Not long ago, we ran a piece criticizing the use of NCOs as glorified pissbucket carriers serving on the house staffs of falsely deified generals.The subtext of that article was that nothing being done by the vast majority of generals is so important that their delicate genius mustn’t be rattled by the necessity of simple chores.
Detractors detracted, reminding we mere plebes that generals are real important folk. We ought not question their perks because we want them on that wall. We need them on that wall. Who else will make the big decisions? 40-year-old Lieutenant Colonels with advanced degrees and combat time? Puh-lease. They may be smart and responsible, but infallibility is the exclusive domain of those in the club. Those who’ve shown sufficient fealty to the robocratic mafia installed in the human filing cabinet on the Potomac. Those who’ve been fully lobotomized.
When we think about the sheer weight of the decisions made by these Earth-roaming demigods, it’s totally rational that we would grant them a coterie of servants to help conserve their mental and physical resource for the really important stuff. Take, for example, the excruciating issue that recently settled on the shoulders of Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris, the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Because the best way to justify a superfluous Vice position is to give that position a superfluous Assistant to reinforce the faux perception of a high workload.
How in the world Harris successfully navigated this issue, only the universe knows and only the annals of future history can truly contextualize. But this email captures the glory:
When you add up all of the time and energy devoted to implementing this directive, it’s clearly a bargain. Obviously this is what the taxpayer wants military people to be doing instead of other things. And obviously, this is why we have 3-star generals. This is what it takes to win the nation’s wars: the ability to get alignment on letterhead use. Sure, this could have been done by an E-4, but the last thing you want is for wings and MAJCOMs to wrongly judge this a triviality when it is deadly serious business … and absolutely critical to airmen feeling pride in their service heritage. Because they get that pride from letterhead.
But most importantly, this totally justifies the fact that Lt. Gen. Harris has a Staff Sergeant assigned to cook and clean for her and to tend to her laundry and shopping. Because the time she would be wasting on those things can be plowed into eminently value-added tasks like this one.
The pressure was undoubtedly agonizing for Harris, but somehow she got through it. And the best thing about this is when 2018 rolls around, there is a built-in sundown provision for this 2017-specific letterhead that will necessitate another high-stakes GO-level decision, thereby rationalizing Harris and her stable of servants for at least another year.