Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this Carlisle Paper explores the salient features of leadership theory, the characteristics of the Millennial Generational Cohort, and what senior leaders must do to improve attraction, motivation, and retention of millennial officers in the U.S. Army.
The dynamic nature of the future security environment necessitates better retention of diversified talent among officers from the Millennial Generational Cohort. Although the U.S. Army has done well to attract a diverse and talented group of junior officers at commissioning, a revision of the Army's Personnel System that incorporates a more personalized management approach could help to motivate and retain millennial officers and better prepare them for senior leadership. Lieutenant colonels and colonels must provide the transformational leadership and innovation needed to create the intrinsic value that millennials seek in their profession.
The Army periodically has struggled with the retention of talented junior and mid-grade officers. Most recently, the Army grappled with how it could retain the broad types of talent it needed to conduct complex operations in remote parts of the globe while confronting many ideological threats. At one point in its history and after considerable analysis, the Army came to a troubling conclusion: "Since it could not motivate the highly educated work-force it was seeking, it would have to settle on simply educating the motivated people that it could attract."1 The report was produced during the Vietnam War in 1968. This approach had the effect of shifting the Army's strategy away from incentivizing the retention of young officers with ambition, innovative ideas, an entrepreneurial mindset, and adaptive leadership traits to a strategy where the Army simply focused on the mass production of a large quantity of homogenous officers to progress through the ranks.