When I sat in Mahan Hall at the beginning of my final semester at the Naval Academy, one remark from a senior officer’s address struck me: “Remember, you are all training to be human weapons of mass destruction.”
I thought about how there will never be a replacement for the human element in warfighting, no matter how much weapons increase in destructive capacity or autonomy. The Academy’s four-year leadership curriculum makes this evident. Midshipmen learn about situations in which, over and over again, sailors and Marines must make split-second, life-or-death decisions, a role machines are not prepared to perform. For this reason, the U.S. military must support the personal needs of its human element to sustain its forces.
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2. Tom Philpott, “More Than 17,000 Uniformed Medical Jobs Eyed for Elimination,” Military.com, 10 January 2019.
3. Philpott, “Medical Jobs Eyed for Elimination.”
4. Philpott, “Medical Jobs Eyed for Elimination.”
5. Tom Philpott; John McCain, “Text—S.2943—114th Congress (2015–2016): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017,” 23 December 2016.
6. “Fleet and Family Support Program (FFSP).” Noah Nash, “New Navy Parental Leave Policy Gives New Parents Additional Flexibility,” Navy Times, 22 June 2018.
7. Perri Klass M.D., “For Pediatricians in the Military, Duty Always Calls,” The New York Times, 12 April 2010.
8. Center for Devices and Radiological Health, “Medical Devices—Pediatric Expertise for Advisory Panel—Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff.”