The Office of the Secretary of Defense hasn’t been as silent about the Army’s flaunting of DoD policy as we thought.
Contrary to the “this is a DoD policy” spin that Army spokespeople like to claim, the Department of Defense does not approve of the “Alternative Service (lol) Option.” This was apparent to anyone (other than Army homers) who read the original policy. Now, even those people will have a hard time spinning this:
David Chu, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, sent the memo to the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force on April 30 — three days after Campbell was drafted and Army’s program became national news. The subject of the two-paragraph memo is “Policy for Academy and ROTC Graduates Seeking to Participate in Professional Sports Before Completion of the Active Duty Service Obligations.”
The memo “retransmits” the Department of Defense policy issued in August and states it is “a policy that remains in force and may not be supplemented.” It goes on to say that “constructs for ‘active duty’ service should not include arrangements typically unavailable to others in uniform.”
Not to say I told you so, but….
So perhaps the sun is setting on West Point’s folly. Or maybe the Army will just ignore this memo too. I mean, it isn’t like they paid attention to the first one, which was already pretty damn straightforward in its intent. At this point, nothing surprises me. After all, this memo went out two weeks ago. There’s been plenty of talk from the Army about their wonderful policy since then.
It appears that earlier comments from DoD spokespeople about how it’s up to Army to interpret the DoD policy for themselves were really just a face-saving measure, trying to prevent any bad publicity for the Army while working behind the scenes to get them back in line. Now that the story of this second memo is out, the true shady nature of the Army policy is exposed– and it looks a lot different than the peaches and cream picture that they tried to put on it. Hopefully as this story spreads, the Army will be shamed into following the rules. Of course, the real shame is that we’ve even reached that point.
Meanwhile, there has apparently been a flap about the Army policy on Baltimore radio. The interesting thing about this bit isn’t that the author disagrees with the policy, but rather his take on some of the knee-jerk reactions from people who disagree with him:
“Mike”, a listener – now FORMER listener – took great exception with my opinion today. Mike has a military background and went to great lengths today to explain that both Bob and I are wrong on this matter. Never mind that it’s our respective OPINION(s) that the U.S. Army is wrong for allowing Caleb Campbell to play football rather than fulfill his duties in Iraq. Mike says we’re wrong for thinking that way and chastised me for having an opinion on something that I’ve never before experienced – “perhaps you should try crawling through the mud with a rifle (once) before you criticize the manner in which the U.S. Army operates”, he wrote to me in an e-mail.Well, if we used that theory as a barometer for sports talk radio, WNST wouldn’t exist, since none of us (I think) have ever thrown a pass in the NFL, stepped to the plate in major league baseball or hit a 3-point shot in Division I college basketball – yet we all see fit to comment, praise and criticize some of those situations every single day at 1570. Hell, no one in our listening audience has ever coached in the NFL and last January we had thousands of people claiming the ex-Ravens coach didn’t know what he was doing, right?
I know I touched on it earlier this week, but this guy is dead on. This idea that this is an issue only for military members to discuss is absurd.