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Negative Changes In The Military: A Historical Approach

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In the past thirty years, there have been numerous changes in the military that have resulted in the lowering of positive feelings by members of this great institution. As a result of some decisions made by leaders at high levels, the morale, attitude and service of many military members have been negatively affected. In this paper, we will discuss the negative connotations associated with the new role of the battlefield commander, the impact of homosexuality and lesbianism on the military, as well as the impact of declining budgets and the drawdown of the force. Let us examine first the new role of the battlefield commander.

Today's battlefield commander must understand and employ a variety of tools in Middle Eastern warfare that can lead to negative feelings about the mission. In the past, commanders were primarily concerned with achieving the objective, i.e. a hilltop or a city, after which they would move on to another objective. But to win the current war on terrorism, the method of Middle Eastern warfare must be conducted in a different manner. Not only must objectives be achieved, but understanding the mindset of this culture and conducting appropriate type missions must be employed to successfully win this war.

Historically, the cities of the Middle East were centered on three things: the mosque, the marketplace and the family home. But in today's fast pace world of expansion and modernization, many Middle Eastern cities have found themselves the victims of housing shortages, inadequate services, underemployment, pollution, and war. There is also the problem culturally on whether or not to modernize or remain the type of society that is peaked with traditionalism. Due to these problems and arguments within city government, the worst and often consequences have resulted in radical Islamic terrorism. As a result of these problems, the poor of these communities have congregated together and make up the various terrorist cells.

Thus, to effectively accomplish the mission, the battlefield commander must understand this concept and employ whatever means is necessary to remove as many of these grievances as possible. In his article on this subject, Lieutenant Colonel DiMarco states it this way, "A key to countering terrorists and insurgents based among the urban poor is removing their grievances. Revitalizing the poor neighborhoods may be a critical military task in an effective urban counterinsurgency" (DiMarco, 2004, pgs. 53-54). This method of warfare has caused various commanders to have feelings of negativity towards their duty primarily because they see themselves as combat soldiers, not urban developers. Next, let us look at the problem and impact of homosexuality and lesbianism on the military.

The history and effects of homosexuality and lesbianism on the military have propagated negative actions and reactions in its' members. Historically, homosexual Americans were only allowed to serve when there was a shortage of personnel. This policy has been followed since the early days of the United States. To establish a more concrete position in this matter, the Department of Defense enacted a policy clearly stating their position. In his article entitled "Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S. Military", Dr. Herek says this, "In 1981, the DOD formulated a new policy which stated unequivocally that homosexuality is incompatible with military service" (Herek, 2005, pg. 5). The consequence of this policy was widespread in application. Observation of this policy by Dr. Herek was this: "According to a 1992 report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), nearly 17,000 men and women were discharged under the category of homosexuality in the 1980s" (Herek, 2005, pg. 5).

This was the policy in the military and it was supported overwhelmingly by the majority of military members. Most of the military members that were homosexuals and lesbians after this time, cloaked themselves in ambiguity and did not reveal their sexual preference. During this time, new recruits were asked their sexual preference. However, this policy changed in 1993. According to the Rand Report, "On January 29, 1993, President Clinton signed a Memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to submit prior to July 15, 1993, a draft of an executive order ending discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in determining who may serve in the Armed Forces" (Sexual Orientation, 1993, pg. 1).

This change of policy was an outrage for many members of the military. From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the lowest members of the military, many felt that this policy was not conducive to the welfare and morale of the Armed Forces. But that opinion was not shared by the Commander-in-Chief, President William Clinton. In his address to various members of his staff, he stated, "The policy I am announcing today is, in my judgment, the right thing to do and the best way to do it" (Clinton, 1993, pg. 1370). This policy resulted in negative feelings towards those suspected of being involved in homosexuality or lesbianism. In the end, the failure of this policy was seen in the murder of Private First Class Barry Winchell, a suspected homosexual, by a member of his unit and also an admission by President Clinton as to the policy's failure. Next, let us focus our attention on the negative impact of declining budgets and the drawdown of the force.

The impact of declining budgets and the drawdown of the force have also negatively impacted the Armed Forces. During the 1980s,



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