Marines Winning Recruiting Wars
Phil Carter, noting yet another month when the Marine Corps easily exceeded its recruiting goals, asks, “What is the Marine Corps doing that enables it to recruit so well during wartime — and can the other services do the same?”
My immediate answer was along the lines that many of his commenters suggested: The Marine Corps brands itself as a fighting force and an awesome challenge for those who are up to being one of The Few, The Proud whereas the other services try to sell themselves as a place where you can learn valuable technical skills and money for college.
Sure, the Army does more before 9 am than most of us do all day but, thankfully, you’ll only have to do it for 3-4 years and then you can get out and go to college! Or put those awesome technical skills you’ve learned to use in a real job!
This is perfectly natural since, after all, the Army is massively larger and has a more varied mission set than the Marines. And it works well under normal circumstances. The Army generally manages to recruit plenty of high quality people and, whatever their intention upon signing up, plenty of them will decide that it’s a pretty good way to earn a living and re-up. But, when there’s a long, unpopular war on, that message rings hollow. The risk-reward calculus has changed dramatically and the Marine Corps has first mover advantage in recruiting those who sign up specifically because they want to face the challenges of combat.