The United States Army's new slogan (formerly Be All That You Can Be).
A spoof of their ad campaign:


I am the 18-24 year old being targeted by this new marketing concept, the very embodiment of "what's in it for ME?" The legacy of the politically correct years. It's ok to be immoral and a pervert, and if anyone tries to mold me too vigorously into a something that resembles a warrior, I'll tell my congressperson!


Teamwork? My chain of command consists of ME, MYSELF, and I. I know I am destined to be a dot-com millionaire, so just give me all that college money and take it easy on the discipline stuff. When divisions of Chinese are racing toward my outpost like rabid lemmings, I'll pack my Task-Force-Smith-smelling ass back to Milwaukee.


I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I have oversized thumbs because I'm great at Nintendo, and my androgynous, sensitive physique can't handle 5 (never mind 10) properly executed push-ups. I couldn't blast my way into an old folk's home, let alone stand my ground in an impromptu bar room brawl.

I am a product of social engineering and 6 hours of TV a day; my idea of a Survivor is not a Medal of Honor winner who killed three Vietnamese with his e-tool before being shot and left for dead, but a pudgy, manipulative gay guy on an island shared with other losers.


Concepts like duty, honor, country are passe. If it involves sacrifice of my individuality to become part of a team, I'll punch out and spend the rest of my life hanging out with my Microsoft employee slacker buddies in Seattle, speaking in learned tones about an unfortunate period in my life where I endured the indignities of military service. Oh, the Patton movie? Haven't seen it.


Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. What can I do for my country? Ha. Let me ask that after I've feathered my nest like so many of the non-veteran, draft dodging, privileged Ivy Leaguers populating Capitol Hill. Cater to me first, pander to me as an individual, and after I don the uniform, continue to treat me with kid gloves, and let me punch out before things get really tough-where I might actually have to risk my life for my country, because...


Anonymous Member of the United States military.

The primary issue that many people have with the I am an Army of One slogan is that it is anathema to the breaking down of the individual into a member of the team that basic training is all about. Individualism is lofty and noble, but out of place in the Army. When an infantry unit has to 'take that hill', having Corporal Joe "Army of One" Sixpack think about what's in it for him is a bad thing.

The other major problem, and why the slogan has increased interest, but not increased the number of recruits, is that the Army is bringing a dull knife to a gunfight by trying to recruit based on the material benefits of the Army. The Army is not always fun, does not pay well, and involves getting shot at. The Army would be wise to take a cue from the Marines, and sell the intangible benefits, like courage, esprit de corps, etc. This is the one area where the military has civilian life beat, and should be their main selling point. Play up your strengths.

I had an instructor in AIT who assured me that the Army of One slogan was actually an acronym, with One referring to "Officers, NCOs and Enlisted." But this was one of those instructors whose words you had to take with a grain of salt, so I'm not quite sure of the validity of this. Still, it makes more sense to think of it that way than to think that the ad campaign was trying to appeal to the selfishness of young people, which, in my opinion, does a great disservice to what the Army is all about.

(If it was an acronym, you'd think the good people at the marketing company would have spelled it as O.N.E. instead.)

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