Business in Virtual Worlds, Identity and Expression, Second Life

Air Force to Give Recruits a Virtual World Avatars

The US Air Force is planning on giving all new recruits Second Life virtual world avatars from the moment they are accepted into the military service.

According to an article in National Defense magazine, the avatars would ride side saddle with the airmen throughout their careers wherever they went, indicating that the military faction sees virtual worlds and avatars as a legitimate and lasting enterprise.

“Everyone who comes into the Air Force will be given an avatar, and that avatar travels with them, grows with them, changes appearance with them,” Larry Clemons, of the Air Education and Training Command, told the magazine. “It will provide them a history of where they’ve been and a notion of where they’re going.”

The Air Force has been running its MyBase program since 2008 in Second Life. And while the initiative is still in its test phases, it was recently test-marketed at this year’s Defense GameTech Users’ Conference. The Air Force now has 12 regions in Second Life, including some regions that exist behind the SL firewall.

Aside from activities like entering clubs, aircraft or chapels, Air Force personnel will also be able to take classes, review materials, perform pre-deployment exercises and tour facilities.

“Airmen will be able to experience the workplace — right down to the building or desk or computer — where they’re being assigned,” Clemons said. “They’ll actually be able to sit down at a desk and go through the motions of the job.” It will also cut down on the administrative time spent touring new facilities and filling out paperwork.

“If this is truly effective, it will become a way of life,” Clemons said. “It will be the way the Air Force does business.” Not only this, but with recruitment levels declining, the Force sees MyBase as a way to reach a younger demographic, as noted in the 2008 proposal for MyBase to become a legitimate part of the Air Force.

“To recruit from this pool of candidates,” the proposal said, “the Air Force must be able to understand the millennial generation and provide a training and education infrastructure that leverages their life long exposure and aptitude with technology.”



speak up

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site.

Subscribe to these comments.

*Required Fields

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.