When it comes to incorporating women in combat roles in the military, having spent almost a decade with the Unites States Army Special Forces, I have strong opinions on this subject. Most of them are based on my personal experiences and testimonies of close friends.
I realize, however, that ideology is pushing this agenda. When dealing with ideals, anecdotal evidence is usually a mere nuisance. Gender integration in military combat roles is inevitable, but there is an inherent danger in a premature drive to solve the “problem” expediently—especially in institutions devoted to protecting American lives.
Sargent Sheena Adams, 25, Hospital Corpsman Shannon Crowley, 22, and Lance Corporal Kristi Baker, 21, US Marines with the FET (Female Engagement Team) 1st Battalion 8th Marines, Regimental Combat team II pose at their forward operating base on November 17, 2010 in Musa Qala, Afghanistan. (Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
Clausewitz’s most famous dictum was that “war is politics by other means.” But what happens when politicians seek to reshape the state’s ability to wage actual war effectively? Does “actual war” become literal politics—an overtly impotent process.
Of course politicians have always controlled the military, our commander in chief is an elected official and he appoints his Joint Chiefs of Staff. I am referring, however, to the rank and file members of the military—the people whose very lives, not political careers, live and die by the decisions of the political class.
Unfortunately, politicians are not forced to legislate in reality.
When you operate almost exclusively on an ideological level, it’s easy to spend money irrespective a $19 trillion deficit. Regrettably, someone—at some time, will be responsible for paying for our lack of foresight. Reality always wins the day, and it doesn’t take an economist—or a soldier—to explain that when it does come, it will be awfully harsh.
Surprisingly, however, I’m less concerned with the movement to integrate females into combat roles, as I am the CIA’s recent commitment to improve diversity by actively recruiting transgender individuals. Not because people from the transgender community are not capable, but I believe there are institutions where a commitment to excellence supersedes the need to force diversity.
When it comes to the United State’s intelligence capability, the CIA’s clandestine service is the backbone of our intelligence collection. The CIA should always seek to recruit, train, and hire the best and brightest.
Image source: Getty Images/Saul Loeb/AFP
As an intelligence organization that operates globally and in several different languages, it is an operational requirement to recruit from a wide breadth of people—ethnically, religiously, and irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The CIA’s decision to actively recruit transgender into their hiring practice is placing a requirement on recruitment, which should be entirely talent centric.
The CIA is an institution that cannot compromise on quality for the sake of accommodation. Integration into an elite organization, like the CIA, cannot be both assimilating to every type of person and accommodating to the needs of a particular group simply based on a goal to become a diverse organization.
The CIA recently released a publication entitled “CIA Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2016-2019.” The timeline alone demonstrates that the commitment to diversity is a token attempt at improving anything.
In the introduction, CIA Director, John O. Brennan, states that the commitment to diversify “sets us on a course to further enrich our workplace and fully leverage our talented workforce.” Furthermore, Maja M. Lehnus, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer states, “One small act today can have a lasting, positive effect on our colleagues, our work units, and our workplace.”
From these statements, it is evident that the focus is on diversity for the sake of diversity, and not for improving the effectiveness of the organization.
As American’s, we should be less concerned about whether or not the premier intelligence agency in the United States is as diverse as the IRS or some other three letter agency. It should concern us, however, that a bold commitment to satisfy a liberal agenda has the potential to diminish an institution that is designed to protect Americans.
Unfortunately, like the military, idealism has been inserted into the CIA’s selection practices. Politicians have again made it clear that the ability of the organization, and American’s safety, takes a back seat to the creation of a progressive utopia—a place where capability will always be sacrificed on the altar of accommodation, and progress will forever trump effectiveness.
Could the timing of these social experiments be any worse?
Hopefully, I’m wrong. But if I’m not, the growing wave of realists who are currently burning down the Middle East, and sweeping into Europe, will find their idealistic antagonists an easy foe to defeat.
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