Small Wars Journal

DoD Official: ‘Myths’ Distort Military’s Image With Pool of Future Recruits

DoD Official: ‘Myths’ Distort Military’s Image With Pool of Future Recruits by Tom Philpott - Stars & Stripes

Seventeen years of war, TV spots depicting the struggles of wounded warriors, and curbs on military advertising budgets have left the armed forces with an image problem that could take years to repair, said a senior Department of Defense official.

Unsettling myths about the military are rising among recruit-age youth and “influencers” — parents, teachers, clergy and coaches — in part because increasingly they have no personal or family ties to the armed forces, said Lernes “Bear” Hebert, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy.

“While there is great support for military service men and women, we do find that misperceptions about service have taken a toll on propensity to serve,” Hebert said. “And because we’re not out there offering a contrary message, we’re seeing a decline that is most troubling.”

He cited various recent survey results that show a majority of recruit-age youth and influencers perceive service life negatively. Many also are surprisingly unaware of key attractions of service life, including robust GI Bill education benefits to earn college degrees and skills training that supports satisfying civilian careers…

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