By Master Sgt. Chance Babin, Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs
/ Published July 04, 2020
Air Force Recruiting Service and Air National Guard Recruiting and Retention signed a mutual support agreement that will combine resources and integrate staff to enhance marketing and advertising. Events like the Virginia Air National Guard attending the GRIT Fitness Festival at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, Va., March 7, 2020, will now have Air Force recruiters representing the service’s Total Force; regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham)
In a historic milestone for the Total Force recruiting enterprise, Air Force Recruiting Service and Air National Guard Recruiting and Retention signed a mutual support agreement that will combine resources and integrate staff to enhance marketing and advertising.
“This is another leap forward in our journey to have one Total Force recruiting effort,” said Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, AFRS commander. “Having our Air National Guard join forces under the same, single contract with Air Force Recruiting Service will drive even greater collaboration and ensure we work as one world-class team getting the message out about serving full time or part time in the Air Force.”
For the Guard, this contract will enhance opportunities to reach a broader audience and strengthen the Air Force brand.
“This collaboration between the Air National Guard and Air Force Recruiting Service is the most significant integration initiative to date for marketing and represents a long term relationship that will bolster brand awareness and lead generation for both components for years to come,” said Brig. Gen. April Vogel, the National Guard Bureau’s Manpower, Personnel, Recruiting and Services director. “The ANG is excited about the expanded reach this partnership with AFRS and its commercial partners brings to the Guard.”
For the ANG and AFRS, the support agreement boosts their ability to reach potential applicants and inform them on the opportunities to serve full time or part time.
“This support agreement between the ANG and AFRS recruiting is unprecedented – we’re literally making history. I can see this effort opening the door for other partnership opportunities within the Air Force, as a whole Total Force,” said Lt. Col. Jacob Chisolm, AFRS Strategic Marketing Division deputy. “This support agreement allows ANG and AFRS to pool our resources, creating a synergistic effect that will foster ingenuity and innovation across the components by forcing us out of our comfort zones and opening our eyes to new ways of doing business.”
The Air Force is embarking on a Total Force recruiting enterprise approach to recruit the nation’s best talent. Recently the Air Force Reserve officially became the fourth group with AFRS as part of a classic association.
“The return on investment from this joint venture will be more significant than our previous individual efforts,” Vogel added. “A Total Force initiative like this strengthens our ANG missions. It helps contribute to a unified message across the components because we recruit together, train together and fight together – one Air Force, with multiple ways to serve.”
The ANG’s advertising contract expired just over ten months ago, so getting back to having a contract and being able to have a consolidated message will allow the ANG to get the word out about opportunities to serve in the Guard.
“By combining our resources – funding, time and talent – we will be able to deliver a product that does a much better job of telling the Total Force Air Force story and educating the American public on opportunities to serve in our Air Force, full time or part time,” Chisolm said. “I don’t want to speak for the ANG, but I’m sure they’re very excited to ‘turn the lights back on’ and get their message out to the American public. I’m just happy we’re able to use the contracts and relationships we already have in place to give an assist.”
For the ANG, now having a marketing contract means they can start planning campaigns to spread the word about opportunities in the Guard.
“Joining the integrated marketing contract not only allows the Air National Guard to join AFRS for Total Force advertising and events at the national level, but we'll also have local marketing plans for the 54 states and territories where we have units,” said Col. Nashid Salahuddin, ANG Recruiting and Retention Division chief. “In the coming months we’ll be working with states to develop and implement their plans.”
Another move that is taking place is adding ANG personnel to the AFRS marketing team at Headquarters AFRS. The Air Force Reserve made this move roughly a year ago as part of the Total Force Recruiting initiative.
“To support our integration efforts with AFRS, the Air National Guard will integrate additional staff positions at AFRS,” said Col. Shaunte Cooper, ANG advisor to the AFRS commander and AFRS integration chief. “The focus this year (is) positions in the marketing division to support the integrated marketing contract.”
Working on this agreement has been a process and has taken some time, but it was important to both parties that the deal get done.
“Because AFRS is subordinate to Air Education and Training Command, all support agreements are managed by the AETC/A4 Readiness Program office. The program manager, Brian Sharp, was very helpful in keeping us on task and abreast of any changes or requirements needed to keep our package moving in the right direction,” Chisolm said. “The biggest lesson learned is that constant communication is a must. The approval process required a preliminary review by both component’s comptroller, logistics and legal teams. This step was instrumental in making sure the final coordination went smoothly. “
In addition to recruiting for the regular Air Force, the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, Total Force recruiting also encompasses the U.S. Air Force Academy admissions, Air Force Civilian Service and Air Force ROTC. The Air Force now recruits for America’s newest military branch, the U.S. Space Force.