What are the goals of the United States Army? I used to believe that they were woven within the oath of enlistment. Now, I am not so sure.

I, (name), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

No one knows exactly what is in store when they sign up for the ‘big green machine.’ No matter how many books you have read or stories you’ve been told, you will never know what it is like train and fight next to another group of men until that day actually comes. The only thing that anyone knows from day one is his or her oath of enlistment…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

The amount of administrative data and classes that is now required by the Army for the individual soldier to complete is staggering.

Stand down for suicide prevention, suicide awareness prevention training, Ace-Suicide prevention, CFS quarterly resilience training, Army Substance Abuse Program, Combating Trafficking in Persons program, Sharp training, Equal Opportunity training, Fraternization Policy, Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection, Threat Awareness Reporting program, Law of War/Detainee Operations, Code of Conduct Level A, Social Media Operations training, Social Network training, and the Global Assessment Tool.

That is just the 16 classes and required training sessions that I am aware of at the moment. Pile these classes with the required certificates that soldiers must complete through AKO and one might wonder when there is time for training to fight.

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I imagine the creation of these classes and certificates comes in the form of conversations a little like this:

“Sir, I have this wonderful idea. We will create a class and certificate on ‘obesity awareness’ (or fill in with any other class title that sounds good to the brass) that all soldiers will be required to complete and obtain. We will track all units and their completion percentage by our wonderful use of spreadsheets and coloring systems. You know how the boss loves those spreadsheets and colors.”

The problem with this method is they never ask how this class could supersede one of the other already required classes. Instead, they stack this class and certificate upon the others and leave less and less time for training.

Our Army has turned from a fighting force that used to concentrate on ‘closing within and destroying the enemy’ into a business that is concerned more with numbers, colors, and manning strength.

It is not the NCO who mandates these changes, but it IS the NCO who is stuck with enforcing the standards. The Officers and higher-up brass who conceive these ‘ideas’ are not concerned with the private, sergeant, or new lieutenant, but with their own careers. If they can leave their mark and make it to that next rank where they can really institute policy, who gives a shit about the platoon sergeant who sits and ponders how he is going to get his men trained on top of all the bureaucracy that now whitewashes the United States Army.

Stay tuned for Part II of my rant.

(Featured Image Courtesy: ecymca.org)