Allow me to preface this article by stating I do not plan to join the military anytime soon, however, my recent exposure to the process of mission analysis has me fascinated, and has allowed me to consider the possibility of becoming a military officer.
In early May, when I could have been studying for finals, I decided to apply to a two-day program in Norfolk, Virginia at the National Defense University with hopes of being selected to participate in a Humanitarian Case Study. A few weeks later, I was caught off guard when I received my acceptance letter, for the Lieutenant composing the email shared that we would be volunteering alongside other graduating seniors and students in graduate programs from nearby institutions. I responded immediately to share that I was not a graduating senior, nor a graduate student, and how I may have been selected by mistake. Kindly, the staff made an exception for me, and I am honored that they did, because I would not have considered the career path of becoming a military officer had I not participated in this simulation.
I arrived via train from Williamsburg on a rainy Tuesday. I was generously invited to stay in the guest room of an ex-pilot (current-professor/mother/bad-ass) instead of having to pay for a hotel accommodation. Driving onto base with her was easy. I feel like I may have flooded her with questions ranging from where she grew up, to where she had been deployed, to what classes she currently teaches. Perhaps it’s too soon to say I have found another role model to idolize, but I think I will do so anyways.
After brief introductions, all role-players were given a folder to explain their role-play assignment on the humanitarian crisis that had unfolded in Central Africa. I was the NGO representative which meant I spoke on behalf of eight organizations that wanted to provide aid and relief to the troubled countries. Every hour we would receive an update on the status of Cameroon, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. However, our focus for the simulation was creating IDP camps for Cameroon, and to provide their government with the necessary resources, so that they may regain control of the situation as soon as possible. The game was riveting, as there were hourly situation updates ranging from a sudden volcanic eruption, to a disheartening Doctors Without Borders health update, to the discovery of an inoperable oil pipeline. Our team’s main focus was working with the role-players who represented the UN, the distraught countries, NGO’s, and the military officers to develop a mission analysis which could potentially solve this crisis. Being a part of the group effort to solve this international dilemma was so satisfying, and allowed me to consider a new potential post-graduate career path.
After a long day of strategy planning, I did some research as I found the simulation to be captivating, and a career in that line of work to be well-suited for my personality. I attempted to digest what pursing a career as a military officer would entail. It’s something about the combination of collaboration, working alongside integriful people who are passionate about finding the best solutions for the greater good that sounds so incredible. I went on base in Norfolk two days, and now I am an aspiring military officer. Stay tuned, and next week I might have a new update on what I wanna be when I grow up.