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This year I and one-third of my colleagues are standing for election, as Senators do every six years; every Member of the House must stand for election every two years; and every four years the people choose their President. This series of elections is essentially an audit of performance—the method by which the American people inspect the record of their legislators and their executive althorities, and then render a judgment. As career officers you do not have to meet the test of election
or re-election. But you can understand that those of us who do stand for election have a lively interest in the kind of job you do to serve the national interest. After all, I am going to have to defend it as best I can—or to criticize it when I cannot bonestly defend it. It used to be said that the Supreme Court reads the election returns. Well, I am sure you do, also. And it is by that process that the people, whom we serve, seek to preserve their security and their liberty.
Senator Jackson. We are deeply privileged to have you with us today, Colonel Lincoln. I believe you have a prepared statement, and if there is no objection, we shall include it at this point in the record.
STATEMENT OF COL. GEORGE A. LINCOLN, PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL
SCIENCES, U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY Colonel LINCOLN. I am here in response to the Chairman's request to discuss some aspects of modern military professionalism. Some have suggested that the military officer is perhaps in a dilemma as he faces the need to retain the traditional values of his profession while, on the other hand, responding to the new influences and fresh ideas of our rapidly changing world and society. I prefer to think of this situation not as a dilemma, but as a challenging problem of transition which we must solve. I elect to be optimistic, though with reservations, and to think that the military profession is solving the prob lem with not more than the normal frustrations, frictions, honest differences of view, and lags in adjustment that can be expected to accompany a process of rapid change. Some dedicated officers, and some areas of the profession, may be alleged to be still lagging a lap behind. But others surge with the van of changing needs. While not a subject for me to discuss here, I suggest that we are not dealing here with a one-way street. Other components of U.S. society and of government operations need to make coordinate shifts.
I speak entirely as an individual and certainly not as representing the view of my own educational institution, the U.S. Military Acad
agency of the Department of Defense. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, there is no formal doctrinal position in the Department of Defense on this subject of military professionalism.
No part of this statement is meant to imply a personal expertise which encompasses all parts of the problem, or even any part of the problem to its complete depth. But, during most of my 35 years as an officer, including the last 17 as a military professor, I have been interested in the problem of modern military professionalism and have had a particularly fortunate position for observation and study.
Until recently, few observers, even among members of the military profession, were concerned with the study or examination of that profession. It was small, comparatively inexpensive, and, except in war, of little significance in the American scene. In the past decade this disinterest has been replaced by a quickened interest. There have been differing views within the military profession, among civilians in government and among the few scholars who have tackled this problem as to what should constitute modern military professionalism.
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There are also differing views as to how the professional military man should mesh into the machinery of government operations. I believe these views have increasingly tended toward a consensus on what military professionalism should be to best further the security interests of the United States.
With these introductory remarks I divide the remainder of my opening statement under five headings:
(1) who are the military professionals; (2) the traditional concept of the military professional, which is the baseline from which many step off; (3) the new challenges to the profession which cause these gloomy references to dilemmas; (4) some ways the profession is moving to adjust to these challenges; and (5) some closing comments on continuing and future problems. I. Who are the military professionals?
Using approximate figures, there are about 336,000 officers on active duty today. Nearly one-half are regulars. The remainder are reservists. Many of these reservists, committed to 20 years of service, must be considered as professional as the regular officer corps, so the active military profession probably numbers about 200,000 officers (we are not here considering professional enlisted men). With this strength the profession is slightly smaller, but of the same order of
magnitude, as the medical profession (256,000 in 1960) and the legal profession (248,000 in 1960). Some military professionals are specialists chaplains, Judge Advocates, missilemen, etc. Some are generalists. Some are generalists with one or more specialties. Some of these officers come from the service academies, but most of the regulars in the Air Force, and even the Army, come from ROTC's and officer candidate schools. Not all yet have college degrees, but a bachelor's degree is now generally considered a needed qualification (about 85 percent of Army regular officers have one) and there is an increasing feeling that a graduate degree is needed for many. Over 24 percent of Army regulars have graduate degrees.
I could go on at length citing characteristics of this officer group, but I leave the subject with two comments:
(a) Great leaders such as Marshall and MacArthur and Eisenhower and Arnold and King are the usual references. Such leaders continue to be vital. But their leadership is effective only when supported by tens of thousands of other efficient, committed professionals, from lieutenant to general and admiral.
(6) As a second comment, the military profession cannot be adequately described by describing each characteristic and adding these descriptions. Nor can any great traditional institution be so described. The profession has its pride, its sense of prestige, its sense of belonging, its tacit “union card”, its professional ethos. Some
years ago Dr. Frank Bowles, then the President of the College Entrance Examination Board, wrote an article entitled The Three Great Callings. He listed the clergy, the teaching profession and the military profession. Strange bed fellows you may say, but he found these professions had much in common from the standpoint of why men chose them. (They also all have their uniforms and traditions.) He concluded that the future of our society much depended on the successful adjustment of each of these professions to the current ora of change. This mention of The Three Great Callings
brings me to the next and related topic, the baseline from which we
II. The traditional concept of the military professional
The first, and controversial, aspect of the problem is the question: What is military professionalism anyhow? According to Professor Huntington, who has written thoughtfully on this subject, a professional is someone who couples a special skill with a commitment. Those skills differ. The commitment is the samea common denominator of the profession. Commitment is, to my mind, all important. Most military skills we can teach or acquire from experience; commitment is a matter of the "soldier's soul". The professors argue about the unique skills which distinguish our profession and have described these in various terms such as “the management of violence". The definition of a British officer (Lt. Gen. Hackett), recently used by Robert Lovett, seems more appropriate to today's problem. “The function of the profession of arms is the ordered application of force to the resolution of a social problem”. The word "force” should to my mind be interpreted as "military resources” in this day and age. Those resources can be used for deterring and peacekeeping as well as for violence.
The sometimes over-simplified model of the “professional manager of violence” is of a non-intellectual type who combines courage, physical stamina, and personal leadership with expertise that is limited to a narrow military area, and is generally oblivious to political, economic and social nuances, in short, a "military mind”—whatever that is. This rough sketch includes the presumption that the “manager of violence”, given the physical objective to be achieved by violence, then proceeds to achieve it (often insisting on strict adherence to doctrine) unhampered by pondering as to the reasons why or the most desirable orchestration with other relevant factors of the power he commanded.
Some of the aspects of this traditional picture were appropriate in the past and, I contend, are still needed, e.g., courage, stamina and personal leadership. Nor do you want all your professionals to be Mahans, Clausewitz's, Billy Mitchells, Lucius Clays and MacArthurs. True, all have to be skilled; more must be very broadly capable-generalists. But the traditional picture itself is a distorted picture of an officer group that, in fact, never conformed to such a stereotype. One can quickly produce a list of officers from General George Washington to a large number of young professionals of the present day who have taken the broader view. My predecessor at West Point, Herman Beukema, was certainly one of these. But, prior to our current generation, there was no clearly pressing need for other than the stereo type. Whatever our military profession once was (about 25,000 officers in 1929 compared to 8-10 times that number today), perhaps it approximately fitted the American society and the requirements of the times. III. The new challenges to the profession
What then are the new challenges to which the profession must adjust? I will not pretend to list them all or to discuss any one thoroughly.
(a) There has been a quantum jump in military technology. This jump has brought a requirement for greatly increased expertise, some
of it professionally military and some not unique to military tasks and needs. Parenthetically, there is no guarantee that this military technological change will continue to affect the military establishment at the recent geometric rate. One of the requirements for adjustment ("dilemmas”) has been the need to devise ways to provide professional officers having various modern specialties, some similar to civilian spe
cialties, from nuclear and legal experts to the generalist generals and E admirals.
(b) There has been a vast change in the security situation of the United States. A generation ago we operated on a low preparedess, : low readiness standard. We had few forces and few active interests
overseas. Now, opposite conditions prevail. We must have military professionals capable of handling these opposite conditions. These conditions include a complicated array of political, economic and social factors intermixed with the presence and management of vast military resources a subject stressed in Mr. Robert Lovett's address in accepting West Point's Thayer Award and in almost every address I have heard since World War II by our country's leaders.
Increased complexities extend far beyond the skills for managing the modern instruments of violence in orthodox military action. The spectrum of the uses of military power extends from massive nuclear war through variations called limited war or sub-limited war to cold war and civic action.” The management of military resources now requires both business acumen and expertise in government bureaucracy. Military activities often have to be attuned to considerations much broader than military matters. There are, said General Maxwell Taylor, “no longer any purely military matters.” Here is another need for adjustment—the need for a heightened awareness in dealing with situations in which it is necessary that the warp of military resources be woven to a woof of these political and other factors.
In this milieu it seems pertinent to recall a remark of Secretary of the Army Brucker who, while specifically recognizing the realities just mentioned, cautioned the 1956 graduating class of USMA“... you must guard with jealous care your most priceless possession-your soldier's soul. You are a fighting man.' Some military professionals may view the current trends in the profession with alarm and interpret Mr. Brucker's caution as a reminder of the sense of Hamlet's soliloquy.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, and thus
name of action. (c) There has been a vast increase in our defense establishment. The cost is over 50 times that of a generation ago. This increase has created management problems more complex than the sum total facing the ten greatest corporations in our country. Parenthetically, let's face a reality perhaps obscured by the happy pounce of some people on the phrase "military-industrial complex." If the United States is to be secure today there must be a relationship marked by efficiency, understanding and integrity between private industry and the military establishment-and professional officers must participate in the operations of the military-industrial complex. So, one of the areas of
adjustment for the professional officer-one of his dilemmas if you will—is the managerial problem. This problem includes new patterns of control, including new patterns of civilian control. Most sensible citizens are not worried about the military taking over the United States; they should rightly worry about control and direction giving maximum security for the high costs in money and service.
(d) The society of the United States has changed significantly in a generation. The officer is a member of that society. President Johnson stressed this point to the members of the West Point graduating class of 1961 when he enjoined them to a concern for the welfare of that society. The officer is a citizen first; he comes from being a civilian, and if he survives the service of his country, he returns to being a civilian in his early fifties or earlier unless he is one of the very small proportion chosen for general or flag rank. Some 10,000 officers now retire every year. The officer holds substantially the same values as civilian society in such matters as an adequate standard of living, fainily life, children, and (increasingly a problem) education of children. He also is sometimes sensitive about the prestige of his profession and about the level of his achievement measured by standards of civilian contemporaries.
(e) The military profession needs to recruit, maintain effectiveness and morale, and retain an adequate officer corps for a uniformed force in excess of 212 million in this U.S. society. In addition to reserves, the requirement is on the order of 8–10,000 regulars a year-a number you may wish to compare with the several hundred yearly input into the Foreign Service. The solution to this problem, to my mind, is one more for civilian than for military leadership—a serious problem of the Executive Branch, the Congress and the U.S. society for which the military profession “provide(s) for the common defense”. IV. Adjustment to these challenges
The fourth heading in these outline remarks concerns ways our profession is adjusting to the changing times.
I want to stress that there is far less than unanimity on the adjustments required or the rate at which they should be made—whether with all deliberate speed or in a series of quantum jumps. To me it appears that our military profession has pressed the skills to complement the new technology with great vigor, has moved more slowly in achieving a professional consensus in strategic thought; and has had most trouble in adjustment to the new managerial arrangements pressed on us and to the complexities of operating in an interdisciplinary milieu where our government deliberately attempts to integrate all kinds of factors-using military resources as one of the instruments. Some ambassadors may have similar frustrations as they strive to implement the non-traditional country team concept.
The types of military skills are now vast in number. The tasks, equipment and operational areas of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have made vast transitions since World War II, and the problems of adjustment to keep pace with change have been massive. The Air Force is undergoing transition from primary dependence on manned strategic bombers to a heavy dependence on missiles; the Army has moved from almost complete focus on conventional and perhaps nuclear violence to involved, counterinsurgency problems.