Friday, December 14, 2007

An Army of More Than One

Everyone who has been in the military knows of the utter chaos involved in running a unit, much less a full-scale operation. Hell, most people who haven't been in the military have heard the stories, as well. There's even a popular saying attributed to several foreign generals (none of whom probably actually said it): "War is chaos. The reason the Americans are so good at it is because they practice chaos every day."

Okay, so maybe that's a good thing... in war games and training, anyway, but not at the administrative level. Regardless of the ground-floor operational intent and execution, any institution's administration should be clean and efficient. And the Army (and military in general) is not.

While there are several balls of wax and cans of worms I can get into, today I'm going to concentrate on one: the Army's various missions separated among its capabilities. What are its capabilities, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you: armored warfare, light infantry warfare, and airborne warfare (and, if I get my way, amphibious warfare). It's more than just an "Army of One," it's a multifaceted organization that should emphasize its multiple faces.

In the current system, soldiers, regardless of their qualifications, are often levied and transferred (usually involuntarily) to other duty stations. This results in soldiers, who for the last few years have been airborne or light, being sent to armored and mechanized units. What's the big deal? Well, it forces that soldier, who has been trained and indoctrinated in a particular style of warfare, to be re-trained and re-indoctrinated into a new one. While I agree that one should always know as much about related and opposing operations as possible, I disagree in that one should be arbitrarily pulled from their "areas of expertise."

The solution is simple: keep those aligned soldiers in their alignments. In other words, if a soldier is airborne, leave him in the airborne. If he must transfer, transfer him to another airborne unit. The same goes for armored and mechanized soldiers: leave them mechanized. Should the Marine Corps be absorbed into the Army, leave the Marines as Marines. Light infantry is a bit more of a mess, but leave light, well, light. Perhaps even separate the light category into air assault and non-air assault (or even mountain).

This will ultimately create better trained and prepared units, will leave soldiers familiar with the quirks and nuances of their peers with their peers, and will decrease the pressure on the Army's administration system by getting rid of a hack levy and PCS (Permanent Change of Station) system.

Of course, should a soldier want to change his or her specialty and/or duty station, then by all means, afford him or her the opportunity. I also understand that several vacated higher positions in particular units will have to be filled by pulling a qualified soldier from another specialty and/or location.

Just knock off the unnecessary mixing and matching, okay?

1 comment:

  1. While I agree that one should always know as much about related and opposing operations as possible, I disagree in that one should be arbitrarily pulled from their "areas of expertise."

    Of course, should a soldier want to change his or her specialty and/or duty station, then by all means, afford him or her the opportunity.

    I absolutely agree!

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