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Innovative Solutions for Military Recruitment: A Conversation with Second Lieutenant Matthew Weiss
Norm Goldman --  BookPleasures.com Norm Goldman -- BookPleasures.com
Montreal, QC
Friday, October 27, 2023

Innovative Solutions for Military Recruitment: A Conversation with Second Lieutenant Matthew Weiss

Bookpleasures.com is honored to introduce Second Lieutenant Matthew Weiss, author of We Don't Want YOU, Uncle Sam.

Matthew is different from your typical author; he is a dedicated Intelligence Officer in the United States Marine Corps. 

Beyond his military service, his background includes a fascinating journey through the business world, where he previously worked in mergers and acquisitions at a cutting-edge defense technology company.

Matthew's educational achievements are equally impressive. He holds a Bachelor of Science and an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

However, what truly sets him apart is his passionate commitment to addressing a pressing issue that affects our nation's security – the Gen Z recruitment crisis within the military.

But Matthew's dedication doesn't stop there. He is a member of Generation Z himself, and his heartfelt concern for solving the service recruitment challenge has driven him to become a leading voice on this matter. 

His expertise and insights have garnered significant attention, earning him interviews with major media outlets such as the New York Post and MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Today, we have the privilege of delving into his thoughts, experiences, and the solutions he presents in his work to address the Gen Z recruitment crisis.

Norm: Good day, Matthew, and thanks for participating in our interview.

What inspired you to write this book about military recruitment issues and Generation Z's perspective on service?

Matthew: Thank you for having me. I kept seeing news segments on the military recruiting crisis. However, the people speaking on television were all very established Generals and Admirals.

These military leaders are admirable but they were mostly recruiting 30 to 40 years ago. They have no idea what is on a Gen Z'ers Instagram feed or Tik Tok channel. I wanted to give the Gen Z voice to this discussion.

Norm: How do you think your background in finance and technology uniquely positions you to analyze and propose solutions to military recruitment challenges?

Matthew: I also fall back to my business education. America won WWII because we out produced and I think business frameworks are a great way to view life and the world.

I try to incorporate innovative and modern thinking to a very old bureaucracy to stimulate discussion around change.

Norm: Can you elaborate on the significance of the title We Don't Want You, Uncle Sam and what it represents in the context of your book?

Matthew: The title is basically a provocative way of saying Gen Z is turning its back on military service.

It comes from the famous WWI Army recruiting poster with Uncle Sam saying "I Want You!"

My generation is not saying "I Want You!" back. I actually end the book by explaining who Uncle Sam is in real life but that is a surprise for the reader.

Norm: Your book discusses the unique characteristics and beliefs of Generation Z. What are some key differences between Gen Z and previous generations that impact military recruitment?

Matthew: There are a few insights I try to shed light on here. One of them is that unlike millennials, Gen Z is not the "everyone gets a participation trophy" generation.

In actuality, we are fiercely competitive. Our social media lets us get instant feedback on every post we make. We instantly know who gets more likes and who gets more comments.

This makes us competitive in the social and job sphere. We also have more mental health issues than any generation due to the over stimulation of devices.

Norm: You discuss the concept of "Military Meaning Mentorship (MMM) calls." Could you explain how these calls can address Gen Z's meaning problem with work?

Matthew: Gen Z needs to understand how their work has meaning. However we don't want to be spoon fed by some elder.

Our peers, current Gen Z'ers in uniform are the ones who are best suited to explain how military service and the work we actually do is meaningful to us.

Norm: You emphasize the role of veterans in inspiring future recruits. How can the military create an environment encouraging veterans to share their experiences transparently?

Matthew: Veterans should be allowed to have an honest exit interview where they give real feedback and advice just like any other employer.

This process needs to be organic and transparent. We need to accept honest and hard feedback even if it is painful because only then can we actually change for the better/

Norm: Chapter 8 talks about improving service to fit modern timelines. Could you provide more details on shorter service contracts for Gen Z recruits?

Matthew: This idea should be allowed in small batches for a few potential enlistees who have really strong other career options.

Making a Gen Z'er sign a 4 year contract will drive some of the top performers away but a shorter contract may allow some of those with other options to give two strong years to the military and then pursue another path.

Norm: You mention the need to modernize the health accession system. What specific changes would you recommend to remove the barriers Gen Z faces in joining the military due to medical standards?

Matthew: Re-do the entire DOD manual on health qualifications to make sure that each one is functionally-related and job-specific. We have way too many old qualifications that exist from the WWII age. This needs to be updated.

Norm: Your book touches on Gen Z's changing relationship with religion and the need to tap into non-traditional outlets like influencers. How can the military adapt to this shift in societal values?

Matthew: We need to allow influencers to influence. Marketing messages should be combined with popular celebrities and accounts to reach key audiences.

Millenials had a hive mind approach in regards to the internet whereas Gen Z has a very influencer-driven approach.

Norm: In your book, you emphasize the importance of Gen Z wanting to feel virtuous and help others. Could you describe how the military can foster a better culture for females in uniform, as mentioned in Chapter 18?

Matthew: Females make up 50% of the workforce and need to be recruited at much higher numbers in the military.

They need to be made to feel welcome and supported in the military and allowed to compete in roles in which they have a true advantage in.

Norm: You suggest that veterans should be put in college degree programs. How can the military facilitate this transition and encourage service members to continue their education?

Matthew: There is a key emphasis on upskilling while in the military. People need to be able to have the ability to grow while in the military and the ability to come out of the experience much better off as a person.

Norm: As a member of Generation Z yourself, what personal experiences and insights did you draw upon when writing this book?

Matthew: I infused many small anecdotes from my childhood in New Jersey, time at business school at Upenn, and technology work at a fast growing company in the book. I try to make this readable by any lay person so that we can all have this conversation at the dinner table.

Norm: As we wrap up our interview, where can our readers learn more about you and We Don't Want YOU, Uncle Sam??

Matthew: www.unclesambook.org is the official book website. The book is available in 3 formats on Amazon. 

To Read A Summary of the Interview on Bookpleasures.com Follow Here


 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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