Civilian Military Divide (Part 2)

with Phillip Carter, Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at CNAS

National National

1.1 percent of the population serves in the active-duty or reserve components of the U.S. military, or as Department of Defense civilians. Phillip Carter, Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for A New American Security joins Robert Traynham for a discussion, detailing the civilian-military divide and how stakeholders on all sides can help narrow it. Click here for part 1 of Civilian Military Divide.

Interview recorded Oct 11, 2017.  Hosted by Robert Traynham.

Read a partial transcript of this interview below:

Robert: Can I expand on something you just mentioned?

I was always told, and maybe this is just an ignorance on my part, that many veterans do not want to talk about their service, they … [00:03:30] Especially if it was, in fact, a painful experience for them. So, it’s best just for them to get back into society and for them to kind of move on with their lives. Is that not accurate?

Phil: I think diplomatic or friendly conversations is always okay. There’s a way into the conversation, too, to say, instead of, “What was it like to kill someone?” maybe say, “Hey, tell me about it. What did you do in the service? I’d like to hear more.”

A friendly conversation’s always welcome, and I think that these kinds of bridges can be built between all people, [00:04:00] and that veterans don’t just want to hear, “Thank you for your service,” but they want to be engaged and made to feel part of their community.

Robert: Phil, are there any other programs that you’re working on that we should know about?

Phil: We’re doing some research right now on the future of the all-volunteer force, looking at how it’s going to evolve to meet tomorrow’s threats. We’re also looking at the relationship between universities and the military, seeing that as one of the long-term cornerstones of the civil-military relationship, and then focusing some work on the future of the VA and how it needs to evolve to meet the needs of today’s veterans and also those of tomorrow.

Robert: From what I’ve [00:04:30] read, the soldier of tomorrow is going to look much differently than the soldier of yesterday in terms of being nimble, multi-tasking, actually having a STEM background … Science, technology, engineering and math, and even, sometimes, maybe even a gaming background when it comes to flying drones and so forth. Is your research showing the same exact thing or something different?

Phil: Our research suggests that tomorrow’s soldier needs to be a pentathlete, that tomorrow’s conflict may be cyber, it may be counterinsurgency like what we did in Iraq or Afghanistan, it may be high-end conflict with a near [00:05:00] peer like Russia or China. So, you need to be all of the above in order to succeed in tomorrow’s battlefield. That has implications for the military. It also has profound implications for society when those folks come home. We need to begin thinking about what we need to do today to prepare the VA and to prepare society to receive tomorrow’s veterans.

Robert: Phil, if anyone out there that’s watching this program has any questions, where can they go to seek more information?

Phil: Our website for the Center for a New American Security, CNAS.org, has all of our reports as well as our recent commentaries [00:05:30] and insights on these issues.

Robert: Phil Carter, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

Phil: Thank you.

Robert: And thank you for joining us as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I’m Robert Traynham.