Snowflake Soldiers: Army Officers Going Back to Basics to Instill Discipline on ‘Entitled’ Enlisted
People who choose to enlist in the armed services are to be admired. They are willing to serve their country and put their lives on the line for us all for relatively little pay. So I am not one to criticize their actions. They are all certainly braver than me.
However, cultural changes in our young people, the millennials, are leading officers to change their training methods. Millennial recruits are coming in with less respect and discipline than is usually expected of soldiers and for a job as important as theirs, that has to change.
After all, this is the first generation of soldiers used to “safe spaces” whenever the stress level gets too high. And the military offers plenty of stressful situations.
Unfortunately, instilling discipline and respect requires a tough stance from the officers. New training techniques must be used to bring these soldiers up to par with their predecessors.
It’s little secret that millennials have been stereotyped as “entitled” or “undisciplined.” But is that just an unfair oversimplification by cranky baby boomers and Gen X’ers? After all, every generation seems to grouse about the work ethic of their progeny (or progeny’s progeny, as the case may be).
Well, according to the Army, the lazy, entitled millennial isn’t just a pernicious stereotype. In fact, things are so bad that basic training is actually undergoing a redesign to deal with a new generation of recruits that can most charitably be described as “discipline-challenged.”
“The U.S. Army will soon launch a redesign of Basic Combat Training intended to build more discipline after many commanders complained that new soldiers often show up to their first units with a sloppy appearance and undisciplined attitudes,” Military.com reported Friday.“By early summer, new recruits will go through Army BCT that’s designed to instill strict discipline and esprit de corps by placing a new emphasis in drill and ceremony, inspections, pride in military history while increasing the focus on critical training such as physical fitness, marksmanship, communications and battlefield first aid skills.”
The new basic training regimen “will also feature three new field training exercises that place a greater emphasis on forcing recruits to demonstrate Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.”
For those of you not familiar with military training (which I’m sure is nobody), those are the skill sets every incoming soldier is taught in order to prepare for combat conditions.
Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost — commanding general of the U.S. Army Center of Initial Military Training — told reporters that the new program came out of surveys given to 27,000 commissioned officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers.Somewhat unsurprisingly, they say they’ve “observed a trend of new soldiers fresh out of training displaying a lack of obedience and poor work ethic as well as being careless with equipment, uniform and appearance.”
“What leaders have observed in general is they believe that there is too much of a sense of entitlement, questioning of lawful orders, not listening to instruction, too much of a buddy mentality with NCOs and officers and a lot of tardiness being late to formation and duties,” Frost said.
“These are trends that they see as increasing that they think are part of the discipline aspect that is missing and that they would like to see in the trainees that become soldiers that come to them as their first unit of assignment.”
And the biggest problem? “The number-one thing that was asked for five-fold or five times as much as any of the other categories was discipline,” Frost said.
You would think that people considering the military as a career might be big on discipline and low on entitlement. Alas, that’s not the case, and thus the Army is going old school.
“First unit assignment leaders want initial entry training to deliver disciplined, physically fit new soldiers who are willing to learn, who are mentally tough, professional and who are proud to serve in the United States Army,” Frost said, according to Stars and Stripes.
“The bottom line is that when you graduate Basic Combat Training, you are supposed to be ready for your first unit assignment (and) to be ready to step on a plane and go to combat.”
It shouldn’t surprise us that the mentality of entitled millennials is infiltrating our military, but it needs to be stopped. The military is for tough minded people who can handle extreme stress. If some of the snowflakes can’t handle the new training, than maybe the military is not for them.
In 2016, it was reported that the Virginia Military Institute offered “stressbuster” coloring stations for cadets before their final exams. This drew wide criticism. And while I think we need to be aware of the mental health of our military, perhaps making them tougher will be more productive than treating them like children.