Maintaining standards is more important than "making mission"
> In addition to discouraging the enlistment of men and women of quality
Putting women into the military was one of the sources of the decline in standards.
Speaking from experience, junior NCOs cannot produce effective teams when their lowest common denominator soldier must be babied and handheld through rudimentary PT. You hit the nail on the head, here. Lower standards are never useful, but once again the pencil pushers calling the shots do not understand this.
Lowering physical standards is one thing, but when you add Marxist rainbow brigade trans nonsense, you get soldiers who can't even figure out how to tie their shoes, much less fight.
But then, our government is treating the military like a social club.
Gen Wilson decided to let Marine Corps end strength drop in order to only recruit and train quality. This paid off in spades. Quality begets quality and the image of the institution does not decline. No compromise on standards. Filling the ranks with the substandard insures that the best depart. It is not just physical fitness, intelligence and discipline. It includes character, values, ethics and suitability. The author accurately lays out the path to irrelevance. The leadership would do well to heed his warnings.
This nails it!
The military's primary purpose in most developed countries is as a way of circulating funds. This means the right companies and nations get contracts, and now we're seeing that military careers must also be only allowed to those who are loyal to the cultural regime and its goals. You shouldn't pay your enemies.
Naturally, this means a greater focus on a whole rainbow of cultural regime elements. The standards and morale slide is not simply a side-effect, but a desired goal. It makes me wonder if Spandrel's idea of Bio-Leninism might actually have had a kernel of truth.
I read somewhere the Germans took a similar approach after Versailles - limited by treaty to a tiny army, they made sure that as far as possible every man was capable of being at least a corporal, so that as and when rearmament came they could scale up far more quickly than their neighbours expected without losing effectiveness.
"rather than pushing their subordinates to “be all they can be,” leaders devote their best energies to keeping them out of trouble. Rather than focusing on the finer points of enfilade and defilade, commanders waste their time on visits to the brig (or stockade), the award of non-judicial punishment, and the enforcement of increasingly picayune rules."
This was the US military since at least the 1990s and still is.
Curiously, the "Global War on Terror" did little to assuage these dynamics, perhaps because Terror was not in fact the existential threat to the USA it was purported to be. The combat tourists of GWOT were fed and grew fat, both metaphorically and literally. The demonym originating with GWOT is "fobbit," which says it all.
If the US military gets any maxim correct, it's that an "army marches on its stomach"; thing is, it focuses on the stomach more than the marching.
I’m sure this is true for the military. It is even more true for academia. It’s really the same problem, for the same reason.