Millennials—individuals born between 1980 and 2000—now comprise more than 80 percent of the active-duty U.S. military. As the United States faces lingering conflicts in the Middle East, North Korea’s erratic behavior, Russian military resurgence, and a rising China, questions concerning the ability of millennial soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to handle an increasingly complex and threatening global security landscape continue to mount.
To be sure, millennials are different from their predecessors. These differences present a host of challenges as this generation takes on more responsibility within society. These challenges may be especially acute for the military, where the appreciation of traditional values, strict hierarchy, and rigid personnel policies fly in the face of stereotypical millennial attitudes. But they also present new opportunities to leverage the unique talents, abilities, and skills that this generation brings to a modern battlefield.