We Don’t Want YOU, Uncle Sam by Matthew Weiss
The military’s recruiting crisis is at an all-time high in 2023. The U.S. Army, the military’s largest branch, is expected to fall short by 15,000 recruits this year. Most of the younger generations the military can get are those who are children of someone who served — but even that source is threatened.
Other branches are seeing shortfalls, too. The Navy is going to miss its goal by 10,000 recruits; the Air Force will be short 3,000. Only the Marine Corps, the smallest branch, is expected to make its goal. News reports of substandard housing and food shortages don’t help, nor do the decades of war, followed by an epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder and veteran suicide.
All branches are in a quandary about what they can do to make military life more appealing and make Gen-Z consider the military in their future plans. One Marine Corps intelligence officer believes he has the answers and compiled them into a new book, “We Don’t Want You Uncle Sam: Examining the Military Recruiting Crisis with Generation Z.”
About the Author of We Don’t Want YOU, Uncle Sam
Lt. Matthew Weiss is himself a member of Gen-Z. He spent his pre-military years working for the defense technology firm Anduril Industries, which was then a tech startup. As he worked for an innovative tech startup, he began to notice how a well-run business can attract quality Gen-Z talent in a competitive space.
Weiss would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree and an MBA at the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania’s business school. Then, he became a United States Marine. Today, he’s not only an author; he’s a Signals Intelligence and Electronic Warfare officer. It’s a unique background that gives him unique insight into why the military is having so much trouble attracting his generation.
Some of the problems he notices are the kind older generations might expect from kids born after 1997. Creating social media influencers to inspire potential new recruits to military service, shortening service contracts, and putting marijuana use on an equal footing with alcohol are just a few of his suggestions for meeting Gen-Z’s culture where it is today.
He also has some more substantial considerations. He believes his generation would respond to performance bonuses instead of the military’s structured payscale, that the military should highlight the fact that many of its jobs don’t require computer screens and that the military’s focus should be on how service helps local communities, not just warfighting.
There are more problems and solutions in the book, all explained in greater detail. Some readers may scoff at his suggestions, but the recruiting crisis will soon have the branches resorting to desperate measures to attract talent – and these potential solutions may not seem so crazy at that point.
“We Don’t Want YOU, Uncle Sam” by Matthew Weiss is available now on Kindle e-reader and in paperback for $13.59.