The paper 'Generational Gaps in the United States Military" is an outstanding example of a military case study. The decision by the United States Department of Defense to ban the use of some social networking sites and popular websites highlighted a major issue that is prevalent even in major corporations worldwide; generational gaps. The military’ s official reason was that they were concerned about saving on bandwidth and security issues but still, the generational differences between junior and senior officers were evident. Senior officials were unable to understand how the millennial generation could be using civilian social networking sites for matters concerning their work.
To them, such actions represented serious security concerns. The issue at hand is that Generation y has a high affinity for online interactions among other conspicuous traits that previous generations do not approve of or are not conversant with. As an example, the military has had to strictly define its dress code and decent appearance to cope with the adoption of traits such as baggy clothing, piercings and tattoos. The generation is quite tolerant of issues that have caused a stir with generations of the past such as race ethnicity and sexual orientation.
But of course, this tolerance could be attributed to naivety and youth among a minority of the generation. It is of importance to understand whether these traits are natural or whether they will pass with time as this generation has come of age to take up positions of leadership in the military and elsewhere. The observable differences Generational gaps are not new to the scene and have been there in the past. The Vietnam era was dodged by indifferences and inability to coexist between the 20-year-old draftees and the older more senior officers.
More recent reports indicate that the level of voluntary attrition has gone up among junior officers, the main reason being generational differences between them and their seniors. Fritzson, Howell Jr & Zakheim cited a U. S. Army report(2000) which remarked that “ Senior officers think they understand the world of lieutenants and captains, but many junior officers and others are convinced that they do not. ’ ’ Some of the notable differences between the juniors and seniors included dog loyalty of seniors to the military as opposed to the junior’ s dedication of equal time to work and life.
Such an attitude was evident through the difficulties the military was experiencing in recruiting and retaining the millennial generation despite its large numbers. Estimates suggest that the population of generation y is 75 million, which would translate to a larger pool to recruit a workforce from for both the military and corporate world. This generation has no specific archetype and only generalizations exist hence making recruitment all the more cumbersome. One researcher, however, has dedicated his efforts at defining this generation’ s attitudes and aptitudes as they relate to the U. S.
military. It is evident that this generation is equipped with different talents and as such will provide distinct challenges and opportunities to their employers. The military will have to adopt strategic reforms that bring the best out of this generation in order to capitalize on its strengths.