2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 3 Oct 2002 14:17:46 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] "Green Troops"]
[POSTED BY Ted Henry <ted@theodorejhenry.com>]

I am not familiar with the magazine GovExec that printed this article
and I will not evaluate its efforts to provide a balanced picture on the
subjects it covers. I will state that I find the article very
interesting. The connections it tries to draw on certain points are
questionable from my perspective.  

For instance, it speaks of the trucks driving in long convoys at first,
before figuring out that it is not good to be such a large target. It
then tries to connect this with not having training in driving the
trucks. The strategy on how to move a convoy does not appear synonymous
with how to handle driving a vehicle in tough terrain. It is not clear
that a lack of training by the troops was the cause for the group
starting out as a convoy. Watching one Discovery or Learning channel
piece on infantry taught me that if a squad of soldiers is down on the
ground, the whole unit does not stand at once to move on - they do it in
groups in order to avoid opening up the entire unit to enemy fire at one
time that may be nearby and, presumably, also to provide one group cover
from the other that is still on the ground.

As for the foxholes, the commander indicated that many of the men were
surprised how much work it took to prepare a defense. It did not say
they did not know how and it did not say that they were physically
unable to do it. This suggests that the knowledge and the physical
fitness were there to do the job. The fact that they may have been
surprised is a perception issue of the individual and, although, I am
not a soldier, I suspect there are many aspects of deployment and battle
that are surprising, regardless of the training.

I also found it interesting that the first half of the article cover the
burden of species protection efforts on the CA beach, but then spoke of
the positive effort to restrict use of 25,000 acres and willingness to
protect the plant and tortoise at another site.

I believe many question such evidence of impacted readiness, as there
have been various commanders that say the troops are ready. Part of the
article suggested that not having free rein on a beach impacts
readiness; I believe it is debatable whether it does not. If they are
inconvenienced by certain environmental protections, then so be it -
that is part of life. My friend, who is a doctor in the Air Force, had
to work 36 hour shifts in residency and still serves long hours. This is
not the ideal way to practice medicine and it certainly is not the
healthiest for the patients, but it is part of the job and port of the
training. Also, despite the odd framework that places doctors under such
strained conditions, they are not protected from making wrong decisions
and they can still be sued or lose their right to practice if a wrong
decision is made. They do not get wide legal protection from certain
aspects of our society (such as being sued) because of another part of
our system is burdensome (lack of sleep).

Training while protecting the environment is part of our country today
and as long as our democratic system remains even semi-functional, it
will continue to be. Are there serious encroachment issues to be
addressed? Yes. Is readiness something we need to ensure? In my opinion,
yes. Should our federal government have to protect the environment while
it prepares? In my opinion, absolutely yes. 

Where other animal and plant species go, so will we. 

Is readiness to protect this country important if we do not have a
healthy, livable environment? From the short five-year budget cycle, the
simplistic answer is yes, but from the longer perspective, I believe the
answer is clearly No.

Thus, we can continue to move down this path of "War trumps everything"
and "You are with us or against us", where staunch for and against
platforms are lobbed at Congress, OR... 

we can begin to look at both readiness and environmental protection as
absolute necessities and start a methodical, multi-perspective forum to
tackle the tough issues, such as the National Dialogue on Encroachment
proposed by CPEO. I obviously hope that, sooner rather than later,
people have enough interest in teamwork versus fighting to make such a
dialogue happen. Rhetoric, spin and covert strategies on any side will
not be nearly as productive.


Ted Henry

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