Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Nidan1

No more concept of the Citizen Soldier in the US Military

Recommended Posts

None, if by money you mean the profit motive.
How about if by money I mean corporations and individuals whose wealth is more than that of some "run of the mill democracies", or who's collective dealings can cause the world's biggest economy verge on bankruptcy??

But there is a big difference between the media and the information it produces in an open, democratic society, and the media and the information it produces in a totalitarian or even authoritarian society.
Yeah - it's easier to spot the rubbish there - we're stuck with stuff that may or may not be true and we don't know most of the time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A simple example is sergeants yelling at recruits - there was a time when the general populace understood this was simply necessary to convert civilians into soldiers, in large part because so many civilians had gone through the process. As a result recruit training wasn't second-guessed, micro-managed, and "kid-gloved", as it is today.

I dont' know about US or other countries using professional armies trains so my point of view in that sense is short sighted. We have consription which has given military traning for all able bodied men. Not just small amount but 90% in past and 80% in current, so basically all men have understnadment of militry traning. But still military training has been watered down.

It doesnt' have effect what dads and moms think at home, military training has been "watered down" by the reality of how things should be done to keep boys (and girls) in training.

Current young generation, well i thínk it started to be such already in 90s, isn't so much bind down by oblication, duty and nation's norms. If they think training sucks -> they leave more easily. This simply is reason why training has to be made more tender. One big new reason is also lack of physical condition of current yougsters, you cant' give them harsh physical traning without risking that some will break... Which quite frankly is The Problem in resevist-based army, military bakes them in condition but they should stay in fighting fit for years, 10 years in average.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, fair comment if you mean "Having spoken with a military or former military person at least once."

The standard I was using was a little different, basically "Person is familiar enough with military people to have a basic understanding of military life and a basic curiousity about fellow citizens in uniform, as a matter of course."

My point is the US average citizen is not only ignorant about the military, through lack of contact he is not in the least curious, past a superficial interest. And of course I think a result of that is a military insulated from the society and vice versa, which I think is bad.

You have hit on something here that in my mind is one of the dangers of an all volunteer Army. The disconnect between the populace in the US and the military.

Unfortunately, due to the events of recent years the American Army and its members are constantly on display. Whether performing duties in hot spots around the world, or providing aid and assistance to disaster victims right here in the US, the Army and the military in general gets a lot of media exposure. Most times good, but as in the case of Abu Grahib, really bad. The confusion of the American people as to how such misfits as those that purpetrated the Abu Grahib incidents, got into the Army in the first place is a hot topic of discussion. The Army is still a basic representation of American society as a whole, but now they are professionals. Because of that professsional status, the American people naturally expect a higher standard, and are overly shocked when the standards turn out to be not so stellar.

Could those same things happen with conscripts? I am sure they could, but maybe the American public and press would be more understanding? Who knows. I think that most Americans look a their male soldiers and see an extension of the football field, which is widely considered to be the last bastion of tolerated macho behavior. Because not all males are subject to the draft now, the soldier has taken on a sort of mythical status, someone who is willing to sacrifice for others. Unless a family member is in the military the actual nuts and bolts of military life remains a mystery to most Americans.

I think that money is not always the thing that motivates people, attracting good people may be helped by a comperable monetary reward. Really, how much is a person who exposes themselves to machine gun fire as a matter of day to day employment actually worth?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting discussion. Disclosure: I'm a volunteer veteran (Navy avionics tech and Army infantry). I served 10 years and I've been out of the military almost 20 years now.

To address the original point of the thread: There are two groups in our (American) society who are, imho, drastically underpaid: Teachers and Soldiers. I see nothing wrong whatsoever in increasing the various bonuses provided to the troops, and I'm especially in favor of weighting those bonuses toward combat arms. If I were President, my first act would be to ram a bill through congress doubling or tripling the pay for every American serving in the armed forces.

Does that make our troops mercenaries? I don't think so. Society has to reward an all-volunteer force somehow, after all. Else no one would serve. If, as Nidan alludes to, the bonuses enable the military to be more competitve with the civilian sector, I just don't see anything wrong with that.

When it comes to the "professional vs amateurs" discussion; the military I served in contained both. A hard-core of career officers and NCOs, surrounded by a larger group of short-term personnel. Perhaps not an ideal mix ala the Roman army, but certainly an adequate one.

Could those same things happen with conscripts? I am sure they could, but maybe the American public and press would be more understanding? Who knows.

I think such things would happen far more often in a conscript force. I think any reasonable person understands that there are bad apples in every bunch, and isolated incidents such as Abu Ghraib do not reflect on the force as a whole unless such incidents are not properly addressed and punished by the leaders of the force. The punishments might be more draconian in a conscript force, and the public might expect them to be.

I do think an all-volunteer force is more susceptible to...cognizant of...public opinion, but my experience in the US armed forces was that the entire military mindset is firmly geared toward the military being subservient to civilian leadership and authority. I don't think that would change very much if we reinstituted the draft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When it comes to the "professional vs amateurs" discussion; the military I served in contained both. A hard-core of career officers and NCOs, surrounded by a larger group of short-term personnel. Perhaps not an ideal mix ala the Roman army, but certainly an adequate one.

I was in 20 years ago, and I wonder about "adequate". Medium-picture, sure, you can recruit a volunteer force and pay it and if the war isn't very intense and your economy stays extremely powerful so you can afford all those market-rate soldiers, then yes a volunteer force is adequate.

It is clear however that on the macro side a long-term major military effort even without many casualties is incredibly expensive and difficult to sustain, no matter how "good" the soldiers are. Fielding a major army in a war costs a huge amount of money, and personnel costs make it a good deal worse.

But it is the micro level that I think is more questionable, when you get to "adequate." A big difference that I noticed when I was in was the total (and I mean total) absence of top-notch junior officers - the kind of young men you would see going into the Ivy League or getting recruited out of college by the best corporations. This I think makes a difference on the battlefield, as these people are by definition leaders, and without a national emergency, they are for practical purposes not going to join the military. One of the things I was struck by in NATO training was that the German and British junior officers were just sharper than the Americans. Sure, the Americans were fitter and more "hooah". But I'm not sure that in a long war or an intense battle that's always enough.

In Vietnam, they didn't have this problem, the draft got some of these top-level young men.

I'm not sure the lack of such young men now is a huge problem, but it makes me nervous. We say the soldiers deserve the best, but we are lying, because the society is not providing them the best leaders possible. Not to say the present junior officers are terrible, but rather, I am sure there are better ones out there, and it is a saw of modern military history that junior officers are a key element of what makes or breaks an army.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In Vietnam, they didn't have this problem, the draft got some of these top-level young men.

It got some. But an awful lot either got deferments or fled to Canada and Sweden. Not a few refused induction and went to prison.

...it is a saw of modern military history that junior officers are a key element of what makes or breaks an army.

NCOs also count for a lot, especially senior NCOs.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No question on both. My point is, better some than none. But maybe there were so few so as not to make a difference in Vietnam the way I think they did in WW2 - which to me is an arguement for a fair draft without deferments, rather than an all-volunteer force.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No question on both. My point is, better some than none. But maybe there were so few so as not to make a difference in Vietnam the way I think they did in WW2 - which to me is an arguement for a fair draft without deferments, rather than an all-volunteer force.

Maybe no deferments is going a little too far. During WW II, a lot of people were deferred because they were in a critical occupation and that makes sense as long as it is sensibly administered. But deferments should not be so cheaply available as they were during the Viet Nam era, provided that the reason people are being drafted in the first place is legitimate. Grabbing boys up to go fight a very questionable war in Viet Nam strikes me as an abuse of the draft. I'm with anyone who didn't go, whatever their reason. But I feel sorry for the poor guys who couldn't impress their draft boards with a credible excuse. Especially those who came back maimed or not at all. Perhaps if the sons of the rich and the powerful had not been able so frequently to avoid the draft, the war would have concluded a lot sooner.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But it is the micro level that I think is more questionable, when you get to "adequate." A big difference that I noticed when I was in was the total (and I mean total) absence of top-notch junior officers - the kind of young men you would see going into the Ivy League or getting recruited out of college by the best corporations. This I think makes a difference on the battlefield, as these people are by definition leaders, and without a national emergency, they are for practical purposes not going to join the military. One of the things I was struck by in NATO training was that the German and British junior officers were just sharper than the Americans. Sure, the Americans were fitter and more "hooah". But I'm not sure that in a long war or an intense battle that's always enough.

Having served in two branches, and in two vastly different fields, I can only agree with you up to a point. In the Navy, where I served in a technical billet, some of the junior officers were not, imho, 'top-notch' (tho many were). OTOH, with a few notable exceptions, the infantry officers I served with were excellent. Competent soldiers and good leaders who took their jobs very seriously. Maybe I was just lucky, but 2 out of 3 company commanders I served under, and most of the junior LTs (after they had aquired some line experience) were men I would stack up against anyone.

Further, I think Emrys nails it by pointing out that the senior NCOs are the backbone of any service.

In Vietnam, they didn't have this problem, the draft got some of these top-level young men.

It was before my time, but my understanding is that officers were not drafted in the Vietnam war. Only enlisted. Furthermore, no senior NCO will become such simply because he was drafted (obviously).

When I served in the Army in (West) Germany, my feeling was that my infantry company would probably sustain something along the lines of 40-50% casualties on first contact with the Soviets, but the remaining 50-60% would be an effective unit.

I came in contact with conscript/draftee troops from several NATO countries during my time in the service. I was not impressed with any of them. The Italians leap instantly to mind. While they had many top-notch officers (or so it seemed to me), the draftee Privates were to a man nearly worthless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×