collective mission to fight and win the nation’s wars.”
75th Integration, Desegregation Anniversaries
It was a year of anniversary celebrations, as the Army marked the 75th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in June and the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9981 in July.
The integration act allowed women to become permanent, full-time members of the Army. According to retired Maj. Gen Gina Farrisee, the first female commanding general of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, the Army provides a way for every person to achieve their full potential.
“The Army is an amazing opportunity,” Farrisee said. “For those looking for a challenge and wanting to make a difference, it is certainly the place to do that. There is no doubt in my mind that the military makes you a better person.”
Just a month later in 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending racial segregation in the armed forces.
“Ending racial discrimination in the military made our Army immeasurably stronger and moved our country closer to fulfilling its founding promise,” Wormuth said. “We should be proud of the progress the Army has made in ensuring that every Soldier, regardless of race, can pursue the unlimited opportunities that military service offers.”
Facing a challenging recruiting environment, the Army announced the transformation of its recruiting enterprise in October.
“The competition for talented Americans is fierce, and it is fundamentally different than it was 50 or even 20 years ago,” Wormuth said. “Understanding that reality is key to designing new practices that will make us a more attractive and compelling career choice for young Americans.”
The sweeping changes include expanding the recruiting focus to a larger portion of the available population, creating a specialized talent acquisition workforce, improving the measurement and evaluation of recruiting policy decisions, and aligning the Army recruiting structure.
First, the Army will expand its focus beyond recent high school graduates. Army leadership set a goal of at least a third of the service’s newest recruits to have more than a high school degree by 2028, compared to 20% today.
Second, the service plans to create two new military occupational specialties for an enlisted talent acquisition specialist and a warrant officer to ensure the best recruiting subject matter expertise and leadership. A more specialized officer workforce remains under consideration.
Third, the Army will create an evidence-based learning capability at Army headquarters that will incorporate data collection and program evaluation design into policy planning and implementation.
Finally, Army leadership plans to consolidate marketing and recruiting into a three-star command that reports directly to them with the new commander’s time in position changing from two to four years.
“The fact is that even though it remains a challenge to attract new recruits, we are exceeding our retention goals every year,” Wormuth said. “That means that people who are in the Army by and large love their jobs. And that’s a message we want all young Americans to hear – that the United States Army is truly a place where you can be all that you can be.”