Militaries generally have physical fitness requirements and a maximum age cutoff for enlistees.
Unfortunately, in most countries, these standards completely exclude government officials from boots-on-the-ground participation in any military operations.
This is unfair to those officials: they performed the diplomatic and logistical preparation for war, yet are prevented from obtaining direct personal experience with its outcome.
The proposal is simple: a “high-ranking government official” waiver that would allow an individual to enlist in the military and serve in a combat area even if they would normally be disqualified (e.g. due to being “too old,” having flat feet, being unable to pass boot camp, etc.).
Since these not-meeting-standards individuals could be a liability as far as actual military effectiveness is concerned, there could be a few restrictions on these “high-ranking official” waivers:
- The waivers would only be issued to top government officials.
- Only a small number of waivers would be issued. A lottery could be instituted in order to select from the eligible candidates.
- The tour of duty could be limited, perhaps to a year or less.
This could have the following additional benefits as well:
- Increases the ability of these officials to identify wasteful spending in geographical regions that would normally have minimal oversight due to their remoteness.
- In countries with less stable governments, integration of civilian legislators with the armed forces might reduce the chance of a military coup. (Or possibly facilitate it, Julius Caesar style.)
PROS: Helps ensure synchronization between a country’s government and its associated military.
CONS: May be disruptive to lawmaking; unclear how international diplomacy would be impacted if a crucial high-ranking official could be suddenly whisked off to a foreign war.