Air Force recruiting launches E.C.H.O. to test cognitive skills

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chance Babin
  • Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs

Air Force recruiting is continually innovating to better reach potential recruits. Harnessing technology to improve the recruiting process, the Air Force is releasing a new online, interactive gaming experience, E.C.H.O. - Enhanced Cognitive Human Ops.

This new recruiting tool helps engage and build awareness of different opportunities in the Air Force that recruiters can send out to target audiences. The experience takes players through three different challenges, testing a variety of cognitive skills that Airmen use every day. At the end of the experience, the results will highlight which Air Force career paths would be viable based on their performance and how they can continue to improve their cognitive skills.

“We always say, ‘Airmen are our greatest weapon system’,” said Maj. Jason Wyche,
Air Force Recruiting Service national events chief. “While the Air Force has the most advanced technology in the world, an Airman’s cognitive skills are still the key to effectively employing that technology. E.C.H.O. is a fun way to showcase the cognitive skill sets needed by our Airmen, while educating players on the various career fields the Air Force has to offer.”

While the initial launch of E.C.H.O. will be an online version, AFRS plans to have a mobile asset for events with a virtual reality experience for fans.

“While the pandemic has put a pause on live experiences, we are pushing the needle on what is possible with virtual options,” said Master Sgt. Zachary Atkinson, AFRS events marketing superintendent. “We’re excited to bring a test of skills to players across the country who may end up being the next generation of Airmen in the U.S. Air Force. The mobile asset with the game should be out in the field as soon as we are safely able to resume events.” 

The E.C.H.O. game has the ability to test people’s skills. The hologram of a real Airman will walk users through the gaming experience comprising three different missions where they will be tested on how they perform through each challenge.

“Through a series of challenges, players’ cognitive skills will be tested, measured and given feedback on so they can develop further,” Atkinson said. “It’s up to the participants to combat task saturation by working strategically and efficiently to accomplish each challenge and, of course, have fun while they’re at it.”

At the end of each challenge, the results will highlight which Air Force career path would be viable based on their play and how their cognitive skills can be optimally used. Participants are permitted to retake the challenges in order to improve and compare scores.

“E.C.H.O. gives potential Airmen confidence that they have what it takes,” Atkinson said. “It helps recruiters sell specific career fields, while narrowing down potential applicants to target specific career fields. It gives recruiters another virtual tool to inspire and recruit potential Airmen.”

The online version of E.C.H.O. can be found