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America’s Navy – A global force for good

September 2011 - Navy
By RADM Robin Graf

The Active and Reserve Components of our Navy combine to form the most preeminent and capable force in the world. The Reserve force is uniquely qualified to fulfill missions in support of overseas contingency operations, or right here at home during times of national crisis. Since 2001, Reservists have filled approximately half of all Individual Augmentee (IA) billets and deployed around the world to include Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Horn of Africa, and Guantanamo Bay. This call to serve is what drove Navy Recruiting Command to develop a new approach to attract and ultimately enlist and commission new recruits and officers into our Navy. This includes encouraging those leaving active duty to answer the call to re-serve, drawing on the honor, courage, and commitment of generations past and present who value service before self.

Our Navy’s brand “America’s Navy – A global force for good,” along with marketing videos such as “The Calling,” “Power,” and “Until” are designed to ignite the passion of service in Sailors both present and past, inspire today’s youth, and inform the public of the Navy’s contributions to national security. The brand is not a recruiting slogan; it’s a call to serve that echoes the powerful heritage of our Navy while reinforcing the message of hope and opportunity that the Navy provides to our citizens across this great country and around the world through its global reach and impact.

The Navy previously focused on recruiting slogans vice “branding.” These slogans included “Accelerate Your Life” (2001-2009), “Let the Journey Begin” (1996-2000), “Navy, It’s Not Just a Job, It’s an Adventure” (1976-86) and “Be Someone Special” (1973-75). Each had its own appeal and was primarily geared towards answering an individual’s question, “What’s in it for me?”

Sailors were the dynamic force behind the development of the brand. More than 18 months of research by Navy Recruiting Command and our civilian marketing partner went into the development, including focus groups of active, reserve, and retired Sailors and citizens from around the country. Their inputs helped us capture a brand that shows the global “good” provided by Navy engagement around the world. The research showed that today’s Sailors, along with men and women considering service in the Navy, want to make a positive difference in their world, not just their own lives. The young men and women entering the Navy today have a broad understanding of how their service provides global impact. Our Navy brand speaks directly to this generation of young people who are called to put service before self.

The brand also draws directly from “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” which refers to our Navy as a “force for good, protecting this nation’s vital interests even as it joins others to promote security and stability across the globe.”1 The “good” our Navy does takes many forms, from SEALs thwarting terrorist plots to providing humanitarian assistance from hospital ships like the USNS Mercy, and advanced training and education for the Navy workforce.

Our globally engaged Navy provides balanced capabilities for forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster response. Our brand captures the inherent flexibility, adaptability and power of our Navy that is increasingly relevant in a complex, interconnected and uncertain world. The call to serve represents how security, prosperity and sea power are focused on opportunities – not threats; on optimism – not fear; and on confidence – not doubt. This is who we are, and it’s an ethos that appeals to Sailors past and present, along with today’s youth.

The strategy behind our brand is to develop a long-term campaign that explains who we are and inspires others to join. I believe every young person, mother, father, doctor, teacher, coach — all of us — have felt “a calling” at some point in life. A call to belong to an organization with values that make each of us want to do “good” for others. America’s Navy answers that call by providing individuals the opportunity to change their own lives while protecting our nation’s freedom for generations to come.

Our brand was designed to help build our future Navy one Sailor at a time and ignite the emotions of pride and professionalism. As we recruit for today and build for tomorrow, our mission and vision encompasses a recruiting force that is operating in real time. In order for that force to continue to perform successfully, recruiters and communication systems are being combined with optimal processes to give them the quality, agility, and flexibility to inform, influence, inspire, and ultimately hire the very best in a dynamic recruiting environment.

America’s Navy is a global force for good, and that “good” can take many forms:

  • Bombs on a terrorist hideout.
  • Bullets to protect innocent civilians against extremists.
  • Bottles of water to those in need after disaster strikes.
  • Bachelor’s degree through advanced training and education.

Our recruiters are often the only face of America’s Navy in many areas across the nation. Equipped with real-time, interpersonal communications systems and the knowledge, skill, and ability to operate at the speed of today’s market, these tech-savvy communicators are in direct touch with the future Sailors of tomorrow.

Through this interpersonal connection, supported by strong marketing and technology, each member of our recruiting force is focused and actively engaged in communities around the nation and the world igniting awareness, attracting, recruiting and hiring a diverse combination of the nation’s best and brightest men and women to serve in America’s Navy.

I appreciate those who reach out to help influence and share our brand and our Navy with others, so that all Americans can better understand how their Navy performs “good” around the world to protect us here at home and preserve our freedom around the globe.

For more information about America’s Navy, our brand, and how you can help now and in the future, I encourage you to visit or You can also share your comments at USNAVYLIFE.

1 A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, October 2007, p.16.

About the author, Rear Adm. Robin Graf became the 18th Commander, Navy Recruiting Command on 21 April 2011. She most recently served as the Deputy Commander, Navy Recruiting Command. Rear Adm. Graf is a native of Simsbury, CT.

(For her complete biography, please go to Web site at

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