Ideas for the 21st Century Military

December 15, 2008

This fall I was afforded a great opportunity to co-author (views expressed were my own and not DoD…see disclaimer in the “About Me” section) a report on Building the Military for the 21st Century:  New Realities, New Priorities.  I learned a lot in this process and have a better understanding of how Think Tanks are able to influence public discussion and policy action.

The public release of the report included remarks by Rep. John Murtha and Rep. Joe Sestak (both retired military officers); and a panel featuring lead author Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow at CAP; LTG Stephen Speakes, Army G-8 (Programs Director); and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Dunn, Air Force Association.

(L-R) Lt. Gen. Speakes, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Dunn, Lawrence J. Korb after panel discussion

(L-R) Lt. Gen. Speakes, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Dunn, Lawrence J. Korb after panel discussion

I encourage you to take a closer look at the report and the fun interactive that was developed by the Center for American Progress editorial team.

There are numerous stories and blogs that are discussing the report and it’s recommendations. You can find blog posts here, here, and here (last link is about our interactive).

Articles here, here, and here.

“It’s said that a nation’s budget reflects its values and its priorities.”
President-elect Barack Obama

“Given that resources are not unlimited, the dynamic of exchanging numbers for capability is perhaps reaching a point of diminishing returns. A given ship or aircraft, no matter how capable or well-equipped, can be in only one place at one time.”
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates

Other authors included:  Laura Conley, Sean Duggan, Peter Juul
they can be contacted for further information.

Black Officers are becoming scarce

July 23, 2008
Lt.Gen Lloyd Austin welcomes Sen. Barack Obama to Iraq

Lt.Gen Lloyd Austin welcomes Sen. Barack Obama to Iraq

A few friends sent me links today about the shortage of Black officers in the military.

LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer published a story (7/23/08) titled “After 60 years, black officers are rare

A few months ago I wrote an Op-Ed that addressed the current recruiting woes; as a means to bring about conversations that will lead young people to consider military service.

The first version (More than ever, black men should consider military service) appeared in the Petersburg Progress-Index here in December 2007.

I updated it (Combating the Trends: Military Service Can Alleviate What Ails Black America) and it ran in the Richmond Times-Dispatch here on 1/27/08.

An excerpt from my RTD OpEd…

Additionally, I’m concerned by the rapid decline in black enlistment rates (20 percent in 2001 to about 12 percent today; officer commissions are down to 8 percent). This will result in a less diverse senior leadership in about 20 years, and fewer families benefiting from Army service.

This week I’m attending the UNITY ’08 conference of journalists in Chicago. I certainly hope to find great earned media opportunities so we can buck the current trend on enlistment and officer commissionings. One of the solutions for retention and mentoring of officers is The Rocks, Inc. Great generals like Colin Powell, Julius Becton, Johnnie Wilson, and others have benefited from the two-way mentorship opportunities in the Rocks.

What do you think about the news reports? Were you aware that the #2 General in Iraq is African-American?  Does is matter if we have a diverse force?

The military truly values diversity and all of us as Americans have a stake in this fight. I believe education of the general public is a great start to increasing our accessions. Let’s go!

ADVISORY: I’m NOT a military recruiter…but will put you in touch with one if you want

UPDATE1:  Here’s an article from a DoD source that paints a positive picture of opportunties for minorities in the military.