09 February 2011

Still Trying to Be Professional

I am guilty of often promising another post on this or that, without delivering much.

Consider that faux pas corrected herewith.

Referring to a post 18 months old, I now present a more detailed argument that the core function of an NCO is to educate.

An Army full of teachers? you ask. Why, soon we'll be having those much celebrated and often dreamed about bake sales to buy our weapons of war, and schools will have all the money they need, as promised by thousands of sarcastic, yet prophetic, bumper stickers.

Hold onto your brownies, we're not there yet, thank goodness.

Soldiers still exist to fight, no doubt. Yet, doing so effectively may prevent fighting. Force projection is a safeguard against needless bloodshed, and at the core of our national security strategy. Yes, it may be condescending and paternalistic-- we are Soldiers, after all-- but if other countries are afraid to engage the might of the United States Army in a head to head, then we have really done our job without really doing it, right?

That should establish Axiom #1: The more powerful an Army is, the less is will need to go into battle.

Thus, if we (our national defense forces and policy makers) do things right, we will spend more of our time training and less of it fighting.

Additionally, very few of all Army troops are part of direct combat operations. Most are on the support end: supply, logistics, training, etc. For them, fighting skill can hardly be the first concern, so something else must be. Naturally, if there is one function common across all branches, it is teaching junior Soldiers how to be effective.

Axiom #2 is: Training and teaching must and do occur at all times, at all levels, and across all occupations in the military.

Moreover, the organization of the Army is in constant flux. New Soldiers join at astounding rates, and many exit the service after only a few years. For those who stay in, their battlefield responsibilities tend to get bequeathed to younger troops.

For that reason, Axiom #3 is: The speed and effectiveness with which the organization can train its new personnel correlates positively to its overall health and strength.

The proof of my theorem will be easy to prove with the above axioms. So easy, in fact, that I will not even do it.

NCOs, in the meantime, focus on how to be good educators. Teachers, in the meantime, keep baking those yummy brownies.


  1. Good post, Rich. Reminds me of the Karate Kid...

    Miyagi: Why you learn karate, Daniel-san?

    Daniel-san: So I can fight?

    Miyagi: no.

    Daniel-san: So I don't have to fight!


  2. You spoiled the surprise of my next book: Timeless Lessons from Ralph Macchio.