Monday March 30, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter gave a speech presenting some ideas for increased flexibility in terms of recruitment, retention, and acquisition of specialized personnel for the military. One of the ideas he suggested was the restructuring of the military’s current promotion system in order to place more emphasis on performance and less on time in service. Another option would be to offer mid-career enlistment opportunities for recruits with specialist skills.
The military needs recruits with specialized skills, especially in areas like cyber security and digital technologies, but this demographic is often hard to recruit, and retain due to a general intolerance for heavy-handed bureaucracies, and plentiful career opportunities in the private sector. By making promotions merit and performance-based, and by maintaining a greater level of flexibility, the military may stand a chance of drawing new talent away from the private sector and into military service.
President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.
But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.
The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.