The US Army is using esports as a recruitment tool

Uncle Sam is calling.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

The United States Army is going to use gaming, and more specifically esports, as a recruitment tool, according to an article in The Washington Times. Uncle Sam and his crew launched an esports team last year to tap into the new generation of gamers, and it’s proved so successful that the army’s expanding its plans.

The recruitment team has turned a HGV trailer into a high-tech gaming centre filled with consoles to give potential recruits an idea what joining the Army could entail. While they game, recruiters keep an eye on their performance and analyse their traits to work out who would be a good fit among the ranks.

“We run constant scrimmages and tournaments to see who our highest competitive soldiers are,” Sgt Christopher Jones, the officer leading the esports team, tells The Washington Times.

Regardless of the recruitment drive, joining the esports team is a difficult feat to pull off. Last year, over 6,500 applicants were considered, with only 16 making the cut. The team compete at national and international events, and although they’re gamers at heart, they’re also recruitment officers.

Retired Army Major General Christopher Hughes is one of the biggest advocates for the Army’s esports section and believes it’ll lead to better recruitment of specialised soldiers in the future. “You have to reach out to where they’re at,” Gen. Hughes says. “This is a cognitive development tool [that builds] critical thinking skills.

“Imagine if you had all kinds of muscle memory for doing something that holds you to the same standard [of flying] and then put them in a helicopter. We might get better pilots in the long run.”

So, if you’re a dab hand at Fortnite or a MLG Call of Duty player, the US Army might be knocking on your door soon.