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Do "Shoot and Kill" Games Equal Recruiting Success for the U.S. Army?

I've watched the recruiting game in the armed forces with a lot of interest since 9/11.  First the rush of patriotism...  Then the backlash and difficulties that came with the issues on the ground in Iraq in the 2004-2006 time frame, and the leveling out that's been seen since the success of the surge.

Once the wave of patriotism faded, the Army had to find new ways to hit its annual quota of soldiers toRecruiter2 support troop levels in Iraq and elsewhere.  Like any volume-based recruiting organization worth its salt, the Army talent acquisition function is constantly tweaking to figure out how to maximize the yield.

This year's trend goes beyond a shoot and kill game on the Xbox.  Now, it's about building a custom arcade in a metro area with a customized feel.  More on the Army arcades from the New York Times:

"At the Franklin Mills mall here, past the Gap Outlet and the China Buddha Express, is a $13 million video arcade that the Army hopes will become a model for recruitment in urban areas, where the armed services typically have a hard time attracting recruits.

The Army Experience Center is a fitting counterpart to the retail experience: 14,500 square feet of mostly shoot-’em-up video games and three full-scale simulators, including an AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopter, an armed Humvee and a Black Hawk copter with M4 carbine assault rifles. For those who want to take the experience deeper, the center has 22 recruiters. Or for more immediate full-contact mayhem, there are the outlet stores.

The facility, which opened in August, is the first of its kind. It replaces five smaller recruitment stations in the Philadelphia area, at about the same annual operating cost, not counting the initial expenses, said Maj. Larry Dillard, the program manager. Philadelphia has been a particularly difficult area for recruitment.

The Army recruited 80,517 active personnel in the fiscal year that ended in October, slightly surpassing its goal of 80,000, though as in recent years it fell below its goal of having 90 percent of recruits be high school graduates."

22 Recruiters for the arcade/recruiting center.  The Army's not messing around.

Bonus Feature - a clip from a compelling HBO feature I focused on a while back.  Regardless of how you feel about Iraq or anything else, the recruiting function of the Armed Forces is essential and interesting to ponder. Go find the replay on HBO, TiVo it or have someone tape it for you. 


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