Presenter: Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 10:03 a.m. EST
Defense Department Special Briefing on Iraq and Afghanistan
STAFF: Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Q Good morning.
STAFF: Today we have an opportunity to let you interact with the
secretary of your Army, Dr. Francis Harvey, who has recently returned
from a trip into theater, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As this is his first time with you, I would ask that when we get to
questions and answers, that you identify yourself and your news
organization so he can get to know you better.
Mr. Secretary, please.
Q Good morning, sir. My name is Tom Squitieri with USA Today.
Following up on the issue of recruiting, two surveys conducted for DOD
and the Army recently as well as independent polling by our paper and
other media organizations show that one of the biggest challenges for
recruiters are parents of the younger people who are being convinced
by their parents not to sign up, for the reason they don't want to see
their child possibly killed or hurt in the conflict. With all the
ideas that you're brainstorming, about bonuses and all these other
things and the things you don't want to tell us this morning, how do
you deal with the fact that your biggest obstacle are parents?
SEC. HARVEY: Good question. And as you say, we do take
surveys along those lines.
One thing we're going to be doing, without getting into
the details, is we're going to be being very proactive to pointing out
to recruits and their parents the value of serving the country. This
is a theme the chief and I started in our testimony to Congress, that
it is a noble calling to serve the country. I personally feel that
way. I'm standing here before you because I wanted to serve the
country. And that's what I wanted to do. This is actually my third
career. And my motivation is, during a time of war I want to serve the
country that has been so good to me. I want to return to the
government, return specifically to DOD, that was very influential in
my business success, and what I learned here at the department. So
we're going to appeal to patriotism. We're going to appeal to the
value of service. And we're going to do that in a very proactive way.
So I think those particular results are subject to change
and they can be turned around.