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The US Military, Wimpified December 16, 2015

Posted by geoff in News.

I’ve been hearing things like this from other sources, so this came as no surprise:

I would warn these people that our military is actually pretty ragged—under-funded, undertrained, and sorely lacking in the morale department. Most importantly, it’s been wussified—forced by politicians and general officers to become the “kindler gentler military” Stephanie Gutmann warned of fifteen years ago in her seminal book by the same name.

This “wussification” of the US military has probably been underway for decades but it shifted into hyperdrive after the ascendency of Barack Obama. His campaign to get women into combat arms positions—even elite units—without lowering standards was exposed as a farce at the very same press conference at which it was unveiled. As General Martin Dempsey famously pronounced in January 2013, “Importantly, though, if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” But don’t worry, standards won’t be lowered—and you’re sexist if you say otherwise.

The wussification of the Army is nearing its end stage. Consider the US Army Drill Sergeant School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where noncommissioned officers go to learn how to train raw recruits. It prides itself on its New Army ethos—which means that there’s a lot less butt-chewing and apparently, according to one drill sergeant quoted in an article by journalist Jeff Wilkinson, no more “smoking” the privates. For non-veterans, “smoking” is when the drill sergeant makes the privates engage in all sorts of physically demanding exercises—pushups for sure, but also alligator walking, walrus crawling, T-bones, flutter kicks, and leg lifts. “We don’t smoke people anymore,” said Drill Sergeant Danielle Brooks. “But sometimes you have to give them a little extra TLC.” I wish this were The Onion but it isn’t. The drill sergeant really thinks it’s her job to deliver tender loving care. She might as well wear a button that says “free hugs.”

My son, who went through basic training last year, confirmed that the training was really watered down. He was disappointed, having been expecting to be pushed to his limits. But the neither the physical nor the mental aspects of training were particularly tough, much to the dismay of the older, crustier instructors.

He just came home for the holidays, telling me that the emerging push is making sure military personnel get adequate sleep. I’m not saying that having a military with good sleep habits is a bad idea, but it certainly represents a radical realignment of priorities. It doesn’t seem like they’re very far from instituting trigger alerts and safe zones. That should do wonders for war-fighting.

The military has a tough mission: defending the United States and its interests, anywhere, anytime. But the Obama administration has never understood this mission, treating the military as if it were a deployable police force. Policing and war-fighting are completely different, starting with the fact that wars can be lost, with drastic consequences.

We’ve watched as the president has prioritized social reform over combat capability, to the point where the USAF has openly gay and transgender personnel and may pay for sex-change treatments in the future, but doesn’t have the budget to replenish its bombs.

Traditionally, the president defined the national military strategy and the Department of Defense was left to figure out how to use their resources to ensure that they were capable of supporting that strategy. Now, however, the military is being bombarded with myriad social engineering concerns, all of which distract them from their primary mission.

In both Gulf Wars, for example, the US military was spectacular. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the changes wrought over the past 12 years would allow them to perform nearly as well today. And that’s a big problem in a world where Russia and China are expanding and modernizing their militaries.

But at least our military personnel will be getting their sleep.


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