Somewhere along the way in "Being All You Can Be" and "An Army of One", the US Army along with the other branches of the military got directed to be kinder and more inclusive. So what if little Johnny or little Janey couldn't pass their PT (Physical Training)? Rather than just kick them out, we need to give them special attention and remedial PT. So what if little Johnny or Janey is a fat-ass that gulps down Whoppers (BK has a restaurant on just about ever major military installation) like there is not tomorrow? We need to be them on the weight management program and teach them to make better choices.
Soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen cuss with legendary proficiency. You cuss when things don't go right, when things go right, or just because cussing is the only thing left that you can do sometimes. Ah but all of that cussing may be offensive to others so there are any number of sensitivity programs (no, I am not making this up) that military personnel are required to attend. Usually in the Air Force as soon as you arrive on at a new assignment you have to go through 4-8 hours of "Don't abuse alcohol, be sensitive about other people's feelings, don't do drugs, and if you feel uncomfortable about any of the above report it". You also get refresher training about harassment in the workplace, inappropriate relationships, and respect of others that don't look or pray like you do. I cannot begin to imagine what the post "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" training is going to be like.
I worded my descriptions in terms you would hear from the average service member. Yes, I know it is vital to have a cohesive fighting force and teaching service members to respect and get along with one another is just part of mission readiness.
But all of the sensitivity training starts to take on a life of its own. If you are a supervisor and you give someone of a different color or gender a lower rating, you will probably be challenged that you are either a racist or a sexist. The supervisor gets put on the spotlight and has to prove that the subordinate deserved the lower rating. (In my experience, rarely does the subordinate get subjected to the same level of scrutiny to prove they deserve a higher rating or promotion.)
Without intending to, the military equal opportunity and sensitivity programs emboldens the entitlement mentality of some of the younger personnel. They know they should be a first sergeant or a colonel after six months of service. If you don't agree, they it must because you are a racist, sexist or insensitive.
To insure those that truly are racist, sexist or insensitive don't run roughshod over their people, review boards and investigations are set into motions once a charge is made. If Johnny Snotrag is a dumb ass who happens to also be a minority, the supervisor will spend more time justifying one performance appraisal than doing their own job. Unfortunately this can lead to the phenomena known as "F-up, move up". Rather than spend inordinate amounts of time supporting why little Johnny Snotrag is a turd, the supervisor may allow the turd to transfer. Now the turd becomes somebody else's problem.
Some may take exception to what I've written and that's fine. My point was not to criticism our system but rather to give those unfamiliar with it an understanding of how the situation at Ft Hood may have occurred.
“The Fort Hood massacre resulted because of what I would call a tragedy of errors – just one after another - by organizations that normally perform effectively. But in this case – for a host of various reasons and frankly some things that are hard to explain – just totally failed to act in a way that as you look back at the evidence with the clarity of hindsight just shouts out, ‘Stop this guy before he kills somebody!’ And he was not stopped.”
A lot of people passed MAJ Nidal Hassan to the next assignment because they did want the headaches of dealing with his issues. Charging a service member with mental health problems can result in months of paperwork. Hindsight is always perfect but you have to ask, what did they see at the time? A potential mass-murder or just a head-case that wasn't worth the time to do due diligence.
Seung-Hui Cho made many students and faculty uncomfortable at Virginia Tech before he went on his rampage. Fears about HIPPA violations and a lack of clear guidance offered faculty and administrators no options to deal with Cho in advance. The same thing happened with Jared Loughner at his community college. A disturbing head-case but no options were available to deal with him in advance.
MAJ Hassan did not have as many protections as Cho and Loughner but military's system of checks and balances accomplished the same thing. By creating an environment that demands such high burden of proof, it caused his superiors to simply avoid dealing with him before he became a mass murderer.