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U.S. Army Overhauls Training, Toughens Up Geeks

While hundreds of thousands of today's youth are well trained in the tactics of modern warfare thanks things like, well, Modern Warfare 2, the U.S. Army doesn't see such modern technologies as a complete simulations package. In fact, the U.S. Army argues that video games and other modern tech could be making today's potential soldiers "soft."

In response to this, the U.S. Army is overhauling its basic training program for the first time in 30 years, according to NPR.

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says that today's generation is "advanced in terms of their use of technology, and maybe not as advanced in their physical capabilities or ability to go into a fight."

In other words, today's youth are spending more time inside fighting in the virtual world rather than scrapping it out on the playground.

"We are seeing a decline across the board in America. This isn't a decline in our recruits; this is a decline in our American society in terms of their physical capacity. It's just a softer generation," Hertling said. "But we can't afford to accept that. We've got to train soldiers to climb the peaks of Afghanistan."

While physical fitness is just one facet to a soldier, Hertling believes that there's more to it than just that.

"We certainly have a generation that is not as disciplined when they enter the military," he added. "Whereas they might have what they believe is a form of courage or discipline, it's not what we expect of a soldier in very tense and difficult situations."

The new basic training program will place a new emphasis on how to fight, Hertling said: "It's including things like the use of weapons, knives, bayonets, sticks — even the rifle can be used as a weapon without shooting it."

That's not to say that today's generation is in any way a less effective soldier. "They're different. They have a technology edge. I think they're smarter than any generation we've ever had before," Hertling said. "They certainly ask a lot more difficult questions."

In related news, a UK TV program pitted a gamer head to head against an SAS sniper in a Modern Warfare 2 test.