Physically Closing the Civil-Military Divide

Philip Carter and LTG David Barno (Ret.) talk physical solutions to the civil-military divide:

One way to reduce some of the unnecessary isolation would be to rezone military bases and allow outside access to — and interaction with — everything, save headquarters and training ranges. Most bases already separate their family housing areas from critical functions, so it may be possible to make changes that would shrink the psychological and physical divide between service members and civilians.

In thinking about its future geographic footprint, the military should try to locate bases closer to population centers. Range space and the ability to expand should be balanced against the value of close relations between the military and society.

The military should also give more time and resources to its transition programs. It is unrealistic to think that years of military culture can be reversed with a one- or two-week transition course, as occurs now for separating troops.

Interesting proposals. I hadn’t thought of the civil-military divide in physical terms before.

It’s also worth considering measures to substitute a more wholesome value set for what Tom Ricks recently labeled “moral junk food.”

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