For the first time, the Army brass and defense industry folks descending on Washington, D.C. for the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference will be joined by the Army's latest pride and joy — it's team of professional gamers.

Yes, the Army really has that.

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New soldiers arriving for their first day of Basic Combat Training, Aug. 19, 2016 with Company F, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment on Fort Jackson, S.C. are "welcomed" by drill sergeants from both the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve. (U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

A year after missing its recruitment goals for the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. Army announced on Sept. 17 that it will meet its target of 68,000 new soldiers for the 2019 fiscal year.

But despite touting new initiatives, digital platforms, and marketing techniques (and lowering its goal by 12,000 in 2019 amid a more modest growth plan in the next five years), the Army is not in the clear yet. The service's new initiatives should be the expectation rather than considered innovative — and if the Army really wants to make good on its modernization promises, it has to ask hard questions about current processes

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That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The Army is investigating a situation surrounding a 19-year-old's recruitment, including claims that his recruiter encouraged him to hide his autism diagnosis.

First reported by Army Times, Garrison Horsley and his father allege that an Army recruiter "encouraged him to hide potentially disqualifying factors in order to enlist as a human resources specialist." Horsley has high-functioning autism and congenital arm disorder that limits the movement in his left arm, Army Times reports; he was also being treated for "a mild episode of recurrent depressive disorder."

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AP Photo/Michael Sohn

An investigation is underway after an Army recruiting company commander in Houston, Texas, issued a memo that included a phrase used by Nazis and displayed in death camps during World War II, "Arbeit Macht Frei," which roughly translates to "work sets you free."

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Photo: US Army

During his senior year at Woodlawn High School in 2003, Christopher Jones enlisted in the Army. As soon as he got his first barracks room following training, he bought a PlayStation2, GameCube and Xbox so he could play video games in his off time.

Sixteen years later, he's still in the Army, but video games aren't his recreation. They're his job.

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