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Thread: New Rules for New Enemies

  1. #21
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    Would that be a place to publish a paper on high speed acquisition of data from items like cell phones, PDA’s, and computers in the field for intelligence analysis or to far out for the audience?
    I don't know - it might be. There's also a stream on "Non State Actors and their impact on Strategic communications and Information Operations." and another on "The role of technology in empowering and combating Non-State Actors". Maybe one on integrating high speed data acquisition into combat units?

    Marc
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    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
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  2. #22
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Strategic HR

    Hi Rob,

    You've raised some very good issues that apply across a number of militaries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    I think one of the first things that would have to be addressed is the issue of resourcing. You either pay for the type of people you want up front (incentives or appeal), or you develop them (time, money, investment).
    Paying up front does not, necessarily, have to be incentives based - at least in the sense of hiring bonuses, etc. ROTC programs are an example of an up front incentive which is universally available. The problem with many of the other types of up front incentives is a complex mixture of loyalty by those hired and resentment from those who didn't get them; at least that is the experience of most of the high tech industry. While internal development takes longer and, on paper, costs more, in the long run it is probably a much better solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    We are competing for the same types of leaders (in terms of realized or unrealized potential) as the profit based organizations which can afford to offer these people what they desire within the context of an 18-25 year old’s sense of what is important.
    TRue. I know of at least one person who graduated with a BA and, within 3 years, was making 3.1 million. But "important" is a very slippery term. In my experience teaching a lot of people in this age range, admittedly Canadians not Americans, many of them are searching for "meaning" and something they can commit to. This need for meaning isn't being met in the current Canadian university environment by the older systems which, in many cases, are getting viewed as increasingly irrelevant. That's probably why the Canadian Forces started their new recruitment campaign (warning, it loads slowly).

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    ....We need to consider what made the difference in that Soldier/Airman/Marine’s decision to go, or stay; then we need to adjust to compensate.
    Very true. Surely there have been internal HR exit studies done, haven't there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    If you look at the erosion of benefits that active duty service offers, it most often targets people.... This is just one example of how we either undervalue people skills in favor of hardware.
    I think that there are several issues running around here. Some have to do with forced promotions, i.e. an institutionalized Peter Principle. For example, my brother-in-law was given the choice of being promoted out of an area he loved working in and was really good at or leaving. He left. Others are directly related to benefits for family, while others may be more personal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Resourcing the types of educational investment to build the leaders we want is critical to realizing the goal. While Knowledge Networks, Communities of Practice, and Distance Learning offer opportunities in experience transferal and education on the cheap, the context upon which they draw is limited to the personal ability to internalize it an apply it, therefore it should not be a substitute for small group instruction, but a supplement. So how do we resource pulling out leaders at all level and giving them the right tools to succeed? Granted a bigger pool to rotate is attractive and provides more flexibility, but it also means more resources required for education, recruiting, and retention. Given the people we want often have families that must be entered into the equation; this has a large price tag.
    It's tricky, and its not a new problem by any means. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything that would work immediately. I know that the Canadian Forces shifted part of their general social role towards disaster relief and SAR operations, and that is now part of the social expectation of the CF. I don't think that solution would be immediately possible for the US forces, even though the expertise is there as is the history.

    The reason I'm bringing this up is that one good retention motivator is the feeling that "I am making a real difference". It's a very strong motivator for a lot of people. And as an added bonus once there is general social acceptance, the feeling is reinforced by having your own citizen thanks you for doing it while, at the same time, getting good organizational PR.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    I realize that culturally we are much more comfortable with a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) equation vs. the subjective human one, but if we do not resource the kind of people we know we need we will have to lower our expectations in reference to our capabilities.
    I suspect that part of the problem is that the expectations are set by politicians, many of whom have never served in the forces and, as a result, have a totally skewed set of expectations. That is certainly the case in Canada.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Our strategy needs to be people centric with the goal to equip them with the best technology that meets their needs. Conversely, if we show a long term trend of taking care of people at the DOD level ( I mention it because I’m not sure it happens for most above the BN & BDE levels), then our reputation for doing so will spread. People want to belong to good organizations that they can both believe in and which believe in them. One of the things you learn early on is that it is not so much what you are doing that makes you happy, it’s the climate of the organization, and purpose or esprit de corps which accompanies it.
    I totally agree with your overall strategy and with your comments on organizational support.

    Marc
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    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
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    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
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  3. #23
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    TRue. I know of at least one person who graduated with a BA and, within 3 years, was making 3.1 million. But "important" is a very slippery term. In my experience teaching a lot of people in this age range, admittedly Canadians not Americans, many of them are searching for "meaning" and something they can commit to. This need for meaning isn't being met in the current Canadian university environment by the older systems which, in many cases, are getting viewed as increasingly irrelevant. That's probably why the Canadian Forces started their new recruitment campaign (warning, it loads slowly).
    I've seen studies, and my own experiences with our AFROTC cadets confirm this, that many American students in this age group are also searching for that elusive "meaning."

    And as for private sector vs. military job comparisons, I think that people in the military lose sight of their benefits when compared to the "average" private sector worker at the same level. The NCOs in my area complain about their pay and benefits all the time, forgetting that they get a housing allowance (which private sector employers do not provide), bonus pay based on a number of factors, free household goods transportation and moving allowances (again, dream on about this in the average private sector job), decent guaranteed pay raises (which often do not happen in the private sector), and so on. They stopped complaining around me when I showed them that after a few years in the university system, at a fairly high grade, an E-4 who has just been promoted makes more than I do.

    The other thing to consider is that most studies of Generation Y (or Millennials or whatever you want to call them) seem to indicate that they have no problem with changing jobs if they feel they've been slighted or disrespected in any way. But, oddly enough, they tend to rise and perform when challenged to do better than they have before. Retooling to match them could prove a very expensive and difficult undertaking.

  4. #24
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default On it

    I am already writing my proposal--started 2 days ago

    best
    Tom

    Quote Originally Posted by zenpundit View Post
    SWJED wrote


    Tom wote:


    Well said. Now check this out:

    From H-Diplo Listserv



    That might be a good place for SWC regulars to make their points.

  5. #25
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    And as for private sector vs. military job comparisons, I think that people in the military lose sight of their benefits when compared to the "average" private sector worker at the same level.
    That's a good point, and something that does need to be brought home. One of the things I have urged some of my clients to do is to consider putting in a person-centric HR "accounting" system which gives employees an idea of the "value added" they already have got and will get from their continued employment in the organization - compared with national level data. In the private sector, at least in Canada, an average hiring costs about $25k, so the cost savings can be quite significant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    The other thing to consider is that most studies of Generation Y (or Millennials or whatever you want to call them) seem to indicate that they have no problem with changing jobs if they feel they've been slighted or disrespected in any way. But, oddly enough, they tend to rise and perform when challenged to do better than they have before. Retooling to match them could prove a very expensive and difficult undertaking.
    Honestly, I don't find the job shifting reaction surprising in any way. Then again, I've been studying it for a long time, and I lecture on it . The "challenge" reaction is also not surprising to me - it actually goes together with the job shifting and the lack of any loyalty to organizations. I could, and have , gone on for hours on this shift.

    Would it be expensive to retool for this? Probably less expensive than you would think, at least in terms of cost. The biggest cost would be political changes.

    Marc
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    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
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  6. #26
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    I am already writing my proposal--started 2 days ago

    best
    Tom
    Okay, so what's the topic and is it for a paper or a panel?

    Marc
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  7. #27
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Paper will be on Rwanda/DR Congo and non-state actors.

    No panel as yet; we could put a proposal on the table as the SWJ. I know the guys who are organizing this thing. One is actually doing a project on the DR Congo since 96 and yours truly will probably be a critical source.

    Any thoughts from the "board"?

    Tom

  8. #28
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Resourcing the types of educational investment to build the leaders we want is critical to realizing the goal. While Knowledge Networks, Communities of Practice, and Distance Learning offer opportunities in experience transferal and education on the cheap, the context upon which they draw is limited to the personal ability to internalize it an apply it, therefore it should not be a substitute for small group instruction, but a supplement.
    The structure of highly effective educational environments and creating effective learning environments has been solved. The very topics of study in effectively creating the transfer of expertise between individuals and through an organization was originally studying military strategy. Would the grand chess player make a good general? Were the techniques of one type of strategy able to be transferred as expertise to another strategy? Unfortunately the answer has always been maybe.

    The keys of knowledge skills and abilities as educational objectives hinge on the key process of context. Context is built through learning objects that the student or learner can internalize and then recall in environments where appropriate. A computer text session can provide some of that context through the stories and sharing between entities in an organization, but often the deeper sense of presence is lacking and context is diluted by the non-transactional or asynchronous communications model.

    For rapid transfer of context nothing can beat the smoking room. A bottle of whiskey, a thick cigar, and a few hours for old war horses to reminisce can provide context to a junior (learner) that is missing from most programmed instruction. The key is not necessarily mentorship, but the transfer of expertise in context. The lions of academia in the faculty break room accomplished this task, the aging law officers shared their experiences in the shift room, the O-club served the military in this way.

    Unfortunately formalizing concepts like this will rarely succeed. As social constructs organization seem to fall into the trap of creating “executive suites”, “senior officer dining halls”, and the informal transfer (the one most likely to succeed) fail. Similarly providing formal mentorship programs are highly dependent on the specific individuals and organizational context can be lost.

  9. #29
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    The other thing to consider is that most studies of Generation Y (or Millennials or whatever you want to call them) seem to indicate that they have no problem with changing jobs if they feel they've been slighted or disrespected in any way. But, oddly enough, they tend to rise and perform when challenged to do better than they have before. Retooling to match them could prove a very expensive and difficult undertaking.
    I was told that my students were arrogant, ignorant, hopeless, deadbeats.

    So, I raised the bar. They complained mightily. Attendance got better.

    So, I raised the bar again. They complained mightily. Attendance got near perfect.

    The problem wasn't the students it was the inflexibility of the instructional methods being foisted on them.

    I made the projects real. I integrated actual scientific/technology research into the curriculum. The students stepped up to the challenge.

    The Generation that gave us the summer of love, Disco and Cocaine, a war on drugs and the decade of greed (80's), radical religious right bounded by polarized political process (90's), and denigrates the "Y us" generation as being lazy fools has engaged in simple ageism. The 20 year olds of today are the smartest, calmest, tolerant, media savvy generation ever.

  10. #30
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Selil,

    On most of what you said, I agree. I will, however, beg to differ with you on your final point.

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    For rapid transfer of context nothing can beat the smoking room. A bottle of whiskey, a thick cigar, and a few hours for old war horses to reminisce can provide context to a junior (learner) that is missing from most programmed instruction....

    Unfortunately formalizing concepts like this will rarely succeed. As social constructs organization seem to fall into the trap of creating “executive suites”, “senior officer dining halls”, and the informal transfer (the one most likely to succeed) fail. Similarly providing formal mentorship programs are highly dependent on the specific individuals and organizational context can be lost.
    I certainly agree that this is the most effective way of transfering contextual knowledge. Where I would disagree with you is when you say "formalizing concepts like this will rarely succeed".

    A highly formalized model of how to organize this type of knowledge transfer exists and has for quite a while. The problem with knowledge of the model is that it comes out of a rather obscure part of Anthropology and the core theoretical texts are written in a manner that would make any manager throw up her hands in disgust.

    If you're interested, the model is the classic "Rites of Passage" model produced original by Van Gennep and modified by Victor Turner, Edward Bruner, Charlie Laughlin and some others. Operationally, the model tends to be poorly understood and misapplied outside of Symbolic Anthropology and, to a lessor extent, Performance Anthropology. The reason I disagree with you is that the model was built based on observations in the field of how many cultures actually formalized this type of knowledge transfer.

    There are, however, several rather serious operational problem with the model - at least in terms of applying it in large organizations. First, the model relies quite heavily on the use of certain types of ritual structures that have been banned by law in most jurisdictions (it's not drugs, it's a form of psychological manipulation). Second, in order to do it properly, it is both time and person intensive.

    Marc
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    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    "The keys of knowledge skills and abilities as educational objectives hinge on the key process of context. Context is built through learning objects that the student or learner can internalize and then recall in environments where appropriate. A computer text session can provide some of that context through the stories and sharing between entities in an organization, but often the deeper sense of presence is lacking and context is diluted by the non-transactional or asynchronous communications model"
    The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

    IT-based CoP's are a good sight better than not sharing knowledge except through direct instruction in a classroom or autonomous self-study.

  12. #32
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    If you're interested, the model is the classic "Rites of Passage" model produced original by Van Gennep and modified by Victor Turner, Edward Bruner, Charlie Laughlin and some others. Operationally, the model tends to be poorly understood and misapplied outside of Symbolic Anthropology and, to a lessor extent, Performance Anthropology. The reason I disagree with you is that the model was built based on observations in the field of how many cultures actually formalized this type of knowledge transfer.

    You learn something new every day.

    Thank you for adding to my reading list.

  13. #33
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    You learn something new every day.

    Thank you for adding to my reading list.
    No probs .

    Try The Ritual Process and The Forest of Symbols by Turner, Turner and Bruner's The Anthropology of Experience. For Charlie's work, check out http://www.biogeneticstructuralism.com/

    Marc
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  14. #34
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Paper will be on Rwanda/DR Congo and non-state actors.

    No panel as yet; we could put a proposal on the table as the SWJ. I know the guys who are organizing this thing. One is actually doing a project on the DR Congo since 96 and yours truly will probably be a critical source.

    Any thoughts from the "board"?

    Tom
    How about

    Cultural conflict in asymetric "battlefields"

    Abstract: This panel offers a series of papers dealing with conflict between a variety of state and non-state actors in a plethora of differing "battlefields". While the specifics of each paper deal with a particular instance, Rwanda, the DR Congo, ____, the papers are unified with a concern for examining the new strategies and tactics of the Information Age.

    Okay, pretty schtick, but it does cover a fair amount of the things we have been dealing with in various threads.

    Marc
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  15. #35
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    .....with a concern for examining the new strategies and tactics of the Information Age.
    "information age", or "hyper-media age"....

    ubiquity often seems to be the issue rather than information

  16. #36
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    "information age", or "hyper-media age"....

    ubiquity often seems to be the issue rather than information
    I could go with either one, although I have a partiality for "information age" - it is just so illiterative vs. the industrial age .

    In a lot of ways, I have adopted the Canadian Communications Theory tradition (Innis, Grant, McLuhan, etc.) way of analyzing material: oral cultures, written cultures and chip cultures. I find it to be a useful heristic, albeit somewhat limited,

    One of the characteristics of the "information age" is super-saturation of information - to the point where information no longer informs the individual. This certainly seems appropriate when we consider current events...

    Marc
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  17. #37
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    I guess overall what I'm concerned with is that the list of skill sets needed by almost every level of leader/soldier to face new enemies on new battlefields points to a significant increase education to help them become the experts we need them to be. These will compete with the many other things we need them to do which cover the gamut of individual, leader and collective tasks. However, the quality of recruit (officer or enlisted) is roughly the same as 6 years ago, he is drawn from basically the same segment of society for whatever reasons he traditionally has been. While POIs/Curricula have been changed to account for changes in the operating environment, and while threats have been prioritized at different levels – from training for a deployment 1 year out to the likelihood of threats outlined in the US National Security Strategy – there is still the issue of time to train/time to prepare in an OPTEMPO that creates rigorous demands on Force Providers.

    Much has been said and written about the attributes we need in this era of enemies who seem to come and go as they please in alien cultures, hostile populations who have agendas and desires we can often not comprehend, and operating in environments where subtle hints can save your life and the lives of your men (or women). These skills are not cheap. You either pay to develop them during the deployment, you develop them beforehand, or better yet you have a culture where these skills are inculcated from inception and grown throughout. Somewhere in there you have to apply resources. It is easier if you start with the best talent. It is also easier if you have talent spread throughout the organization allowing for a kind of osmosis effect. Barring that, you have to dedicate the resources to build your own. The buzz phrase is “everyone a Pentathlete”. How many pentathletes do most of us know or have even met? I have personally known some guys that awed me in almost every regard that could either be classified pentathlete, or mutant. I can count them on two hands – they were all either senior E-8s (one was a fantastic E-7) on the enlisted side, or remarkable O5s and above on the officer side. Why is that? What does it take to build an Army of pentathletes? Figure out first what it takes to build one.

    I want us to succeed in efforts to realize our vision of the type of leaders & soldiers we need, but I believe the expectations do not match the resources being applied to get us there. My own experience with education is that it does not really become tacit knowledge until I can apply it to future challenges and until I’ve had a chance to pullback and review it while not engaged in some other absorbing tasks with the added responsibilities brought on by leadership. That may be just me, but I think that the reason we’ve had such success with the military’s OES and NCOES is that at different times officers and NCOs would attend their schools, be with peers where they could share experiences that helped them negotiate a POI that prepared them for the next set of responsibilities they would take on with higher rank. Since we are general purpose force that covers the possibilities of HIC to COIN to disaster relief, the POI itself is diffused by virtue of the self imposed requirements to expose leaders to the challenges they will face. Yes we concentrate on providing the context which focuses on building leadership, but you can’t part completely with the specific technical requirements either – how long does it take to learn a language, gain an understanding of local economics, an understanding of agriculture, of local government, of the equipping and training of a foreign security force which mirrors their specific enemy, of dealing with inter-agency types that may not share your goals or drive to name a few? Pentahlete may be an inadequate descritpion.

  18. #38
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Shoot me for saying this

    Rob,

    First of all it is great to see you posting, keep it up.

    Second I agree with your thoughts and it is very much a reality: resources must match demands or the demands will not be fulfilled.

    At the risk of being shot or branded a heretic, I believe that we have to make a fundamental shift in our approach to manning and training and that shift is not one that the military can do within itself.

    It's called a draft. If we are fighting new enemies and we need a new approach, we must approach it in a long war model. We are not dong that. We are approaching it in a constant crisis management model; we hire contractors to provide inherently needed services in any war. We are cycling units faster than we can reset those units. And we are doing this in an atmosphere of magnetic ribbon patriotism that portrays trips to the mall as fighting terrorism.

    We need a national service draft that does not necessarily draw forces strictly for military use. We need border security. We need our own reconstruction services for disasters. We need a system to draw young people into a sense of middle ground that leaves them with a viewpoint that goes beyond their own needs (seen now as rights versus right to pursue those needs).

    For the military we need Soldiers that we can train, equip, and field without constraint for 2 years, meaning the draft needs to be for 3 years. It must be a draft that does not offer deferment or escape to those who qualify physically and mentally. I also believe that we should restructure officer accession so that all officers--whether ROTC, Academy, or OCS--should have that 3 years as an initial qualification, whether by draft or by volunteering.

    The resources you cite should come from shifting from the model of drawing recruits through benefits to training and sustaining the NCO corps and the Officer corps under the philosophy of you retain Leaders through recognition, benefits, and opportunities to serve.

    And even as I bother sayong all of this, I go back to my original point: this is not a shift the military can make on its own.

    Best
    Tom

  19. #39
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    When dealing with officer accessions, I also think some attention needs to be paid to how ROTC targets its people. Dealing with a student environment, and given some of the very diverse students (including MANY non-traditional students who bring valuable experience to the force), ROTC has the chance to get at a target audience other avenues may miss. But they hurt themselves by remaining heavily focused on engineers and technical majors to the exclusion of much else. It may also help the services to loosen up some of the programs that allow promising enlisted personnel to get out and go through ROTC with a wider variety of academic majors (currently ALL of our prior enlisted types at my detachment are engineering majors).

    I tend to side with the views expressed by Douglas MacGregor regarding force structure and Donald Vandergriff about the personnel system and structure within the forces. A draft of the sort Tom mentions can help, but there must also be some fundamental changes in the way the military deals with the careers of its people. Up or out is a failure, and has been for years. The same goes for many of the individual replacement systems that have been tried. It's been my feeling for some time that we need to make changes at this most basic level before we should start spending tons of time and money on the tech stuff that tends to grab headlines and look good at trade shows.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Tom Odom, you response about a national service draft is an excellent idea, for the reasons mentioned that the US needs all types of skills for the War Without End. Not just military. I was getting worried about you for awhile, you go off and shoot at Bambi with a bow and arrow, then you have dreams about chatty Kathy dolls and then you found your pet rock???? Remember 3.2 beer machines they had in the barracks for awhile.

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