Thursday, October 5, 2023

#BookReview of We Don't Want You, Uncle Sam by Matthew Weiss

We Don't Want You, Uncle Sam: Examining the Military Recruiting Crisis with Generation Z

By: Matthew Weiss
Publisher: Night Vision Publishing
Publication Date: July 31, 2023
ISBN 979-8218236663
Reviewed by: Douglas C. MacLeod, Jr.
Review Date: September 24, 2023
The United States military is running out of recruits. Much of this reduction has to do with the growing number of medical, educational, emotional, and behavioral issues associated with the population known as Generation Z (the Zoomers, born between 1997-2012); as well as just a general lack of interest from the same group. The problem with this, according to author and Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, Matthew Weiss, in his new book We Don’t Want You, Uncle Sam: Examining the Military Recruiting Crisis with Generation Z, is that international skirmishes are becoming more and more frequent. North America is in perpetual crisis-mode and its citizens are in constant need of protection, whether or not they want to admit it; and, without a thriving military, their freedoms and protections may be forcibly eradicated and the United States’ democratic principles may be in dire straits. So, what should be done? Weiss’s organized and succinct work is an intelligently thought-out, solution-based how-to for all the military branches to help bump up recruitment while also using niche-marketing techniques to present the benefits rather than the burdens of voluntarily enlisting.
We Don’t Want You, Uncle Sam is broken up into four distinct parts: Recruiting Fundamentals; Workforce Parity; Social Influences; and, Scope of Service. Within each section, there are more than several short but comprehensive chapters devoted to what has become a multi-faceted challenge that will not get better unless serious adjustments are made in marketing and recruitment techniques. Weiss speaks about how Zoomers, although extremely competitive, do not identify as their job titles as older generations tended to do. More important to them is job performance as well as the end result of that performance, an example being young people who educate rather than say they are educators. Connected to this is their lack of religious convictions and their now undying devotion to social media influencers, a paradox that Weiss believes should be capitalized on by the Department of Defense in that the branch of government should be using more current mass-mediated platforms to draw recruits into the fold. Also included in this equation, according to Weiss, are those that already served, diverse populations, and women: groups of people in the United States that have historically had a difficult time being marketed to for a variety of reasons, including the perception the military in toto is misogynistic, racist, and ageist. It is these stigmas, along with the need for better physical and mental health care, the need for better pay, the need for contracted timeframes, the need for tangible safety guidelines, and the need for a rethinking about recreational substance use (among others), that have been a self-inflicted thorn in the militaries’ side for quite some time.
It is in making these arguments that Weiss excels, mostly when promoting equitable solutions to these issues throughout the text (his cultural perceptions and opinions are not as strong, but still are somewhat convincing). He is a talented writer who has a well-rounded understanding of the subject matter because he, himself, is a member of the Marines Corps; and, yet, he maintains a level of objectivity that is certainly not easy to do when speaking about our current political environment and the hassles our service members endure day-in and day-out, him being included. Weiss looks at all the angles and, although he recognizes the shifts he speaks of will take a great deal of time and money to implement, he is very persuasive in his argument that without a better understanding of the Zoomers and their understandings about the United States military, this country will have a short-fall of recruits that could put the entire country in jeopardy. Weiss is straight-forward and honest about where the United States is succeeding and failing, and he leaves it up to us, the readers, to heed his warning or not be considered the most powerful and respected nation in the world.
Quill says: We Don’t Want You, Uncle Sam is a brilliant, articulate, multi-faceted study of a most dangerous problem that needs to be faced and fixed in the near future.
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