Tuesday, December 23, 2008

reading and thinking...

I've been reading a biography of Eisenhower, not just a President or a 5 Star General, but also the man after whom the barracks I lived in was named after. What struck me about his story is, even up until the day the Germans surrendered, 90% of the decisions he made were about troop movements and grand strategy. General Marshall came up with the Marshall Plan, which was about reconstruction and dealt more with politics than military strategy.

Today, fighting the war, we have Second Lieutenants who are talking about warrants and Iraqi legal systems. We have Captains whose job is to ensure that clean water gets around and that voter registration is fair and widespread. We have MAJ's who are working on infrastructure and medical treatments...

Education, Electricity, Economics, Politics, Social Justice...along with troop movements, battling IED's, weapons profliferation, training of Iraqi Police and Army...these are now the purview not of Five Star Generals, but of basic Officers and NCOs.

What we expect of those who serve today has changed drastically and it's amazing to watch it all work. It does make one wonder, however, if West Point will begin to offer Public Policy or Urban Planning as Majors. It seems those would be wise and huge for a young Lieutenant to learn before going out to fight/build wherever it is the US Army goes next. I'm sure we could work those into the curriculem along with everything else and still have people who can move tanks around an open field in case we ever fight a "regular" war again.


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