Force Protection and the New Normal

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July 4, 2016 by JImbo

In the military we have a concept known as “Force Protection.” Essentially, you can’t accomplish any mission without first supporting and protecting your own people and assets. Before you can send troops outside the wire to help others, first you need to post security around your own position to make sure your people have a safe place to use as a base.

This isn’t just a military concept of course. The Police and Fire Departments do the same thing. They call it “Risk Management.” You can’t send your guys into a burning building without knowing there is someone or something in there worth saving.

Even the corporate world embraces the idea. Companies decide how much “risk” they can handle in any given project. You spend a reasonable about of effort eliminating or reducing risks for everything from bad profits to safety accidents.

The key for all of these groups is the same. You want to maximize the safety while minimizing the cost. Sometimes it’s as simple as a training class. Sometimes it is as involved as a whole new work process. If the reward is not worth the cost, you don’t do it.

As simple as this sounds, it is complicated by those not in the loop trying to decide what “reasonable” costs are. Sometimes they are too close to the issue. The homeowner seeing their house and belongings ablaze will be adamant that the firefighters have to “do something!” However, is anything still in that raging inferno worth risking the lives of those men and women?

Alternately at other times, the person making the call is so detached that they can’t see what is happening on the ground. Many of those firefighters at 9-11 who died had terrible radio communications because there wasn’t enough money in the budget for proper equipment. The budget cutters decided that they didn’t need it.

While we all debate cost and reward every day in our own lives, it reaches a whole new level when lives are on the line. What seems “fair” or “reasonable” to one person may seem ridiculous to another, depending on their perspective. Often it is practical considerations from those involved that must make the difference.

One example I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with recently is the hot button issue of “transgender rights.” For the advocates it’s wonderful. For the cynics it’s terrible. For me it’s another headache.

You have a “right” to express yourself. However, those rights are tempered upon interaction with others. If you can harm another, that right is limited.

The common example of this is yelling “FIRE” in a crowded theatre and causing a stampede. You can’t play your music so loud that your neighbor can’t sleep either. These are reasonable limits on your rights where they harm other people.

I’m not going to get into the debate over what is “moral” regarding transgender. I won’t get into what is “normal” either. Suffice it to say that the “scientists” said anything “sexually deviant” was a mental disorder until a few years ago. Any definitions given here would only reflect modern society.

Just because something is accepted or not doesn’t mean it is “moral” or “normal.” The first is a reflection of personal choice and the second is often merely a matter of popularity. There are arguably more pedophiles and sociopaths in the world than LGBT-Q put together. That doesn’t make it “moral” or “normal”…just numerous.

My concerns are practical. I have male soldiers asking if they can take the physical fitness test as “females.” You see the female standards for the test are MUCH easier and the test is used for promotion points. If they can pretend to be “female” for the day, they get free promotion points.

Should I let them take the test as they “self-identify” that day? Do I need to ask for proof? What constitutes “proof” exactly, and is it “insulting their dignity” to ask about their sexual identity?

These are the questions we have had ZERO training on. The politicians and activists pushed this new policy on us with no input nor guidance. We are flying blind.

Mind you, we spend fully HALF of our limited training time in the National Guard already conducting classes on Drug use, Suicide, Sexual Harassment, Gay Rights, Depression, Self Esteem and a long laundry list of other feel-good causes. That means that one full day out of a 2-day weekend every month we do NOT do Army training.

Not only that, but much of my time is taken up by repeated counselings and personnel issues never dreamed of by previous generations. It really shouldn’t be my place as a supervisor to discuss a lesbian soldier’s sexual partners should it? The issues of who can bunk, shower and socialize where is becoming an increasingly complicated puzzle that must be solved before basic things like beans and bullets can even be considered.

At what point does “Force Protection” and the support of “social progress” hamper us to the point of ineffectiveness? Is half of our training time lost on battle drills count? Done.

I’ve had to kick soldiers out for personality disorders in the past. You can’t be bipolar or antisocial, an addict or a sleepwalker. These are just as bad for the Army as wetting the bed, lacking color vision or having asthma. They don’t just endanger the soldier. They endanger the whole unit.

You don’t have a “right” to join the Army. It is a privilege that is based on set requirements meant to enhance readiness and effectiveness. That’s why we have fitness tests and medical screenings.

Saying a group can or cannot be in the military is not about “rights.” It is about what is good for the Army. How many recruits never got to fly a plane due to bad eyesight?

I’d LOVE to have a beard. It’s against regulations. It sounds simple, but the reasoning is that having a beard invites lice and in austere environments those lice spread to everyone.

That was much of the reasoning behind not having women in combat units. There was a lack of hygiene and it caused morale problems.

The “old system” existed for a reason. It worked. It solved the problems simply.

We never had “fraternization” issues between the troops because no one wanted to “fraternize” with each other. If you don’t have women in the military, then there’s no women for the straight guys to fool around with. If you don’t have gay guys in the military, then there’s ONLY straight guys.

Problem solved.

That’s not sociology.

That’s basic science.

In magnets, like charges repel one another.

They never attract.

Line magnets up the same direction and you get a powerful force all pointing the same way.

You get useful, directed force.

At a certain point there will be so many grievance groups that the actual warfighting potential of the United States will be nullified. The magnets will be in a tangled heap, strongly attached to one another and unable to move. By then the force it takes to pull them apart will be too much.

If we spend all of our time looking inward, we cannot look outward. “Force Projection” morphs into “Force Protection” and we do nothing but keep ourselves busy. There’s no point in an Army that accomplishes nothing. At that point it’s simply a Federal welfare program for misfits demanding “rights.”

You have the right to be whatever you want…up until the point you harm another. In the population you are free to be as gay, blind or antisocial as you want. Have a beard or get tattoos and piercings.Go to the casino or get drunk.

Just do it on your own time.

These new “rights” are simply “wants” however when it comes to public service. As they actively harm other troops in the process, they are then technically “crimes.” You do NOT have the right to hurt others with your actions. That is why we used to discharge people that didn’t meet the needs of the Army; not encourage them.

The risk is just too high, with zero benefit to the warfighter.

My job is not to validate feelings.

My job is to accomplish the mission and bring my troops back home alive.

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One thought on “Force Protection and the New Normal

  1. Anonymous says:

    Politicians want votes & do not care about unintended consequences.

    Like

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