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In Response to “Anti-intellectualism in the Army” — The Bridge — Medium


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the reflective belt is a big problem.

Andy Rohrer’s blog and my own previous run in parallel and there’s so much agreement between the two that it’s almost hard to write a response. Rohrer’s essay is critical of “The Decay of the Profession of Arms” in that “the examples given by Cavanaugh…to illustrate bureaucracy’s effect — a nonsensical uniform regulation and a requirement to complete multitudes of paperwork to travel to Mexico — are not examples of bureaucracy stifling intellectualism; they are reflections of aversion to risk.” There is a genuine disagreement in this minor point of the essay — where Rohrer is gentle with these matters and considers them more or less trivial, my position is openly hostile. Here’s why:

Don Snider has often said that military judgment is the core of the expertise of the Profession of Arms. Bureaucratic policies which remove acts of judgment, particularly those related to safety and security, from commissioned or soon-to-be commissioned officers — naturally and subtly produce unthinking, uncritical leaders that constantly look upward for guidance.

Sure, it’s just a reflective belt. But each time that cadet puts the belt on in the middle of the day (for a 20 or 30 minute run) he has lost an opportunity to exercise independent judgment. Or, oppositely, when she goes out for a run in the very early morning, pitch black and foggy — that belt is likely insufficient for the environment she encounters — yet regulations counsel a single solution to all problems (and we wonder why we’ve been criticized for an overreliance on firepower in multiple strategic scenarios).

We see this theme repeated in article after article.

There seem to be a big disconnect between the leaders and the led in America's 2014 military.

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