GI’s always complained about poor pay, loss of benefits, and other things that can contribute to poor morale. During my 26 year career, I never not heard anybody from all ranks complain about the pay. Matter-of-fact, today GI’s make some good money. If I was still active duty as an E-8, my pay and allowances would come to about $85,000 per year. I can’t comprehend an enlisted guy making that kind of money in the military.
Money aside, there is a severe decline in morale in our Armed Forces. The article here puts it in a nutshell here.
They just don’t feel as if their loyalty to the institution has been rewarded. They see what appears to be an increasingly capricious and arbitrary force-shaping process.
From the Army giving pink slips to soldiers in Afghanistan, the Marines kicking out sergeants at ten years of service, to the Air Force enticing airman to apply for voluntary separation incentives and then revoking the offer, senior leadership has been making its mission pleasing Congress at the expense of the rank and file.
That mission of satisfying elected officials isn’t just about dollars and cents and military missions overseas. It’s about senior leaders so cowed by civilian authority that they will throw anyone under a bus to preserve the image of the military.
To many, senior military leaders’ fawning obsequiousness in the face of civilian pressure has softened a bastion of warrior spirit. While the military has certainly needed some cultural rudder-steering from time to time, events starting with the post-Tailhook witch hunts and continuing through such initiatives as the 21st Century Sailor and Marine Program have left service members thinking that they joined to be in the Sands of Iwo Jima but got stuck in a showing of The Sound of Music.
Life in the military has a lot of rewards, but also a lot of sacrifices and hardship. What has made soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines withstand those hardships throughout history is a sense of belonging and the knowledge that someone has their backs.
The source of the military’s discontent doesn’t lie in money. It’s in the fact that many in the military believe that loyalty currently only travels up, not down.
Senior leadership can moan about not having the money to fix the morale problem but there’s not enough money in the world to fix it unless the underlying problem is solved.
If the military doesn’t have its peoples’ backs, it will soon be looking at their backs as they walk out the door.