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US Army launching esports team as recruiting effort

Program intended "to help young people see soldiers in a different light" and "help the Army address the growing disconnect with society"

The US Army wants to boost its appeal to young people, and the latest effort to that end is the formation of an official US Army esports team. As reported by Stars and Stripes, the service has been rolling out plans for the team on social media over the past month.

Army Recruiting Command spokeswoman Kelli Bland told the paper that the US Army's esports competitors will be part of the service's Marketing and Engagement team and work out of Kentucky. Beyond travelling to events to compete for the Army, members will also beta test Army apps and training simulations.

The team is planning to hold tryouts in a number of titles. Its first event will be a Tekken tournament next month, with the winner going on to represent the Army at PAX South in January.

"They will be in a support role to help young people see soldiers in a different light and understand the many different roles people can have in the Army (and) help the Army address the growing disconnect with society," Bland said of the esports squad members.

This is not the first time the Army has turned to video games to boost its recruiting efforts. Back in 2000, the service began investing in America's Army, a free-to-play shooter franchise designed to familiarize potential recruits with various roles they could fill and make enlistment more appealing. The program cost the government $32.8 million through its first decade of development. Its most recent iteration, America's Army: Proving Grounds, has been available on Steam since 2013.

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