A Silver Bullet to Solve Sexual Assaults
Postcard from Bagram
The Neo-Nixonian Presidency
we are rounding up my various appearances, here is an exchange I did with the
estimable Mark Thompson of Time
magazine. And here is a very nice book review by
the historian James Jay Carafano in The
Send Us Your Skilled Workers, We'll Send You Our Old People
My Trip to Assad's Alawite Stronghold
Obama’s Umbrella and Barbie’s Dreamhouse: The Best Photos of the Week
Are There Actually Any Tiger Moms in China?
8:18 PM ET
November 1, 2012
As far as I'm concerned,
As far as I'm concerned, Terry De la Mesa Allen and Theodore Roosevelt Jr. were relieved simply because Omar Bradley disapproved of their command style. As a one-time PO2 I know who I would have rather served under, and it's not the so-called 'GI-General' (something Ernie Pyle came up with, not any EMs.)
9:36 PM ET
November 4, 2012
The Merit Badge Syndrome
I enjoyed reading The Generals and hope that more non-military people read it.
Here are two observations.
Yes, we need more accountability, especially of senior officers. As it now stands senior Generals have more job-security than comparable level execs at GE or IBM but far more responsibility. (The two are usually inversely correlated.)
But I was puzzled. Tom Ricks seems enamored with the idea of more schooling for officers. He praises the value of additonal Army schooling, notably the School of Advanced Military Studies. In a humorous aside he notes that General William Childs Westmoreland attended only two Army schools, airborne training and a school for cooks and bakers.
But hasn't the military, the Army especially, become the land of merit badges? Everyone seems to want to attend this school or that school. We even have Army officers attending the Naval War College in Newport. (LMAO).
Ambitious, young officers seem to flit from one school to another with very little stability or accountability. Let me give an example: starting as an 01 he might pick up Ranger training when he leaves the Point, go off to England on a Rhodes Scholarship for a year, then get an assignment for some branch training, put in a year as a General's aid (why do new , presumably healthy 43 year old BG's need horse holder's?) , a year with a rifle company and then its off to maybe some language training etc. All in all it is a mad rush to see how many merit badges he can accumulate.
Unfortunately, no one know how good the young stud really is. He has had very little measureable responsibility. Certainly, far less than an Associate at a Big Law firm or someone at GE.
For anyone who thinks my example is far fetched or just picks on new officers, look at Pete Dawkins career. It provided the example I mention above and he made it all the way to BG without I think ever commanding US troops either stateside or in VN.
Secondly, Ricks presents very little if any data about the origins of new GO. He says that the deliberations concerning promotion to GO are akin to those in Vatican City regarding the selection of a Pope. But certainly, there must be publicly available data regarding the educational, branch of service, pattern of assignments that would permit some careful sociological generalizations.
For example, is ABN training as important in making BG as it once was? Or has Ranger training become an equivalent? Is a CIB a prerequisite if in a combat arms branch? Do non-combat arms GO's peak out at MG? How important is a prior staff assignment in Washington (is it still called MDW?). Has any of this changed since VN? Do divisions still 'request by name' officers to fill key command positions such as a BN CO or BDG CO thus greasing the skids for eventual promotion to GO? Do the 82nd and 101st disproportionately serve as launching pads?
More date, please, Mr. Ricks.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
Everyday Life in War-Torn Aleppo
Pakistan's Psychedelic Trucks
The Relentless Diplomat: Sergei Lavrov
FP Power Map
The 500 Most Powerful People on the Planet
See Entire Issue
Preview Digital Edition
Follow us on Twitter | Visit us on Facebook | Follow us on RSS | Subscribe to Foreign Policy
About FP | Meet the Staff | Foreign Editions | Reprint Permissions | Advertising | Writers’ Guidelines | Press Room | Work at FP
Services:Subscription Services | Academic Program | FP Archive | Reprint Permissions | FP Reports and Merchandise | Special Reports | Buy Back Issues
11 DUPONT CIRCLE NW, SUITE 600 | WASHINGTON, DC 20036 | Phone: 202-728-7300 | Fax: 202-728-7342
FOREIGN POLICY is published by the FP Group, a division of The Washington Post Company
All contents ©2013 The Foreign Policy Group, LLC. All rights reserved.