Stray Voltage

More on the dysfunctional Army personnel system–it is actually called Human Resources, and you know you are screwed when they see you as a Resource to use and abuse and not a person.

What makes the promotion of operationally experienced soldiers troubling is not the fact that they are being promoted. What worries experts is that while the Army is downsizing, the officers with advanced degrees, internships with the National Security Council or other extraordinary experiences are getting bumped out for those who have served multiple tours.

Experts such as Barno and Nora Bensahel, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, say this practice doesn’t bode well for a future Army that will need more cyber soldiers, people with strategic experience, with unusual leadership experiences and a wide array of cultural backgrounds. Basically, promotion boards are prioritizing people with skills from the wars the U.S. is trying to leave behind.

The Colonel interviewed must be dumber than dirt; the reasons the Army doesn’t have a combat vehicle under development is because it has wasted time and effort chasing after the newest bright shiny object.

Since I was to be fair and balanced, the Navy has more problems with it’s newest carrier, the Ford.

The movie Hacksaw Ridge opens this week.  The hero of this story is a young Army medic who refuses to carry a rifle or pistol as it was against his religious beliefs–Seventh Day Adventists.  His name Desmond Doss, who volunteer to serve in the Army in World War II and who was born in Lynchburg Virginia.  Here is a short outtake from his Medal of Honor Citation.

On May 21, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers‘ return, he was again struck, by a sniper bullet while being carried off the field by a comrade, this time suffering a compound fracture of one arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.

If I find any more stray voltage I will add it later.  As Looney Toones use to say, „That’s All Folks.“


Über keydet1976

Retired as a Colonel in the United States Army after 33 years of service. Graduate of the VMI, MA in History at JMU, completed course work for Ph.D in History University of Tennessee.
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2 Antworten zu Stray Voltage

  1. burkemblog schreibt:

    I always find it interesting when journalists choose their examples of folks being screwed by a large system like the Army. The writer chose a captain who’s running a „disruptive“ entity, something meant to encourage innovation, the „Defense Entrepreneurs Forum,“ someone who sounds like an edgy, interesting guy. Someone the journalist may find makes him think of himself–

    When I’ve read proposals created by groups like the Entrepreneurs Forum, I’m usually disappointed–the ideas, though interesting, do not consider how complex it is to implement such ideas in a complex organization distributed around the world, equipped with gear built any time over the last, say, 70 years (I’m think of B-52s, for example), and manned with a mic of full- and part-time employees. In short, disruption is hard to do in an entity as complex and varied as the military.

    At the same time, journalists (and some officers) deprecate the experience of leading soldiers in combat, a terribly complex skill and one that is difficult to replicate or develop through training alone, in favor of folks who have skills that might have as much or more value in the civilian world.

    The larger question is not so much who should get promoted and who not, but rather what skills can best be done by civilians working within the military structure, and what properly takes someone in uniform to do. Historically, logistics was done by civilian contractors–Henry Knox moved all the cannon from Ticonderoga to Boston with contract teamsters, for example. Napoleon militarized most of his logistical structure so that he could have more control over it–few civilians would have wanted to sustain the army into Russia, for example. Ever since then, militaries have wanted to put more and more of their support structure in uniform–WWII is probably the apotheosis of this idea. In the long war in Afghanistan and Iraq, we reversed this trend and used more and more contractors, but had little good supervisory mechanisms or contracts, and some folks made out like bandits (or were bandits), mainly because we chose not to follow our own rules.

    I think the cyber stuff is the wave of the future; the question is, how many green suiters do you need to do this? What skills can better come from the private sector? We need to start asking these kinds of questions before we wholesale throw out the current personnel system–it needs reform, no question, but we need to figure out what we want it to do first.

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