Robert Gates Urges Elite Students to Join The Military
Matt | On 03, Oct 2010
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has taken to the storied halls of one of America’s best universities with a new message. He told students at Duke University to consider throwing the deuces to corporate America and joining the military.
Wait .. Huh? [in my best Scooby Doo voice] I know some students there thought, “Aww hell no! WTF is Gates smoking?!”
Now, this post is NOT a cheap shot at our brave men and women in military uniform who have committed their time, resources, and lives to defend the country. I respect their sacrifice and hustle to get experience and, in some cases, money for college. And let’s be clear. Students at elite schools are NOT above military service themselves.
In my mind, though, this underscores the disconnect between the need for more military personnel and Americans willingness to sacrifice so much to help out. Gates’s plea seemed to be a calculated move because he also referenced that same divide. He mentioned that America can only go so long relying on the same people for service.
The military option might not be such a bad sell at Duke if the U.S. mission(s) abroad were more clear and timeline-focused. If a student enrolls in college, they plan to be finished in four or five years. If they join the military or the National Guard, there’s no telling WHEN THE HELL they may come out of there.
I’m all for people taking their chosen route to their dreams. But, Stevie can’t see himself doing four (sometimes five) grueling years of school with massive debt only to give another four years to the military in an uncertain national security environment. But, if someone else wants that red wagon .. let them pull it!
Good luck to Secretary Gates with a marketing job that’s just a few years too late…