– The Millennial is the Reservist of tomorrow

– In character, Russia and terrorist groups are different, but both want the same thing – from order, through disorder to new order that is more to their advantage. So, who is going to compete on our behalf? Our Reservists. The Millennials.

By: Roy Thorvaldsen, Lt.Col Norwegian Army (R)/ CIOR Public Affairs

The Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe/ DSACEUR, General Sir James Everard (KCB; CBE, UK Army) speaks eagerly of the need to engage the 25-35 year olds in the Reserves of tomorrow – a generation that has a lot of other interests than serving in the military. He says:

– What do we (think we) know about these men and women? They are butterflies, always looking to the next opportunity; they are technically excellent, but socially less secure than previous generations; they recognise the terrorist threat [but] struggle to see Russia in the same way; they cannot believe we will fight another large-scale ground war, (but accept that counter-insurgent missions and train, advise, assist and accompany missions are possible).

DSACEUR, General Sir James Everard (UK Army) speaks eagerly of the need to engage the 25-35 year olds in the Reserves. Photo: Henry Plimack, Captain US Coast Guard Reserve (Retd.)/CIOMR Public Affairs.

In the opening speech of the CIOR Summer Congress Symposium, which focused on “The Millennial Reserve Officer”, general Everard said of the importance of the age group:

More than two thirds of NATO’s forces are Millennials

– As at 2015 I estimate that 72% of NATO active duty and Reservists are Millennials.

For the 2nd in command of all NATO military operations, Reservists will provide an indispensable and valuable contribution in the efforts to win any 21st century military conflict. And more and more of those Reservists are Millennials.

– Need to convince them of the need to serve

– So, we need to convince them of the need to serve. I think we can explain to these men and women that you can find reference to a new conception of warfare, warfare without battlefield, in Soviet thinking as early as 1953 in which – from a position of military strength – espionage, infiltration, subversion and sabotage – ensure the outcome of a campaign before battle is joined, he says.

CIOR Summer Congress Symposium about “The Millennial Reserve Officer”. Photo: Henry Plimack, Captain US Coast Guard Reserve (Retd.)/CIOMR Public Affairs.

– We can explain that Hybrid Warfare/ New Generation Warfare is just the latest evolution of this approach, part of a wider strategic approach that is not about direct confrontation, but long-term strategic competition.

– We can continue the message on Terrorism. We need to explain that Russia is also building a highly capable conventional force, backed by dual-use missile technologies and nuclear forces. This complementary component of hybrid warfare cannot be overlooked.

– Why complementary? Hard power threatens, intimidates and provides space in which to conduct hybrid warfare in order to influence and limit Alliance decision-making on military responses.

Sales pitch to Millennials

So, what is then the sales pitch to Millennials?

– We have work to do to safeguard our Nations. We need them. The flexibility and variety of Reserve service can counter the reluctance to stay on one job for too long. And Reserve service allows citizens to manage two careers and can add a sense of purpose to their working lives, whilst an increasingly modern personnel structure and retention tools can better offer flexibility and choice, says General Everard.

Photo: Henry Plimack, Captain US Coast Guard Reserve (Retd.)/CIOMR Public Affairs.
DSACEUR’s speech at the symposium clearly engaged the participants from the “Millennial” age group. Foto: Henry Plimack, Captain US Coast Guard Reserve (Retd.)/CIOMR Public Affairs.