Jargon watch: USMC personnel edition
One rule of thumb I have is that the more a military specialty is removed from combat, the more obscure its language becomes.
One rule of thumb I have is that the more a military specialty is removed from combat, the more obscure its language becomes. And so personnel officers contend with acquisition officers for the most impenetrable prose — “procurement bow wave,” “familiar sinusoidal defense budget pattern.”
I mention this because the May issue of Marine Corps Gazette carries an article that uses phrases I haven’t encountered in 26 years of dealing with the U.S. military. My favorite of this new formulations is “unfavorable rank gradient.” What it means is that there are too many older officers and not enough junior ones in Marine aviation. Indeed, write the authors, “our total actual inventory for aviation officers is 47 percent field grade.”
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
More from Foreign Policy
A New Multilateralism
How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy
Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.
The End of America’s Middle East
The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.