“New, bold ideas” are needed to help the military meet its recruitment goals, and defense communities have a role in developing those, ADC Vice President Karen Holt wrote in a Military Times op-ed published Sunday. “The path to boldness in this case might just begin in the communities the military calls home — America’s defense communities.”

Holt pointed to community-led programs such as a Career and Technical Education program in Tullahoma, Tennessee and a cybersecurity and coding program in Little Rock, Arkansas as successful examples of introducing the military to civilian families.

“An investment in expanding these programs to other communities, along with DOD’s youth engagement initiatives such as the Starbase outreach program, could pay dividends now and into the future.”

Holt said that some of the outreach programs that connect defense communities to the missions at their local installations can also be useful in communities that do not have a base nearby as a way to bridge the military-civilian divide.

“We need to redirect recruitment dollars to invest in community-based outreach programs across the country that engage our local leaders and veterans, share the positive impacts of the military and build awareness of career opportunities created by service,” Holt wrote.

Holt will talk with Army Secretary Christine Wormuth about recruitment and other issues on stage Tuesday during the Defense Communities National Summit.

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anna-Liesa Hussey