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Pentagon’s Data Sharing with Schools will Showcase Military Careers, Boost Recruiting

The Department of Defense (DoD) is moving forward with a plan to share data with states on how service members are succeeding in their military careers.

The data will offer a new and much-needed lens for high schoolers and their parents on what a career in the military could mean – financially and in potential career skills and upward workforce mobility. Historically, this information has proven difficult to obtain and the lack of it for states has only exacerbated recruiting problems.

The Department of Defense “is committed to providing data on military service to state officials, including identifying standard requirements for all the states and establishing a central data repository for data sharing,” Ashish S. Vazirani, acting under secretary for personnel and readiness in the Department of Defense, recently wrote.

The DoD is establishing “a cross-agency working group to create a standardized agreement and data-sharing protocol on military service with state officials,” he wrote Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, a member of the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee and a champion of the data sharing.

The push has strong support on Capitol Hill, where a bi-partisan group of lawmakers recently introduced a bill seeking to mandate the data sharing.

“As high school students are making decisions about what to do after graduation, it is important for them know about the opportunities and benefits that serving in the military can provide,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said in a statement. “By giving states easier access to military enlistment data, schools and students will be better informed about the wide array of career paths in the military.”

“Accurate, current and readily available information on career opportunities and outcomes will better enable state education systems to inform students of military career options post high school,” said Sen. Moran. “This legislation will open doors for students to pursue their interests through well-paid, meaningful careers in the military.”

Armed forces stand to make recruiting gain

The data sharing has a lot of winners—high schoolers and their parents will get more insight on the military as a meaningful career path, while school systems around the nation will gain insight into how well they are preparing students for those careers.

But it is the armed forces that stand to gain considerably as lagging recruitment has been a big problem in the last several years. In 2023, the Army, Navy and Air Force failed to meet recruiting goals. The armed forces struggled the previous year as well.

A major part of the challenge has been the inability to reach graduating high schoolers with messages about careers in the military, which the data sharing arrangement should help to mitigate.

“The biggest reason we hear from young people for not joining the [Marine] Corps is that they simply weren’t aware of the potential opportunities,” Lt. Gen. James Glynn, the deputy commandant for manpower in the Marine Corps, recently told a House panel.  Maintaining consistent access to high schools and student directories remains a top priority for ensuring continued opportunity for all qualified individuals to serve.”

Vazirani said the Department of Defense and the working group will finalize the goals and objectives of the data sharing by the end of the year and begin providing the data to the states by the 2026-2027 school year.




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