U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kate Thornton

In part one, I discussed the proposition advanced by David Barno and Nora Bensahel that a rigid and anachronistic personnel system is inhibiting our ability to retain our most talented officers. I took issue with their apparent remedy: to give more perks and benefits to individuals who already enjoy substantial perks and benefits. Their analysis of the issue was logically inconsistent in that it identified requirements, but lamented those requirements when implemented. Their analysis was incomplete in that it did not consider opportunities to serve in our civilian workforce, did not consider whether talented officers whom we are losing are actually the most talented among their peers, and it ignored the reality that problems concerning family life, stability, and predictability are improving as deployments have become less frequent.

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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fincham

Editor’s Note: This article is part one of a two-part article responding to “Can the U.S. Military Halt Its Brain Drain?” — an essay published in The Atlantic by David Barno and Nora Bensahel on Nov. 5, 2015.

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