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The Military’s Culture of Careerism

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2,639 words

The ongoing dumpster fire of the Afghanistan withdrawal raises an interesting question: How did the military, formerly one of the most respected of American institutions, degenerate not only into a liberal arts college, but a dysfunctional one at that? How did self-proclaimed experts at fifth-generation warfare — conflict waged by non-kinetic means, particularly information — become so incompetent at it that the Taliban could outmeme them?

There are many factors, but a substantial one that needs further analysis is the dearth of leadership. It wasn’t just Mark Milley who got us here — who is as much of a general as Martin Luther King was a doctor. Behind him, and out of the limelight, are legions of incompetent officers and senior non-commissioned officers who, if not for the military, would most likely be corporate middle-management at best, similar to black athletes who would be gangbangers without the NBA.

The promotion system across the military’s branches has for years been geared to select for poor leadership attributes, and at this point this has become an entrenched, self-perpetuating system. This article provides a broad overview of the promotion system for the enlisted of each branch and then for officers, hopefully without getting too lost in the weeds.

To begin, for the ranks of E-1 through E-3 or E-4 (E meaning enlisted), promotion is generally automatic, based solely on time served. Don’t do something very stupid, and you get promoted. This makes sense, as at this level troops are mostly just following orders, not giving them. They also haven’t had much of an opportunity to differentiate themselves, for better or worse.

The fun and games begin at the leap to E-4 or E-5, depending on the branch, and continues up from there. We will start with the Navy and Air Force, since they are very similar. There are a limited number of spots for promotion, so it is a zero-sum game. One’s promotion score is derived from an objective multiple-choice test, combined with a more subjective evaluation or performance review. In the Air Force it used to be common for almost everyone to receive the maximum score on the review because grading it otherwise was seen as sabotaging someone’s career — which led to a backlash of accusations of there being a rigid quota system for the above-average scores. In theory, this system is fine. The problem is that a culture of careerism has hijacked what is otherwise a good system.

Regardless of whether a troop wants to emphasize the exam or the evaluation, both encourage careerism over mission performance. With the evaluation, what matters is rarely mission performance. Rather, “extracurricular” activities take precedence. These evaluations consist of a series of “bullet” points that, through formulaic three-part poetic sentences describing action-impact-result, brag about what you did; how much you actually busted your ass is oftentimes reduced to mere metrics. Let’s cite an example from the Air Force’s Maintainer community: “Completed 1.7K flight line dispatches, 485 inspections/200 maintenance actions — enabled 7K training sorties.” What this means in English is that a hard-working guy made it possible for a bunch of iron to fly while working on a runway in what were probably less than comfortable conditions.

Now ask yourself, what would look better: raising the numbers in that example, or adding a completely separate bullet point? I can assure you that adding a point about how you organized the holiday party, shuffled some bureaucratic papers, or volunteered will be weighed more heavily than having raised the numbers by 20%. Furthermore, doing the aforementioned patty cake is almost always a lot easier than doing your mission. This creates a perverse incentive which creates perverse results. Careerists who prioritize looking good are preferred for promotion over those who are focused on the mission.

Oftentimes this reality is denied, but the results speak for themselves. Increasingly, the careerism is becoming so intense and tone deaf that the careerists will proudly proclaim what I have said and not even realize how jarring it must sound to those who joined the armed forces out of patriotism. For example, higher-ups in the Navy who compose and sign off on these evaluations are fond of saying, “We want you to show leadership.” Show — as in put on appearances instead of simply executing the mission well and expecting it to be recognized.

This culture of careerism also naturally favors those who are further removed from actual military operations, such as paper pushers. I mentioned volunteering above. Those who deploy less, or who do less mission-focused work stateside, naturally have more time and energy to do random volunteering on either their personal time or during their duty day. Cleaning up highways is a noble endeavor, and it should be encouraged; however, it is unfair to expect someone who is deployed overseas for half a year to volunteer on their precious weekends when stateside. They need to relax so that they are refreshed for the mission. Their oath of enlistment should be sufficient volunteering. Nonetheless, those who are worked to the bone on missions are often asked by tone-deaf superiors why they haven’t volunteered very much.

Conversely, others will do the bare minimum for their subjective evaluation and focus all their efforts on the exam. It is almost as hard to get a below-average score as it is to garner an above-average one, because it usually isn’t worth the trouble to explain to everyone who has to sign off on the evaluation why someone’s shot at promotion — and thus career — deserves to be so heavily penalized. Thus, careerists — and increasingly, otherwise virtuous troops who are rightfully disillusioned with the system — pour all of their energy into the objective test. This leads to a situation where knowing how carrier flight operations work in theory is literally more important than actually being competent at conducting flight operations in practice. The higher-ups have demonstrated by their actions that they care more about appearances than the mission, so why should enlisted troops be any different?

The Marine Corps has managed to resist the onslaught of careerism the most, but even they have fallen. According to one source, the Marines demand excellence at all times in all things. Many Marines burn out because of this, but for a while this drive served as a bulwark against the corruption that was growing in the other branches. Volunteering and taking frivolous online courses — which non-combat arms Marines have more time and energy for — were expected, but at least the emphasis was still on physical excellence, given that the Marines are expected to close with the enemy and destroy him face-to-face. Excellence at marksmanship, hand-to-hand martial arts, and the Physical Fitness Test were essential for promotion. Given that physical excellence correlates with virtue, this did wonders to keep the dirtbags away from power. However, careerism still managed to subvert the Marines. According to a source who served more recently, their previous striving for excellence has changed. Nowadays, Marines who are so fat that they are falling out of their uniforms like Heather Heifer are still being picked for promotion because they drink with the staff on weekends.

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You Can buy F. Roger Devlin’s Sexual Utopia in Power here. [3]

For its part, the Army’s promotion system is a disaster. To be eligible for promotion, a soldier generally only has to recite three paragraphs. Sometimes they will also be asked questions, but these are almost always about political topics such as preventing or responding to sexual assault — and of course, by-the-book answers are the only correct ones. One of my sources reports that the Army he has found himself in is inundated with trash. fatties, flamboyant gays, lazy blacks, and soldiers speaking Pidgin or Arabic are commonplace. He has even seen a soldier in a burqa. The Army today is a swarm of opportunistic immigrants who should be working at McDonald’s — assuming that they should even be working in America at all. These embarrassments all have roughly an equal shot at promotion — and thus power — if they can simply avoid total failure. If faced with a conventional conflict with an adversary such as North Korea, most of the US Army would probably fold as pathetically as Afghanistan’s National Army did.

There are on-the-spot promotions across the branches, but they are rare and thus not worth too much analysis beyond noting that they generally suffer from the same problems as regular promotion.

Turning to officers, one finds much of the same. Promotions for O-1 through O-3 are automatic. However, the step from O-3 to O-4 and above require going before a board of other officers. This sounds good, except that a culture of careerism has been trickling down from Congress to the top brass, and from them to the O-4s and O-5s, who are the ones who judge applicants. Congress’s Armed Services Committee approves the appointments of over 50,000 nominations each year, and thus O-4 acts as a rubber stamp for the board’s decision. However, there is greater scrutiny for higher ranks, and thus officer promotion inherently becomes more political the higher up in the ranks one goes. This politicization is directly at odds with competence, as appearances, not actual results, are what matters to Congress critters.

There is also the diversity factor in officer promotions. The Army Human Resources Command — that HR even exists in the military is ridiculous — assures applicants that “women and minority members” are routinely appointed to officer boards. This is a nice way of saying that whoever is on these boards is in part determined by affirmative action, and we can assume that Shaniquas behave the same way on promotion boards as they do on juries.

Interestingly, last summer the boards under Mark Esper, began leaving applicant photos out of board dossiers with the aim of eliminating bias and promoting diversity. Because this was more objective, of course more white men stated being selected, since we are generally of higher quality. As a result, the Navy is now reinstating photos and the Marines are considering it. Various cucks have had to take the cognitive dissonance of Newspeak to even greater heights to explain this reversal, such as John Nowel, who said, “It’s a meritocracy. We’re only going to pick the best of the best, but we’re very clear with our language to boards that we want them to consider diversity across all areas.” Obviously, merit and diversity are mutually exclusive. At least ZOG has shot itself in the foot by choosing to promote loyal imbeciles.

You may ask why those soldiers who want to serve their country — not that it is their country anymore – don’t simply ignore all of this careerist promotion drama, do their jobs, and enjoy the camaraderie and fun. They don’t because they can’t. There is a policy of “up or out” whereby an enlisted troop or officer must make it to the next rank within so many years, or else they are discharged. This has been in place for decades despite everyone knowing its effects, with Congress only making some minor changes in 2019 for officers. This, ironically, is part of the reason why those who are most competent and patriotic are frequently those who only serve one or two terms of enlistment. The end result is gross incompetence and loyalty to the system over loyalty to country.

This invites the question of why the strongest — at least for now — military in the world either actively chose or passively allowed its leadership to become so inept. First, this was an active choice. There is a lingering fear among the pantsuit crowd that one day a general could actually become worthy of that rank, and thus become another Patton or MacArthur, with the natural cult of personality that develops around such aristocrats of the soul. In Patton’s case, this fear was exacerbated by the fact that he was woke on the Jewish Question [4].

Interestingly, this is also the primary reason why commanders are rotated between commands every two years on average, so that they do not establish close rapport with their units. Most commanders take about three months to settle in and are on their way out over the last three months, and thus they only effectively command for about a year and a half. This prevents troops from developing loyalty towards a commander who could one day cross the Rubicon against the gynaecocracy. This naturally leads to uniformity, as there is little time for commanders to innovate, although this is preferred over the sporadic excellence and innovation that longer command periods would develop. Despite all of the talk about innovation, there is a deep-seated fear that this could lead to a loss of control — and so the pantsuit crowd prefers uniform mediocrity.

Returning to the promotion system, there were other tendencies as well that undermined its effectiveness and which were passively allowed to run amok, probably because these tendencies naturally worked in tandem with the intent to promote loyal careerists. There has been a pattern of America oscillating between war and peace. During peace, everyone is primarily focused on garrison duties. Troops can pad their chances of promotion by participating in exercises, which are fairly easy to volunteer for. Everyone has more time to do community service and take online courses. Thus, peace has an equalizing aspect on the promotion system.

In wartime, however, those who truly matter naturally outshine everyone else. Warfighters and those who directly support them, such as by providing intelligence, logistical support, or medical care, have no problem getting their supervisors to write Gucci evaluations for them. It turns out that dodging bullets makes for writing good “bullets.” This naturally leads to resentment among those whose jobs are less cool. There’s nothing wrong with being a burger-flipper, as infantrymen and pilots do like to eat. What is wrong is when burger-flippers and office workers presume to make their tasks — or even worse, their busy work — seem like glorious accomplishments to make up for how they are being outshined.

What happens is that between each cycle of peace and war, the tide of non-mission-related stuff taking on greater importance rises a little higher. I never experienced this myself, but I’ve heard it lamented by several of the old guard.

Then, of course, came the War of Terror, or Twenty Years’ War. War and peace became intermingled during a series of interrelated conflicts which would heat up and cool down, but that were always simmering away. Those in less essential jobs had to compete with warfighters and their direct supporters, and so they had to increasingly push for more careerist nonsense. Eight years of Obama and the emphasis on bureaucracy which naturally comes with any Democrat Commander-in-Chief only exacerbated this. While the useful part of the military was ground down and pushed to the limit with its worn-out equipment and constant deployments, the useless parts simultaneously expanded. The end result was that guys who spent half a year deployed in the desert were asked why they didn’t have a volunteer bullet. Unsurprisingly, most didn’t reenlist, to the amazement of many a RAND corporation analyst and Pentagon staffer working in air-conditioned offices.

Thus, we can see a feedback loop in which the promotion system and careerism feed off each other, and which even without the Judeo-Bolshevik push for Globohomo would have led to a lack of quality and patriotism among American military leaders. This lack of leadership means that the military can no longer handle or learn from a real crisis. It is very indicative of this careerism that the only leader who has so far who lost his job over Afghanistan was Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller — precisely because he demanded accountability from his senior leaders in a viral video [5] instead of excusing away their failures. Thankfully, he and many other quality patriots are waking up to the fact that the system cannot be fixed. As he promised in a second video [6], “Follow me and we will bring the whole [expletive] system down.”

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