John Nagl, one of military’s most well-known members among civilians (he was on The Daily Show, for example), is leaving the service. Slate’s Fred Kaplan offers an interesting reason for the Army’s brain drain:
The prolonged and repeated tours in Iraq were among the reasons for the trend. This is not the case for Nagl. But he represents another problem that the all-volunteer military is facing—the growing influence of the modern soldier’s family. It’s not that more soldiers have families than was once the case; in fact, the numbers are about the same as they were 30 years ago. But it is the case that more men in the military are married to professional women. In the past, many, if not most, officers married women who had grown up in military families. (Gen. Petraeus married the daughter of West Point’s superintendent.) They knew what the gig was when they took it—the endless rotations, the life of never settling down in one place, of a career officer. Now, many officers’ wives (or, in the case of female officers, their husbands) have their own careers; they don’t want to spend years in Fort Riley, Kan., then a few years more in Fort Hood, Texas. And at some point in the trade-off between private and professional lives, the officer gives in to his or her spouse, takes a stable job, buys a house, and gets out of the service.
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