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CJCS responds to Rep. Gaetz

HAL Pilot

Well-Known Member
None
Contributor
Seriously, as far as lives go, they’re worth the same. As far as what is acceptable loss for the mission/objective, you have the add in the assets that would be lost with that life.

Obvious? Probably but it has to be mentioned and considered. This is why I’d say yes, an infantry officer is more expendable than a submarine officer since the submarine officer would probably be in a submarine that is not expendable.
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
Seriously, as far as lives go, they’re worth the same. As far as what is acceptable loss for the mission/objective, you have the add in the assets that would be lost with that life.

Obvious? Probably but it has to be mentioned and considered. This is why I’d say yes, an infantry officer is more expendable than a submarine officer since the submarine officer would probably be in a submarine that is not expendable.
I’d say that philosophically no one is expendable. No one is making command decisions based on who is “more expendable”. If anything our best and least expendable are the ones sent to the point of friction.
 

HAL Pilot

Well-Known Member
None
Contributor
I’d say that philosophically no one is expendable. No one is making command decisions based on who is “more expendable”. If anything our best and least expendable are the ones sent to the point of friction.
Yeah...I wouldn't say history backs up your statement. There have been many cases of people and assets sent on missions that had a high probability loss and failure but were considered worth the risk and probable losses. Also plenty of historical operations with planned loss percentages that were considered acceptable. Seems like this is expendable to me.

But I agree that philosophically and in actuality, no commander wants or likes losses. They just have to make the hard decisions, accept the inevitable and decide which assets are more expendable and which must be preserved.
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
Yeah...I wouldn't say history backs up your statement. There have been many cases of people and assets sent on missions that had a high probability loss and failure but were considered worth the risk and probable losses. Also plenty of historical operations with planned loss percentages that were considered acceptable. Seems like this is expendable to me.

But I agree that philosophically and in actuality, no commander wants or likes losses. They just have to make the hard decisions, accept the inevitable and decide which assets are more expendable and which must be preserved.
Well everyone and everything in the military is expendable to some degree. A person or asset that can’t be risked can’t really be used.
 

Random8145

Registered User
But I do stand by that if you have a degree you should become an officer and that enlisted are much more expendable then officers. Which is why what happened to Tillman prob wouldn’t have happened to him if he was an officer.
I don't see how enlisted are more expendable than officers. That depends on the job and the particular enlisted and officer. For example, who is harder to replace, a sergeant with twelve years in and a thorough knowledge of their job or a fresh 2nd Lt. with no experience? Remember also that even though many enlisted lack college, that doesn't mean that they lack schooling. One of the things that makes the modern U.S. military so professional is that while in the past enlisted had to learn their jobs just by doing them, now (correct me if I'm wrong) they also attend professional schooling for their jobs. Also enlisted and officers do different jobs. And finally, being a college graduate is not any guarantor of intelligence nowadays, for one because the standards for college degrees have been so watered down, and two, because there are forms of intelligence that academic work doesn't measure.
 

Random8145

Registered User
Another thing, but on this issue of being "expendable," in what way? Unless you are in the combat arms, than there probably isn't much risk of you being "expended" as an enlisted soldier any more than an officer. If you are in the Navy and on a ship, your chance of being expended as an officer is probably equal to that of the enlisted onboard as you're all on the same ship. And if you ARE in the combat arms, then while on paper as say an infantry officer you are less expendable, you are also expected to lead from the front. If you are in the non-combat arms but say a supply/logistics officer leading a group of trucks through a dangerous area and get attacked, again, you're probably going to be expected to lead (i.e. put yourself in harm's way). I mean that's part of the idea of officers, they lead the enlisted. So while "less expendable," they also can have the more dangerous job. It also makes them more of a target precisely because they are "less expendable." That's why in Vietnam and WWII, snipers would try to kill officers in particular.

I mean you could just as easily say, "DON'T become an officer, you'll be expected to be the leader in combat situations and the enemy in particular will be trying to kill you."
 

GroundPounder

Well-Known Member
Seriously, as far as lives go, they’re worth the same. As far as what is acceptable loss for the mission/objective, you have the add in the assets that would be lost with that life.

Obvious? Probably but it has to be mentioned and considered. This is why I’d say yes, an infantry officer is more expendable than a submarine officer since the submarine officer would probably be in a submarine that is not expendable.
My take would be that there are many more people that are ready to step in and be a BN Commander that a submarine captain. As a person, they are equally as important, but militarily the sub guy's loss would hurt more.
 

Pags

Positive Void Coefficient
pilot
My take would be that there are many more people that are ready to step in and be a BN Commander that a submarine captain. As a person, they are equally as important, but militarily the sub guy's loss would hurt more.
Losing a sub captain generally means you're also losing a sub and the rest of the crew. A BN CO could get killed and the BN could still remain combat effective. But everyone is still expendable...the highest loss rates in WWII were sub crews and bombers.
 

GroundPounder

Well-Known Member
[
Losing a sub captain generally means you're also losing a sub and the rest of the crew. A BN CO could get killed and the BN could still remain combat effective. But everyone is still expendable...the highest loss rates in WWII were sub crews and bombers.
Poor writing skills on my part. My unstated assumption was that it was just the Army Colonel stepping on a land mine, and the Navy Captain get electrocuted in his stateroom. Or whatever other unlikely thing could happen to you on a sub.
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
Poor writing skills on my part. My unstated assumption was that it was just the Army Colonel stepping on a land mine, and the Navy Captain get electrocuted in his stateroom. Or whatever other unlikely thing could happen to you on a sub.
It's a good comparison and they're close to equivalent scenarios. The surviving personnel in either case should still be able to function with 90%+ unit effectiveness and for the same reasons, that everybody in the unit is trained to understand something about their immediate boss' job, the importance of commander's intent, how the unit's mission fits into the big picture. All that stuff is common across all of the services.

(Similarly, if a CO of a squadron or a warship were suddenly lost.)
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
It's a good comparison and they're close to equivalent scenarios. The surviving personnel in either case should still be able to function with 90%+ unit effectiveness and for the same reasons, that everybody in the unit is trained to understand something about their immediate boss' job, the importance of commander's intent, how the unit's mission fits into the big picture. All that stuff is common across all of the services.

(Similarly, if a CO of a squadron or a warship were suddenly lost.)
One of the Hornet squadrons in my airwing did most of a workup underway with a bunch of O-4s running the show. CO tripped over a tiedown chain, faceplanted, and broke something. Then XO had a nightmare ECS failure and ended up ashore in the hyperbaric chamber fighting DCS, and I believe ended up permanently broken. :eek:
 
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