Armies are built, maintained, and deployed in order to destroy.
Is it a commentary on the overreach of ours that Soldiers are being charged for the damages to war materiel?
Whether in a combat zone or a peacekeeping area of operation, Army equipment takes a beating. Sometimes it is due to negligent behavior, but often it is simply the cost of doing business.
The powers that be have devised a brilliant way to determine whether a Soldier should be found liable, and therefore pay for, equipment damaged due to negligence. The protocol is called FLIPL: Financial Liability Investigation of Property Loss.
There are too many good Soldiers who have been assessed damages to government equipment while performing their duty.
These are Soldiers who:
1. Have left behind families and jobs in answer to Uncle Sam’s call.
2. Are working to accomplish a mission that they can neither decline nor question.
3. Are charged with the protection of many other Soldiers and civilians.
4. Would go nowhere near Army equipment unless they were ordered to do so.
They certainly are not trying to scam anyone or defraud the government. But imperious colonels seem to be hearing voices screaming at them to pass responsibility on to those who are merely doing their jobs.
Save the government money. Good. But let’s not spend $1000 to save $300. I wonder if these people have any idea about market forces and financial efficiencies.
Rank, as always, permeates this sort of thing. It is easy for an investigating officer to magnify indiscretions of junior troops. How arbitrary are these decisions? And do investigators always meet with all parties involved? From what I have seen, no.
To those who think the object of the process is to assign liability, you are wrong. It’s to determine if there is liability.
It may sound strange to officers who never leave their offices, but there are hazards in a hazardous duty zone.