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NEWS | Dec. 16, 2019

U.S., Japan come together to discuss recruitment

By Spc. John Weaver I Corps

Senior advisers and leaders from America’s First Corps and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Eastern Army met to discuss recruitment tactics and strategies at a Q&A held during Yama Sakura 77 at Camp Asaka, Japan, Dec. 11, 2019.

The Q&A began with a screening of a TV spot from the Army’s new “What’s Your Warrior?” campaign designed to better connect with Generation Z.

The video highlights traditional infantry roles as well as developing fields like space, cyber, electronic warfare and artificial intelligence weapons systems.

From there, the conversation turned to the evolution of warfare and military forces in the digital age, with both nations acknowledging the recent challenge of recruiting qualified candidates in today’s competitive market.

“It’s the equivalent of going from the telegraph to the iPhone,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Shane E. Pospisil, command sergeant major for First Corps. “As our services look to the future, we need to recruit a different type of individual.”

JGSDF Warrant Officer Manami Saiki, command sergeant major for the JGSDF EA, acknowledged the growing need for young people with technical skills, adding that an ad campaign like “What’s Your Warrior?” could serve as “a very valuable recruiting tool for the JGSDF and U.S. Army.”

While many of the JGSDF members asked questions about college-based American initiatives like the G.I. Bill, or appreciated the advanced graphics of the advertisement, JGSDF Col. Yoshio Hamasaki, director of personnel operations, noted the way the “What’s Your Warrior?” campaign highlights lesser-known non-combat opportunities for prospective recruits — breaking the mold of “big, strong, combat men,” and focusing on new domains of warfare.

The military leaders’ Q&A mirrored a joint force recruiting event held earlier in the week, where Japanese youth sat down with U.S. Army and JGSDF service members in the camp’s Friendship Hall to discuss the benefits and impact of military service on their lives.

“The kids that I was talking to today were so intrigued,” said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Jennifer Boyanovsky, a civil affairs specialist with the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade, 351st Civil Affairs Command, U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), who fielded questions about her duties as a nonlethal strategist during the event. “These kids were so excited to serve their country and be a part of that.”

The two events were opportunities for both nations to come together and approach recruitment on a strategic and personal level.

“We need to take the opportunity to learn from each other,” Pospisil said in closing. “How do we partner, how do we fight and win wars, without firing a shot?”