Dec 4, 2008

The Militarization of the Second Life Community

The Second Life Herald has a whole strand of coverage dedicated to Second Life wars. I'm not a war correspondent myself so I have to admit to being completely ignorant of the machinations surrounding the activities of the Alliance Navy, the Vanguard Militia, the Sovereign Regime, the Merczateers, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

However, there may be the opportunity for these happy bands to go up against real life opponents now that both the US Air Force and US Army have established beachheads in the virtual world. According to Virtual World News, the Air Force's MyBase sim is open for customers at The official Air Force release says that, "With more than 15 million accounts worldwide registered in Second Life, Air Force officials hope MyBase will attract men and women interested in learning more about the Air Force, said Col. John Thompson, the AETC Future Learning Division chief. The site also provides links for enlistment and commissioning information and how to contact the nearest Air Force recruiter."

The release goes on to say that, "One possible long-term use for this technology is to open a private site in a three-dimensional world, yet to be determined, where active-duty Airmen can attend virtual training and are tracked to receive course credit. Offering virtual-based training could offset the cost of travel to training sites around the world which often includes lodging and other expenses."

Meanwhile, the US Army hopes to complete two new islands within the next 45 days. According to General William S. Wallace; commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), there will be opportunities for "virtual experiences like jumping out of airplanes, and rappelling off of towers and using a weapon, to see if we can get some kind of recruiting benefit out of this social networking."

Presumably they can also link in with the new Nurse Training initiative offered by Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, so they can experience trauma treatment.

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