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Waste of the Day: U.S. Navy Spent $4.3 Million To Play Fortnite, Other Games

March 12, 2024

Topline: The U.S. Navy spent $4.3 million last year on recruitment efforts using Esports and video games, including paying officers to play Fortnite with teenagers, according to reporting from The Guardian.

Key facts: The Navy’s Fortnite team — which plays a popular shooting game with an estimated 30 million daily users — is called “Goats & Glory.” Its 12 members think of themselves as the “Blue Angels of Esports” in that they try to get people curious about joining the military.

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Waste of the Day 3.12.24

The Navy has already posted almost two dozen videos this year of Goats & Glory playing online video games against children for up to four hours at a time, all while collecting a military salary. The team even has its own dedicated facility in Memphis, Tennessee.

A spokesperson told The Guardian that the Navy spends as much as 5% of its advertising budget on Esports.

A 2022 job listing for Goats & Glory says that “a typical day includes practicing playing, live-streaming and setting up tournaments” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Air Force and Coast Guard also have their own Esports teams who stream videos of themselves playing video games, hoping to encourage young people to one day join the military. The Army and Navy hold tournaments for popular games such as Valorant, another shooting game.

The military puts its gaming content on several platforms such as YouTube and Discord. The Navy reached over 1 million viewers on the website Twitch last year.

The practice has been going on for years. In 2020, the Navy dropped its Super Bowl ad to devote more money to Esports.

Critics warn that these initiatives can glamorize the violence of the military. The issue has even come up in Congress, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) trying to ban the Army from streaming video games.

Background: Esports aren’t the only way the military is spending money to affect young minds.

OpenTheBooks recently reported that the Department of Defense Education Activity implemented a controversial Diversity Equity and Inclusion curriculum in its schools, despite publicly indicating that the curriculum would be dismantled.

Last year, former Under Secretary for Military Readiness Gil Cisernos said the Pentagon was nixing its DEI department. But OpenTheBooks found through a Freedom of Information Act request that the department was just incorporated into other military areas, while info on DEI was removed from Pentagon websites in response to negative media attention.

Summary: Military recruitment is important for our nation’s future, but perhaps there are better ways for Navy staff to protect our country than playing Fortnite with teenagers.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.
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