For nine years, since my chapter “Culture Wars” has come out in Bob Bateman’s Digital Wars in the Frontlines, I have been touting this same theme with ample evidence. It is always nice when others echo what one believes, especially as prominent as Bob Goldich, who I interviewed for Path to Victory back in 1998.
A View from the Generation at the Tip of the Spear by Robert Goldich, Small Wars Journal Five junior officers, all veterans of combat, recently came together for a day-long dialogue with current and former senior manpower and personnel officials from the Department of Defense. Their major assessment was that an “industrial age” personnel system is being used to fight an “information age” war.
This frank assessment was sponsored by Anita K. Blair, the acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). Ms. Blair’s purpose in bringing the two groups together was twofold. First, it provided an opportunity for senior manpower and personnel officials, both active duty and retired, from the military services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, to hear, first-hand, the experiences of a group of five young officers who had served in Iraq, and their views of how personnel issues affected operations. Second, it also afforded the young officers, all of whom have published and commented on their wartime experiences in various electronic and print media, a chance to gain knowledge about current policies and practices from the perspectives of current senior defense leadership.
The Personnel System at War
A View from the Generation at the Tip of the Spear
by Robert Goldich, Small Wars Journal
The five officers came from a variety of backgrounds. Four were Army, one Marine Corps; one was a woman; ages varied, approximately, from 27 to 39. One was an active Army major in the Aviation Branch, currently transitioning to a Strategist MOS; he commanded an aviation unit in Iraq as a captain. Another was an Army Reserve captain commissioned in Military Intelligence, who served as an operations planner and intelligence officer in an infantry brigade in Iraq. A third remains in the Army Reserve as a captain, also in Military Intelligence; she spent two tours in Iraq, one as a supply officer for an MI brigade and her second as commander of a tactical human intelligence team, and has also returned twice to Iraq for shorter tours as a contractor working on intelligence matters. A fourth has recently left the Army Reserve as a captain; a Military Police officer and a lawyer (although not a JAG officer), he spent a year in Iraq as an adviser to the Iraqi Police. The final officer, a Marine Corps Reserve infantry major, served in a Force Reconnaissance unit in the initial Iraq invasion in 2003 and as an adviser to the Iraqi Army in 2006-2007…
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