CSA Nominee Cites Recruiting as Top Challenge

CSA Nominee Cites Recruiting as Top Challenge

Gen George shaking hands
Photo by: U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. LaShic Patterson

Recruiting is the top challenge facing the Army as it works to grow the force and transform for a complex future battlefield, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George told lawmakers considering his nomination to lead the Army.

“I think it’s the No. 1 challenge that we face and the one thing we have to be focused on,” George said July 12 before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Every leader in the Army is completely focused on this.”

George, who has been the vice chief of staff since August, has been nominated to become the 41st Army chief of staff, succeeding Gen. James McConville, who is retiring. His nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.

A 1988 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, who first enlisted as a private, George used his own story as an example. Growing up in the small town of Alden, Iowa, George said he did not come from a military family, but he was inspired to talk to a recruiter after working for and spending time with a local Korean War veteran.

Even then, he didn’t plan to make the Army a career. “I have stayed because of the mission and the people,” George said.

One key way to turn around recruiting is to knock down some misconceptions about Army service, George said. Many young people are worried that military service means putting their life on hold, George said. It’s quite the opposite, he said. “It’s going to accelerate your life,” he said. “I think we need to get the word out.”

In addition to telling its story, the Army also has several programs to turn around recruiting, George said. They include the Future Soldier Preparatory Course, which helps young people meet the Army’s academic or physical fitness standards. “We’re not going to lower our standards,” he said, adding that the Army has seen “very good success” with the program.

The Army also is taking a close look at what changes may be needed in its recruiting enterprise, how it’s picking recruiters and how it’s marketing to its target audience, George said. “We’re receiving every aspect of that,” he said.

George said he is humbled to be nominated to lead the Army, which he described as “one of the greatest ground forces the world has ever seen.”

“The Association of the U.S. Army has had a strong working relationship with Gen. James McConville,” said retired Gen. Bob Brown, AUSA president and CEO. “We’ll miss his leadership, but we look forward to working with Gen. Randy George when he’s confirmed as the 41st Army chief of staff. There is much we can do together in support of America’s Army.”

If confirmed, George, who has served multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he will have four focus areas. The first is warfighting, “so that our Army is always ready to respond when our nation calls,” he said.

George said he also will focus on making sure the Army is continually improving to stay ahead of its adversaries. “As the war in Ukraine has shown us, we are in a rapidly changing strategic environment,” he said.

He also will focus on enabling strong organic and defense industrial bases and support for families and soldiers, and work to strengthen the Army profession and build cohesive teams, George said.