Born in Brooklyn, New York, Eric Navarro is a combat veteran and published author. Joining the Marines following the events of 9/11, Eric served two tours of duty in Iraq. Upon returning, he wrote a narrative non-fiction book detailing his experiences as one of the first embedded advisers to the Iraqi army, title GOD WILLING. In 2010, he earned his MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and currently works in the corporate sector while also serving as a major in the Marine Reserves. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.
Many reports detail Pentagon budget cuts that could have a dangerous impact on the overall readiness of our military at a time when we can least afford it. Whether it’s the rise of ISIS, the continued al Qaeda terror threat, Putin’s aggression toward Russia’s neighbors, or China’s global ambitions, the worldwide threats to America’s national interests and security are only increasing. This reality is in opposition to current domestic priorities.
There is a growing problem in the military reserve and National Guard communities: The financial resources to accomplish our mission are being drastically reduced to the point that we are having difficulty maintaining our readiness as force.
Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s recent decision to call up the National Guard to stem the flow of migrants illegally crossing the border brings up several hot button issues. Whose responsibility is it to guard U.S. borders? Should the military be involved in such a mission? What do we do with the thousands of people, many of them unaccompanied minors, coming over the border? How do we turn them back when most are simply seeking greater freedoms, economic opportunity, or fleeing dangerous situations in their home countries?
Following World War II, one of the best examples of a successful government program was the G.I. Bill. Once passed, thousands of service members returning from war were able to get an education, earn their degrees, start a career and make a great deal more than they would have otherwise. The overall economy benefited from the influx of workers able to earn higher wages and the country, as a whole, benefited not just from the increased economic activity, but from the overall improvement that came with it. The gains for society were exponential.
Transitioning from military to civilian life is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. One minute I was walking down a crowded street in an Iraqi city, rifle at the ready, eyes scanning the people around me for potential threats, and the next, I was walking down a New York City sidewalk trying not to eye the people around me the same way.