12936914675_575b0901d5_mJust think about it for a moment – we have to find a way to reach young men and women who are looking to serve their nation, preferably those who wish to do so by going to sea.

Perhaps they have family members who have served, or someone they know. More likely, they have picked up the idea from something around them; movies, books, history, or even advertising from the recruiting side of the house.

That is why we have been very careful on what we put the “Navy” stamp on. Every outreach or project for public consumption does not have to be a cheerleading event smacking of Social Realism – but it should at least reflect a neutral, reality based view of what the Navy is.

We also need to know that when we refer to our Sailors, we need to send a message that will ring true to them, and that they have confidence that their leadership’s view of them reflects what they see every day in the Fleet. That brings us to what is being called, “…the Navy’ first mobile game…”

What story does it tell to the outside audience? What does it tell our Sailors about what the Navy thinks of them?

Who did we give responsibility to bring the Navy in to the mobile gaming market? Naval History & Heritage Command? Navy Recruiting Command? CHINFO? No, of course not. I’ll let you soak in the background here, here, and here.

Does it tell the Navy’s story? No. Does it inspire? Does it help people understand the Navy’s role in the 21st Century? What does it do?

“Pier Pressure” gives sailors fingertip access to alcohol-related resources 24/7 and includes a blood alcohol content calculator and search of local taxi services.

There you go. I don’t know what is worse; the patronizing tone, the assumptions, or the horrible “in the Navy, Sailors drop pallets on ships” actual game part.

Messages, external and internal, matter. I am curious, did they run this by a focus group of Fleet Sailors? At any point, did someone mention this might be a little out of phase?

I understand the good intentions. I fully understand the huge waste to personal and professional lives due to alcohol use, but really. Besides the ability to feel like someone is trying to do something – is this really the something needed to address the problem? Is it a net gain – is this really what the Navy should put out there as its initial mobile gaming entry?

Maybe, but what message does it send? Sailors are a bunch of drunks who can’t wait until their boring day dropping pallets on ships is over so they can hit the bar, and once they get there, they don’t have the good sense to handle their drink? That isn’t the Navy I know.

It is bad enough that we accepted in whole cloth the unscientific and highly flawed study on sexual assault that painted all Sailors as either sexual predators or helpless victims led by tone-deaf enablers, but now we have to buy in to the old smear of the “drunken Sailor” as well?

Is that really what our Navy thinks our Sailors are like? Is that what we want to tell young men and women who might want to join the Navy to expect? If so, I might offer that on the “problem to solution” spectrum, this is a bit closer to problem than solution.

Enjoy the video.

Keep What You’ve Earned: Pier Pressure Mobile App Tools Trailer from US Navy NADAP on Vimeo.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy, Training & Education

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  • Arctic_Fox

    OMG!!! — Nanny Navy strikes… again. With messaging like, “You’ve been demoted. Shape up, or separation is in your future.” And… “Will you earn rank, or a reputation?”
    An automated way to preach to the 3%, I suppose. Disrespecting the other 97%, IMHO. Per Sal’s blog, this product fails entirely as a Navy marketing tool, whatever its merits may be for helping our hard-drinking shipmates find their way back to the pier. Then again, if recruiters really are fleshing out the Fleet with future winos who need this kind of New Age minding, we have bigger problems than silly apps.

  • KenPrescott

    Back when I had more hair follicles and the music was better (aka the 1980s), I was part of a group of NCOs harangued by the Marine Air Group’s Substance Abuse Control Officer. At the end, he bellowed, “WE HAVE MARINES ACTING LIKE CHILDREN!”

    In the ensuing you-could-hear-a-pin-drop silence, I said, “Well, that’s what happens when you insist on treating them as children. Marines will live up–or down–to your expectations, sir.”

    There are times where getting chewed out in stereo by two Sergeants Major is worth it; this was most assuredly one of them . . .

    I’d probably get six-six-and-a-kicked today . . .

  • P.S. Wallace

    I’m thinking a game more like “The Dirty Shirt 500—Try to be the first in line for MidRats”. Sort of like “Frogger”, as you avoid Chiefs and DHs looking for you to complete paperwork while you make your way forward.

    • P.S. Wallace

      The follow-on could be “LibertyVille”, as you try to get to the pier with your bag of trash as quick as you can.

  • Old Farter

    Same people trying to push Affordable Healthcare Act to young people by having the President of the United States do an awkward, albeit very funny, comedy skit. ACA was rightfully slammed, but POTUS was supposed to look hip and cool and therefore persuade people to sign up for it anyway.

  • The_Usual_Suspect61

    A rational person would have thought that the Navy would have used this opportunity to create a game that would aid in recruiting. Alas, rational people are/were not in charge. First impressions are lasting and this creates a very poor first impression of the Navy. I would hope that somebody on Admiral Greenart’s staff with a bit of self-respect would call somebody on the carpet for this blemish on the reputation of the United States Navy.

    • NavyRage

      We cannot come up with a game that aids in recruiting without branding it with the Chief of Navy Recruiting’s approval. You cannot find a game developer to work on it because by the time the message matches the gameplay, you’re already in Daikatana territory. That is, after you spend the time submitting a Broad Area Announcement to “level the playing field” so that every slow kid gets a chance to make and market an inferior game. Good luck finding a command with the money for R&D btw. Then you have to make sure CHINFO approves. And mom. God forbid you want to include any sort of realistic warfighting scenarios in it–then you’re running the risk of costing Dahlgren some billets, or having the N2N6 cadre of naysayers descend upon you for a DIACAP disclosure because you said a a TLAM could fly as far as wikipedia says it does. Wanna know why no one makes the next great Navy game? Because we cannot think our way past the restrictions that we have placed upon inside-the-lifelines innovation. Ask me how I know.
      Meanwhile, pray that some non-Navy affiliated patriot saves us from our own ineptitude.

  • Stu

    Bunch of crap.

  • Aaron Wagner

    Really. . .

    Art of the palm. I’d expect something like this to be hostile psyops rather than coming from our own leadership. Yes young sailors need shipmates looking out for them on liberty, so they learn good habits when blowing off steam, no we don’t need a game tarring sailors as drunks.

  • UltimaRatioRegis

    To the Flag Officer(s) who approved this at a time when a few thousand dollars here and there is impossible to come by to support warfighting needs:

    “You’re fired”.

    To the Senior Officers who egged on juniors on this colossal waste of time and money better spent on ensuring our Navy is trained and ready to fight and win wars:

    “You’re fired”.

    To the Junior Officers who asked for the time, manpower, resources, and money for such a trite and insulting project:

    “You aren’t fired, but you are at terminal grade. Look into graduate schools on the GI Bill.”

    To the enlisted guys/gals that thought this might have been a good idea:

    “Good initiative, judgment needs work. Warfighting first, second, and third. Chiefs, make sure of it.”

    To the Chief of Naval Operations:

    “Fix this. Not just this mobile game, but the mentality and lack of priorities and judgment that created it. Oh, and figure out which Flag Officers you have to get rid of to reimburse the taxpayer for this abomination. And if you can’t bring yourself to do that, you and your new DCNO can work for free for a couple years.”

  • CAPT Mongo

    As the kiddies say: “YGTBSM” .

  • David Heller

    As a retired Commander, and former E-5. this “Pier Pressure” B.S. embarrasses and enrages me.

    Is it now true that every White Hat is a drunken sexual predator, and every Commissioned Officer a lecherous and treacherous, careerist? Really???

    The Senior Leadership in the current Navy is as weak and uninspiring as our current Commander In Chief. They should be ashamed of what the Navy is becoming; a Politically Correct force of impotence and cringe-worthy public relations platitudes.

    Bring back the warriors, the Strategic thinkers, and the straight shooters. Good God what a mess we’re becoming.