Lawton and Fort Sill heard some positive news this week when the U.S. Army announced that it is on track to meet its 2019 recruitment goals.
Army leaders announced Tuesday that they expect to sign up more than 68,000 active duty soldiers for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
The Army has done so by changing the way it recruits, according to an Associated Press story. The Army used to spend half of its marketing budget on television ads and half on digital. Recently the Army has spent 90 percent of its marketing budget on digital efforts.
That just makes sense in an era when most young people make use of digital platforms every day. Many young people prefer to connect online rather than face to face. If you want to reach young people, you have to adapt your message so they will receive it.
Another change the Army made was in reducing the number of waivers given to recruits for previous marijuana use, bad conduct and health problems. Now the Army is reducing the number of waivers and improving the quality of recruits, according to the AP story.
Fort Sill officials also were pleased with the announcement.
“The Army will meet its Fiscal Year 19 recruiting goal of 68,000 new active-duty recruits,” said Commanding General, United States Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, Maj. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner. “Our success in recruiting is expected to contribute to the Army’s modernization and readiness goals. We achieved success by changing the way we do business, and now we are getting results.
“People realize the Army is a great team to join. Army readiness requires a high-quality force and we are committed to hiring the right people with the right talents. We also want to highlight the outstanding job that Lt. Col. John Garcia and his team at the Oklahoma City Recruiting Battalion have done.
“They continue to expand outreach efforts to reach different markets and tailor messages to be more relatable and to educate the public about Army careers. The Army is growing and positioned for continued growth.”
Meeting the recruitment goal can only mean good news for Lawton and Fort Sill. Some of those 68,000 recruits are sure to come to Southwest Oklahoma for basic training.
That will translate into more tourism dollars for the city of Lawton when their families come to town for graduation ceremonies. They will sleep in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and visit our attractions.
Funds generated from the hotel-motel tax will then be disbursed to other entities in Lawton, such as the Lawton Economic Development Corporation, which will then be used to attract more businesses to Lawton.
What’s good for the Army is ultimately good for Lawton and Fort Sill.