Members of the Stanford community gathered Wednesday afternoon at this year’s Military 101 event, which is geared toward closing the perceived gap between those who serve in the military and civilians. CISAC Fellow Colonel Clayton Sheffield presented information about the armed forced and military strategy; the event was hosted this year in conjunction with the Stanford Military Service Network.
Students Aly Gleason ‘13 and Akhil Iyer ’11, who is also a member of the Navy ROTC program, collaborated to put on the event, which is part of an ongoing series aimed at providing information about the military to the general public.
“We want to put action to the phrase ‘bridging the civil-military gap’ and give Stanford students a chance to learn a little bit more about an organization,” Iyer wrote in an e-mail to The Daily.
In spite of the recent controversy regarding ROTC’s possible return to Stanford among the LGBT community, Iyer said that “the work of the Stanford Military Service Network is less about addressing the ROTC situation,” and more about improving understanding of the armed forces among students and faculty.
The event, held at the Haas Center, consisted of a presentation defining the U.S. Military, its constituents, its primary objectives and its benefits.
According to Sheffield, much of the civilian-military gap can be attributed to the fact that only a small proportion of the population serves in the military. He hopes that events like Military 101 can help remedy this.
“One of the common misunderstandings is that we in the military are the ones who decide to go to war, or create barriers to entry,” Sheffield said. “We’re not the ones who do this; these decisions are made by politicians, not by those who serve.”
Sheffield described the military as America’s “oldest, largest, busiest [and] most successful company,” and said that it represents the country’s “sons and daughters.” The U.S. army consists of 5.2 million people, with 1.4 million on active duty, and operates from more than 6,000 locations.
Sheffield shared some of his personal experiences of serving in the military, from his training to his doubting the possibility of going to war in Iraq, in hopes of providing the audience with an additional perspective.
Military 101, which was held in Tresidder Union last year, was coordinated in the past through a partnership with the Truman Service Initiative.