Monday, January 3, 2011

DADT Repeal Is The Least Of Our Recruiting Woes

The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell may or may not have a deleterious effect on recruiting, but In From the Cold reports that we've got more serious problems than whether the God Fearing Hillbilly can serve (and fight, live, shower, etc.) with an openly out Johnny Swish; a vast swathe of our recruiting gene pool can't even pass the cognitive aptitude tests to get into the service

Also mentioned is the issue of new recruits' physical fitness, or lack thereof.  However, since most of our data on the portion of the population that is overweight or obese is drawn from the Body Mass Index, I'm less concerned about that.  According to the BMI, pretty much every member of every NFL team would be obese or morbidly obese (to include them little skinny kicker fellas).  While the BMI--and the Army's height/weight standards--tend to favor Thoroughbreds, there is a compelling argument that there is a military requirement for draft horses.  The problem is that BMI doesn't allow one to discriminate between a lard ass and a hard ass.
And, going out on a limb here, as I'm not really in a position to evaluate or observe new soldiers in action, there are a couple of points that give me cause for pause before I condemn the Nintendo (or wii or X-box, whatever) generation.  First, the guys making editorial comments are all older/senior guys.  Every generation thinks those behind it are softer/have had it easier than they did.  Second, attainment of physical fitness is a matter of will and motivation.  If the Army can't supply that, then we've got bigger problems than the fitness level of Generation Couch Potato.  Finally, fitness is to a great extent relative.  A guy who can crush the Army PT test can get crushed by any randomly picked Crossfit WOD, and I know a whole lot of Crossfit fanatics that get gassed PDQ on the jiu-jitsu mats, unless they also train for that in their spare time*.

*Not going all billy-badass here dissin' my crossfit brethren; most WODs make me want to curl into the fetal position and start thumb-sucking.

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