Millennial Cadet Asks Defense Secretary About 'Less Hierarchal,' More 'Casual' Work Environment

"And I want to be competitive at that time, so you don't have to feel that you have to choose. Sometimes it's going to be tough for you, but I don't want to make it impossible for you to have a family that you'd like, and also continue to serve us. So where I can make that easier, consistent with readiness, I want to do that."

Carter said the department is concentrating on making "a lot of changes of those kinds" in "the way we promote people and how we give you opportunities along the way, so we're not so rigid about, say, you have to punch this ticket and then punch that ticket, and then punch that ticket."

"And you find that all you're doing is punching tickets. And that's not really giving you the opportunity to grow in the way that we need you to grow," he added.

"We're thinking about how to change your career path. So I think we do need to keep thinking about the career path. You'll always be the profession of arms. We're not Wal-Mart. You know, we're not Google. We're the United States military. But that doesn't mean we can't change and adapt. And we have to because I need good people like you. And once I get you, I've got to keep you."