Army uses technology to reach potential recruits
November 14, 2006
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 15, 2006) - Recognizing the next generation of Soldiers is likely to communicate via text messaging or online message boards, the Army is launching new media tools to connect with prospective Soldiers.
"Army Strong provides a powerful platform to communicate with potential Soldiers, both through traditional media and the new technology that today's young Americans have embraced and helped pioneer," said Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, commander, U.S. Army Accessions Command.
A new microsite at GoArmy.com - <a href="http://www.goarmy.com/strong"target=_blank> www.goarmy.com/strong</a> - explains the meaning of Army Strong to potential recruits and their loved ones. The site also offers video stories of real Soldiers, games, ring tones, wallpaper and more.
An "Ask a Soldier" discussion forum will also launch Nov. 17 at <a href="http://ask.usarec.army.mil"target=_blank> ask.usarec.army.mil</a>. There, prospective Soldiers looking for information about the Army can post their questions and receive answers from real Soldiers.
"Market research tells us that the number one source of credible information about the Army, from a prospect's perspective, is an actual Soldier," said Van Antwerp.
Soldiers are encouraged to visit the forum and respond to questions based on their own Army experiences. Log-in requires an AKO user name and password. Soldiers' replies will not be censored, Van Antwerp said, and Web-site administrators will remove only posts that are offensive or violate operational security.
"We acknowledge that some Soldiers may post replies that cast the Army in a negative light," said Van Antwerp. "But we are not going to censor these comments, as doing so would undermine the credibility of the discussion forum. Our strong reenlistment statistics speak volumes about the morale of our Soldiers, so we are confident that the replies to questions will provide a balanced perspective."
The Army is also extending its message beyond Army Strong and GoArmy.com. A new Army page has been launched on MySpace.com, the third most popular Web site in the United States and a social networking phenomenon that has swept young America. The Army's page on MySpace is <a href="http://www.myspace.com/army"target=_blank> www.myspace.com/army</a>.
Army messages will soon be distributed through the Web by other means as well, allowing the Army to be where potential recruits are and to speak to them in an objective, authentic, non-recruiting and non-threatening manner. This includes text messaging; a greater presence on popular search engines like Google and Yahoo; question-and-answer sessions with high school students through the video-sharing Web site YouTube.com; and taking "America's Army: The Official U.S. Army Game" into the Global Gaming League, an online gaming forum and social network that sponsors and covers video-game tournaments.
"The U.S. Army is fighting a tough recruiting battle and must do all it can to make the Army message distinctive and powerful - and then deliver that message in ways that reach eligible recruits and those who care about them," added Van Antwerp. "That's exactly what we are doing with our new media recruiting efforts. We're reaching out to prospects and giving them the information they need where they are and on their terms." "