Maxing Readiness

How do we maximize the readiness of young men and women to enter the Active Duty United States Military, physically, mentally and ethically?

This is the third of our questions concerning objectives for a national service for the common good. There are some questions about the question wouldn’t you say? What, for instance, do we mean by readiness? And why should entering “…the active duty military…” be an objective of national service for the common good? Certainly, very few young people choose to join the military, but millions of your generations are committed to service to their communities and to the nation. Another issue: how does physical, mental or ethical readiness for the military differ from similar readiness in any other walk of life? And who or what determines what those differences may be? We will need to spend several sessions on this question because it is a very important one, requiring us to think about the future your generation will inherit.

Let’s start by fashioning a definition of “readiness.” Before we do, you should understand the great importance of that term in our national life. “Readiness” is the fundamental yardstick the President, our military and the Congress use for measuring our capacity to defend the county and its interests. It is the way for them to state how much defense we need: how many people; how much and what kind of equipment; how much training; in how many units and what kind of units. As a consequence, “readiness” determinations tell us how much taxes it will take to protect us. This is how the Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms of the Department of Defense defines “readiness:”

“The ability of US military forces to fight and meet the demands of the national military strategy. Readiness is the synthesis of two distinct but interrelated levels. a. unit readiness--The ability to provide capabilities required by the combatant commanders to execute their assigned missions. This is derived from the ability of each unit to deliver the outputs for which it was designed. b. joint readiness--The combatant commander's ability to integrate and synchronize ready combat and support forces to execute his or her assigned missions. See also military capability; national military strategy. “

Does it tell you whether the your parents tax dollars are really required for security of Americans? Could you possibly make sense of the definition without knowing what the “National Military Strategy” is? Perhaps the definition is not designed to inform the American people exactly what “readiness” means. Does this mean that we stand no chance of understanding the what our security tax dollars do for us?

Can we craft a definition of “readiness” based on our own experiences, that we can understand, that also measures our capacity to defend ourselves? Let’s try to define readiness as it may be applicable to our daily lives: readiness is the measure of our preparedness to prevail in any challenge.

We will see if there are circumstances that would force us to amend our definition as we measure the security we need.