It’s almost two years old, but I just read this article by Tim Kane about the military’s problem with officer retention. (Or, retention in general.)
As a former member of the Army, I can attribute a lot of my frustration to bureaucratic nonsense. It definitely was not a meritocracy–but I thought this was merely a problem with where I was stationed. Kane shows that it is clearly military-wide.
This is oddly the same talk that I’ve been hearing from Michael Yon. Is it so odd that we hear of General Officers committing rape, stealing, and all sorts of horrific acts when the military itself seems to be promoting mediocrity? (They say forcible sodomy–I wonder why they won’t put “General” and “Rape” in the same sentence…)
If a private sector company worked like this, they’d be burned and out before the next fiscal year. Companies just can’t operate this way. Internal entrepreneurs are like star running backs for big corporations. These same corporations have a holy glint in their eye when they talk about innovation.
And apparently the military just doesn’t care for innovation. Take the 5 billion dollar flub with the digital camouflage, problems with strykers, and making SEAL teams fight with their arms tied behind their backs for examples.
Before I entered the military I heard numerous accounts of the “enlisted brotherhood” and how “officers are only looking out for their careers.” I met just as many NCO’s who were concerned only with their careers–and in fact, I found more officers who I admired than I found NCO’s.
I’m not saying the whole thing is rotten, I’m merely agreeing with Tim Kane, Michael Yon, and who knows how many others–the military needs to foster the meritocracy sort of culture in order to continue fielding an amazing military force. Brash actions are not the sort of actions performed by a committee.