Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Growing a General

Coming across the desk is news that the Air Force will be deleting deployment history from the duty qualification briefs used to select officers for promotion:

"Many factors have led to the recent change in policy," said Colonel Giles, "especially since deployments now take many forms across the Air Force."

In addition to "traditional" deployments, such as long-term deployments to the area of responsibility, some career fields such as space and missile and unmanned aircraft system operators do not typically deploy but provide daily support to the war on terrorism.

As Col. Potter might say, "horse hockey!" Yes, the Air Force needs missileers and drone pilots, just as it needs engineers and cooks. But I want my generals to know what burning flesh smells like. I want them to have felt the fear of death in combat. These experiences are vital to the proper perspective of senior commanders, and you don't get them sitting in a silo or moving a joystick.

My uninformed guess -- colored by my background assumption that nothing the military bureaucracy says should be taken at face value -- is somebody noticed that women weren't deploying overseas in the same proportion as men, and is striving to ensure that this fact doesn't increase the percentage of men being promoted.

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