Army says Xbox, PlayStation make recruits 'soft;' overhauls basic training

This is a post that would certainly be bettered handled by T/S colleague Paul Tassi, but I thought it was worth mentioning.From NPR via Military.com:

The Army is making changes to its basic training regimen, partially because new recruits are “soft” from years of playing video games.

NPR quotes Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling as saying that recruits are “advanced in terms of their use of technology, and maybe not as advanced in their physical capabilities or ability to go into a fight.”

New recruits will receive more extensive training in hand-to-hand skills like kicking, punching and holds to prepare recruits for that kind of close combat that Hertling expects our soldiers to “be in for a very long time.”

Not only are the the recruits these days poor grapplers, punchers, and kickers, they aren’t very disciplined, either. Hertling says that the video game generation has a technological edge–he concedes they might be the “smartest” recruits the Army has ever seen–but that means they “ask a lot of questions.” The NPR story continues:

It’s not just a fitness issue, either. “We certainly have a generation that is not as disciplined when they enter the military.”

“Whereas they might have what they believe is a form of courage or discipline, it’s not what we expect of a soldier in very tense and difficult situations,” Hertling says.

Despite the drop in athleticism, I think video games have actually helped the military more than they’ve hurt them. The Army has used video games to help recruit soldiers for years–and clearly, they’re getting recruits that have been playing videogames so often that it has made them poor specimens for hand to hand combat. It also doesn’t hurt that a lot of the games glorify killing bunches of people–on some level, growing up wasting bad guys on a screen prepares the mind for careers in the military where the advanced gee-wiz technology means you occasionally get to waste bad guys on a screen in real life. A number of times during interviews I’ve done with with soldiers and Marines about their combat experience, they’ve compared it to actually being in a video game rather than a movie.

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About michaelhastings

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3 Responses to Army says Xbox, PlayStation make recruits 'soft;' overhauls basic training

  1. jcalton says:

    It’s not really about video games so much as the fact that our military is predicated upon readiness to fight World War II again.

    The changes in training are meaningless unless they are repeated throughout the soldier’s enlistment. (The Marine Corps will do so, the Army will not.)

    Basic training is only 9 weeks in the Army–out of 208 weeks for a 4 year enlistment–and only a very small fraction of those 9 weeks will be devoted to this new training.

  2. vickielyna says:

    My nephews and nieces have great hand eye cordination. When my sisters and I realize we could beat them in sports. (Talk about sad) My sisters took the computer and box games away. Made them join sports teams including wrestling for the boys. They lost weight, became more agile and beat me at basketball. Now talking about sad. I had to pay up.

    So I would say the military better spend more time getting the kids today physically ready or play war games via xbox.

  3. Zaid Jilani says:

    First TGIF then Playstation? How will our troops survive?

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