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A young man plays CoD 4 at the new facility  (Source: Reuters)

Several young men shoot virtual insurgents from a Humvee  (Source: U.S. Army)
The U.S. Army gets even more interactive while trying to get new recruits

As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to rage on, the U.S. Army is again using video games and virtual reality as methods to try and get new recruits to enlist.

The Army is looking to create these gaming depots in major shopping malls and other locations across the country.  The Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia has a new Army Experience Center in a 14,500-square-foot location that has a Black Hawk helicopter, Apache gunship, and a Humvee.  The Philadelphia location is a $12 million, two-year experiment to see if the Army can increase recruiting numbers in the Philadelphia area.

Inside the location at Franklin Mills are 60 gaming PCs, 19 Microsoft Xbox 360s, and couches and soft drinks for visitors to enjoy while at the facility.   It's also possible to participate in a virtual war zone using mock M4 assault rifles, using the Humvee as a shield while firing.  Another room has a simulator in which participants can launch helicopter attacks against enemy soldiers hiding on roof tops and buildings.   

Since opening in August, the recruiting facility has recruited 37 active duty soldiers and five reservists -- the one interactive center successfully recruited the same number of recruits as five normal recruiting centers.  The Army has struggled recruiting new soldiers in the Philadelphia area, which is why the center was built in the area.

The U.S. Army also has its America's Army video game designed to create interest in enlisting, with the government continuing to promote the game during tech and video game tech shows.

Recruiters hope interested parties will visit the center and enjoy a more laid back, interactive atmosphere that is less pushy than normal recruiting depots.  

The Pentagon believes the growing recessing and rising unemployment could help boost recruiting numbers for the Army, Marines and other military branches.

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are you sure?
By Gul Westfale on 1/14/2009 10:42:16 PM , Rating: 5
The U.S. Army gets even more interactive while trying to get new recruits

that should read:
The U.S. Army gets even more DESPERATE while trying to get new recruits

RE: are you sure?
By FITCamaro on 1/14/2009 11:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the Army has met its recruiting goals every year for the past 8 years.

RE: are you sure?
By afkrotch on 1/15/2009 10:16:29 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but it's becoming increasingly harder and harder for them to meet their goals. That's why they are going to such measures.

RE: are you sure?
By Darkskypoet on 1/15/2009 12:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
I am pretty sure they haven't... I will have to go digging now, but it was common knowledge that the U.S Army was missing recruitment goals, and that the Marines (having almost always made their recruitment goals) were also running into a period of relatively low interest:

Now that may have been an anomaly for that year, however, I don't think it was (for the Army at least).

Also, the Army for one has dropped recruitment goals, and decreased requirements for recruits:

"In the midst of that April 10 speech, Bush boasted that "recruiting and retention have remained strong during the surge." Of course he neglected to mention how the Army, because of low numbers of new recruits, was forced to refashion its enlistment criteria over the course of the last few years, allowing them to say at this moment that they were meeting their 2008 recruiting goals of 80,000 in the active Army and 26,500 for the Army Reserve.

Achieving that goal required a reduction in the annual recruitment goal, raising the maximum enlistment age from 35 to 42, permitting those who are overweight or have physical injuries, granting entry to those with a criminal record and lowering the aptitude standards. A study by the National Priorities Project released in January determined that just over 70 percent of new recruits joining the active-duty Army in 2007 had a high school diploma, falling nearly twenty points below the Army's goal of 90 percent. The Army has long known that high school graduation is an important factor, not for performance but for retention. "

So I guess if by meeting recruitment goals, you mean dropping requirements, and reducing recruitment goals; sure then maybe they have.

RE: are you sure?
By Gul Westfale on 1/15/2009 10:02:37 PM , Rating: 2
i think they are only meeting their goals because they keep lowering the standards for admission. even CNN had a story on how convicted felons can now more easily join the US military... i guess not a lot of people are stupid enough anymore to be some politician's cannon fodder. congratulations to them.

RE: are you sure?
By Znamya3 on 1/15/2009 10:36:59 AM , Rating: 2
I need more information before I am willing to label this type of marketing as “desperate.”

I hope that this means we are rolling out more technology that is “remote controlled”, thus taking more soldiers out of harms way… which would need recruits with video game savvy to operate.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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