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XCOM is a non-governmental 'elite multinational military organisation'. Soldiers from all around the world take part in this programme.

I know that there were two novels (Diane Duane's X-COM: UFO Defense - A Novel (1995) and Vladimir Vasilyev's Enemy Unknown (1997)).

Did these or any of the many games cover how a soldier was enlisted? From my experience playing the original, nearly anyone was allowed to join. People died too quickly for the process to be lengthy and highly exclusive.

Is this the same in any of the fiction associated with this franchise? How do you get to be a soldier in XCOM?

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    People dying too quickly does not mean they are very weak soldiers. I suppose they are elite, the best of the best (this is a small special force, remember? Even weak nations can field armies of hundreds of thousands, so there would be no shortage of average conscripts if they would choose so) Why do they still suffer enormous casualties? Well, they are fighting against genetically engineered aliens who have much better technology. I think it is a wonder they can kill at least some aliens especially at the beginning without reverse-engineered alien tech. – vsz Oct 19 '12 at 7:14
  • @vsz I wasn't trying to imply they weren't elite, but if your squad (all of your men) was the top 40 soldiers in the world, after 2-3 missions you could be down to the top 20....and besides, some of the recruit's stats were dire. Plus everyone comes in as a rookie. – AncientSwordRage Oct 19 '12 at 7:37
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    Logically, XCOM recruits are drawn from each country's special forces units. The British SAS supposedly has around 240 active members at any time, and recruits 60 per year, and that's just ONE special forces unit from ONE country. Finding the absolute best "top 40 in the world" is probably less important than stuff like "will they freak out if they find out aliens are real?" and "do they actually want the job?" – Alistair Buxton Dec 7 '12 at 14:22
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    From the latest game, you get them after doing missions. So I guess your elite squad go check for survivors before taking off and count limbs. - She'll do! - One over here too, bet he's a sniper. – Michael Viktor Starberg Jan 24 '13 at 22:06
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+100

According to the wiki, the parent organization of X-COM was US-based. As such, their initial personnel most likely was simply transferred from the US military.

The Bureau of Strategic Emergency Command, or the Bureau, was created by President John F. Kennedy during the Cold War. Its original mission directive was to sustain continuity of operations in the event of a Soviet invasion and entrenched occupation on American soil. It was intended to provide effective "command and control" to remnants of the United States Armed Forces, and if necessary, coordinate them into an effective insurgency.

Later, we know that at least some of the recruitment base for soldiers probably comes from the main body of armies, not merely special forces.

There was no X-COM base where the game wasn’t played. “Where there is no Crud,” the saying went, “there is no life.” Some went so far as to claim that X-COM people had invented it, even though it had actually been caught, rather like athlete’s foot, from fighter pilots formerly in the British and Canadian forces.

X-COM: UFO Defense

While they could be speaking specifically about special forces fighter pilots, it seems more likely that they simply mean skilled fighter pilots.

At least when it comes to scientists, X-COM covertly recruits those who have the appropriate skills or experience:

As they passed through the second, heavier set of containment doors, the ones that separated the alien containment unit from those labs where only corpses or tissue were held, Jonelle wondered which of the two categories Trenchard fit in best. His history was mostly unremarkable except for his involvement in a terror raid, during which he came close to being killed. Shortly thereafter, he had been recruited covertly by X-COM, under cover of a shell organization that claimed to be doing “nonaggressive” work on the alien genome series.

X-COM: UFO Defense

"Terror raid" refers to the terrorist attacks perpetrated by the aliens against Earth civilians. So Trenchard was a scientist who happened to have encountered aliens and not died, which apparently made him a good choice for X-COM. It does not seem improbable that they do this with soldiers as well.

They have more criteria than "experience with aliens," though. Lack of major psychological issues is a requirement:

"Colonel. Let me get very straight about this with you. I don’t care two farts in a high wind about the details of your personal psychology. It must be at least tolerable, otherwise they would never have let you into X-COM."

X-COM: UFO Defense

  • Do you know where the wiki quotes are from? – AncientSwordRage Jul 17 '16 at 14:07
  • @AncientSwordRage One of the games, I think. – Adamant Jul 17 '16 at 16:32
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Played all of the X-com games and looking forward to the new one that is coming here in august. In the few clips that have aired it seems that a special branch of the FBI started as "original" x-com recruits.

if the game becomes xcom cannon maybe you get your answer there.

but it seems to me that the leader ( you ) is in charge and you pick the people that YOU can trust to watch your back. that means:

A my buddy can shoot B my buddy can cope with the extreme phisyological extremes of seeing aliens and not shitting his/her pants

From theese "VETERAN" it is easy to start implementing some training/screening/recruiting process that will give you the best candidates in the future.

Take a look at the Worlds special forces and see how they evolved.

Just a group of able bodied men with some hard-as-nails training programes and a overwhelming patriotic urge. Theese men developed specialised tactics in the field and were then able to teach to the newer generations.

EDIT: found THIS video guy in the firsf 10 seonds explains X-com origin. so im guessing i was right. We will see how they recruit and stuff.

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