EDITOR’S NOTE: The current temporary theme we are using only credits a single author. This article was written by Gregory Gharst and Jose Velazquez How has U.S. Army leadership ensured overseas readiness during this pandemic? Since January 2020 and as of 6 August 2021, approximately one person (0.73) in the U.S. has died of COVID-19 […]
COVID infection rates are once again increasing around the world. As this article is published many military installations across the country are increasing their Health Protection Condition (HPCON) levels to Bravo. Sources indicate that an announcement is expected from the SECDEF today, 6 Aug 2021, making COVID vaccinations mandatory for active duty military members. President Biden has already made it mandatory for federal workers to present proof of vaccination or comply with mandatory masking and testing. With these changes happening throughout the national defense community it’s worth looking back once again to see how the Army has handled pandemics in the past. Sanders Marble, Senior Historian at the Army Medical Department Center of History & Heritage, looks back through time at the Army’s response to multiple pandemics. He highlights the difficult decisions the military has had to make balancing medical risks, force protection and the need to accomplish the mission.
The DoD has touted the civilian expertise of the National Guard and Reserve members of the force for years. Whether it was the small town mayor or civil engineer working Civil Affairs, or the physician or aviator applying their civilian “day job” skills directly to their military career fields, there are a number of incredibly successful matches that make the reserve component of the force invaluable. But what about all of the folks that have military jobs that look nothing like what they do in the civilian world? Andrew Vidourek and Rob Gerlach want to make sure the Army knows about all of the skills that exist among Guard and Reserve personnel, and specifically those that aren’t properly matched. They join podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to pitch a new approach to better talent management through technology. Their plan is to create a database of certified civilian expertise that is accessible, searchable and readily matches people to jobs that suit their talents. Their goal is to improve recruiting, retention, job satisfaction and ultimately lethality in the reserve component.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense testified recently before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees about President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 defense budget request. Some were surprised to hear China named as the “driver” or pacing threat justifying the decisions made about modernization, force structure and readiness. Whether its praise or criticism, pundits everywhere have their thoughts about how well the request meets the future and present threat. Before any of this came to light Garri Hendell penned this piece for WAR ROOM to look at the role of the U.S. Army in the future war. He has one simple rule to guide the Army; “Anything that detracts from that future mission needs to be jettisoned by the wayside or handed over to the other services.” So what is that mission?
“If the Army wanted you to have a family they would have issued you one!” It’s been a while since that phrase was in fashion, but if you do the math these days it might actually seem like the Army wants you to have a family. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Rachael Hoagland to look at the financial policies that actually incentivize Soldiers to get married, and at the same disadvantage single service members. Rachael joins podcast editor Ron Granieri to look at how the good intentions of the service to help provide for Army families unintentionally creates a pay/benefit gap that can lead to rash decisions. She proposes some solutions (don’t worry she’s not trying to take away money from married Soldiers) and lays out the cost to benefit ratio.
In September 2019 we introduced you to the Eisenhower Series College Program (ESCP). Though we are approaching life as we remember it pre-COVID, travel limitations significantly limited the ESCP from visiting colleges and universities, interacting with audiences often unfamiliar with members of the U.S. Military. It is our hope at WAR ROOM to bring you a glimpse of what some of those presentations might have looked like via A BETTER PEACE.
In this first episode of academic year 2021 our podcast editor Ron Granieri is joined by War College students and ESCP members Rebecca Connally, Aixa Dones and Adisa King. In their conversation they share their personal thoughts and experiences as career military officers and leaders in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. They try and tackle the question of how well either the armed forces or American society as a whole have lived up to their stated values of diversity, equity and inclusion. They discuss where they have seen success and failure and what the path looks like going forward.
At the risk of sounding like the new kinder, gentler DoD, how does leadership expect to maintain talent in the force if service members aren’t happy? WAR ROOM welcomes Gordon Rutledge as he continues to examine the concept of how a spouse’s satisfaction with military life directly impacts the service member’s satisfaction, retention, financial, physical and mental wellbeing. We’re a little late for Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 7), but Gordon looks at the changes that must occur in the military personnel system to account for and empower military spouses at every reasonable opportunity. He lays out how doing so benefits not only the service member and their family but the entire force.
The United States has employed the conscription of military service members as far back as the Revolutionary War and as recently as the Vietnam War. What most people now know as the draft or Selective Service came into existence in 1940 via the Selective Training and Service Act. The first peacetime draft in the United States, it required men 21-36 (18-65 once the U.S. entered WWII) to register with local draft boards. Though women have served in the U.S. military for many years, and more recently in combat, they have never been subject to the draft. A BETTER PEACE welcomes back Kara Dixon Vuic to discuss her study of the topic and the recent decision of the Biden administration to move the discussion out of the Supreme Court and into Congress. She joins our Editor-in-Chief, Jacqueline Whitt, in the virtual studio as they discuss the history behind women’s exclusion from the draft. They examine the legal arguments, social and ethical norms involved, as well as some of the strange alliances of recent years as the conversation continues.