What’s Up with That?

by Christian Rivera

Some time ago, I had submitted a suggestion to the U.S. Army regarding adding the U.S. Constitution–which Service Members pledge their lives to support and defend–to the training doctrine of initial entry training Soldiers.  Here was my suggestion: 

Currently, Service Members take an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” however, most recruits (and many Service Members on the Operational Side) are oblivious to the very Constitution that they are swearing to defend and protect.  The oath we take as Soldiers is a solemn one; however, many Soldiers today do not understand the gravity of that oath because they do not possess a proper knowledge of our Constitution.  If I may opine, I believe it “cheapens” the effect of the oath if the party taking said oath does not understand all aspects of the oath that they are undertaking. 

I propose revising the IET Soldier’s handbook to include the U.S. Constitution (and all 27 of its amendments).  Including the U.S. Constitution would not significantly increase the size of the Soldier’s Handbook; I keep a copy of the U.S. Constitution in my possession at all times, and the complete document is small enough to fit in a pocket.   Furthermore, I propose making general knowledge of the U.S. Constitution a testable subject for initial entry training (IET) Soldiers. 

If adopted, our Soldiers would enjoy the benefits of a proper working knowledge of the Constitution that they are swearing their lives to uphold and defend, and a deeper knowledge of the oath we all take.  Furthermore, it would promote esprit de corps and unit cohesion, as well as give Soldiers the advantage of a general knowledge of their Constitutionally protected rights.

Here is the Army’s response: 

Suggestion NGMD10002O is not eligible for review by the U.S. Army Suggestion Program

This email was generated from the U.S. Army Suggestion Program (ASP) website for your attention.
3-7. Eligibility requirement for ideas:

a. An idea will not be processed for evaluation when it-

1. Presents a problem but offers no solution.

2. Is vague or incomplete

3. Merely calls attention to a word omission or typographical
or printing error that is normally corrected during formal

If you have any questions, please contact the undersigned.

Really?  Did Ms. Corbin even read my suggestion before dismissing it? 

I think it’s appalling that many Soldiers couldn’t even tell you how many amendments our Constitution currently contains, or even tell you how amendments are ratified.  And yet, Soldiers fight–and die–in its defense.  I guess this incident just adds just a little more fuel to my theory: The U.S. Army isn’t interested in recruiting informed young people who can think independently, but rather fresh cattle to send to the slaughterhouse.


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