Written by Sgt. 1st Class Terry A. Timmons
15 September 2010
Controlling the Force
Controlling the Force by Controlling the Doorways
Imagine a community based business that is increasing its production base and growing
in different directions but is having a hard time finding qualified individuals to fill its most vital
positions. With the rapid company growth in different sectors it had better place the right people
in the right positions quickly or it, and the large section of the community that it provides
employment, will face certain failure. The Army Reserve is facing a very similar issue after it
transitioned into a fully functional operational force. The Army Reserve and the communities
that is supports are symbiotic entities that must work, live, and fight together in order to keep this
great nation strong. In order to maintain and enhance unit and mission readiness it is vital to
foster and facilitate positive relationships within the community using aggressive retention and
recruiting efforts that focus on the long term commitment to the community in which it serves.
The AR can do this, with the help of the community by focusing on two key points: ‘front door’
and ‘back door’ retention and recruiting efforts.
The Front Door
The Army will always need new soldiers to enter through the ‘front door’ and it will be a
continual challenge for recruiters to find the right persons for the right positions. The only way
this can be accomplished is through the Soldiers in our units working with the local community.
The Army Reserve Recruiter Assistance program is one way this can be accomplished. Using
our best Soldiers and leaders spread throughout the community to help identity, mentor, and
enlist new Soldiers to fill our most needed position is exactly what the force needs. Working
with the recruiting team and understanding the types of new Soldiers that are needed these
recruiting assistants can find the ‘right’ Soldiers to fill their unit. While out in the community the
Recruiter Assistant gives credit to what the unit does and creates visibility about the Army
Reserve that many locals may not know about. However, this program requires more input,
training, and support to become the driving force in ‘front door’ management as it should be.
The Back Door
The Back Door’ philosophy of shaping the force stems from keeping our best and
brightest Soldiers in the ranks by supporting them from within the community and helping them
grow within the Army. A current program named Employee Partnership Initiative (EPI) creates a
relationship with civilian employers who know and understand that our Soldiers are their best
employees. Employers who work with Soldiers and understanding the Army Reserve almost
always hire more and create a business to unit relationship which often, by word of mouth,
brings more employers into the program. While the program does a great job at partnering
employers with Soldiers and units it is still in its fledgling stage and needs more direct oversight,
increased business partnerships and a broader coverage in all areas. As this program builds it
creates a happy employer which translates to happy employees and in turn happy Soldiers that
will stay in our units and strengthen our Army to a fully mission capable force.
Thus far we have discussed how the Army Reserve must reshape its force utilizing the
community that surrounds it by implementing both ‘front door’ and ‘back door’ management.
The only way to keep our force strong is to focus on aggressive, community based retention and
recruiting efforts that focus on building relationships that benefit both the units and the
communities in which we serve. The actions, the programs, and processes are currently in place
but they must be refined and emphasized just that much more in order to shape and sustain the
greatest fighting force the world has ever seen during one of the most prolonged conflicts that
our nation has been in. Our Soldiers deserve nothing less than fully staffed functional units.