Archive for the ‘military intelligence’ Category

Why Do I Torture Myself?

Really. Why do I torture myself? I keep reading only bad news about my future in the military. Troop withdraws in the Middle East means less need to commission 2nd LTs. Cuts in defense spending due to the debt ceiling means less money to train and accept officer candidates. Competition is getting stiff. One writer on the Armyocs forum suggested that commissioning is going to be more competitive than it has been in 10 years! What?! I’m not a superstar. I know I’m just average (no sad puppy dog face, I’m just being real). Continually there is a higher and higher PT score one must aim for, a higher and higher standard for who can and who can’t write letters of recommendation, and a higher and higher emphasis on previous leadership and job specific experience. The bar for being branched Military Intelligence has been raised so high, I doubt I’ll be able to reach it.  The Army is no longer “an employer of last resort” as was once lectured to me by a sociology professor. An average person has a breaking point.

So, what can I do? I want these features to inspire a facilitative anxiety, not a debilitative one. I must improve myself to make my goals a reality. But that means stepping up my training and studying. It might be full throttle for the next 6 months to a year. Can I do that? Do I want to do that? What if I get a 4.0 gpa, reach a 300 on my PT score, find three exemplary individuals to write me letters of recommendation and I end up being a non-select? Will I really want to continue to try for acceptance to OCS? Furthermore, what if I in fact reach those goals, get selected to attend OCS, and then end up recycling out?

I guess this is a realization that I have a long and hard road ahead of me. This is more than putting together and essay and some LORs. This is a long-term striving for goals I may not be humanly able to achieve. This is a long-term risk in terms of time, money and dedication. Why do I torture myself, setting my goals so high? Why can’t I be happy in a cubicle, in a small town, overweight and divorced? For many people, thats A-OK. Maybe this is the path to realize that me, as an average person, is destined for that future even though I may set my sights higher.

I think this boils down to fears. Fears of trying and failing (nay, told I’m a failure). Fears of realizing and having to accept I am average. Fears of working so hard and not being rewarded. Fears of being trapped in a life I don’t want. I have to face them…even if the stakes are high.

SF-86: Personal Problems

I know I will have to fill out an SF-86 for my Army career and looking into what the form entails, I think it’s best that I’m starting a year and a half early. Firstly, I have some personal problems: no references. I feel like such a loner and a sociopath typing this, but the truth is that I’m a very private and reserved person. I don’t like socializing and I don’t think having friends should be a requirement for joining the Army as an officer. But, really, they ask you for references for each place you’ve lived for the past 7-10 years, plus three personal references, plus contact information for each employer you’ve had during that time as well! I never talk to my neighbors, I never have kept contact with former employers, and I have no friends or acquaintences that can vouch for me.

Now, I consider myself to be a good person. I’ve worked with children and animals and I think I’m compassionate and reasonable. I’ve spent five years in the workforce and four years at college and I’ve gotten along fine with everyone.  I think I’m personable and, although I don’t have the friends to prove it, I think I make a good friend. In all honesty, I moved to the city I live in now right after high school and shortly thereafter met my boyfriend (now husband). I’ve spent all of my free time with my husband or alone and that is the way I like it. But this isolation has a cost: I don’t know what to do about filling out this form. I only have three or four family members who even know me well enough to comment on the person that I am today. Some people out there are super critical of this; if you don’t have friends then something must be wrong with you. Yes, I guess that by their standards something is wrong with me… I am reserved.

So, I fear also that if I ask a recruiter about this then I’ll get a response like, “Do the best you can.” Ya, well, I can do the best that I can and my application may be denied due to it being incomplete or insufficient. But what can I do? I cannot make up for ten years of being reserved with new friends that can only give a reference for the last year. References need to span all 7-10 years. Overall, I don’t think that having a lack of references will make me look like a terrorist or a true sociopath (those people just manipulate and are actually very personable when they know it will benefit themselves), but I fear that it will hurt my chances of being branched military intelligence.