Same thing, different service
The Air Force needed to do something about the C-130E models that were falling apart in Iraq and Afghanistan. The solution was to develop BRAC criteria that would take the C-130H/2 and C-130H/3 out of ANG units and repurpose them into the active duty. The active duty Army is now doing the same thing to the Army Guard with aviation units. "Battle Brewing Over Future of Army Aviation Programs"
The Army wants to maintain its fleet at the expense of the Army Guard. In exchange, the Army Guard receives bupkis. The article exposes the criticisms of this idea but misses the biggest point. Force leveling is NOT equal. The active duty Army has 13 combat aviation brigades (CABs) and the Army National Guard has 8 CABs. Taking aviation assets from the Guard does nothing to right size the forces.
The other day, another blogger (thanks Quimbob!) sent me a link to the very interesting article "Old Testament Armed Forces". It is written by a conservative and former CIA officer.
As a young cadet, I remember discovering that some of the cadets and one of our training officers had formed a Christian Fellowship study group. What I found strange was not that they were men of faith but that they conducted their study group in the cadet area and while in uniform. Thus began my awareness of the impact of evangelical Christianity on the military (especially in the officer ranks).
Some may be surprised to learn that most troops are very religious and of those, many are evangelical Christians. In part this is why many Muslims do not see the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars on terrorism but rather wars on Islam. It is also why gays serving in the military is still such a hot-button issue for many troops, despite the acceptance of gays by mainstream society.
Many conservatives will point to the military as merely a reflection of the Judeo-Christian values that the founding fathers based this country upon. Perhaps but the military is about the management of violence, not religious idelas. The military mission is to kill the enemy and destroy their ability to wage war against us. Those missions are hardly consistent with the teachings of Christ.
Phillip Giraldi makes two points towards then end of his article that are quite profound. The first is, "That the United States military appears to be increasingly a professional force that has few links to the general population is by itself disturbing." While I was still in, it was a source of pride that we were an "all-volunteer force" meaning both that every one who was in wanted to be in and that somehow made us all the more professional. But now being retired for over 7 years, my experience is that "all-volunteer force"may not be in keeping with what the founding fathers had in mind.
There is a gap between how the average citizen views the world and the average troop. The military is predominantly conservative and thus making decisions amongst like minded people invites the errors of groupthink.
His second point is "That it also might be developing a warrior class ethos that includes a certain kind of evangelical religiosity as a key element only serves to increase the distance between soldiers and most civilians, apart from the constitutional issues that it raises." This is why Congressman Charlie Rangel was so in support of reinstating the draft. A veteran of the Korean War, Congressman Rangel saw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan being waged having an impact only on a small sector of America. Only under those circumstances could you have a war that has gone on for over 10 years.
While many will disagree with his statement that this raises constitutional issues, consider an all-volunteer military of primarily evangelical Christians. Would that not close the distance between organized religion and the nation state? The Templar Knights painted red crosses on their shields. As Mr. Giraldi points out, we have snipers putting biblical passages on their scopes.