There is more to the U.S military than meets the eye. What lies behind the discipline of the American troops? According to an active duty officer who spent three years in the 82nd Airborne Division before being deployed to Afghanistan, there’s a lot of place for improvement within the United States Military. Everybody has an opinion about what the military should do and shouldn’t do. But this account of the incredible mistakes of the U.S. military comes from someone on the inside who experienced the system first hand. Although the following suggestions apply to battalions and everything from that level down, the officer believes even bigger units could peek in and get some inspiration from here.
A kind of brain washing
The U.S army prefers to stay up to date by tuning in on partisan cable stations like Fox News and MSNBC. This translates into soldiers having to listen to inaccurate news or twisted accounts of events at all times. You can hear Fox News whether you’re lifting weights in the gym, eating dinner or just working. A better alternative would be to switch over to nonpartisan stations like CNN or ESPN for a dose of daily news that would not brain wash the women and men in uniforms.
Wars are not won with good PR
The ex officer remembers an incident from Afghanistan when almost a dozen people were in a car accident and were badly injured. As the American medics helped around and set everything up for the injured Afghans to be taken to the hospital, the U.S. soldiers were requested to step back for people to take photos when the police started loading the bodies in their vehicles. This was meant to make the local police look good and efficient so the people would get to trust them. But that wouldn’t have been the truth. They were, in fact, undertrained and lacked sufficient funds. By suggesting the Afghans were self-sufficient, the Americans could’ve been encouraged to head home victoriously.
Congress is not accountable for the military budget
Most of the military budget is spent in the wrong direction. According to the army officer, in 2015 a budget of $120 million was allotted for tanks, after the chief of staff clearly expressed that was not what the army needed. Here’s a noteworthy suggestion: spend more on the mental care of veterans and stop splurging on unnecessary items.
Turn that light off!
The U.S military takes care of its soldiers by employing people to take care of their hearing, to make sure equal opportunity is enforced and to prevent sexual harassment. But one thing has been overlooked. The officer that used to work in the 82nd Airborne Division got to witness how monitors were left on for the entire night and how heaters were used in every room while the windows were left open. It’s high time some energy went into saving energy. This would not only reduce the costs, but it would also limit the risk of going out to get new supplies.
Stand at ease, soldier!
Every time a battalion commander changes commands or during the All American Week held at Fort Bragg the soldiers are forced to stand in formation in a line. Sometimes this lasts up to five or six hours. This custom is supposed to allow the soldiers to hear their commanders’ speeches, but in reality, if you’re not in the first two rows, you can’t really hear or see much. You’re either in pain because of your locked knees or slowly fainting because of dehydration.
Cheap alcohol equals drunk driving
Soldiers get to buy consumer goods tax free within their base. This includes alcohol. And since it’s cheaper to get five shots there than go to a bar, this makes drunk driving one of the biggest concerns of any commander. The drinking problem further connects with sexual harassment and assaults. The simplest solution here is to increase the prices of alcohol and discourage soldiers to drink on base.
Another thing the U.S military needs to brush up on is files and archiving. It’s easy to get caught in red tape and soldiers are sometimes ping ponged around for signatures, seals of approval, counter signatures and official copies. Only to discover their records are not even searchable. If all this paperwork could go into a digital archive, a lot of time and effort would be saved.
Step away from the printer
Waste of paper is in full swing in the Army. No one shies away from printing a sixty page color presentation that only gets to be perused by a handful of people. And don’t think both sides of the page are used. Doing a quick add up, the estimates show that every battalion uses almost two hundred thousand sheets per year. Not only eco friendly enthusiasts would frown upon that number. So what can be done? Use your laptops, projectors and tablets for presentations instead of wasting tons of paper.
I mustache you a question
Why can’t soldiers wear mustaches? Sure, there’s no written rule saying you can’t sport one, but in real life they are frowned upon. It appears tradition trumps regulation in the U.S Army, with many units making their soldier shave off any facial hair. While this has got nothing to do with discipline, soldiers should be allowed to make their own decisions. It would make for a fun Movember (no shaving during November) and encourage camaraderie.