About a week ago, leading up to his first Congressional Address, President Donald Trump announced his plan to increase The United States’ defense spending by 10 percent or some 54 billion dollars. While that seems like a lot, there have been larger increases to the defense budget by past Presidents. By proposing the increase, President Trump appears to be subscribing to the long held belief that should you wish to have something worth keeping, a convincing and capable plan to defend it is needed. Fundamentally, this is not a bad thing. Societies throughout history have suffered for lack of competent military strategy. Countless writings exist on the subject. Well known classics like Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War, sit on the shelves of Military Generals and Fortune 500 CEOs alike as useful tools for both the battlefield and the boardroom.
The argument isn’t whether a strong defense program is necessary, but rather, how will it be laid out, organized and implemented? Other than the production of more nuclear bombs, sending home illegal immigrants and limiting access into the United States to foreigners from specific countries, President Trump has thus far been vague in providing the details for his homeland security and defense plans. I’m sure he’ll have those out shortly. In the mean time, it might make sense for each of us, as individuals, to consider our own defense plans? Perhaps even considering an increase in spending, either financial or hourly, to ensure that we are well defended against uncertainty as well as success. To be completely clear, I am not, by any means, suggesting the acquisition or fortification of a personal arsenal. I am simply stating that, using military strategy as a guide, we build within ourselves a more sturdy foundation from which to weather the storms inherent to life on planet earth.
Epitoma Rei Militaris –
Sometime around the late 4th century, just prior to the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Publis Flavius Vegetius, a little known Roman author, gathered up a series of ideas and suggestions provided by various war strategists of the highest regard. Vegetius presented the collection to the Emperor as the Epitoma Rei Militaris (Epitome of Military Science) with the hope of encouraging a reinvestment in the Roman military force – a force that had become complacent and mostly a patchwork of unruly contracted barbarian forces. Though the Epitoma fell on deaf ears and the Empire fell, Vegetius left us with a source from which to gleam valuable insight into our own defense, as well as that of our Country.
Civil Strife –
Though certainly protection against outside forces is a consideration, it behooves us to build a wall of defense intent on keeping others out if its construction creates a more hostile environment within. As stress and uncertainly begin to shake the very foundation from which our Country was built, it remains increasingly important to stay vigilant in regard to our own personal relationships and interactions. “We the People” are ultimately responsible in holding true to our values, tolerating those with differing ideals and working together to “form a more perfect union.”
Don’t Be Conquered –
Despite the recognition of needed infrastructural, economic and security repairs, it does little good to fix them if their care in turn defeats the spirit of democracy and undermines the fundamental principle of a human existence that works in harmony with each other and the natural world. Though we all have improvements to be made as we march along the path towards our potential, it is imperative that we avoid sacrificing our morals in the process. Domestic progress is meaningless if accompanied by the loss of our identity.
Be Humble –
Humility clarifies vision, providing a broader perspective and prudent decision-making. While surrounding yourself with like-minded opinions and agreeable perspectives might be easy and reassuring, it prevents just decision-making and impedes meaningful progress. Using the recent election as an example, the country was split nearly down the middle. In fact, the winning electoral side actually lost the popular vote. It was about as close as it gets. The President’s job is to represent the best interests of all the people, not just those (in this case the minority) that voted for him. It would exemplify sound leadership for President Trump to recruit opinions contrary to his own in order to diversify his database (Mr. Trump, I am available at your convenience). Each of us has a similar opportunity and responsibility. By making ourselves available to the opinions and conditions of others, we are humbled and therefor reasonable.
In and effort to keep this post a readable length, I have touched on only a few of the many examples of military derived strategy relevant to everyday life. I’d encourage you, along with our current President, to brush up on a few more. As it becomes more and more apparent that self-sufficient personal strategies will be necessary – not only as a country, but as a people – we can all do our part to ensure that the sanctity, security and selfless nature of the American people is preserved. Defense is an admirable cause, so long as there is something worthwhile to defend…
*For further reading on Epitome Rei Militaris and how you can incorporate some of Vegitius’ ideals into your life, check out this blog at The Art of Manliness.