Make Selective Service Selective

A funny thing happened a few months ago while the entire country was in shock and horror at the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.  Secretary of Defense Ash Carter took the opportunity to announce that all combat roles would be open to women.  As this administration is known for never letting a crisis go to waste, the DoD took advantage to announce a controversial policy that would have generated a great deal of news coverage, much of it negative, under cover of an ongoing American tragedy.  You can’t say that they didn’t have great timing.  The story was, as planned, lost in the greater story of terrorism on US soil.

I had previously expressed both my opinion (unfavorable) and prediction (it was going to happen regardless) on women in combat arms military occupational specialties here. So I knew that studies would show that putting women in combat arms specialties would be a bad idea, and that the military was going to make it happen anyway even if they had to jiggle the standards to make it happen.selective service 1

So there really isn’t a reason to go over the same arguments again as to why women in combat arms fields is not just a dumb idea, but a dangerously stupid one that at some point will cost many lives and drastically impact military effectiveness.  We’re too far gone for studies, or reason.  The country is running on pure PC approved ideology now.  Facts are for bigots.

But that brings up the next step in the post “women in combat” debate.  What to do about selective service? Should women be forced to register, and therefore be eligible for a future draft?  Feminists of course try to have their cake and eat it too by supporting women registering for selective service but at the same time think that the draft is wrong and selective service should be eliminated…now that they are suddenly asked to sign up. The issue even came up during the Republican Primary debates.

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I’ve given this some thought, and recognize that we’re not going back on women in combat (until of course it blows up in our faces but by then it’s too late), so accepting the inevitable, I think I figured out a way to make feminists happy as well as more traditional minded folks like myself.

Make selective service voluntary.

The truth is, even if some massive emergency required a draft, we’re just not going to need every young person between 18 and 25. We wouldn’t be able to process and train that many people and currently most young people would not be eligible for the military; mostly due to fatties, druggies, dummies, and various tattooed freaks with criminal records. Do we really need to waste time processing, and rejecting, these losers in a national emergency?

Making it voluntary cuts out a lot of people who wouldn’t qualify for the military anyway and it eliminates the possibility of any future legal challenge to the draft. The Supreme Court has already ruled that a military draft doesn’t violate the constitution, but that was a century ago.  In an age when court decisions are based more on if it feels good do it rather than stare decisis, having a strictly voluntary selective service would go a long way to nipping in the bud future court challenges.  After all, if you are knee deep in an alien invasion, do you really need the Supreme Court issuing a stay on further conscription until they review the case next October?

Of course the question that comes up is; if selective service is voluntary, is who would be crazy enough to actually volunteer for it and sign up?  I’m glad you asked…

Currently, if you are male, you are required by law to sign up for selective service. But also, you are required to sign up in order to be eligible for federally backed student loans.  Do you know who isn’t required to sign up for selective service to be eligible for federally backed student loans? Females.  So right now, women are free riders on the student loan train, but if we’re changing the law to allow women to sign up, we naturally, in the interest of equality, should require women to sign up to be eligible for student loans.

A pool of potential draftees in the selective service database who are volunteers makes for a smaller, but better quality pool of people. The logic of limiting eligibility for federally backed student loans to just those who volunteer to be called to military service if the need arises seems clear.  Of course, not all of those people would be qualified for military service anyway, although the current student loan rules that disqualify anyone convicted of a felony drug charge doesn’t hurt separating the wheat from the chaff.  But we could do better than that.

Michael Bloomberg, take notes.

Since one of the largest disqualifiers for military service is weight, why not require a weigh in every year to ensure that the prospective student/draftee is within their BMI? The logistics and cost of a full military physical to make sure these young people are qualified for military service might be unrealistic, but a simple weigh in wouldn’t be.  Having one at your doctor’s office or at a local recruiter would make sure that when the balloon goes up, we don’t have tens of thousands of college kids who’ve sucked at the teat of government largess for years suddenly show up at the recruiters in stretch pants, riding their Hoveround scooters, looking like an audition for “People of Wal-Mart.”

Some people might argue that this is nanny-statism, however if you are getting a benefit from the government, what’s wrong with having requirements for it?  Nothings free in this world, and the sooner the entitled generation learns that, the better. And is it really that onerous a requirement to be healthy?  If you can’t keep the pizza and ice cream away from your pie hole long enough to pass a weigh in once a year, I have doubts on your ability to demonstrate the self discipline to complete college anyway.

And there are downstream benefits of requiring a healthy weight for beneficiaries of federal benefits.  Even if a fair portion of graduates, upon getting their last student loan, decides to celebrate with a pizza a day, the fact that they had to maintain a healthy weight for a couple of years will benefit them health-wise years later and will benefit the country overall in reduced healthcare costs.  And who knows, maybe some of them will decide to maintain a healthy weight through their lives?

And…if you really don’t like this idea, then we shouldn’t have decided it would be neat to have mothers of young children as infantrymen.  That’s a much worse idea.


GI Jane Finally Gets Her Chance

I suppose it’s an indication of how jaded I’ve become at each new Obama initiative that I barely turned my head to the television when the news blared that outgoing Secretary of Defense Panetta announced that combat positions would now be open to women.

I get it.  Women are “already on the front lines.”  The face of warfare has changed, and after over a decade of war, we’ve been fighting without a distinctive front.  Women have been in the line of fire from snipers and IED’s from the beginning.  All this change in policy is amounts to a de facto acknowledgement of what has been going on in Iraq and Afghanistan for years.

But still…

I should preface this by saying that during my many years in the military, I served with women in all matter of positions, both as subordinates and supervisors, and there was no job in the units I served in that a woman couldn’t do.  But those units were not combat arms units.

It’s one thing to be in a war zone, and it’s another to open up combat arms positions to women.  Those jobs are extremely physically demanding.  How physically demanding?  Demanding enough that two female officers who attempted to go through the Marine Corps Infantry Course both dropped out.  It’s no shame to drop out of a course like that.  It’s demanding enough that the course loses 25% of its male candidates, but it doesn’t bode well as a proof of concept that women are capable of making through that course and others like it.  If this was a project that would work on the merits we would have seen women in the NFL years ago.

The physical realities of maintaining a high performance in a combat zone, were well detailed in a much spoken about article in the Marine Corps Gazette last July by Marine Corps Captain Katie Petronio.  The article, titled “Get Over It!  We Are Not Created Equal,” got the ball rolling in the military.  The article, which I highly recommend, is Captain Petronio’s personal experience while deployed in Afghanistan, and the physically debilitating toll that the experience took on her body.  Her argument is that the cost to the services of dealing with the long term physical deterioration of females put in those grueling situations isn’t cost effective or the best use of resources.

And she’s just talking about women who can make the physical standards.  I’m more worried about the women who will have the standards adjusted to allow them to make it.  Yes I know, Panetta and JCS Chairman Dempsey said that wouldn’t happen, but I just don’t believe it.  Contrary to common opinion, The Department of Defense isn’t a conservative organization.  Following  O’Sullivan’s Law (any organization that is not explicitly conservative will become liberal over time), the military is about as liberal in direction as the private company I work for, with its constant profiles on diversity and emails celebrated it’s perfect score by the Human Rights Campaign on LGBT issues.  The Pentagon would like to get a perfect score on LGBT issues too, but first you have to walk, not run, so they are going for gender equity.

Currently the services are reevaluating their Physical Fitness Standards as well as the physical fitness standards for each Military Occupational Specialty to justify what standards should be required for each military job.  I’m pretty sure the standards will be tweaked until the Pentagon can get what they consider the right number of women into combat arms jobs.

Think that I’m wrong and the Pentagon would never purposefully degrade the nation’s military capabilities for some fuzzy affirmative action goal?

In November 2009, I wrote about the aftermath of the terrorist attack at Ft.  Hood committed by MAJ Hasan.  At the time, Army Chief of Staff General George Casy said on Meet The Press, “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” 

So yes, an Army General is saying that it’s better that 13 soldiers were killed then trying to scrutinize terrorists in the ranks.  Such an organization will make sure that their shiny new women-in-combat policy succeeds.  And they won’t worry about combat readiness or people’s lives to make sure it does.  Any Colonel who dares say publicly otherwise will never see General.

Sometimes the military’s can do spirit can make incredible things happen.  Sometimes it can make stupid things happen.  I’m pretty sure I know in the years ahead which one this is.