Mentoring in the Military

May 20, 2014

Although the prevalence of mentoring in academic and professional areas is quite well known, the incredible popularity of mentoring in the United States Military is relatively under emphasized. 

Note: This post originally appeared in the May edition of our Newsletter. We have all the issues of our newsletter archived on our website:

According to Brad and Johnson (2010), a large survey of mentoring in the Army showed that 84% of soldiers had at least one mentor during their careers. While this percentage is certainly high, it shouldn’t be too surprising. Individuals in the military operate within an organization that emphasizes close knit communities consisting of well defined hierarchies. The structured environment encourages one more senior soldier to mentor another less experienced soldier. 

What makes mentoring so valuable for those serving in the Military?    

    The job of a soldier is not an easy one. It frequently includes long periods of time away from one’s family, and lengthy hours filled with arduous work. Mentors can teach less experienced soldiers how to cope with stress, and deal with the hardships related to the job. 

    Mentoring is an invaluable tool for many in the military, not just during their service, but frequently afterwards too. Creating a new life after military service can be difficult for many soldiers, and the prevalence of PTSD in returning soliders signifies a need for post-service support. A mentor can provide guidance and support during the transition from soldier to civilian by assisting in job searches, helping veterans to earn a degree, or aid in general adjustment back to normal life.

Examples of Military Mentoring Programs

Army Mentorship Program:

The Army Mentorship Program was founded in 2005 to encourage mentoring beyond the chain of command. The program is voluntary and seeks to encourage the mentoring of the Army’s future leaders. The program is online-based, and includes information, tools, chat rooms, and references to help create both formal and informal mentoring relationships. 

Veteran Mentor Program:

The American Corporate Partners runs a mentoring program that pairs Veteran protégés with corporate mentors for a year long partnership. Paired based on goals and experience, they have discussions on resume building, interview skills, small business development, and networking. The program has seen high rates of satisfaction and success. 

Don’t Forget: Memorial Day is May 26th!



Johnson, B., & Anderson, G. Formal Mentoring in the U.S. Military. Naval War College Review, 63, 113-126.