Sunday, April 10, 2016

Overtime - the threat that undermines Germany's NATO commitment

The trigger happy German wanna be warriors who looked at American GIs with envy even though they couldn't recognize a US combat veteran when she stood right in front of them with patches on both upper sleeves are suffering under another threat.

We are not talking about PTSD, a problem the modern German military has experienced when ground troops saw combat, especially in Afghanistan. Yes, young Germans are learning the lesson that every time you kill somebody, a piece of your own soul dies, too.

The current threat is called overtime.

Apparently, the German military runs on a 41 hour workweek and overtime hours are offset by time off as ordered by the respective commander. Germany's ombudsman for the military is unhappy with the new rules and calls for changes, for example, a yearly overtime account, so soldiers can take larger blocks of time off and not be stuck in the middle of nowhere for a few hours of downtime, or extra pay.

In the long tradition of making the greatest possible impression on the public, the gentleman gave an interview to the Sunday tabloid version of BILD Zeitung.

He raises the specter of Germany being unable to fulfill its NATO commitments because of the overtime threat. The BILD article and others in the same vein say that a German unit can only participate in a four week NATO exercise in Norway for 12 days because the troops would otherwise accumulate too many overtime hours. "The NATO partners do not understand that", claims the article.

Well, in the world of the blogster, there is a simple solution to not understanding: explain.

"Ve do four one hours", or something like it will do the trick.

Or is "understand" meant to say "they find this stupid"?

The various incarnations of the bad news for German national security include other statements you can only sell to life long civilians, such as this one. When troops are out on a training area, their workday ends at 16:30. That's the end of the training day - because of a danger of overtime.

The technical term for that, my friends, is called bullshit.

When the training or the mission demands it, even German soldiers will be up and about as long as needed.

As much as it may pain those among you who work in, say, Amazon warehouse or any other job governed by intricate computerized time management, life in the military isn't like that. There's a lot of downtime in many branches and specialties.

But let's not dwell on this aspect. You might feel a lot less secure.

The take home point of the ombudsman's complaint is simple, and you, dear reader, can become an instant credible military spokesperson if you follow this secret guideline.

Describe anything you don't like as a threat to combat readiness and obligations towards our allies.

If you want to explore this as a career, how about some practice? Go stand in front of a mirror and describe how one flat tire threatens to defeat NATO.

One  more thing:
If winning the next war depends on you being able to do a few more overtime hours, maybe you misunderstand your job.

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