The Army held a graduation ceremony Thursday morning at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for its first group of warrant officers to possess a specific military occupational specialty for recruiting.

The 25 talent acquisition technicians will aid in the service’s overall recruiting operations, data analytics and marketing techniques, Col. Christine Rice, the lead officer in charge of the Army’s workforce redesign initiative, said during a media event Wednesday. She added that the soldiers, known as 420Ts, who started their training in March, will arrive at their assignments in August and September.

Following past lackluster recruiting seasons, the Army begins to move away from its former structure with the addition of permanent recruiters. But the service aims to not just tread water in a difficult recruiting environment but to use key data points to target new talent and close demographic gaps in the force.

“The biggest thing about recruiting is its an ever-evolving, changing mission,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sasha Adams Gibson, one of the 420T graduates. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, she chose to transition from her role as a legal administrator in the Army JAG Corps to the new recruiter position and will be assigned to Fort Knox.

“Being able to analyze the data, improve it, enhance it so that we can get after meeting our mission of filling the ranks of the Army is the ultimate goal,” she said.

After it opened applications for the positions in January, the Army kicked off a selection process to choose the roughly two dozen soldiers for its first cohort. From there, the soldiers participated in a course that included various data analytics and technical training. They’ll soon be stationed throughout the country at the battalion and brigade levels for their assignments.

Using a variety of internal and external reports with information on the demographics of potential recruits — for example their gender or age — the warrant officers said they plan to better identify who should be reached, and how to best tailor their message. They’ll also work with regional academic and industry partners to strategize on successful talent acquisition procedures.

“I get asked by peers, ‘How will we measure the success of the 420Ts,’” said Col. Rick Frank, commandant of the Army Recruiting and Retention College.

“I would offer that we already achieve a victory by providing continuity to our units through these warrant officers,” he said, noting that as opposed to the previous model that required soldiers to temporarily fill recruiting billets, these warrant officers will stay in their roles for four to five years.

The Army has incrementally been implementing reforms to its recruiting plan and intends to bring on two other cohorts into the new career field, slightly different than the first, consisting of noncommissioned officers who must first attend warrant officer candidate school.

One group is expected to participate in training later this year with another expected to begin early next year, Rice said, leading to approximately half of the MOS being fulfilled within a year of standing up the occupation.

Rice said the Army also conducted a virtual panel in the past month for enlisted talent acquisition technicians, known as 42Ts, and in the coming months those soldiers will attend training with industry personnel before heading to their units in the second quarter of fiscal year 2025.

“Understanding some of the weaknesses and strengths of your battalion, and understanding what assets you have and being able to apply them to basically have an advantage in the market, is critical. Especially as difficult as recruiting has been, we’ve got to be able to do that, and capitalize on that,” Frank said.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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