Bringing in Military Leaders “Off the Street”?

I am all for a large citizen army, but I’m not at all sure this is a good way to go about it:

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to open the door for more “lateral entry” into the military’s upper ranks, clearing the way for lifelong civilians with vital skills and strong résumés to enter the officer corps as high as the O-6 paygrade.

The idea is controversial, to say the very least. For many in the rank-and-file military, it seems absurd, a bewildering cultural change that threatens to upend many assumptions about military life and traditional career paths. But while it’s not universally embraced, there is interest in Congress and among some of the military’s uniformed leaders — even, they say, in exploring how the services could apply this concept to the enlisted force.

Again, I see what they’re trying to do, but I’m just not seeing this way. Does any other serious country do this with their military? (Not that we’re all that serious about defense anymore. Maybe that’s the point here.)

Here’s another revealing quote:

The Navy is the most enthusiastic about Carter’s proposal. The Army and Air Force say they will consider high-level lateral entries if the change is approved. And the Marine Corps appears to be the most skeptical.

Yep.

What say you?

About vmijpp

VMIJPP hails from the star city of the south, Roanoke, Virginia. A 1989 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he is a retired artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps, with time in both the active and reserve sides. He served in Iraq in 2004, and in Afghanistan in 2009-2010. He joined the magnificent OPFOR.com as a guest blogger from the now defunct but never uninteresting Rule 308, where he denounced gun control and other aspects of tyranny, and proclaimed the greatness of the United States. When the sun set on OPFOR.com, he migrated here with Keydet1976 and the others.
This entry was posted in Arms and the Citizen, Defending the Homeland, Readiness. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Bringing in Military Leaders “Off the Street”?

  1. keydet1976 says:

    This is actually a very common sense proposal.
    Let’s hit the way back machine for moment. When the United States went to fight the Great War (World War I) it had a smallish army whose most recent combat experience had been chasing Senor Villa around Mexico and fighting insurgents in the Philippines. While we had both the National Guard and the Reserves many were still armed with the Krag–Jørgensen and in the case of the National Guard they had not been organized into other than state regiments, for example the 116th Infantry Regiment (VaARNG) was still the 1st Virginia Regiment which included the Richmond Blues. I digress.
    I order to meet the logistical responsibilities primarily, the Army brought in civilians at the appropriate grade with the roles they would play in France. For example my Grandfather Sidney Bacon Williamson VMI Class of 1884 http://archivesweb.vmi.edu/rosters/record.php?ID=3424, who had been the highest ranking Civilian Engineer on the Panama Canal, was brought on active duty in France as a Colonel in the Corps of Engineers. Great numbers of railroad men were brought in to build Railroads to move American logistics in France. At the end of the war they were mustered out, a dangle hanged on their chest and sent back to civilian life.
    Particularly in Cyber, Communications, and several other areas this would probably make sense. Doing so would require the services to have a cultural change (I see this harder for the USMC and Army to some extent). If this is instituted consideration should be given to what type of training they should get. In many ways we already do this with Doctors and Lawyers.

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  2. rustybill says:

    Granted, I’m just a former enlisted swine. However, if this goes through, I forsee a large number of junior officers giving up and getting out. Why bother busting your butt for years to make Major just to see some pencil-necked geek walk in off the street and get oak leaves handed to him?

    “Very bad. Not good.” – Nekron 99, “Wizards”

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  3. burkemblog says:

    We did this with physicians and dentists in the 70s, as Berry Plan docs left the Army at the end of their obligations. Some guys came in as LTCs with 0 military experience, and unfortunately sometimes were put in charge of small clinics without much supervision. The program did not last long. I can see this working for intelligence and technology stuff, but not so much for other branches–maybe logistics, but the compatibility of military vs. civilian log practices are not good. OTOH, if we contract out a lot of that beyond the brigade rear, maybe it won’t make much difference. I’m also thinking drone pilots could be easily brought in (their their mothers would have to sign their enlistment papers…because they’d all be about 16-year-old gamers).

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