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Military Goes to Where (Potential) Recruits Are.

Message to Military Recruiters: If you can't bring the teenagers of America to recruiting offices, then bring the recruiters to the teenagers.

For the services, that means opening up recruiting stations at major shopping malls, said Bernard Rostker, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. One of those stations will be located at Potomac Mills, in Northern Virginia, one of the largest shopping centers on the East Coast. Setting up shop at crowded malls is an expensive proposition, said Rostker. But it should ensure that recruiters would have access to large numbers of teenagers.

"In the past, recruiting stations were treated as offices, not as a place for walk-ins," Rostker said during a breakfast with reporters in Washington, D.C. The Army, for example, has shied away from high-rent retail areas, but the reason they are expensive, he said, is because they have "high traffic."

Rostker expects the investment will pay off, in the form of large numbers of new recruits. "An all-volunteer force is a fragile beast" that must be fed constantly and requires a lot of attention, he said.
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Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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