The Army wants more soldiers, and it's using esports to put a 'finger on the pulse' of potential recruits
The Army has been ramping up its recruiting effort, seeking more soldiers from a mix of backgrounds and with differing skill sets. The service has developed a variety of outreach methods to get those recruits. One of its most innovative may be the Army Esports Team, which draws on the Army's own gamers to attract young Americans. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
After whiffing on its recruiting goal in 2018, the Army has been trying new approaches to bring in the soldiers it needs to reach its goal of 500,000 in active-duty service by the end of the 2020s. The 6,500-soldier shortfall the service reported in September 2018 was its first recruiting miss since 2005 and came despite it putting $200 million into bonuses and issuing extra waivers for health issues or bad conduct. Within a few months of that disappointment, the Army announced it was seeking soldiers for an esports team that would, it said, "build awareness of skills that can be used as professional soldiers and use [its] gaming knowledge to be more relatable to youth." By January 2019, more than 6,500 soldiers had applied for a team that was expected to have about 30 members. In September 2019, the Army credited the esports team, one of two new outreach teams set up that year, as having "initiated some of the highest lead-generating events in the history of the all-volunteer force."
"It's essentially connecting America to its Army through the passion of the gaming community," Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Jones, noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of the team, said in January 2019. Team members who were competing would train for up to six hours a day, Jones said at the time, and they received instruction on Army enlistment programs so they could answer questions from potential recruits. "They will have the ability to start a dialogue about what it is like to serve in our Army and see if those contacts are interested in joining," Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, said in early 2019. Thousands of soldiers play esports, Muth said, and the audience for it has grown into the hundreds of millions — West Point even recognized its own official esports club in January — but the appeal wasn't obvious at first to Army leaders, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Friday. "This was one [idea] that when the first time Gen. Frank Muth briefed ... Army senior leadership, we're like, 'What are you talking about, Frank?'" McCarthy told an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. "We're about 18 months into it," McCarthy said, and with that team, Army recruiters were "getting their finger on the pulse with 17- to 24-year-old Americans. What are they into? How do they communicate? And [finding] those right venues and shaping our messaging to talk about here's the 150 different things you can do in the Army and the access to education and the kinds of people that you can meet and being a part of something as special as this institution."
In 2019, the Army rolled out an esports trailer with four gaming stations inside, as well as a semi-trailer with eight seats that could be adjusted so all eight players played the same game or their own on a gaming PC, an Xbox 1S, a PS4 Pro, and a Nintendo Switch, Jones, the NCO-in-charge, told Task & Purpose in October. One of the senior leaders dispatched to an esports event was Gen. Mark Milley, who was Army chief of staff at the time and is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is the president's top uniformed military adviser. "He said, 'You're going to make me do what?'" McCarthy said Friday. "Then when he went, he learned a lot, and he got to engage with young men and women, and what we found is we're getting millions of leads of 17- to 24-year-olds to feed into Army Recruiting Command to engage young men and women to see if they'd be interested in a life of service." The esports team is part of a change in recruiting strategy, McCarthy said, that has focused on 22 cities in traditional recruiting grounds in the South and Midwest but also on the West Coast and the Northeast with the goal of informing potential recruits about what life in the Army is actually like as well as about the benefits of serving, such as money for college or soft skills that appeal to employers. The service has also shifted almost all its advertising spending to digital and put more uniformed personnel into the Army Marketing Research Group to take more control of its messaging. McCarthy on Friday called it "a comprehensive approach" to "improve our performance in a variety of demographics, whether that's male-to-female ratios or ethnicities." That geographic focus yielded "a double-digit lift" among women and minorities, McCarthy said last year.
The outreach hasn't been universally welcomed. After the 2018 recruiting shortfall, service chiefs, including then-Army Secretary Mark Esper, said schools were not letting uniformed service members in to recruit. Anti-war activists attempted to disprove that claim by offering $2,000 to schools that admitted to barring recruiters. Suggestions the Army start recruiting children in their early teens also received criticism for both its impracticality and the harm it could do to the military as an institution. But recruiting has improved year-over-year, hitting the goal set last year and being ahead of pace now, McCarthy said. "This has been a major turnaround, because I think we just got a little lazy and we started losing touch with young men and women ... but you have to sustain this," McCarthy added. "We're in a war for talent in this country — 3.5% unemployment, they have a lot of opportunities." "We travel to a lot of American cities, and we meet with mayors and superintendents of schools and other civic leaders to try to educate those influencers, to try to help us in recruiting, and it's yielded tremendous benefit."SEE ALSO: Jump alongside the 82nd Airborne with a paratrooper's wild skydive video from Colombia Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: INSIDE WEST POINT: What it’s really like for new Army cadets on their first day
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Gmail users posing as US Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, chief of US Cyber Command chief the...Gmail users posing as US Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, chief of US Cyber Command chief the National Security Agency, sent flirty messages to women, according to a CyberScoop report. The actual Nakasone is married with children, a family that he affectionately calls "Team Nakasone." Catfishing attempts from people posing as US military service members are not unheard of, but it is still unusual for someone to impersonate a four-star general still in the military. When CyberScoop and the woman confronted the account, they received an unlikely response: "I am sending my troops to get you, I will also make a contact for the FBI to get you." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Gmail users posing as US Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, chief of US Cyber Command chief the National Security Agency, sent flirty messages to women and attempted to induce them to install Google Hangouts, according to a CyberScoop report on Friday. Catfishing attempts from people posing as US military service members are not unheard of, but it is still unusual for someone to boldly impersonate a four-star general still in the military. According to CyberScoop, the correspondence began after a New York City-based woman named Susan received Facebook messages from someone pretending to be US Transportation Command chief, US Army Gen. Steve Lyons. The account belonging to the purported Lyons commented on Susan's public Facebook post, and she later messaged him a request for him and his soldiers to contact elderly residents at a health care facility where she worked, CyberScoop reported. The Facebook account pretending to be Lyons included several photos of the actual general. Susan and the fake Lyons sent messages between each other, but his account suddenly tried to coax her to send an email to Nakasone, who "was a widow and ... needed some company," an Susan reportedly recalled. The actual Nakasone is married with children, a family that he affectionately calls "Team Nakasone." Susan gave the fake Lyons her email, and she later received another Gmail email from a fake Nakasone. The fake Nakasone reportedly claimed he was deployed to Syria and was on patrols and doing "some paperwork," the former task being highly unusual for the real Nakasone's pay-grade. The fake account also sent religious messages and requests for her to download Google Hangouts, which was met with questions from Susan. The purported general claimed he wanted to use the chat application because "rebels" and the Taliban were trying to "dent my image." Susan, who informed CyberScoop of the incident, pressed the fake account for proof of identity, even posing a technical question about the legalities of warfare. The fake account replied by copy-and-pasting its response from a study by the Harvard National Security Journal published in 2011. When CyberScoop and Susan confronted the account, they received an unlikely response: "I am sending my troops to get you, I will also make a contact for the FBI to get you." Facebook has since removed the fake Lyons account after being informed by CyberScoop. The US military regularly warns service members of romantic scams, particularly when troops were deployed overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The US Army Criminal Investigation Command, the service's law enforcement body, says there are numerous "red flags," which include: A general officer will not be a member of an internet dating site. Soldiers are not charged money or taxes to secure communications or leave. Soldiers do not need permission to get married. Deployed Soldiers do not find large sums of money and do not need your help to get that money out of the country. In October 2019, two US Army reservists were arrested after they were accused of attempting to receive $3 million from an operation that included romantic scams aimed at elderly women, according to The Army Times. In the federal complaint, a 67-year-old widow from North Carolina was said to have been contacted by a man who claimed to be an engineer and was unable to access his bank account in the Philippines. The woman sent $75,000 to the man, who claimed he would pay her back with interest.Join the conversation about this story »
Esports Ecosystem Report 2020: The key industry players and trends growing the esports market which is on track to surpass $1.5B by 2023
This is a preview of The Esports Ecosystem research report from Business Insider Intelligence. Purchase this...This is a preview of The Esports Ecosystem research report from Business Insider Intelligence. Purchase this report. To check to see if you already have access to Business Insider Intelligence through your company, click here. Esports and gaming have burst into the mainstream in recent years, transforming from a vibrant niche to a central form of entertainment around the world. While esports may have once stood for a subset of sports culture, it has grown into a full industry in its own right. That shift has been powered by championing from mainstream celebrities like Michael Jordan, Drake, and DJ Marshmello, an increasing amount of coverage from traditional outlets like ESPN, and, at least in part, the breakneck rise of Fortnite. As competitive gaming cements itself in the popular culture, global investors, brands, media outlets, and consumers are all paying attention. Total esports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023, per Business Insider Intelligence estimates. That puts the audience on pace to nearly double over a six-year period, as the 2017 audience stood at 335 million. The pop-culturization of esports has helped power the explosions in esports investment and revenue. Esports has hit this stratosphere in large part because of the social component of live streaming and gaming. Gaming-specific streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming give fans a direct connection to the players and teams, while more mainstream socials have allowed those connections to flourish. Certain esports organizations, like FaZe Clan, are also moving aggressively into areas like merchandise, lending their brands more notoriety than if they'd stuck to esports alone. Rick Yang, partner at NEA — a venture capital firm that invests in esports — underscored this in a conversation with Business Insider Intelligence: "I actually think of esports as the mainstreaming of gaming, or the pop culture instantiation of gaming versus the pure idea of these players becoming professionals to compete at the highest levels." It's essential to think of the esports opportunity in this way — one inclusive of gaming, media, pop culture, and commerce — as it shines a light on opportunities beyond gaming events alone. As a result, the industry has seen a huge uptick in investment from venture capitalists, and more recently from private equity firms. The number of investments in esports doubled in 2018, going from 34 in 2017 to 68 in 2018, per Deloitte. That's reflected in the total dollars invested, too: Investments are up to $4.5 billion in 2018 from just $490 million the year before, a staggering YoY growth rate of 837%, per Deloitte. These investments are distributed to players across the ecosystem — from esports organizations, to tournament operators, to digital broadcasters — allowing it to function and grow. The net result is that esports has matured from its roots in arcade gaming to the complex digital ecosystem it is today, and in this report, Business Insider Intelligence will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the key players involved in the space. This report will provide a high-level overview of the industry to clarify how the many moving pieces of the esports ecosystem fit together. It will also break down how money flows into the ecosystem. The ultimate goal of this report is to give readers a clear understanding of how the major players and components of esports function so that they can more readily take advantage of the many opportunities this dynamic ecosystem presents. The companies mentioned in this report are: Activision Blizzard, Alienware, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, BAMTech, BMW USA, Bud Light, Caffeine, Champion, Chinese Mobile, Cloud9, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Deloitte, Disney, Douyu, DreamHack, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, ESL, ESPN, Facebook, FaZe Clan, FIFA, G-Fuel, GamesBeat, Gen.G, Google, HBO, Honda, Huya, HyperX, Instagram, J!nx, KeSPA, Liquipedia, Madrinas Coffee, Manchester City, Marvel, Microsoft, Mixer, MLB, MLG, Monster Energy, NBA, NEA, NetEase, Newzoo, NFL, NHL, Nielsen, Nissan, NZXT, Old Spice, OnePlus, PandaTV, Pizza Hut, PlayVS, Postmates, Puma, PwC, Red Bull, Renegades, Riot Games, SAP, SK Telecom, Steam, StreamElements, Sunshine Soldiers, TDK, Team Liquid, Tencent, TJ Sports, Treyarch, Twitch, Twitter, Uber Eats, Ubisoft, Valve, Vivendi Games, YouTube, 1 UP Studios. Here are some key takeaways from the report: Most projections put the esports ecosystem on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue for the first time this year. And revenue is expected to grow from here — Newzoo projects it to hit $1.8 billion by 2022. Money flows into esports through media rights, live event ticket sales, merchandise sales, and in-game purchases, but most of the revenue (69%) comes from sponsorships and advertising, per Newzoo figures cited by Statista. That growing revenue comes from around the world: Asia-Pacific (APAC), North America, and Europe are the top three esports markets, respectively, in terms of audience and revenue. APAC will account for over half (57%) of global esports viewership in 2019, up from 51% in 2017, per Newzoo. Meanwhile, North America is set to hit $300 million in esports revenue this year, while Europe is expected to reach $138 million, per PwC estimates. The rest of the world only accounts for about 15% of total esports revenue, but it contains several regions to watch. One of the fastest-rising regions is Latin America, which is expected to hit $18 million in esports revenue in 2019 before skyrocketing to $42 million by 2023, per PwC estimates. The future of esports will likely be powered by mobile, which will further reduce barriers to entry and allow even more gamers and fans to pour in. The mobile gaming segment is set to make up 45% of the total global games market this year. That popularity is already spilling over into some competitive spaces, as China already has a thriving mobile esports scene. In full the report: Clarifies what the esports space is, who the major players within the ecosystem are, and what roles they play. Highlights the key demographics within the space, their interests, and what spaces are ripe for brands or other interested investors. Breaks down how revenue is generated and what the key areas of future growth are. Interested in getting the full report? Here's how to get access: Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now Join thousands of top companies worldwide who trust Business Insider Intelligence for their competitive research needs. >> Inquire About Our Enterprise Memberships Current subscribers can read the report here. Join the conversation about this story »
Recruiting has emerged as one of the main challenges for the US military service branches in...Recruiting has emerged as one of the main challenges for the US military service branches in recent years. Each branch is taking steps to attract and retain the personnel it wants. For the Navy, appealing to new sailors now could have a long-lasting impact on its ships. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. More than one senior military leader has said the services are facing a "war for talent," as a stronger economy and two decades of war, among other factors, make military service less appealing to young Americans. The Army, striving to reach 500,000 active-duty soldiers by the end of this decade, has rolled out an esports team to attract recruits. The Air Force, facing a protracted pilot shortage, capitalized on the recent blockbuster "Captain Marvel" with a recruiting drive. For the Navy, which wants more ships to do more operations across a greater area, the effort to attract more people — and the right people — is influencing ship design, the service's top civilian official said this week. "What we have to think about — and we're sort of a platform-centric service, both us and the Marine Corps — is how do we reduce the number of people we have and that distributed maritime force that we have? How do we get lethality out there without having to have 300 people on a ship to deliver it?" Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Friday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in response to a question about personnel costs, which rise faster than inflation. "It also requires, I think, an increase in the level of capability and skill that we have in the force, and that's why we're investing so much in education, because you're going to ask these people to do a lot more and to be a lot more adaptable in the jobs that ... we're asking them to do," Modly said. That thinking was "sort of the philosophy" behind the Navy's future guided-missile frigate, Modly added. Frigates do many of the same missions as destroyers and cruisers but are smaller and less equipped and therefore generally do those missions in lower-threat areas. The Navy wants the new frigate to be able to operate in open-ocean and near-shore environments and to conduct air, anti-submarine, surface, and electronic warfare and information operations. "That's going to be a fairly lightly-manned ship with a lot of capability on it," Modly said. "I had a great example of a ship, and I won't mention which manufacturer it was, but I went into the ship and they showed me a stateroom with four bunks and its own shower and bathroom facility," Modly said. He continued: "I was in the Navy back in the Cold War, and I said, 'Wow, this is a really nice stateroom for officers.' They said, 'No, this where our enlisted people live.' And I said, 'Well, why did you design the ship like that?' And they said, 'We designed the ship like this for the type of people we want to recruit to man it.'" "That's really what we have to think about," Modly added. "They're going to be more lightly manned but with probably more highly-skilled people who have lots of opportunities to do things in other places, so we have to be able to attract those people. That is a big, big part of our challenge." 10 frigates in four years The Navy's most recent frigates were the Oliver Hazard Perry class, or FFG-7 — 51 of which entered service between 1977 and 1989 and were decommissioned between 1994 and 2015. While the design for the future frigate, designated FFG(X), has not yet been selected, the Navy plans to award the design and construction contract in July, according to budget documents released this month. The Navy is only considering designs already in use, and the firms in the running are Fincantieri with its FREMM frigate design, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Navantia with the latter's F-100 variant, Austal USA with a frigate version of its Independence-class littoral combat ship, and Huntington Ingalls with what many believe may be a variation of the National Security Cutter it's building for the Coast Guard, according to Defense News. The Navy plans for design and construction of the first ship to take until 2026 but expects construction to increase rapidly thereafter, with the 10th arriving by 2030, eventually producing 20 of the new frigates. Without an exact design, cost is hard to estimate, but the Navy wants to keep the price below a billion dollars per ship for the second through 20th ships and hit a total program cost of $19.81 billion. The Navy also wants to use dual-crewing to maximize the time its future frigates spend at sea. Switching between a "blue crew" and a "gold crew" extends the amount of time the ship can operate — allowing frigates to take on missions that larger combatants, like destroyers, have been saddled with — without increasing the burden on the crew and their families; it's already in use on ballistic-missile submarines and littoral combat ships. Dual-crewing "should double" the new frigate's operational availability, Vice Adm. Ronald Boxall, then the surface-warfare director for the chief of naval operations, told Defense News at the end of 2018. In the blue-gold crew model, the crew of the ship would still be working to improve their skills in what Boxall described as "higher-fidelity training environments." "In an increasingly complex environment, it's just intuitive that you have to have time to train," Boxall told Defense News. "We think Blue-Gold makes sense for those reasons on the frigate."SEE ALSO: The top Marine officer thinks the Corps needs to be more unpredictable and that it needs the 'Lightning carrier' to do it Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: We went inside the US Naval Academy at Annapolis to see what it's really like for new Navy plebes on their first day