The army has relied mostly on brawn for the greater part of its existence. Its culture has been shaped by a resilient gender segregation that the dependence on male power has perpetuated. However, today’s army is increasingly computer and technologically driven–gender may be mattering less and less. Drones are replacing the boys but the boy culture changes much slower than the technology. The values and psychology of today’s army boys is tethered to the attitudes which their parents have embedded in them. Those ties cannot be broken. They can be mediated by rules and incentives (negative and positive), but they cannot be completely eradicated in the average soldier who joins a tradition of male discipline and aggression honored and admired by the women in their lives and expected by their male heroes.
To be sure, today’s army would look like camp scouts compared to the savage herds that define the history and origins of war itself. But it is an uncomfortable place for young heroic women who grew up in an age that promises them equality in all areas of their lives. Ironically, the fight to change the deep male traditions that form our fighting forces may be more difficult than field combat itself where they can pull a trigger or a button and wipe out a dozen men they may not even get to visualize or even hear. Such is the challenge for today’s army–we have technological power and intellectual power beyond our enemies but the real enemy our army faces today is our inability to get along as fellow patriotic Americans or simply human beings. Of course, that is also the reason we go to war against other nations in the first place.
“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered top military chiefs on Friday to redouble their effort to address the problem of sexual assault, saying the frequency and perceived tolerance of the crime was …”