Disheartened: The Corporatization of America’s Military

The Author escaping the sun of Afghanistan.

The Author escaping the sun of Afghanistan.

This article originally appeared on my previous blog, The Elder Statesman.

As I scanned through my neglected emails this morning I was attracted to a link that offered to educate me on the “Strategic Plan” for the coming years. Curious, though I usually ignore such things, I clicked it.

In this official military document, I was informed of Command’s objectives. Within its pages, I found words and phrases such as, execution, initiatives, administration, STAKEHOLDERS, action plans, strategic priorities, executive boards, optimize, people, learning, growth, measurement, knowledge management, objective statements, and analysis.

For those of you outside of the armed forces, these may not seem strange at all. In fact, I’ve seen them many times before. Not in the military, mind you, but in my travels through corporate management. They are catchphrases and nebulous keywords intended to instill confidence in the superior intellect of the architects of the “strategic plan.”

They mean nothing, for between those immaculately constructed taglines and phrases was nothing of substance. No ideas of how to accomplish these vague goals, no direction from on high, not a single thing that told me the Command had any “plan” other than to issue a meaningless edict to satisfy a requirement. Its all very corporate. Except for the lack of an executive summary, you would not even know it was a document pertaining to the military and not some board of directors for a national fast food chain.

Is this where we have arrived after 12 long years of war? Is this our new role in society; just another government bureaucracy, producing documents and reports about documents so the powers that be can neglect to review them, delegating that responsibility to an underling who couldn’t care less?

Oh, to be King for a day. The unemployment rolls would swell with the eagle and star bedecked uniforms I would put to the street. “Bring me men! Real men.” I would command. “Angry and experienced men who remember what our mission entails.” Our mission is simple: protect and defend the United States of America, win wars, kill people, and break things. I need no more flashy, corporate slogan than that.

Ross Elder