Military Service

From Wiki-PETE-ia

Military Service

Personal History

Pete Buttigieg has described "family tradition" as his earliest connection to military service. On his mother's side of the family there was a distant relative who supposedly served in the Revolutionary War.[1] His grandfather, John Montgomery, was a career U.S. Army physician. His mother, Anne Montgomery, was a true “army brat” who eventually came to attend high school in El Paso, Texas, when her father served as a surgeon at Fort Bliss. Retiring from the service, Pete’s grandfather and grandmother, Zoe Ann Neal Montgomery, remained in El Paso for the rest of their lives. For Zoe, that would be 40 years, during which she worked as a teacher and volunteered with the El Paso Police Department.[2] Buttigieg recalls shopping trips with his grandmother to the Fort Bliss PX, and the gate guards who would give her car a crisp salute. “As a kid, I had this sense of being connected to the military.[3]

An oil painting also hung on the wall of his grandmother’s home in El Paso, depicting his great uncle Russell Montgomery, an Army Air Corps Captain who died in a plane crash in 1941. After her mother’s death, Anne Montgomery hung it on the wall of their South Bend home. The family also owned a small logbook of Russell’s flight hours and anecdotes of his aviation adventures in the Army, which transfixed a young Buttigieg. However, Buttigieg's worsening eyesight ended his youthful aspirations of becoming a pilot or an astronaut, and his interest turned to public service and politics. But "I'd always had this vague idea that I would serve," Buttigieg says, even at Harvard, where he felt pulled to follow in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy and others who had Ivy League educations but also were expected to serve their country in the military.[4]

After graduation from Harvard in June 2004, Buttigieg campaigned for John F. Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid. After the defeat, Buttigieg’s boss, Doug Wilson, invited him to Washington DC. “I think he was interested in coming back with me because he saw this as an opportunity to learn about foreign policy and international affairs,” said Wilson. Wilson, who would later serve as Assistant Secretary for Defense for Public Affairs in the Obama administration, was working for the former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Wilson is now an adviser to the Pete Buttigieg campaign. In Washington DC, Buttigieg worked an organizer for The Leaders Project, bringing young leaders from around the world together for constructive dialogue.[5]

While in Washington, Buttigieg met members of the Truman National Security Project, which supported the military but objected to the ways it was being used by the Bush administration. “There wasn’t a lot of space in the country then to say, ‘I believe in the military and I believe some wars are necessary and yet I believe the Iraq War was a huge blunder,’"said Rachel Kleinfeld, a Truman Project founder. "Pete was surrounded by a lot of progressives who had served.” One was Andrew Person, a onetime staffer for then-Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) who had entered northern Iraq with the 173rd Airborne in 2003 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005. He wasn’t surprised when Buttigieg eventually signed up for “Bush’s war.[6] Buttigieg’s interest in the Truman National Security Project would continue. He was named to its Board of Advisors in 2014.

Buttigieg left Washington DC, for Oxford University in the fall of 2005 when he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship. After graduation, he took a position as a consultant with the global firm McKinsey and Company, where he worked from 2007 to 2010. Buttigieg describes his work as centered on grocery store pricing, energy, and economic development. For McKinsey, he traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq as a civilian economic advisor, working on "war zone economic development to help grow private sector employment" in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his book Shortest Way Home, Buttigieg refers to a "safe house" in Baghdad. He also described Afghanistan as “troubled but also hauntingly beautiful.” His book doesn't say exactly when or how long Buttigieg was in either country and his work with McKinsey is covered by a non-disclosure agreement.[7]

Taking a short leave from his day job, Buttigieg volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008 in Iowa. “And things really started to shift for me when I visited Iowa. I was a campaign volunteer and knocking on doors in a low-income area of South Central Iowa. I was with a couple of old friends from Harvard. It was just really striking how many teenagers from these rural towns were headed straight to the military as soon as they were old enough. And it prompted some soul searching for us. I got to thinking about how many of my Harvard classmates had served and there weren't many. Of course, I was raised on some of the legends of the Kennedys and other figures from previous generations, when actually going to a place like Harvard meant it was almost assumed that you would serve. And by the time I was there, the reverse was true. And so it prompted me to ask myself, "If teenagers in rural communities are routinely stepping up and serving, why have I not been wearing my country's uniform?" And I saw the Reserve as an opportunity to continue to have my career in the private sector. I was in management consulting at the time, but [could] also be doing some kind of public service."[8]

"I might have dragged my feet on it forever if I hadn't had that experience in Iowa and just realizing that some communities were almost emptying out their youth in the military and some were barely serving at all. And I wanted to be on the right side of that gap." Asked whether he thought at the time that his military service could help aid a future political career, he replied: "There have been times in our history when being in the military was popular. There have been times when it's been unpopular." He added: "You never really know when you sign up what it's going to be like over the years."[9]

Enlistment and Service

In 2009, when he was 27 years old, Pete Buttigieg joined the Navy Reserve through the highly competitive Navy Reserve Direct Commission Program offered to applicants with academic degrees. Officer training is folded into the regular service commitment of the Reservist rather than a separate fulltime training period of several months, which makes it possible for those who are employed to continue their civilian jobs. The program has been very popular with those in public service, giving them experience and knowledge of the military, as well as friendships that reach across party aisles. “One thing that happens when you’re getting a beer after drill is that you’re with people that you think of as your friends and colleagues but who are on a different team, so to speak, in the political world,” said Buttigieg. “So you don’t think of them as a Republican [congressional] staffer, you think of them as a lieutenant.[10]

“The Navy Reserve intel community goes out and recruits,” said Mark Jacobson, a direct commission intelligence officer who from 2015 to 2016, who was a senior adviser to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. The “leadership potential” the Navy seeks relates to the individual, not to “their potential job path in their current organization,” said Capt. John Daughety, reserve community manager at Navy Personnel Command’s Bureau of Naval Personnel. In addition, recruits to the program must be willing to accept deployments if called up and serve a minimum of eight years.[11]

Commissioned as an Ensign, Buttigieg did have to go through basic training and he told ABC News he got the full experience.[12] His job assignment was Intelligence Officer, Military Occupation Code 1835. He earned his top-secret clearance by carefully documenting every foreign connection or relative, and every trip out of the country. High school and college friends were also interviewed by the FBI. As an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2009 to 2017, Pete served one weekend per month at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago, and two weeks active duty per year.

Afghanistan Deployment

By 2013, Buttigieg had reached the rank of Lieutenant, making his deployment more likely. "[I] made sure my chain of command knew that I would rather go sooner than later, and would rather go to Afghanistan than anywhere else.”[13] “Because I was a specialist in counterterrorism, Afghanistan represented the best place in the world to practice my craft,” Buttigieg wrote in Shortest Way Home. “It was also a country, troubled but hauntingly beautiful that I had gotten to know while a civilian adviser at McKinsey. If my turn was coming up to get mobilized, I wanted it to be there.” Buttigieg also told ABC News he sought out an Afghanistan deployment because he wanted to be "where the heart of the action was" in the "area of greatest challenge."[14]

As an Individual Augmentee (Unit of 1) Buttigieg received orders on August 28th; informed the public and city of South Bend on Sept 13, 2013; and reported to Navy Operational Support Center in Chicago for a month of training on Feb 28, 2014. Pete was sent to Camp McCrady, outside Fort Jackson, S.C., where he trained to become a “dirt sailor” - military slang for “Navy personnel assigned to Army-style jobs in combat zones.” Military officials told The Hill it is not out of the ordinary for a Navy lieutenant to deploy alone, particularly as a specialist.[15]

Before he left South Bend, Buttigieg appointed Mark Neal as Deputy Mayor per Indiana Code 5-6-2. Neal stepped down as City Controller and received a salary as Deputy Mayor. Pete did not accept his city salary during his deployment. Once a week, he joined a conference call with his staff back in South Bend.

In the South Bend Tribune, Mayor Buttigieg wrote, "This city and this job mean the world to me, and I’m doing my best to balance two commitments that I made, two oaths that I swore, one to our city and one to the constitution. And you know so far the community has been very supportive of my decision to be in the reserve and also to be in public office. The other thing I would say is that, to me, this is actually in a way consistent with my commitment to our community. I think people join the military and are willing to go to places like Afghanistan in order to protect places like South Bend, and that’s how I feel too. So every day over there I’ll be thinking about South Bend." For a number of reasons, including operational security, personal safety and military policy, the mayor said he could not discuss his mission in any detail, including what, if any, dangers it might bring. "Afghanistan’s a dangerous place. I’ve been there before," he said. "But I have a job to do over there just like I have a job to do here, and I’ll be back."[16]

In Afghanistan, Buttigieg was assigned to the Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell. By 2014, the cell's goal was to uncover the methods and networks by which the insurgency was acquiring funding and pass that information along to U.S. or Afghan forces in hopes of disrupting it -- sometimes through force. For Buttigieg, his work was partly a desk job at Bagram Air Base; however, he also worked as an armed driver for more than 100 trips his commander took once he was transferred to Kabul. "Look, it's not like I killed (Osama) Bin Laden, right?" Buttigieg said. "I don't want to overstate what my role was, but it certainly is something that was dangerous." He said he was often assigned the role as driver, which they jokingly referred to as "military Uber," because he was trained to fire a rifle to keep watch for ambushes. Yet explosive devices along the roads presented equally grave danger. "There had to be at least two people with rifles in the vehicle and I was one of those in my unit who was rifle qualified," Buttigieg said. "It often fell to me to make sure that the vehicle was either being driven or was being guarded properly."[17]

In Kabul, Buttigieg served as the task force liaison officer to the regional command. "We dealt with things like bank fraud, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, human trafficking and the opium-heroin trade," said Army Reserve Col. Guy Hollingsworth (ret.), the military commander of the task force when Buttigieg arrived. "And we would partner with folks as needed to try and root out some of that from a terrorist perspective. On the U.S. base in Kabul, Buttigieg said he worked out of a makeshift office in a shipping container that he generally shared with one or two other officers. In the mornings, after "chow," Buttigieg said he would process the latest intelligence and prepare updates for his superiors or participate in conference calls with people from other U.S. government agencies. While living and working on base, Buttigieg said that he eventually grew accustomed to the all-too-common nearby explosions. He'd first experienced rocket attacks in Bagram, as blaring alarms urged everyone on base to seek shelter.[18]

Andrew Stevens, who served in Kabul as an Air Force captain and became friends with Buttigieg, said he remembered a time when there were as many as three rocket attacks there in a week. Buttigieg said generally he could see or hear an explosion of some kind every few days. At first, Buttigieg said, "It would take my blood pressure a few hours to go back to normal, but by the end, you're kind of numb to it. You just take a knee until the alarm goes off." Buttigieg said that while those may have been the "most alarming moments ... the greatest risks would have been while I was driving." There were also trips where Buttigieg volunteered to bolster the security for other convoys from the base. "So a typical scenario, there might be that the boss needed to get across town to an Afghan police unit that we were interacting with," Buttigieg told ABC News. "Or, for more of an adventure, once in a while we'd have a vehicle movement all the way up to Bagram" about 40 miles away.[19]

Several journal entries written by Hollingsworth and shared with ABC News mention Buttigieg accompanying him on trips to various meetings around the country. Sometimes they would fly in a small airplane or perhaps a helicopter if it was a distant location, but for Kabul the trips were often done in low-profile but armored SUVs. He recounts in one, "We made our way across busy Kabul to meet with [strategic partners] this afternoon, which always requires a heightened approach to security in route and back." It was from all this driving that Buttigieg called himself the unit's own "Uber," even if it was an armored and armed one.[20]

Stevens said he was with Buttigieg on several convoys where improvised explosive devices or ambushes were a constant concern. "It's kind of weird because at the time you're just driving across the city," Stevens said, "but maybe the next day somebody is doing the same thing and gets blown up." "That's kind of a matter of luck," Buttigieg said. "Either somebody gets to you or they don't." By nightfall, Buttigieg said they always tried to be back on base because "you really didn't want to be driving at night."[21]

"It's funny, the way it worked out," Buttigieg said in a Newsweek interview. "I'd get up, maybe I'd do a little bit of work with some documents or [reports] traffic. Then I would be asked to drive the boss over to maybe an Afghan counternarcotics cell that we were working with. And I'd just be Uber, basically, driving or guarding that vehicle." He carried a locked and loaded M4 carbine on over 100 of such forays across the capital, which has been wracked by frequent terrorist assaults involving masked gunman, suicide bombers and Taliban agents dressed in Afghan military uniforms. "I was a little jumpy at first when I came back, but in the longer run, I think knowing the difference between an emergency and an emergency, I think has served me well, coming back into the political space." A typical day in Kabul, included "some video teleconferences, and maybe checking in with one of our allied countries or another agency that we were dealing with. There was a lot of interagency stuff because the Threat Finance Cell was commanded by a DEA agent, partly housed within Treasury," he says. "I was in the military element. And then we were working with everybody across the civilian spectrum in the intelligence community"—the CIA, NSA and Defense Intelligence Agency.[22]

While serving in Afghanistan, Buttigieg sent home July 4th video greetings to South Bend, and also conducted Skype interviews with local media on July 22, 2014.[23][24]

Return Home

Butigieg returned home on Sept 25, 2014, addressing the crowd at the South Bend airport. "A welcome like this reminds me that not everybody I was with out there got that. Some of them had to go home the other way. So above all we just have a huge debt of gratitude for everybody who came before us — all the veterans who are here and all the folks who are still there right now because the war's not over." Buttigieg said he was looking forward to resuming his work as mayor. "I can't tell you how good it feels to be back," he said. "It's the best job in the world, and not that I ever did, but I'll never take it for granted going forward."[25]

When he returned home, Buttigieg wrote a reflective essay in the South Bend Tribune on Oct 5, the day before he resumed work as mayor, which included a somber reminder. "Last Thursday, I returned gratefully to a terrific community welcome at South Bend International Airport. Not everyone I served with got to come home the way that I did. A hardworking sailor who volunteered with me to distribute humanitarian donations (including school supplies sent generously by the people of South Bend) is fighting to keep her leg, badly injured by gunfire. A well-liked soldier on our compound, who favored the same wooden bench that I did for relaxing and picking up a wireless signal to call home, was killed in action just days before he was supposed to go on leave to spend time with his family."[26]

In October of 2016, Buttigieg was transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve or Inactive Reserve duty. In November of 2017, Buttigieg was honorably discharged from the Navy Reserve. During his time in the Navy Reserve he received military awards including: the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" Device, NATO Medal, Rifle Marksmanship Medal, and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.

Military Colleagues on Pete Buttigieg

"From the first I sat down with him," said Edwin Exum, who commanded the Naval Reserve's Midwest region when Buttigieg enlisted, "you could tell that there was a genuineness that not everyone had." Exum eventually nudged later recruits to emulate him. "I would always say, 'Hey if you want a good example of a smart, genuine, thoughtful human being, not just a military professional, but somebody you really need to meet, Pete was that guy.'"[27]

"Pete just seems like the real deal," said Murray, his intelligence training officer. "Unless he's really good at hiding stuff, I think what you're seeing is what you get." In fact, Buttigieg was hiding his sexuality. Failure to do so back then, during the military's "Don't ask, Don't tell" era, could have resulted in a less than honorable discharge, likely damaging, if not entirely crippling, his political aspirations. "I didn't know Pete was gay until he came out. I didn't care," said Murray, who calls himself a Republican with a libertarian side. "It had no bearing on my relationship with him. He was a damn good analyst—still is—who came in, took care of his people, did his job, and went home to his day job. That's all I look for." Another Navy intelligence colleague, Thomas Gary, said he immediately reached out to Buttigieg when he heard the news he was gay. "I emailed him, 'Dude! Hey, I wished I'd known!' "We were all very supportive of each other as a unit," Gary tells Newsweek. "We cared about each other in our other lives." They attended each other's wedding and funerals. "He was there for me with the death of our daughter," from cancer.[28]

"He just told me he worked for the government," recalls Chuck Murray, his intelligence training officer. That was "not a big deal," Murray says, because the reserve unit was filled with FBI agents, cops and city and state employees from around the Great Lakes area. Only when Buttigieg had to fill out a form did Murray learn that he was a mayor. During intelligence training, though, Buttigieg stood out. "He was astute, he asked great questions, and he was able to put together the [intelligence] linkages really well, figure out what the information gaps were and what we needed to know," Murray said by phone. "If somebody asked a question, he was able to assemble what we did know and what else we needed to know quickly." He seemed to have preternatural skill at seeing patterns, Murray and others who served with him told Newsweek.[29]

"Somebody said there was a mayor among us. So I looked him up on the internet, and there he was," says Jason McRae, a "battle buddy" of Buttigieg's during combat readiness training before both shipped out to Afghanistan. But he doesn't remember talking much about that. "We just focused on family and so on."[30]

Thomas Gary, a senior petty officer at Great Lakes, took no issue with Buttigieg's use of the direct commission program and said his impression of the Democratic candidate was "smart, smart, smart." "He was thoughtful and very considerate, not just of our jobs but also of the junior sailors and learning not just his job but his role and his function in being able to help support, lead and guide junior sailors." "We had group of young, accomplished civilians — assistant U.S. attorneys and FBI agents,” said Gary. "Pete fit right in.”[31] [32]

Lt. Charles Murray, one of the leaders of the unit to which Buttigieg was assigned, said the young reservist stood out from the beginning as an "engaged and astute critical thinker." He said Buttigieg was mature and poised, but did not seem to be in the reserves for the wrong reasons. "I've seen folks there for a paycheck and nothing else. I've seen others do it just because it makes them look better personally or professional," Murray said in an interview. "He never struck me as either of those."[33]

Several others serving alongside Buttigieg, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had largely positive assessments of his service. They said he didn't stand out, necessarily, until they had conversations with him. After he announced he was gay in a South Bend newspaper column after returning from Afghanistan, people in his unit were surprised, but supportive. "Nobody had a problem with him," one reservist said. "We knew he was a Democrat and a mayor with ambitions. The only negative thing I can say is that we lost him. The unit would have been stronger if he had stayed."[34]

Thomas Gary, who now works in the Illinois Treasurer's Office and served alongside Buttigieg, said reservists have been quietly watching the presidential campaign with great interest. He and others said they were not surprised Buttigieg declared his candidacy, but did not see him as "a young man in a hurry." "We do have those individuals who are in uniform on the weekends, punching their tickets," Gary said in an interview. "But it was never my sense that he was one of those guys."[35]

Jason McRae still remembers the moment he met Buttigieg at the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center near Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He didn't know the man assigned to be his "battle buddy" was also an Indiana mayor. "One of my early memories was that he had an earbud in and he was learning a language, I think it was Dari," McRae said in an interview, recalling that day five years ago. "Certainly I don't remember other folks that were picking up a language at that point in time."[36]

A dozen people who served alongside Buttigieg in the Navy Reserves and in Afghanistan, who spoke to CNN, described him as mature and, yes, ambitious. But several said he was hardly alone on that front, particularly in a reserve unit filled with prosecutors, FBI agents and other hard-charging officers. McRae, who traveled to Afghanistan and back to the U.S., with Buttigieg in 2014, said his friend not only learned a new language, but took an interest in local cultures and studied Afghanistan proverbs. He described themselves as "middle managers," following instructions even as they discussed how the overall mission of the war seemed filled with uncertainty. "To go through a deployment in Afghanistan, there are probably less dangerous ways to check a box," McRae said when asked about his friend's ambition. "I had no idea at that point in time that he was going to run for president, right? Maybe he did, but I certainly didn't," McRae said. "I have never had any reason to believe he did it for anything other than a sense of duty and obligation to his country."[37]

His commander, Col. Guy Hollingsworth, chose Buttigieg because he was smart and could advocate for the team’s priorities in its last months. “I needed someone I could trust and be a good communicator,” Hollingsworth said. “He was articulate and had a critical mind.” Hollingsworth said the work meant consuming a stream of information in order to produce reports on the insurgent finance networks. Some of the information came from U.S. “sources” with insight into al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, he said. Sergio Rodriguera, who was fellow Navy reservist assigned to a senior position in the task force years prior to Buttigieg's arrival, said the information could include anything from cables from the Central Intelligence Agency, to intercepts from the National Security Agency to open press reporting. The challenge was sorting through it all to pull out the important parts. "And that's where Pete Buttigieg came in," Hollingsworth said.[38]

Both Hollingsworth and Paul Karweik, Buttigieg's commanding officer after Hollingsworth, said Buttigieg was an astute intelligence analyst. "He knew the mission inside and out and he could articulate it well," Karweik said. Buttigieg was "very confident in his presentation and the information he had. ... He was very organized, very disciplined." The information was passed up the chain of command, to U.S. or Afghan military or police forces for potential action, which could include attempts by combat forces to detain suspected financiers. Buttigieg also served as a key liaison and conduit of information to and from the task force to the many various subcommands in Kabul, Hollingsworth said. "Pete didn't shy away from his duties of using a long gun, a rifle, and providing security in a convoy," Karweik added.[39]

Hollingsworth said that he knew Buttigieg was a mayor because he had vetted him before Buttigieg joined the task force, but he and others said Buttigieg rarely brought it up. Buttigieg made little of the fact that he was a Midwestern mayor, not even telling the roommate who shared his trailer. His liberal politics were also a mystery to his commander, a Mormon and staunch conservative. “He did not come in on a horse and say, ‘This is who I am, ”Hollingsworth recalled. “Pete was very humble about it."[40]

“The last three months, I never left the embassy,” said Frank Calestino, a former Treasury Department official who helped found the Threat Finance Cell in 2008 and left Kabul in mid-2013. “The Taliban had retaken territory they hadn’t held in years. We could not drive to the airport. The fact that this guy was driving in a car, he was doing it in an environment far more dangerous than we were doing in 2008.” On one trip together to the western city of Herat, Buttigieg and his DEA chief, Joe Kipp, hustled under a concrete bunker as explosions and gunfire erupted outside a military base manned by Italian soldiers. “There were gunshots and booms,” Buttigieg recalled. As he crouched in the bunker to wait out the assault, a B-1 bomber buzzed the base in a show of force. When Italian soldiers bounded into the bunker, the scene turned more surreal. “The Italians are allowed to drink, right? So they’re having a party in there,” he said. Buttigieg chatted them up in Italian but stayed sober until the all-clear.[41]

In His Own Words - Pete Buttigieg on Military Service

Role of the Commander-In-Chief

"Part of what I have a chance to do is talk about the urgency of some of these issues of war and peace, not to mention how we take care of veterans, from the perspective of somebody who has experience. And try and open up people’s eyes to what is at stake and why this matters, why we have to do a better job of looking after service members. And why it’s so important never to treat the military as a prop or a political football. By the same token, the president ought to know that troops are not there to decorate his political ambitions. They’re there to defend the constitution with their lives. So when you see some of the things that go on — the treatment of the sailors on the USS John McCain, the use of troops as props on the border, even outside the military, the way the (memorial) wall at the CIA was allowed to be used as a backdrop. That’s something to honor people who gave their lives to this country, used as a backdrop for a political speech. These kinds of things weaken the military, and the country, and the presidency. Service members deserve better. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you should know your president only views your service as a sacred trust and as something to help defend the nation, not as something to be politicized and turned into a shiny backdrop.[42]

"(My first task) is to establish a higher and clearer bar for when we are going to use military force. The way this administration has casually thrown around the idea of getting the military involved in Venezuela, or militarizing the U.S. border, or escalating things with Iran, it doesn’t really reflect a clear-headed sense of what thresholds you do apply for the use of military force. . . . When you’ve deployed, you understand we have a military force for a reason. And we maintain the best fighting force in the world for a reason. We should be prepared to use it to defend the homeland, to prevent attacks on American soil and American interests and people. At the same time, you can’t be casual or careless about what is going on. The second big task is going to be restoring U.S. credibility around the world. We have not been this badly off in terms of respect from other nations – especially our allies – as long as I’ve been alive. It’s vitally important that the U.S. command more respect than we do today."[43]

"When you’ve deployed, you understand we have a military force for a reason,” Buttigieg said in a recent interview with Military Times. “We should be prepared to use it to defend the homeland, to prevent attacks on American soil and American interests and people. At the same time, you can’t be casual or careless about what is going on."[44]

"You’re not going to see the military politicized under my administration. You’re going to see a view towards national security that is really prepared for the accelerating pace of change. There’s a lot more to security than anything you can address by putting up a wall. In an era of cyber security threats, election security threats, climate security threats, what you’re going to see a vision of security and military service informed by somebody who is planning to be here in the middle of this century when we will be held to account for whether our current policies succeed or fail. And somebody who has been there, deployed, and knows what’s at stake in the decisions they make in the situation room at the White House."[45]

Military Superiority

"We need to maintain absolute military superiority. I think we can do it in a leaner fashion over time. If you ask anybody involved in supply or logistics … they’ll tell you stories about spectacular waste. Anyone who has been in uniform has seen money wasted. Largely, it’s because (the military) is such a large enterprise. So we know we can do something about that. To me, the biggest question is not how much we are spending, it’s where we are spending it. The Chinese are investing huge resources in things like artificial intelligence. If they develop artificial intelligence and predictive computing superiority over the United States, then the most expensive ships and planes and units we’re putting out in the field just become bigger targets. We have to make sure we’re investing in things that are actually going to matter for 21st century security, and not have a 20th century framework for where these dollars are going to go."[46]

Maintaining Forces Overseas

"I think we always evaluate it in the context of conditions. We don’t want to be everywhere forever. But we need the kind of forward deployment and operating force projection capability that comes from a presence around the world hosted by friendly countries that we have a good relationship. What is frustrating about the tone the current president has struck is it makes it sound like we’re sort of victims, that there is resentment going on. The reality is that you can either lead the world or resent the rest of the world. But you can’t do both. It makes you look smaller if you are complaining all the time. Of course we want our European allies to step up and produce more resources in the European security framework. That is an important priority. But we aren’t going to get there by going around complaining about how much we resent the fact that we’re in charge."[47]

Continuing War in Afghanistan

“Those who served in the Afghanistan conflict understand just how hard it is to end a conflict. I thought I was one of the last guys turning off the lights when I left (in 2014). That was five years ago. We’re still arguing how to get out.” PB: To me, we can’t be the guarantors of full peace and prosperity for democracy over there. What we should do is do our part to support a democratically elected government that will be friendly to the U.S. That doesn’t mean an open-ended commitment of troops on the ground. Sure, we can have intelligence capabilities. Sure, we can have special forces capabilities to prevent another attack on the homeland. But beyond that, I think it’s time to go. And what is very important now is that we step up conversations that are taking place with the Taliban to make sure the exit is as orderly as it can be ... We have to wrap this (war) up. So my expectation is we will not have ground troops much longer than when I arrive in office."[48]

Value of Military Service

"I don't think you ever come back the same," Buttigieg said. "I think it made me feel more connected to more different kinds of people, because of the range of people and styles and political values that I've been exposed to. It's one thing to meet somebody who's very different from you," he added. "It's another to learn to really trust and like somebody, and still have them be so different from you."[49]

"And for me a lot of it had to do with teamwork, understanding how you build a diverse group of people to do a mission, how to make sure people are flexible, that people are communicating well. And obviously you learn a lot about how to adapt. There's the kind of plan that's on paper and then there's how things actually get done. And I think anyone, especially in the deployed environment, figures out very quickly how to take what's in the book and then adapt that to the reality on the ground. Well, I think that experience has certainly been helpful to me. You know understanding how to operate in a deployed environment has helped me be more nimble and flexible in a civilian environment. I'd say one experience I've often had with veterans is you have a sense of perspective and a sense of calm. Some of the situations that come along that can be very stressful, you have a bigger frame of reference that helps you put them in context and not get thrown off by them too much."[50]

"I think the most important thing for veterans is they need to see an alternative. I think part of the idea of having someone like me running is that it would be nice if that someone actually stepped up when the time to serve came. It ought to count for something. I don’t think you should just hand it to a veteran over a non-veteran. But all things being equal, I think it is important that (candidates) show they are committed to this country.[51]"

Value of National Service

"It's something that really affected me deeply, and it's a part of a lot of stuff that I talk about on the campaign," he said. "Not just foreign policy and security, but also when I'm talking about things like the value of national service, what I'm thinking about is the people I was there with who were totally different from me." Buttigieg has put forward plans for such a national service so any American can "get that experience without having to go to war," and especially without needing to be a war hero.”[52]

"There are different ways you can do that over the course of your life. I’ve put out a call for national service that largely focuses on civilian service opportunities like Americorps, Peace Corps and local service opportunities in addition to the military. Bottom line is, a good way to demonstrate what you’re made of is to see whether you are willing to put yourself on the line. It shouldn’t be a requirement, but it is one way to get a sense of where your candidates are coming from and what they cared about before the lights were on and they were running for the presidency."[53]

Veteran's Administration (VA)

"I hear two things (from veterans). One is that they are frustrated with the state of affairs. The other is that they do not want it to be privatized or replaced. We have VA for a reason, and one of those reasons is that different wars have different wounds. We never would have been able to learn as a country how to deal with Agent Orange or traumatic brain injury or PTSD if it weren’t for some of the work done within the VA that is specially designed to respond to those things. But the wait times are too long. The distance you have to drive is sometimes too far. The struggle to get mental health on par with physical health is not complete. And far too many people are still left outside the system. So it’s clear we have to do a better job. That involves bringing new tools to bear, using technology in new ways. It’s not so much asking veterans to be masters of technology, especially if they’re from an older generation. But under the hood, using technology to simplify the processing and reduce these waits that everyone is subjected to. I think we can do that without turning it over to the private sector for people to make money off of, and assuming that will make it all better."[54]

Mission Act and New VA Choice Programs

"I do worry the president is moving (VA) in the direction of privatization. Look, some of this choice stuff is great. You don’t have to drive all the way to the VA hospital to get a simple over the counter medication or procedure. At the same time, it’s fundamentally different, some of the things that VA treats. The obligation, the promise between VA and its veterans is fundamentally different. It deserves its own department. It deserves its own system. We need to make sure that system doesn’t let people down."[55]

The Moral Weight of Military Service as a Christian

"What I told myself at the time was that there are cases where violence is necessary in order to prevent greater violence. And I believed in our mission in the sense both that it was protective of my country, and also in the sense that it was a pretty grim thing to see what the Taliban had done and what they would do given the chance. To the extent that I experienced any injury as a consequence of having been there, it was not from moments when I was afraid of being killed, as much as it was from moments when I may have participated in killing. Over time I began to realize that was the part I was having the hardest time coming to terms with. I understand why it can be necessary, but I don't think we have really, in terms of what we ask of people in the military, I don't think we've really reckoned with the moral weight of what we're asking them to do -- not just in terms of the physical risks they take but the moral harm that we're asking them to go through.[56]"

Joining the Service Under Don't Ask, Don't Tell

"It definitely made a lot of people think twice. At the end of the day, I wanted to serve, and that trumped everything else. I wanted to make myself useful. But it was frustrating knowing that I could lose my job. What was amazing was that after I did come out, after “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed, was that I heard from so many other people in the same boat. Good soldiers, good sailors who found it hard to do their job because they had that extra pressure of not being able to talk about their home life the way. What’s more of a military tradition than talking about your spouse and your kids, whether you’re proud of them or grumbling about them? The ability to do that, it’s actually a really important part of unit cohesion that only became available when we did away with “don’t ask, don’t tell.”[57]

Transgender Service Ban

"It’s a huge distraction for service members, even if they don’t lose their careers. And if they do, it’s a huge injustice. Especially because this is being served up at the hands of a president who faked a disability to avoid serving when it was his turn. We can do so much better in this country. I think any institution, especially in the military, ought to judge people based on the job you’re doing. If you’re doing a good job, you ought to get promoted. And if not, there are consequences for that. All the other stuff needs to be taken off the table. For some reason, this president seems to think there is a political advantage in picking on people who are already vulnerable because of who they are. If they’re ready to serve, and their evaluations show they are doing a good job, why would you hold something unrelated against them?"[58]

References

Template:Reflist

  1. ABC News:From Intel Analyst to a Military Uber: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  2. KFOX TV: What Ties Does Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg have to El Paso?
  3. Washington Post: How Pete Buttigieg Went from War Protester to "Packing My Bags for Afghanistan"
  4. Newsweek: Pete Buttigieg Explains How Serving in Afghanistan Helped His Rise to Improbable 2020 Presidential Contender
  5. CNN:Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  6. Washington Post:How Pete Buttigieg Went From War Protester to "Packing My Bags for Afghanistan"
  7. CNN: Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  8. Military.Com: Vets in Public Service: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  9. CNN: Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  10. Yahoo: For Politicians, the D.C. Elite and Even a Presidential Candidate, a Navy program Has Been an Attractive Fast-track Path to Military Service
  11. Yahoo: For Politicians, the D.C. Elite and Even a Presidential Candidate, a Navy program Has Been an Attractive Fast-track Path to Military Service
  12. Yahoo: From Intel Analyst to a Military ‘Uber’: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  13. The Hill: Documents Provide Glimpse into Buttigieg's Military Service
  14. ABC News: From Intel Analyst to a Military Uber: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  15. Documents Provide Glimpse into Buttigieg's Military Service
  16. South Bend Tribune: Navy Reserve to Deploy Buttigieg to Afghanistan
  17. CNN: Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  18. ABC News: From Intel Analyst to a Military Uber: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  19. ABC News: From Intel Analyst to a Military Uber: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  20. ABC News: From Intel Analyst to a Military Uber: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  21. ABC News: From Intel Analyst to a Military Uber: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  22. Newsweek: Pete Buttigieg Explains How Serving in Afghanistan Helped His Rise to Improbable 2020 Presidential Contender
  23. South Bend Tribune: Mayor Pete Buttigieg Skypes Trio of Interviews from Afghanistan
  24. South Bend Tribune: From South Bend to Afghanistan; Buttigieg Opens Up about Military Mission
  25. Navy Times: South Bend Mayor Back from Afghanistan Deployment
  26. South Bend Tribune: Buttigieg Reflects on Afghanistan and Return to South Bend
  27. Newsweek: Pete Buttigieg Explains How Serving in Afghanistan Helped His Rise to Improbable 2020 Presidential Contender
  28. Newsweek: Pete Buttigieg Explains How Serving in Afghanistan Helped His Rise to Improbable 2020 Presidential Contender
  29. Newsweek: Pete Buttigieg Explains How Serving in Afghanistan Helped His Rise to Improbable 2020 Presidential Contender
  30. Newsweek: Pete Buttigieg Explains How Serving in Afghanistan Helped His Rise to Improbable 2020 Presidential Contender
  31. ABC News: From Intel Analyst to a Military Uber: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  32. The Hill: Documents Provide Glimpse into Buttigieg's Military Service
  33. CNN: Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  34. CNN: Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  35. CNN: Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  36. CNN: Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  37. CNN: Buttigieg Wields his Military Credentials: "It's Not Like I Killed Bin Laden" But It Was Dangerous
  38. Washington Post: How Pete Buttigieg Went from War Protester to ‘Packing my Bags for Afghanistan’
  39. Washington Post: How Pete Buttigieg Went from War Protester to ‘Packing my Bags for Afghanistan’
  40. Washington Post: How Pete Buttigieg Went from War Protester to ‘Packing my Bags for Afghanistan’
  41. Washington Post: How Pete Buttigieg Went from War Protester to ‘Packing my Bags for Afghanistan’
  42. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  43. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  44. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  45. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  46. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  47. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  48. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  49. Newsweek: Pete Buttigieg Explains How Serving in Afghanistan Helped His Rise to Improbable 2020 Presidential Contender
  50. Military.Com: Vets in Public Service: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  51. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  52. ABC News: From Intel Analyst to a Military Uber: Inside Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Afghanistan Deployment
  53. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  54. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  55. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  56. CNN: Pete Buttigieg on Faith, his Marriage and Mike Pence
  57. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful
  58. Military Times: From Mayor Pete to Commander in Chief Pete? Military Times Interview with Afghan Vet Turned Presidential Hopeful