First it was the right preschool, next it's the right D.I.

James Rogers
16 Jan 2003 19:04:35 -0800

On Thu, 2003-01-16 at 17:37, Bill Humphries wrote:
> Following on to Geege's question, is that also a result of us sending 
> fewer forces into combat than we did in Vietnam, and therefore tend to 
> select the elite units such as Rangers, Delta^H^H^H^H^HSecret Elite 
> Units, and so on?

Yeah, something like that, though I think it is more a recognition that
we can do more with less if we use our assets more efficiently.  Our
military has a much smaller but much sharper combat edge these days. 
The real fighting edge that gets used all the time probably isn't more
than 20,000 soldiers at any one time, but these soldiers are indeed the
"elite" military units and are only comprised of soldiers that have
survived numerous brutal filtering processes.

The very elite units not only sieve the millions of soldiers in the
military for the very best candidates, but they have large training and
equipment budgets that allow them to get the very best equipment and
training that money can buy for any price, including access to the
latest greatest classified high tech toys that our weapon labs produce. 
This is one of the reasons it is very popular slot to get, despite the
theoretical dangers.  Because these units typically exhibit extremely
high conversion ratios in combat, the military can project the effective
combat force of an entire Army while only risking tens of thousands of
soldiers in actual combat.  The military has gone from using a rather
dull kitchen knife to a razor sharp scalpel and arguably has gained
effectiveness by doing so.  But the result is that actual combat slots
are fewer and much harder to come by as a soldier.

Furthermore, it is well-known that these combat berths put you on the
promotion fast track.  If you want to move into the top ranks of the
military either as enlisted or an officer, it is difficult unless you
have served in a field combat slot.  As a result, you find that most of
the top ranking military slots (e.g. during the Gulf War) have actually
served in harm's way on a battlefield somewhere.

-James Rogers