Check Out Ramstein’s Facepalm-Worthy Green Dot Video

When genuine attempts to address a legitimate issue are placed into the unworthy hands of a lumbering bureaucracy, unintentional comedy often ensues. More often than not, the targets of key messages are chafed or alienated rather than encouraged or persuaded.

This is because bureaucracies, by their very nature, are not interested in the critical details and nuances of human interaction — the sorts of things that seem small but are actually determinant. Bureaucracies are lazy-minded. They trade away notice of individual circumstances for sweeping, en masse “solutions” that promise the greatest movement in the “numbers.” Bureaucracies want uniformity on the largest possible scale, and will never surrender that uniformity in favor of localized approaches to issues … which are pejoratively labelled “county options.”

There’s no better example of this than the Air Force’s love affair with “Green Dot.” This program attempts to address a series of distinct problems by saturation bombing them with approved, saccharine messaging. The result is laughable and tragic all at once.

Sexual assault, sexual harassment, and violence. These are three very different problems requiring different solutions. Two are felonies that require a law enforcement approach with a solid resource base. The main method prevention is to demonstrate they will not be tolerated, and will carry heavy penalties. The third is not so much a criminal issue as one of workplace equality and professionalism. Zero tolerance is a start, but preventing it means hiring solid leaders capable of shepherding effective, context-considerate communication.

Green Dot jumbles these things together and shouts in their general direction. It pretends they can be solved with childish and gimmicky messaging more suited to a middle school health class than a professional military order. With the Air Force’s top leaders constantly banging on about how lethality is their sole policy steerpoint, such an infantile and lazy response to organizational issues does not sit comfortably.

Watch this ridiculous video from Ramstein and ask yourself if it inspires fear of a lethal fighting force.

Kinda like watching an animal get tortured. These two couldn’t look more unnatural or disinterested if they tried. Likely because, as anyone who’s ever flown for the USAF knows, there is an unspoken but bright-red-line rule … that you do not talk about bullshit like this at any time between alert and entry into crew rest. This is a time for total focus and zero distraction.

The fact this video was staged in this way is something like airpower sacrilege.

When Green Dot was rolled out (between selfies) by then-Secretary Debbie James, we were told it would be different than previous efforts to address sexual assault — all of which had devolved into bureaucratic tick-box exercises that wasted everyone’s time without having any impact on the problem.

Green Dot has fallen to the same fate. All that matters is whether Johnny has done his annual training — not whether that training is having any impact. As the video demonstrates, we’re now back to the resting bureaucratic position, which amounts to constant browbeating about ticking the box … so someone else can look good. No relationship whatsoever to preventing or addressing anything.

Whatever we’re paying for Green Dot, it’s a hefty toll for the net impact of infantilizing ourselves. Note that in the three years we’ve been running this game, not once has the Air Force presented data showing that forcing everyone to attend annual training is reducing the incidence of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or workplace violence. Of course, given that violence is part of our workplace, the entire idea is a bit perverse in the first place.

We should stop paying contractors to treat us like children, stop tolerating our own public affairs element acting as a repeater for this nonsense, and stop rewarding commanders who prioritize anything over lethality.

We’ll know we’re hiring good commanders and raising good NCOs when we no longer feel the need to hire outside parties to educate us on what should be embedded in our entire way of doing business. Meantime, anyone dragging this crap into the cockpit should be summarily de-winged.

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