Pentagon Personnel Chief Seeks to Bridge Widening Military-Civilian Divide

Pentagon Personnel Chief Seeks to Bridge Widening Military-Civilian Divide

The Pentagon’s top personnel official says DOD is seeking to close the widening military-civilian gap, a Department of Defense article reported Thursday.

Addressing the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service, Anthony Kurta, acting defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness, said today’s military-civilian gap is affecting recruiting, and a lack of military familiarity is becoming an obstacle in maintaining the all-volunteer force.

“Today, a widening military-civilian divide increasingly impacts our ability to effectively recruit and sustain the force,” Kurta said. “This disconnect is characterized by misperceptions, a lack of knowledge and an inability to identify with those who serve.”

Kurta warned a shrinking military footprint in the U.S., a declining veteran population and “uninformed” messages about military service risks has contributed to the divide.

“Combined, these factors have led to a youth market which is less interested in the military and does not appreciate the social worth or intrinsically-motivating elements of military service,” he said.

The military-civilian divide will be a featured session at the upcoming ADC 2019 Defense Communities National Summit June 10-12 in Washington.

The session, “America’s Military Divide: The Impact of the Military-Civilian Divide and Great Ideas to Bridge It,” will feature Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and other speakers.

Army photo by Monica King

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