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‘America’s Army’, the Pentagon’s Video Game, Shuts Down After 20 Years

For two decades, the U.S. Army used a video game to reach new recruits. It’s finally shutting it down.

 

Matthew Gault | Vice - America’s Army: Proving Grounds, a game used as a recruitment tool by the United States government, is shutting down its servers on May 5 after existing in various iterations for 20 years. After that date, the game will be delisted on Steam and removed from the PSN store. Offline matches and private servers will work, but the game will no longer track stats or provide online matches.

For 20 years, players have been able to download and play the Counter-Strike-esque game for free on PCs and consoles. It was a recruitment tool when no one else was using video games for recruitment, a free-to-play game well before that became common, and an attempt by the U.S. Army to reach a new generation of Americans.

“The free-to-play America’s Army PC Game represented the first large-scale use of game technology by the U.S. government as a platform for strategic communication and recruitment, and the first use of game technology in support of U.S. Army recruiting,” a forum post announcing the game’s shutdown said. “Three mainline titles and more than 20 million AA players later, the series’ original purpose continued. There have been over 30 million objectives completed, 180 million successful missions accomplished, 250 million teammates assisted, and many more in-game achievements attained in AA:PG alone.”

NNOMY Conducts National Steering Committtee retreat online to explore strategies for network's future

12/28/2021 / NNOMY Steering Committee - On December 11th 2021 The Steering Committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization conducted an online national retreat on Zoom to discuss the existential challenges that the network is encountering moving into a post pandemic future, Groups represented in the meeting were Pat Alviso, the National Coordinator representing Military Families Speak Out from Orange County, California, Rachel Bruhnke representing Codepink from San Pedro, California, Kate Connell representing Truth in Recruitment from Santa Barbara, California, Rick Jahnkow representing the Committee Opposed to Militarism & the Draft from San Diego, California, Monique Sandoval representing Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities from San Diego, California, Siri Margerin representing Before Enlisting from San Francisco, California, Sebastian Munoz-McDonald representing Feminists Against the Draft from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, Jesus Palafox representing American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Midwest Region from Chicago, Illinois, and Louis Raprager representing Veterans for Peace and Digital Counter-recruiters from Gamers for Peace.

Each Steering Committee member was also permitted to invite up to three representatives from their groups. In total the retreat had twenty people in attendance. From the NNOMY office staff, Libby Frank, Gary Ghirardi and Selene Rivas were in attendance as well.

Moderating the meeting was Monisha Rios.

Unable to attend were steering committee members Barbara Harris of the Granny Peace Brigade from  New York City, New York, and Kharis Murphy from Stop Recruiting Kids an On Earth Peace Communications Fellow.

Goals discussed in the retreat encompassed Prioritizing the Next Generation of Activists; Determining short and long-term goals; Developing a concrete and actionable strategic plan; Aiming for what is practical & possible; and Thinking out of the box from past approaches to counter military recruitment activism.

Military Recruiters Don’t Belong in High Schools

Schools have become contested territory.

There’s a group of outsiders in schools we should be wary of: the U.S. military.For years, getting police officers out of schools has been a central goal of racial justice campaigns. Recently, they’ve won victories in Denver, Minneapolis, Portland, Charlottesville, and even on many university campuses.

However, there’s another group of outsiders in schools we should be wary of: the U.S. military.

Since the end of the draft in 1973, the U.S. has relied on an all-volunteer service to maintain its 1.3 million-member global police force. Over the years the military has used a number of different recruitment methods, but the target audience has always been the same: high schoolers.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 significantly changed how military recruiters reach teenagers. Section 9528 mandates public high schools give military recruiters the same access to students that college recruiters get, including their personal contact information. Schools became gold mines for recruiting “future soldiers.

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