The Department of Defense has launched an initiative called “This Is Your Military” to highlight the work of service members, dispel myths about military service, and increase awareness among the American people, the deputy assistant to the secretary of defense for outreach announced last month.
The effort, which kicked off Feb. 1, aims to introduce the American people to the 1 percent of the population serving, Amber Smith said at a Bipartisan Policy Center panel discussion titled “Warrior Caste: Who Will Serve in America’s Future Military?”
"We want to showcase how the military is relevant to Americans’ lives on a daily basis, and how innovative the department is, and how we’re a force for good," she said.
Internal data indicate the civilian-military divide is expanding, she noted. "That ultimately is a threat to the viability and the sustainability of the all-volunteer force, which in the long term has some national security risks,” Smith explained.
The “This Is Your Military” effort will highlight missions the American people might not connect the military to, Smith said, such as hurricane relief efforts in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.
Further, Smith said, the DOD wants to dispel misperceptions about military life – for example, that people leave service physically or emotionally broken. Also, she said, incorrect information is out there about what jobs women can serve in and that characterizes military life as lonely and not family friendly.
“We just want to get the facts out there, and in doing so, balance the scale,” Smith said. “So, yes, people might still be familiar with the negatives, but they're also familiar with the positives that come along with serving.”
The effort aims to reach people who are not familiar with the military or may not know the positives of service, she explained. “We really want to articulate a message of what the military is doing, tell that military story to a nonmilitary audience, and really create some interest for people who don't necessarily care,” she added.
Outreach efforts will include coverage of sporting events and military engagements, as well as videos, photos, graphics and other products, Smith said.
The initiative will conduct outreach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all tied together with the #KnowYourMil hashtag.
Each month, the initiative will highlight an aspect of military life such as military jobs and benefits, entrepreneurism and innovation, global missions and family life.
The initiative will work with all the military services and leverage their existing outreach programs as well, she said.