The military as with almost any profession has specific milestones and guidelines required to promote at a faster pace. However, unlike certain professions, the military has such a numerous quantity of employees at any given time that it almost requires inordinate amounts of extra goals to separate the ambitious types from the members who are simply more laid-back. But, the problem is that it’s also made a game out of the military and in games, there are always those who are willing to cheat in order to gain an unfair advantage. Of course, plenty of justification exists for these and they can become very personal, but when people start obtaining qualifications for the sake of making themselves look better on paper with no intention of doing the work… it makes things twice as hard for everyone else.
The military evaluation system has been set in stone for decades. While it’s certainly not perfect, it’s all they have when comparing such absurd number of members working under one single organization. There should be, however, better ways to rank the personnel based simply on who has obtained more qualifications or has accumulated hours of volunteer work, while actively engaging in the multiple communities in their command such as: The Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD), The First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA), The Gay Lesbian and Supporting Sailors (GLASS), Blue Jackets Association (BJA) and such. At times, it even feels like these groups don’t even truly exist to improve morale, provide support or even give opportunities to socialize and meet new people who share similar interests.
Instead, the groups exist to show face and make the members known to the leadership as standout sailors who do everything in their power to get photo opportunities in order to make their presence established within a command. But, such actions pose the question of what is truly important, was the motive more important than the end result? If good comes out of it in the end, shouldn’t that be the most important factor to consider? Perhaps, but who could truly answer that question? Especially, if we take into consideration the recent scenarios in the 7th fleet of the United States Navy.
During the investigation regarding the two vessels struck, it came to light that sailors were just simply overworked and exhausted, but also qualified for watch duties in areas they were undertrained to perform. These sailors were accused of “gundecking” (a term used for becoming qualified without the proper preparation, training, and experience) their qualifications. Yet, while this type of behavior is frowned upon, it’s almost a necessity if a person wants to stand out from their peers. The sailors who instead take their time to practice and learn their craft as seen as metaphorical anchors who are dragging their feet on the pavement and slowing down progress. Threats of securing their leisure time, privileges, and other such punishments are issued to these same members. These methods all, but ensure that the only way to go is simply hitting all the checkmarks without concern for their competency.
It’s true that completing goals should provide favorable marks on evaluations, but until a new method comes in to revamp the system, people will continue to game the old one. It’s not the best, but it’s all they have the military. One particularly sad aspect is how personnel have simply come to accept it as a fact of life. However, life should be about so much more; especially for sailors who are responsible for war machines that cost billions of dollars.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.