“Mattis: Get unnecessary training off warfighters’ backs” – TTG


“WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered a review of all the administrative and training requirements that prevent trigger pullers and pilots alike from focusing on warfighting.

In the memo obtained by Military Times, Mattis on Friday directed the services, the National Guard Bureau and the combatant commanders to determine what changes are needed to give each branch increased flexibility to organize, train and equip more ready and lethal forces.” (Military Times)


Jubilation! Jubilation! I’ve been waiting for something along these lines since 20 January. It is sorely needed. Those of us who served in the military know the debilitating effect that the accumulation of unnecessary policies and requirements has on the mission readiness of a fighting unit. I’m sure that also goes for supporting units. This is an excerpt from the Mattis memo. It’s a good start. 

“Examples of policies requiring review include: relating to the retention or separation of permanently non-deployable Service members; professional military education to regain a concentration on the art and science of warfighting; requirements for mandatory force training that does not directly support core tasks; hiring practices for the civilian workforce; and a return to counterintelligence competencies for the Services law enforcement agencies.”

From this short list, we can see Mattis is starting with the big things. First, the military’s only purpose is to fight the nation’s wars. It is not a social welfare program or a place for social experimentation. Second, military training and especially military leadership training should be fanatically focused on fighting and winning wars. Third, anything that takes away from preparing to fight and win wars must be jettisoned. Fourth, the civilian workforce must also be focused on fighting and winning wars. Prepare for a push to make all DOD civilians into an excepted service. Last, all these years of leaks and such are obviously driving Mattis up the wall. He is intent on stopping that crap.

My advice is that those who lack the single-minded determination and discipline to prepare to fight and win our nation’s wars should get out now.



This entry was posted in government, The Military Art, TTG. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to “Mattis: Get unnecessary training off warfighters’ backs” – TTG

  1. AC says:

    Would be great if this included stopping any US military involvement with providing humanitarian aid or working alongside aid agencies. It’s not the role of the military and creates a dangerous situation for aid workers as they can potentially be identified with the US military presence or actions in a given country.

  2. Fellow Traveler says:

    Who will teach Nation Building now?
    Perhaps W can do a stint at Carlisle.

  3. mike says:

    TTG –
    About time! The Warrior Monk strikes again. Hopefully the new USD(P&R) can fend off congress. But some arm wrestling is also going to be down at the operational level where the definition of “unnecessary training” is going to be made.

  4. confusedponderer says:

    “Who will teach Nation Building now?”
    I am old fashioned. I propose that all students interested in ‘learning Nation Building’ should be obliged to do smething practical, just to get a feel for that doing something involves work (so to speak: involves doing), thinking (with the brain, not power point) and some actual planning.
    One can think about having the ambitionous students … build a road (required: time, strength, workers, materials, tools and tool vehicles, suitable terrain, cooperative neighbours), or a wooden house (required: time, strength, workers, materials, nails or screws, paint, cooperative neighbours …), walking some 80 miles through an unknown rough area with a map (required: times, hardness, brains, eyes, strength, working legs, map & compass, ability to read a map, perhaps a tent, something to eat and drink, basic medication, weather proof clothing, probably a hat) etc. pp.
    All practical stuff like like that. Perhaps that approach will produce more than go to a class and learn about redoing nations or, say, rolling dice.
    On the plus-plus side, even if folks won’t learn anything from it, work would at least do some good to their body … ‘he’s dumb as bread, but, oh boy, he can root 200 year old trees with the hands!’
    That said, tree puller brigades are something that the world is so far still lacking. But think about how deterrent it would be to threaten to let it loose. No one with a functional brain would want these folks to come to a visit, especially when you live in a desert country that is short of trees.

  5. Old Microbiologist says:

    They need to rethink DOPMA as well. Only sycophants rise to the top in the current system.
    I will give an example (I have many but this guy is one of the worst). My last (horrible) boss was a full Colonel and a Perfumed Prince but of the Texas A&M ilk and was a protege of SecDef Gates. He had never served overseas in his career and had gone from being commissioned as a Infantry Officer then branch transferred to Aviation (at CPT) and then again branch transferred to Medical Services Corps where he was subsequently sent for a LTCT PhD at where? You guessed it: Texas A&M where he basically did no actual research. After that he was assigned to WRAIR and served as a logistics officer for the Malaria research Division (recent PhD officers are required to put to use their recently acquired expertise in research but this POS was only trusted to order supplies. From there he went to West Point as a Professor and spent several years there and then returned to be our Division Director for Microbiology at WRAIR. He sucked up ass enough to be assigned as Overseas Lab Commander for our laboratory there and was relieved for cause roughly 6 months later and was quietly retired after a very quiet Courts Martial for misappropriation of funds, sexual harassment (proposed sex for promotions to 2 female lieutenants as he was also the Corps Senior Career Manager for the Micro MOS as well as consultant to the Surgeon General for Microbiology), and charged with racial discrimination (he hated orientals and had already been charged by one of my staff scientists who was Chinese who won his case). My point is that only under this current system of Officer promotions could someone so obviously horrible rise to the top. Luckily he burnt himself out but the damage he caused to our programs at the WRAIR were never repaired. My only consolation is that he was reduced to LTC for retirement and he lost the other half of his retirement in his second divorce (he lost the first 50% in his first divorce). I ran into trouble as I reused to add his name to any of my research papers as the senior author.

  6. turcopolier says:

    With regard to the colonel you disliked so much, how did this guy get reduced in rank? pl

  7. turcopolier says:

    fellow traveler
    Who is “W?” pl

  8. turcopolier says:

    You suffer from a lack of actual knowledge. A great deal of extraneous business intrudes itself into the essential business of DoD even in a time of massive war commitments. pl

  9. mike,
    I thought about how much of the “unnecessary training” is derived from the implementing instructions developed and pushed by installation commanders and others at this level of command. Much of the day today burden is the result of these commanders seeking to make their mark as doers. I think Mattis would be smart to stick to the big decisions along with changing that attitude from the top down rather than getting down to the installation-level policies. It’ll take time. Maybe an energetic pruning of general officer billets could be one of the early projects.
    Mattis will have his hands full with Congress. It’s not just the social experiments he has to deal with. It’s the unnecessary equipment purchases and unnecessary installations that contribute to the problem.

  10. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    “W” Is a frequently seen nick name for George W. Bush, so much so that it was used by his reelection campaign in 2004. I was aware that his father had been affiliated with the Carlisle private equity racket firm but not him. However I’m not surprised.

  11. BillWade says:

    Trump tweets:
    “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” the President tweeted. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
    On our way back to normalcy, thank God.

  12. mike says:

    @TTG – “Maybe an energetic pruning of general officer billets could be one of the early projects.”
    A much better way to go instead of past RIF’s that focused on junior officers and NCOs. But it should not be a once-in-a-lifetime project. My cherry trees do best with an annual pruning, and SWMBO deadheads her roses almost daily.

  13. BillWade,
    Well how’s that for timing. I went through jump school when women were ineligible for that training. I also remember when the Marines were considering banning married people in the junior ranks. I happen to agree with Trump here. Maybe 20 years from now it’ll be different, but now is not the time.

  14. turcopolier says:

    BillWade & TTG
    I heartily agree. It will be interesting to see what Mattis thins about out of the closet gays. pl

  15. Huckleberry says:

    Yes, it would appear that the curriculum will be lighter at least one unnecessary class: trans sensitivity training.

  16. BillWade says:

    Back in the closet and all will be well. Distractions harm readiness.

  17. Thirdeye says:

    The same types of issues affect just about every major institution, undermining mission focus. Academia is top-heavy with administrators and social engineers that result in ballooning costs while disrupting actual skills acquisition with rotten policies. Self-serving posing is rewarded in business. The list goes on….

  18. Thirdeye says:

    Pitchers allowed, no catchers?
    But seriously, the issues with transgenders are much more severe from a mental health standpoint.

  19. BillWade,
    Intolerance or at least the inability to engage in tolerant behavior is also a distraction. I’m not talking about celebrating differences, just tolerating differences. The USG should not accept or allow intolerant individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military.

  20. turcopolier says:

    Is it intolerant to not want trans-genders in the military? pl

  21. pl,
    If the military has to make major accommodations purely to handle trans-genders or the trans-genders make such demands on the military, then being trans-gender is incompatible with serving in the military. I don’t think that’s a matter of tolerance. I don’t want to see women in the combat arms or in any combat units even though I am sure there are women who could do it successfully. Someday, maybe. I don’t see that as intolerance, just an acknowledgement that the disruption would far outweigh the advantages of such a policy. I don’t know if this is still the case, but the Air Force required its pilots to have uncorrected 20/20 vision and no metal dental fillings. Being diabetic is usually a disqualifier for military service as are many other medical conditions, although some serve in a more or less “don’t ask, don’t tell” or “in the closet” status. I don’t find that intolerant, either.
    I’m interested to see what happens to those trans-gender service members already serving. If they make themselves non-deployable or disruptive, I think they ought to go. If not, grandfather them for as long as they serve satisfactorily.

  22. BillWade says:

    I can only think back to when I was in the Air Force, late 60s to late 80s. There were plenty of gays in the Air Force and I can only think of a few instances where they were discharged because they were gay and it usually involved alcohol and some pretty overt behavior, straights might also have been discharged for the same behaviors. Most were ok with that “system”, is that tolerant enough?

  23. BillWade,
    Sounds plenty tolerant to me. I don’t know if you watch South Park, but they did a great one in “The Death Camp of Tolerance.”

  24. Old Microbiologist says:

    You have to be in a grade 3 years to retire at that grade otherwise you retire at the last grade held for a minimum of 3 years. He screwed up in Thailand before he had his 3 years in grade. I left off the part where when he came to be the Division Director he was still an LTC. I was at that time a senior scientist at he grade of GS-15 at step 10 (Department Director) so sort of outranked him in equivalency which was dicey for him. He had never had to manage civilians before. On the other hand I was on thin ice being a retired major so technically I could have been recalled to active duty and tried for insubordination as a major despite my civilian rank. It was loads of fun.
    This is better than the good old days when you had temporary and permanent ranks.
    But, the system now is horrible, especially with the senior rather emphasis. I had the misfortune to have a senior rater (earlier in my career) who my second wife, at that time a finance officer, had had this guy prosecuted for pay fraud back when he was a major. It was a “framable” OER and I beat it on appeal. He was another connected sycophant who had been a General’s aide de camp and was more or less immune. I have a long string of characters like this in my history. The various medical corps seem to collect the trash of the military. I have dozens of stories like these.

  25. Old Microbiologist says:

    There is an under-reported phenomena about sexual assaults since the gay ban ended. Over 60 % are now man on man assaults. To add to the misery STD rates are at a level never seen before in the military and bizarrely syphillis is now back in a big way.

  26. turcopolier says:

    I served with quite a few closeted gay killer types. They stayed in the closet and I think that was tolerant enough on the part of the Army. I remember one fellow, a lieutenant colonel) who was in personnel and had his lover transferred around with him for decades. No problem. pl

  27. Thirdeye says:

    What was the percentage of m-m assaults before? A lot of it could be more about dominance than attraction, like prison rape.

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Wars over centuries create nation.
    States can be created by other states for formerly stateless people but no country has been able to do both for others.

  29. douglass says:

    Same was said, no doubt, about Truman’s integration plan.

  30. turcopolier says:

    If you think that being Black and thinking you should have been a woman are the same thing, then I am outraged on behalf of Blacks. pl

Comments are closed.