National Security

Department of Military Correctness: What's in It for Me?

Recent news on the military same-sex marriage front doesn't bode well for either the military or society at large.

Oct. 7, 2013

Recent news on the military same-sex marriage front doesn’t bode well for either the military or society at large. As predicted, many gender-disoriented service members have sought to take advantage of the Department of Defense policy granting them special (i.e., not available to anyone other than the gender-disoriented) leave to travel to a state where same-sex marriages are recognized. The details for implementing the policy have followed a typically bureaucratic path fraught with confusion, which in turn has lead to complaints of unfairness.

While it is disturbing that these service members and their supporters are unable to recognize the disconnect between their false discrimination claims and the preferential treatment offered by the policy, elements of the debate mirror issues that highlight disconcerting trends affecting even “normal” society. The concepts of commitment and service don’t appear anywhere in the discussion. Increasingly, service members don’t marry one another (whether same- or opposite-sex) because they love one another or join the military because they love their country; they perform these formerly selfless acts primarily because of the financial benefits that they will be entitled to when they do. This what’s-in-it-for-me mindset has contributed to skyrocketing personnel-related costs that are consuming larger and larger chunks of a shrinking DoD budget, which in turn is dangerously constraining strategic planning.

While our military men and women certainly deserve adequate compensation, the emphasis on entitlements and compensation risks making the terms “volunteer” and “service” seem as quaint as the idea that marriage is defined as the permanent union of one man and one woman.