Swedish special forces female.

ELVERUM, Norway — An explosion just a few feet away rocks the unmarked station wagon as it travels along a dirt road in the Norwegian woodland.

Immediately, two soldiers jump from their front seats and run for cover behind the carcass of an old, rusty tank. Firing their weapons at targets along the snow-covered hillside, they call for support from the rest of their unit.

This firefight is just a drill, but the soldiers taking part are battling to break down one of the final barriers to women serving in the armed forces. They are training to become part of Norway’s Jegertroppen or “Hunter Troops” — the world’s first all-female military special forces unit.

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 Female Special Forces Soldier: ‘I Wanted To Do The Toughest Thing I Could’ 2:48

More than a year after the U.S. Department of Defense repealed a longtime ban on women serving in ground combat assignments, relatively few have been trained or assigned to these jobs in the U.S. military.

Norway has moved a lot faster to break down military gender barriers. Its parliament introduced legislation in the 1980s that opened up all military roles to women. Last year, Norway became the first NATO country to introduce female conscription.

PHOTOS: World’s First Female Special Forces Unit

But the introduction of the all-female special forces unit in 2014 raised the profile of women in the Norwegian military the most.

The unit was started after Norway’s Armed Forces’ Special Command saw an increased need for female special operations soldiers — particularly in places like Afghanistan where male troops were forbidden from communicating with women. The exclusion of half the population was having a detrimental impact on intelligence gathering and building community relations.

Image: A soldier rests after military training exercise at the Terningmoen Camp in Elverum, Norway

Norway changed its rules on female soldiers in 1980. Carolina Reid / NBC News

“When [Norway] deployed to Afghanistan we saw that we needed female soldiers. Both as female advisers for the Afghan special police unit that we mentored, but also when we did an arrest,” said Col. Frode Kristofferson, the commander of Norway’s special forces. “We needed female soldiers to take care of the women and children in the buildings that we searched.”

So they created the all-female unit specifically designed to train them.

“One of the advantages that we see with an all-female unit is that we can have a tailored program and a tailored selection for the female operators,” Kristofferson said, adding that at the end of the one-year program the female soldiers are just as capable as their male counterparts.

Image: Colonel Frode Kristofferson, the commander of Norway's Armed Forces' Special Command (FSK)

Colonel Frode Kristofferson Carolina Reid / NBC News

One of the unit’s members, 22-year-old Tonje, said the unit is proof that women can do the same job as men, even in the male-dominated world of the military.

“We’re carrying the same weight in the backpack as the boys,” said Tonje, who did not provide her full name due to the unit’s rules. “We do the same tasks.”

Those tasks at Terningmoen Camp, about 100 miles north of Oslo, include parachuting out of military aircraft, skiing in the Arctic tundra, navigating the wilderness and fighting in urban terrain.

She added that the weapon, backpack and other gear she carries on long marches, weighs over 100 pounds.

“I’m the smallest, so I carry as much weight as I myself weigh,” she said.

Image: Tonje, a female soldier, stands by a the carcass of an old tank used for cover during the military exercises at Terningmoen Camp in Elverum, Norwa

Tonje stands by the wreck of a tank which is used for cover during military exercises. Carolina Reid / NBC News

To qualify for the Jegertroppen, applicants have to run about four miles carrying 60 pounds of military gear in under 52 minutes. That’s just three minutes less than their male counterparts who have to do the same thing in under 49 minutes.

Tonje, who grew up in a town of about 30,000, said she has been interested military service since she was a child. “And I knew that I wanted to do the toughest thing I could do in the military,” she said. “When the Jegertroppen came up as an option, it felt like it was made for me.”

Three years into the all-female program, the Norwegian military is already counting it as a success.

“We have them available when we need the female soldiers in operations abroad,” Kristofferson said.

During a break from the training drills, while the unit relaxed around a campfire, 20-year-old Mari explained that she joined the military to follow in her grandfather’s and father’s footsteps.

Image: A female soldier reloads with new bullets at the Terningmoen Camp

A soldier reloads her weapon at the Terningmoen Camp. Carolina Reid / NBC News

“If I’m needed, I think that it would be a great opportunity to both serve my country and also to be able to contribute positively in a very masculine environment,” she said. “With the skills that we get this year, I think that we definitely can continue to build on them and become very good soldiers, maybe just as good as the boys.”

Commanders say the all-female unit is already on its way. At a recent exercise, one of the female soldiers shot better than some of the men in the elite platoon, Capt. Ole Vidar, the officer leading the training program, said. He added that the female unit has also shown a stronger sense of solidarity among its members.

“The boys see that the girls help each other, so the boys are doing better on that as well,” said Vidar.

He added that despite some skepticism at first, the program has been an instant success with over 300 applicants in the first year alone. And the entry requirements have already been raised.

“Girls come better prepared than before,” said Vidar.

Image: Female soldiers march on the snow-covered hillside after a military training exercise at the Terningmoen Camp in Elverum, Norway

Soldiers march on the snow-covered hillside at the Terningmoen Camp in Elverum, Norway

CARLO ANGERER

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Strategic Outpost
THE WAR FOR THE SOUL OF THE MARINE CORPS: IT’S TIME TO CHOOSE
DAVID BARNO AND NORA BENSAHEL
MARCH 21, 2017

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The Marines United scandal has exposed the disturbing fact that many Marines past and present view female Marines as lesser creatures, suitable for exploitation and never to be truly accepted as full-fledged members of the Corps. This stunning misconduct presents a stark moral fork in the road for Marine leaders of all ranks. They have but two choices: to finally recognize the depth and pervasiveness of this intractable “boys club” culture and stamp it out for good, or to remain complicit by once again taking half-hearted actions that bury the problem of an unofficial Marine culture of rampant sexism – one that utterly violates the Corps’ values of honor, courage, and commitment. In this epic battle for the soul of the Marine Corps, the service’s leaders must once and for all choose the forces representing the future and permanently reject those whose prejudices belong in the distant past.

The details of the current scandal are staggering and deeply disturbing. On March 4, a Marine combat veteran revealed the existence of a secret, invitation-only Facebook group called Marines United, which both solicited and shared photos of naked female Marines. The group, formed in 2015, included more than 30,000 active duty or former male Marines and their affiliated Navy corpsmen. Other services have struggled with online harassment of military women, but none to this magnitude. In addition to salacious photos, the site included countless vicious misogynist comments promoting everything from sexual assault to sharing of revenge porn photos of female Marines. Without a hint of irony, the group’s code of conduct prohibited threats, harm, or harassment – an astonishing statement, as if these photos and comments did not inherently constitute offensive and threatening behavior.

The Marine Corps leadership was slow to react to this discovery and even slower to condemn it. The Marines were reportedly informed of this site nearly two months ago and apparently did little to respond. The day after the story broke, Gen. Robert Neller – the Marine Corps Commandant – issued a terse statement describing the incident as “distasteful.” On March 8th, Neller released a video statement calling the incident “embarrassing to our Corps, to our families and to our nation.” He attributed the illicit photo site to “some Marines…who have acted selfishly and unprofessionally through their actions on social media.” By March 10, mounting public pressure prompted Neller to hold a Pentagon press conference to address the issue. He urged the female Marines victimized by the site to come forward and “trust us” to find and punish the perpetrators, and announced the formation of a task force to look at the problem. He clearly but belatedly stated: “This is our problem, and I own it.” Last week he testified before Congress, promising to “take action to correct this stain on our Marine Corps.”

Yet, illicit web sites that host tens of thousands of his Marines as participants represent the symptom, not the problem. Neller’s real problem is not the unquestionable fact that huge numbers of current and former Marines think it is acceptable to contribute demeaning and offensive commentary against women in uniform. And it is not, as he suggested, that there is some “subculture” among Marines that finds it acceptable to view their fellow Devil Dogs as predatory targets. At the root of all this is a Marine Corps riven by two conflicting cultures: an official culture that purports to embrace the notion that Marine women can be warriors every bit as fierce, deadly, and competent as men; and a deeply entrenched unofficial culture that believes the enduring crux of Marine battlefield success (and thus being a Marine) has been and always will be the fundamentally masculine esprit de corps of all-male squads, platoons, and companies fighting together in infantry combat. In this culture, male bonding is the secret sauce that turns men – and only men – into true Marines capable of perpetuating the battlefield glory of the Corps. In this view, women – even if they are Marines – can never share in that unique brotherhood because their very presence will destroy it. As a result, female Marines can never be seen as anything other than second class citizens.

The evidence is overwhelming that the Marine Corps has long been the service most resistant to fully integrating its female members. We could write numerous columns (and articles and books) about all of the ways in which that is true, but here’s just a small sampling. The Marine Corps is the only service that continues to segregate all of its basic training for new recruits by gender. By failing to recognize that separate is inherently unequal, the service reinforces the idea that male-only units fight together and that women are held to a different (and arguably lower) standard. Unlike the Army, the Marine Corps excluded women from all support positions in infantry regiments and battalions during the recent wars, thus reinforcing the message that women are tangential to the core mission of the service. And most notably, the Marine Corps was the only service to request an exception to the recent policy allowing women to serve in combat units, based largely on a controversial study whose methodology was widely discredited – so much so that then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus openly questioned whether Marine leaders had compromised the effort from the start.

Yet by far the most damning fact is that the leadership of the Marine Corps has known about online victimization of female Marines for years and has repeatedly refused to take any responsibility for ending such behavior. When sites similar to Marines United were revealed in 2013, then-Commandant Gen. James Amos framed it as a problem with social media. But then, just as now, social media was not the problem. Rather, it was simply the means through which this offensive behavior proliferated. Instead of strongly condemning such behavior as an unacceptable violation of the Marine Corps values, Amos absolved the Marine Corps of any institutional responsibility by stating that “Marines are responsible for all content they publish on social networking sites, blogs, or other websites.” A 2014 report on these same websites led to an almost identical response from the Marine Corps, which was equally ineffective. Both were profound leadership failures by the most senior leaders of the Corps. Little wonder, then, that these sites continued to flourish.

Some younger Marine veterans, frustrated by the lack of responsiveness by Marine Corps senior leaders, are taking matters into their own hands by going online to attack these sites. Many of these young Marines have served side-by-side in combat with female Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan and are deeply outraged that male Marines are attacking and exploiting their female comrades. Some of them are now pursuing the ever-shifting offending websites while publishing the names of participants they unearth. They see their efforts as a battle for the future of the service, aiming to cause cultural change in a Marine Corps whose senior leadership has consistently failed to address the problem.

Marines United must become the Marine equivalent of the Navy’s 1991 Tailhook scandal – so publicly shameful that it finally forces the service to confront an institutional culture that tolerates and excuses pervasive sexist attitudes, behavior, and misconduct. The first step must be a thorough investigation that tracks down all active duty and reserve Marines who were participants and holds them fully accountable for their behavior – through criminal prosecution where appropriate, and through administrative punishments otherwise. After Tailhook, the Navy effectively ended the careers of 14 admirals and almost 300 naval aviators who were involved. The Marine Corps must act just as decisively against those implicated in the investigation, with penalties including fines, reductions in rank, bars to promotion and reenlistment, and even separation from the service.

But these steps, while critical, will ultimately be insufficient. A scandal of this magnitude demands a deep and honest examination of the ways in which the unofficial culture of the Marine Corps undermines the official culture. As Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green has said, “Ultimately we must take a look in the mirror and decide whether we are part of the problem or the solution.” As the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Neller bears primary responsibility for leading the Corps in that hard look in the mirror. He must lead an honest but tough conversation among Marine leaders at all levels that addresses the following questions:

How is it possible that over 30,000 current and former Marines have supported variations of this offensive site for years in a total repudiation of Marine Corps values? What are we doing wrong that has allowed this to be seen as acceptable by so many Marines?
What policies, traditions, and customs – what parts of Marine culture and lore – work to undermine the message that all Marines are equal team members and warriors? How should those parts of our culture be changed while preserving the warrior ethos of the Corps?
Since only 7.7 percent of Marines are female – by far the smallest percentage of any service – how can the Corps ever change the dynamics of our culture where men vastly dominate every environment, and still entirely occupy many Marine specialties?
Which leaders truly believe all Marines serve equally as warriors, treat female Marines accordingly, and strongly support and mentor their development? How can they be empowered and advanced to accelerate cultural change in our Corps? More importantly, how can their positive example become the standard for all Marine leaders?
Which leaders tacitly (or even publicly) support the unofficial “male only” culture? How can they be rooted out or re-trained to embrace the values of our Corps they now clearly reject? How can we prevent junior leaders from being corrupted by such destructive beliefs that undermine our cohesion and trust?
How do we send the unequivocal message that any expression of sexism or misogyny is an instant career-ender? What examples do we need to make to ensure, this time, that our claims for “zero tolerance” are actually backed up by actions that are taken seriously?
How do we get our veterans community on the right side of our culture and not continue to be significant sources of unacceptable behavior and sexist attitudes toward women in the Corps?
The U.S. Marines have a famed history as America’s “first to fight” force, built upon the ties that connect Marines to one another on every battlefield – as strong today as at any time in their 232-year history. But as one Marine recently told us, “it’s time to choose.” The Marine Corps must move swiftly and decisively to stamp out the unofficial culture that led 30,000 of its current and former members to act in such despicable ways. Choosing a culture that demonstrably values and respects its women warriors every bit as much as its men is the only legitimate path forward. In doing so, the Marine Corps will continue to earn the respect of the nation, live its values, and assure its future as one of the most prestigious fighting forces in the world.

Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, USA (Ret.) is a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, and Dr. Nora Bensahel is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence, at the School of International Service at American University. Both also serve as Nonresident Senior Fellows at the Atlantic Council. Their column appears in War on the Rocks every third Tuesday. To sign up for Barno and Bensahel’s Strategic Outpost newsletter, where you can track their articles as well as their public events, click here.

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Code of conduct

  1. I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
  2. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
  3. If captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.
  4. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which may be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior I will take command. If not I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and back them up in every way.
  5. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and allies or harmful to their cause.
  6. I will never forget that I am an American fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my government and the United States of America.

3 rules of thumb

  1. Does this action attempt to deceive anyone or allow anyone to be deceived?
  2. Does this action gain or allow the gain of a privilege or advantage to which I or someone else would not otherwise be entitled?
  3. Would I be satisfied by the outcome if I were on the receiving end of this action?

Soldiers creed

I am an American Soldier.

I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States of America and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.

I am an expert and I am a professional.

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier.

Leadership skills

  1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  2. Be technically and tactically proficient.
  3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
  4. Make sound and timely decisions.
  5. Set the example.
  6. Know your soldiers and look out for their well-being.
  7. Keep your subordinates informed.
  8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates.
  9. Ensure that the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished.
  10. Build the team.
  11. Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities.

Winning wars thoughts

PHYSICAL FITNESS IS NOT THE KEY TO WINNING AMERICA’S FUTURE WARS
Jahara Matisek | February 7, 2017

A recent article on The Hill by Maj. John Spencer and Dr. Lionel Beehner—both scholars at the Modern War Institute at West Point—argued that growing obesity rates in American society and in its military are undermining combat readiness. The authors conclude that “we cannot win our future wars without a physically fit military,” citing as evidence a Pentagon estimate that about 71 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 are physically unable serve, primarily due to obesity.

While these figures are undoubtedly worrying, it is not poor physical fitness that threatens our military readiness, but poor intellectual fitness.

Spencer and Beehner are correct that the proportion of Americans physically fit enough to serve appears low, but the real numbers tell a rather different story. If the United States were to activate the 29 percent of physically fit 17- to 24-year-old Americans for war, we would have a force of 9.86 million personnel. Such a military would be larger than the combined forces of the Chinese military at 2.3 million, North Korean military of 1.2 million, and a Russian military numbering over 3 million. There is hardly any reason for us to be concerned about not having enough Americans for combat, especially when only about 20 percent of military jobs are combat-related.

More troubling figures come from American classrooms. A 2016 US Department of Education report shows that American education is not keeping par with the rest of the world. How bad is it? Vietnamese students are now outperforming American students on most educational metrics. Being surpassed by students from a communist state with a per capita GDP approximately 1/27 that of the United States is hardly a good prospect for the American economy and military.

While Spencer and Beehner are correct about poor physical fitness undermining productivity and increasing health care costs, neither issue affects the warfighting capacity of the US military, nor has either variable determined the outcome of any recent wars. Unfortunately, their argument misdiagnoses why America stopped winning its wars, and what it will take to win future conflicts.

Winning the War or Winning the Peace?

What does it mean for the United States to “win?” Since the end of the Second World War, the American military has been “tactically and operationally superb but strategically inept.” The ability of the US military to win in limited conflicts but lose the peace has been the paradoxical cornerstone of America’s overwhelming military might struggling to fight hybrid wars.

The American military is a juggernaut in conventional wars, especially when the goal is to incapacitate the armed forces of an adversarial nation. This was best displayed in the Persian Gulf War of 1991, where the United States quickly routed Iraqi forces within 100 hours of ground combat, despite Iraq possessing the fifth-largest military in the world. These capabilities were on similar display against the Taliban in 2001, Saddam Hussein again in 2003, and Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Indeed, no military has waged a large-scale, offensive, conventional military operation against the United States since the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. Even though this offensive was seen as a turning point in the Vietnam War, the United States still dominated on the battlefield, killing about 45,000 North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops compared to only 4,324 American and South Vietnamese losses. However, such efforts to keep South Vietnam afloat were in vain, as the state was perceived as corrupt and illegitimate by its own citizens.

The American military is designed for winning on the battlefield, not reconstructing a culturally different nation that lacks either the ability or the will to modernize its society and build Western-style governmental institutions. Unfortunately, as we have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya, the US military is incredibly effective in dismantling the military and political structures of a foreign state, only to see it descend into civil war once official hostilities have ceased.

Why should we expect that a more physically fit America will defeat irregular enemies like the Taliban or ISIS in future small wars? Without confronting their underpinning ideologies or effectively addressing the underlying structural conditions that gave rise to such extremist groups, more indefatigable American troops are not the panacea.

The US military has more than enough able-bodied troops to carry out peacekeeping and reconstruction efforts in peripheral small wars. However, doing so requires educated troops on the ground with the necessary cultural and language skills to see through the political fog and enable nation-building at the local level. The success of the international community in keeping the peace in the Balkans through long-term peacekeeping missions, and economic and political commitments, shows that such efforts are doable, but require strategic patience.

Despite the lingering weariness from our frustrated efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most likely wars of our near future are likely to look a lot like the “small wars” of our recent past.

Why Intellectual Fitness Matters More than Physical Fitness

To be sure, it would be a mistake to expect that every future American war will be long-term counterinsurgency or nation-building efforts. Indeed, with the rise of China and a revanchist Russia, major war against a near-peer adversary appears increasingly more likely at some point over the horizon, and it would be foolhardy not to prepare for this eventuality. But such a war in the twenty-first century will take a very different form than the great wars of the industrial age. China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and many other states, have studied the American way of war for decades and will not fall prey to the same miscalculation Saddam Hussain did in 1991 and 2003.

Given this, should we really assume that physical fitness will correlate with victory in a war in the twenty-first century? While such reasoning was appropriate during the early industrial age of war, conflict has become both more mechanized and increasingly limited in scope and aim. Furthermore, America’s most recent armed conflicts have been more contests of political willpower than fights determined by the ability to field millions of Herculean soldiers for a major land battle. It would be foolish to think that potential nation-state foes have not taken note of America’s struggles in wars of will and limited scope.

There will always remain a central place for brute strength and superior physical fitness in warfare, of course. But future wars between nation-states are going to be decided by which side can best protect its infrastructure, command-and-control capabilities, cyberspace, and assets in outer space (e.g., satellites, etc.). Future battlefields will entail “less sweat, more sit.” Hence, the United States will need more personnel with the cognitive acumen to deal with electronic threats and other intangible problems that arise in different battlefield domains, which cannot be solved solely through excellent physical fitness.

The success of the American-Israeli Stuxnet virus attack against the Iranian nuclear program is evidence enough of the importance of developing the human capital necessary to wield cyberspace weapons in support of US national security interests. At the same time, however, the Chinese OPM hack that compromised the personnel records of over 22 million federal workers and military members and Russian cyber efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election indicate that America has not achieved an effective degree of cybersecurity. What good is a nation of burly warriors and a hefty defense budget if adversarial states can destabilize American institutions without firing a bullet?

Moreover, even when American troops on the ground do represent the decisive force in future wars, their combat effectiveness will be heavily reliant on operational dominance in the sea, air, outer-space, and cyberspace. In turn, this dominance will require cognitive fitness being held in higher regard in military culture, which would require substantial reductions in physical fitness standards. If America cannot foster the development of human capital to fulfill military requirements to operate advanced weaponry, then it will not matter if every single American is as fit as the cast from the movie 300.

American strategists have implicitly recognized this since the end of the Second World War—the United States has never sought a numerical manpower advantage against its adversaries. Instead, American strategy has taken a “quality over quantity” approach, directing investments towards military technology, command-and-control capabilities, nuclear weapons, and logistics. However, American reliance on technology to retain a competitive military edge on adversaries, known today as the Third Offset Strategy, only works when the best engineers and scientists live and work in the United States.

The Real Threat to American Prosperity . . . and Security

One thing is sure: The future of America winning its wars will not be dependent upon waistline size or how many push-ups every soldier can do. It will rely on the ability of the American educational system to produce young men and women equipped to serve as electronic warriors, strategists, and expert tacticians capable of employing the most technologically advanced weapon systems in the air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains, and to navigate the political and cultural challenges that characterize counterinsurgencies and other small wars.

The real threat to US national security is not degraded physical fitness, but the inability of US schools to produce enough Americans with the necessary STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills for a modern economy—and modern war. This is partly why so many American companies import foreign skilled labor to do jobs Americans lack the education to do. However, not only is this model not economically sustainable over the long term, it poses obvious risks to any major American war effort, making it less likely for the American military to retain its military technology superiority.

The society that can best harness its intellectual prowess to transform both its economy and its military from the industrial age into the information-systems age will be the most prepared to win future conflicts. This argument is made even more compelling by leading Stanford University scholars’ recent finding that economic capacity, specifically higher income per capita, correlates with greater military capability. To believe that physical fitness is such a fundamental determinant of American success in future wars ignores deep changes in the ways those wars are likely to be fought, something akin to European generals’ belief in the “Cult of the Offensive” prior to the First World War (and the consequent suicidal bayonet charges against machine guns).

We must double-down on educational investments that develop Americans with the acumen and cognitive capabilities to sustain economic growth and develop and employ technologically advanced weaponry in war. Such innovation has enabled American victory before, and in the technology age, it will be an even more decisive variable to success in future wars. We need an American military that values intellectual abilities at least as much as run times and push-up counts.

While the American military can do little to influence the political willpower of the American government to win limited conflicts, the one thing that the Defense Department can do is foster the development of the most educated military force on the planet, with the mental skills to deal with adversaries seeking to outsmart us on every battlefield. America’s greatest strength is its ability to bring its intellectual resources to bear, and without it, we will be at a disadvantage in every future war, small and large.

Jahara “FRANKY” Matisek is a major in the US Air Force working towards a PhD in Political Science at Northwestern University, where he is currently the program coordinator for the War & Society Working Group at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies. As a cargo pilot, he flew over 200 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and completed an instructor pilot tour at Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT). Upon completion of his doctoral studies, Maj. Matisek will teach in the Military & Strategic Studies department at the US Air Force Academy. His expressed views are his own, and do not reflect the official position of the US Air Force, Department of Defense, or any agency of the US Government.

Image credit: Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod, US Army

1 COMMENT

Kevin Govern on February 7, 2017 at 4:14 pm
In 1749 Benjamin Franklin proposed that Pennsylvania establish a public school that should, he said, place as much emphasis on physical as on intellectual fitness because “exercise invigorates the soul as well as the body.”

These MWI authors highlight what USMA does so well in balanced leader development.

See also: Digital dieting: From information obesity to intellectual fitness by
T Brabazon, in which the author explores the following:

“Imagine if a student spent as much time managing information as celebrities doted on dieting? While eating too much food may be the basis of a moral panic about obesity, excessive information is rarely discussed as a crisis of a similar scale.”

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=wIYGDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=%22intellectual+fitness%22&ots=181qO7GuM-&sig=h2m0z8ZYglTmTzdqgBl_ZwziwdM#v=onepage&q=%22intellectual%20fitness%22&f=false

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