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From the Front Lines to Corporate Ties

People within this community may not be active on social media, so I wanted to send out this update. Recently, I shared a photo from a border fundraising event featuring Vivek Ramaswamy. The post sparked engaging conversations that I wanted to highlight in this update.

To recap, the caption I put in the post was the following:

"Talked to Ramaswamy about the corruption in America's senior military ranks.

The American military is rotting from within. While General Mattis (General Dynamics), General Dunford (Lockheed Martin), and other prominent military personalities profit off war and the efforts of young enlisted service members, people like Ramaswamy bring attention to the problems. It was cool meeting him."

First comment:

Screenshot of a LinkedIn Comment
LinkedIn Comment

Stuart Scheller:

Jessica D. I couldn't disagree more. Your faith in senior military leaders is misguided. You are saying that I attacked senior military leaders by stating factually that two previous general officers are currently on board member positions within the industry profiting off war? We haven't won a war since WWII. Our military has no performance based system for promotion. Only a pleasing boss system. We sell young enlisted people this myth of apolitical military service, yet the military is completely driven by politicians without military experience in our hyper political world. I can say in every bone of my body, you are wrong. Wake up. If you don't, your trusted leaders will take you to the same place we've been at for 80 years.

Jessica D:

Stuart Scheller no one said ‘attack.’ Success shouldn’t be measured on winning wars, but preventing them.

Stuart Scheller:

The best way to prevent wars is demonstrating that you can win them.  We need to make some changes. It starts by identifying the problems.”

The take away: I honestly believe most people think highly of senior military leaders, and as such, don’t see a problem with general officers working in the military industrial complex. But clearly based on results, the American military is a failing model. Asking failed leadership, despite their best intentions, to reap the profits of war in advisory roles is not only unethical, it exacerbates the losing culture. 

Second Comment:

Screenshot of a Facebook Comment
Facebook Comment

The take away: Many people quote Smedley Butler’s book, but I don’t think a lot of people have read it. Everyone agrees that war is a racket, but not many people know how to solve the problem. I think this requires fresh perspectives.

Third Comment:

Screenshot of a Facebook Comment
Facebook Comment

The take away: Many people get so passionate about their organization's leadership, they seem incapable of objectively identifying causality of consistent failure.

Conclusion: I think Vivek's criticisms of the military industrial complex are long overdue. The current military leadership does not have incentives to change the system. The leaders of previous failed wars are only validated by their ability to succeed in the pleasing (instead of performance) military promotion system, while incentivized with money to remain complacent. The changes needed in the Defense Department are hinged upon the next administration picking a Secretary of Defense with a deep understanding of the current problems, and the strength to make the required changes.


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I can understand and appreciate how a flag officer's experience and knowledge might bring a lot to a boardroom; however, what galls me is the consistent refusal by those wearing stars to resign when their military advice is clearly ignored or rejected, such as our 'withdrawal' from Afghanistan. Loyalty at the higher levels seems to go in just one direction these days. Maybe we need to create medals for moral courage and then we'll hopefully see some. (LtCol, USMC, Ret.)

Replying to

Doug, appreciate the response, your service, and engagement. I know that a flag officer brings experience to the board room, but the military industrial complex isn't paying for general officer's experience.... their paying for their relationships and influence. It's like a lobbyist paying for influence with a politician.


Thank you for engaging in civil conversations fighting for your passion. I use to believe that all our leaders had integrity and would follow the oath they swore. Events have changed my mind in that regard. You standing up and asking questions was a small part of this. You epitomize what sacrifice, honor and integrity are.


Keep telling the truth Stu. My son served in the Marines in the 1990s and saw the start of the bredkdown. Today he says he would not encourage his son to serve in the woke military the Democrats have created. No wonder recruitment is down.