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Have you noticed that virtually everyone who has served in the military began as one thing, then became another?

There are pilots who used to drive ships.
There are oceanographers who used to drive submarines.
Sailors who used to be Marines.
Officers who used to be enlisted.
Everyone was someone else in an earlier life.

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There are doctors who fly in aircraft, and supply officers who stand watch on the bridge.

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It reminds me of my seven-year-old daughter talking to me about a mythical combination of her two favorite animals, which (of course) would be unicorns and mermaids. (Fairies don’t technically qualify as animals, in case you were wondering.) The resulting creature would boast the best of both animals – the head of a unicorn and the tail of a mermaid.

That is kind of what happens in the military.

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One can argue that this phenomenon is essentially cross training, and that is healthy. It makes the Navy stronger when its members have more than just one specialty. That must be the rationale behind the relatively new Information Dominance community, which is a morph of intelligence, cryptology, meteorology, oceanography, and information warfare.

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It is not a perfect solution. Sometimes, when the disparity is too large to overcome, the combination does not work.

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It also does not work when the transferee brings with him or her a bias from previous occupations.

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That problem is exaggerated when people are temporarily assigned to different communities. Having no reason to abandon old ways and customs, they cling to them as a child clutches a security blanket.

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The same applies to those working in a joint environment.

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Despite the obstacles, however, military personnel manage to transfer from one specialty to another and operate in joint environments very well, especially in today’s ever-changing world; all of which seemed like a fairy tale just a few years ago. So it is possible.

Heck, up until a few minutes ago, I didn’t believe Mermicorns existed either.

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