Military Social Service Systems in the United States

The relationship between the military and society has been symbiotic over the ages. The social compunctions imposed on the military act as a catalyst for growth and development of the structures and the services. As military institutions are a reflection of the larger society, these tend to seek assumptions from social discourse of the times. Thus the impact of the social system on the military is considerable. There is a need to understand the military as a system or a sub system and place into context the needs for delivery of services.

The culture of the military has a distinct characteristic which will affect the sub system. There is a need to thus define the culture as well to understand how the military will respond to the needs for social report. The issue is also of delivery for the best system will be ineffectual without a stable and derived model for delivery. In identifying better systems for delivery, there is scope for examining models from societies which bear some resemblance to the American military and for this North Atlantic Treat Organization (NATO) countries are considered ideal.

A holistic review of these factors will enable identifying the sources, critical needs and delivery as well as attempt to derive better models for the future. Systems Theory and the Military Militaries the world over, are a subsystem of the larger society in which they operate. By defining the military as subsystem one can contextualize the service delivery models of the military human services system. This can be done by first defining the military system as a system operating within a particular culture, defined by its mission, vision, and core values.

This paper aims to understand the US military, its culture and the social service delivery systems currently in place. To begin with an understanding of systems theory would be useful. This theory is basically concerned with problems of relationships, of structures, and of interdependence, rather than with the constant attributes of object. A system is generally known as a paradigm within which a group of items which are interdependent interact or react as a unified whole in a stable equilibrium at most times.

Another view indicates that a system is, “a system’s attributes, which are the interdependence and interlinking of various subsystems within a given system, and the tendency toward attaining a balance, or equilibrium forces one to think in terms of multiple causation in contrast to the common habit of thinking in single-cause terms. ” (Namsoo. Et Al, Nd (No Date). Another way of understanding “systems” is to see them as being composed of interrelated components such that if the system is disassembled in any way then the properties of both the system and its components are changed.

There are different levels of systems, ranging from the simple mechanical systems with predetermined, motions of levers and pulleys (e. g. , an automobile engine) to complex social organizations acting to accomplish objectives. The systems paradigm focuses on these processes that exist among system components, and between system components and the environment. (Strategic Leadership and Decision Making, Nd). In this sense, the militaries the world over are systems. The military is a large part of the whole representing all aspects of society.

But they are also subsystems of the society in which they are created and function. The military in the US enjoyed a remarkably steady climb in popularity throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Debilitated by the Vietnam War, the US military set about reinventing itself. As early as 1988 a US news report claimed: “In contrast to the dispirited, drug-ravaged, do-your-own-thing armed services of the 1970s and early 1980s, the US military has been transformed into a fighting force of gung-ho attitude, spit-shined discipline, and ten-hut morale.

” After the US military dealt Iraq a crushing defeat in the First Gulf War in 1991, the ignominy of Vietnam evaporated. Today new challenges abound and the impact of service life is being felt both by soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and by kin of those serving abroad. It is with this in mind that this study seeks to understand the military support system of the US armed forces. Many authorities warn that American military culture increasingly reflects a different set of values than those that prevail in American society.

The military is predominantly conservative, while American society is predominantly liberal. The military is also more politically active than in the past. The All Volunteer Force, the draw down, base closures, frequent deployments, etc. , have increased the military’s isolation from American society, perpetuating this trend and spawning an elitist mindset. A significant values gap between a large military and its society is unhealthy in a democracy. (Dunlap, 1992).