Adding Capabilities: OX Officers aka The Geezer Brigade

Ralph Peters has interesting ideas:

Step one: a new rank. Offer these officers and senior noncommissioned officers a chance to wear the uniform again. That’s the crucial bargaining chip. I cannot adequately stress my conviction that many who wouldn’t dream of doing defense-related work for a private corporation would welcome a chance to resume the dignity of uniformed service — at a fraction of the salary offered by “the suits.” At the same time, we don’t want to clog the system with aging officers who block the progress of those still on the rise: We need an innovative approach to a rank structure that hasn’t really changed since the 18th century.
What we need, rather, is a new sidecar rank specifically for retirees who volunteer for a year’s reactivation and for those officers and senior NCOs who elect — and deserve — to remain on duty beyond the present mandatory retirement limits. We may choose a different term, but, for now, let’s just call the new rank “auxiliary officer,” or (inevitably) the “ox.”
The only way to make such a system work would be to create a single new rank to stand apart from the current promotion ladder. Whether the retired or about-to-retire volunteer was a master sergeant or a lieutenant colonel, a sergeant major or a major general, his ox rank would be identical to all others. Every ox would wear the standard duty uniform and the badge of his special rank but would be available for a wide range of responsibilities and missions — at the commander’s discretion and in accordance with unit needs. Ox service should be in voluntary increments of one year, because those who have built successful civilian careers can be asked to serve no longer — although those who wish to continue to serve might remain in uniform if their performance merits it.
Again, I may be naïve. But I believe that if the country called such men and women, we would find that there are thousands of them and they would answer the call, at least at the rate of several hundred a year. Consider how useful even a few hundred experienced veterans might be, were they deployed to augment staffs and support units in Iraq or Afghanistan. Some active-duty officers or senior NCOs might get to spend a full 12 months at home with their families — and those who didn’t might at least get a little sleep. We have so many skilled retirees going to waste in wartime — men and women with sophisticated skills in logistics, intelligence, planning, administration and security — that it only makes sense to ask them whether they’d be willing to give one more piece of their lives to our country’s military, to spend one more year away from their families in a time of national need. Some won’t answer, while others will find that, for personal reasons, they can’t answer. But we are foolish not to issue the call and find out.
Enlisting new soldiers or Marines for a single year would be an utter waste. But one additional year of service from still-qualified retirees could make a genuine contribution to our war effort. You don’t get just a year of service, but the skills and, yes, wisdom accumulated in 20 or 30 years of wearing the uniform. Imagine if a conscientious retiree, rather than an equal-opportunity hire, had been in charge of the Abu Ghraib facility in its fateful period.

Adding human capital capabilities is a good idea.

I don’t know if this idea would work or not, but there is very little (if any) downside from trying. It wouldn’t be costly either.

The President should call the SecDef and say standup a 2 year trial in 6 months.


One Response

  1. I emailed this article to TPMB a few weeks back as I thought it somewhat relevant to his SysAdmin strategy. He liked it too.

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