Marketing the Military: The U.S. Army and Popular Culture

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The US Department of Defense (DOD) comprises an enormous size of the American government. The salience of this institution (with a specific focus on the US Army) not only touches into the realm of politics or foreign policy alone. There is an explicit intertwinement between popular culture and the Army as well. Firstly, this is embedded in the military- entertainment-complex (MEC). This concept denotes the cooperation between the Army and the entertainment industries. They develop war-themed movies and games resulting in annual revenues of 479 billion dollars (Giroux 216). The military therefore actively produces popular culture with war-themed content. Concomitantly, modalities from popular culture are visible and used in direct recruitment commercials of the Army to appeal to its intended audience. There is thus a clear connection between the Army and popular culture which will be critically analyzed through case studies. Games that will be analyzed are America’s Army and Kuma: War. The movie I will address is Black Hawk Down. Additionally, I will analyze the Army Strong Campaign of 2006-2015. By exploring these case studies, I will seek to answer whether and how this connection potentially leads to a militarization of pop culture. Key words: propaganda, recruitment campaigns, U.S. Army, popular culture, militarism, militarization, Military-Entertainment-Complex.
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