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Military Values. Why the Military Does What it Does. Military values all have counterparts in the civilian world; the military differs more in degree than in kind from the civilian sphere. Some Military Values. Ceremony, Rank, and Hierarchy Uniformity Discipline and Obedience Group Cohesion

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Why the Military Does What it Does

  • Military values all have counterparts in the civilian world; the military differs more in degree than in kind from the civilian sphere.


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Some Military Values

  • Ceremony, Rank, and Hierarchy

  • Uniformity

  • Discipline and Obedience

  • Group Cohesion

  • Rigorous Training


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Uniformity

  • Huge personnel turnover both in peace and in war

  • Uniformity assists in administration, allows inspectors to count on a high degree of uniformity from place to place.


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Disciplineand Obedience

  • Nothing could be further from the truth than the concept of "mindless obedience”

  • Many people cannot defer their own gratification, even briefly, despite consequences. 

  • Discipline and the ability to obey are actually very high-order mental skills.

    • Automata make poor soldiers. 

    • Good soldiers have to be able to adapt, show initiative, and be highly autonomous

    • At the same time, soldiers have to be able to recognize and respond instantly to situations that require automatic obedience. 


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GroupCohesion

  • Soldiers are more effective if they can count on support and aid from their comrades

  • Soldiers perform mostly because they don't want to let their comrades down

  • Peer pressure used in military training to reinforce weak links

  • Mistakes on the battlefield affect everyone

  • Uniforms and military ceremonies reinforce group cohesion by requiring soldiers to be publicly identified with the military.

  • Often there is an “us versus them” mentality between the military and civilians


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Example: Hair Wars

  • Once insect-borne disease was recognized, elimination of lice became a military priority

  • Haircuts became mandatory

  • Soldiers returning from World War I were immediately recognizable

  • Soon short hair became the norm for men.

  • In the 1960's youth demonstrated their rebellion by growing long hair

  • The military insisted that soldiers identify publicly with the military by keeping hair short


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Training

  • Military training is unpleasant; always has been, always will be.

  • The only way to teach soldiers to work long hours under unpleasant conditions is to make them work long hours under unpleasant conditions.

  • Wars are won by people who push the hardest

  • Modern military literature speaks openly about "stress inducement"


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Training

  • Rigorous training serves to identify people who simply cannot deal with the stress

    • Comparatively few people wash out in reality. 

    • For many, the military  is the only time in their lives they are ever pushed close to their limits. 

  • Rigorous training fosters group cohesion by creating a unique shared experience.


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Elite Training

  • Elite training (Navy SEALS, etc.) has a different goal

  • Object is not to train a large mass of soldiers 

  • Object is to identify and train a small elite that can endure the utmost rigors and who will simply not allow themselves to be stopped by anything. 

  • Ultra-rigorous training creates group cohesion and a feeling of being members of an elite.


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