Uncle Sam Needs You (Geek!)

By Space Rogue 3 comments

Thats right the US Air Force is looking for a few good geeks. And evidently they are willing to relax a few of the requirements of military service to get them. According to this quote in Wired Major General William Lord of the US air Force’s Cyber Command said “So if they can’t run three miles with a pack on their backs but they can shut down a SCADA system, we need to have a culture where they fit in.”

As a former Sergent in the US Army (7th ID (light)) I am pretty shocked at this statement. Military physical fitness standards are not that hard to achieve or maintain (especially in the Air Force). PT speaks to the very core of what it means to be a part of the military. When the Air Force needs pilots they don’t reduce or eliminate requirements they offer cash bonuses for reenlistment. So what happens when there is a shortage of cooks? or mechanics? Will we end up with a military that is to damn fat to get out of its own way? I don’t care what your job is, cyber warrior or not, if you’ve made the commitment to serve your country then you can make a commitment to pass a damn PT test.

3 Comments

shizniz

Feb 2, 2008, 1:54 pm

@SpaceRogue

Haha, I agree for the most part (currently enlisted). The PT standards shouldn’t be lacking, although his statement is strategically worded to where it isn’t really relenting anything other than the standard expected of an Airman.

First, in the USAF, we don’t run with a ruck on our backs, unless you happen to be in Security Forces, TAC-P, ParaRescue or Combat Control career fields. Granted, the Air Force is moving to more ground combat environment and operations, in some cases supplementing the US Army, however, there exists no exertion standards that I know of requiring anything more than basic, well-rounded fitness for the average Airman apart from what should be required of your average serviceman across the board. This is gradually changing, but it isn’t entirely implemented yet – the standard bar of fitness is being raised annually, which is a good thing, gleening the fat (literally) from the ranks.

Second, USAF standard of runtime is actually 1.5-miles, not 3.0-miles as suggested by the Major General – I’m betting this is a great method/route of public persuasion on the Public Affair’s behalf to use these figures to establish to the demographic that we need talented hackers, professional and career veterans in the Air Force regardless of the standard – I am betting there is even a waiver for age requirements as well or credit check (financial responsibility).

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, because ALMOST anyone who joins can be trained or assisted into falling within a basic set of physical performance/fitness standards if they’re willing to put forth at least the minimum effort – and why shouldn’t/wouldn’t they (apart from the obvious fact that as geeks we’ve cultivated a community standard of personal laziness, overeating and our own anti-social behavioral science)?

My personal opinion, I think the officer was making the point that it is okay if you don’t initially meet the standard. That is what basic training is for and there are more than enough recruits in ANY branch of the military services that don’t meet the initial standard. However, I would agree that if you can’t cut it after 6-months to 1-year of physical exercise and training (a vastly small portion of the morning, afternoon or evening depending on mission requirements) then there isn’t much to be said for those individuals bucking the standard.

In comparision, having served in the sandbox alongside soldiers, I wouldn’t say the US Army is the leanest of the bunch either and neither service is nearly as thick as the US Navy at this point. I would be less concerned with the new recruit and more concerned with the shape of the veteran.

Great brief!

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