I’ll assuredly be pilloried for this reference during this new “enlightened” period of 21st century America that gives way to the unlawful destruction of monuments to imperfect historical figures. But as a Military History major, I’ll assert this: Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest defined the construct of warfighting in the most succinct terms ever. And if we fail to understand exactly what the selection process for warfighters is really designed to do, we will lose our status as the most effective and dominant military that the world has ever seen.
“War means fighting and fighting means killing.”
Calm down Twitter.
Dare we lose sight of this important definition, we imperil our nation and its freedoms.
So, whether we’re preparing service academy cadets for a career leading our sons and daughters in our nation’s wars, or preparing a Navy SEAL, or an Army Ranger, a Green Beret, or an Air Force PJ in the crucibles that are their Selection programs, let’s reconsider the misguided notion of “removing stress.” We can certainly debate the effectiveness or appropriateness of particular actions in training, but let’s not pretend that making things hard — and judiciously applying artificial stress — doesn’t better prepare our soldiers, sailors, and airmen for their mission.
Or, as General George S. Patton once famously stated, while quoting an old Chinese Proverb:
“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”
This adage applies to the warfighters we send to faraway lands to protect our freedoms, as well as to the members of The Thin Blue Line that are sworn to protect and serve the populace across our great nation.
Policymakers should take heed.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal March 9, 2019.
James A. “Jimmy” Gagliano has some three decades’ worth of practical leadership experience, both in traditional military units as a U.S. Army Infantry Officer and in federal law enforcement executive-level assignments with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He spent 25 years as an FBI criminal investigator, SWAT Team Leader, member of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), Undercover Agent, Task Force Commander, Legal Attaché (Diplomat), and as Chief-of-Staff for the Assistant-Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Division. He has led tactical and diplomatic operations in Afghanistan and México City, and served tours in parts of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as assignments in combat theaters in Afghanistan, while assigned to the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is a recipient of the FBI’s second highest award for valor, the Medal for Bravery. Now retired from the FBI, Jimmy serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor, instructing undergraduates in Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Military History, and Leadership courses at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens and is a leadership consultant with the Thayer Leader Development Group (TLDG) located at West Point, NY. He is also a full-time Law Enforcement Analyst and Contributor on CNN, and delivers speeches across the country in corporate and university settings.
© 2020 The Havok Journal