On Tue, 03 Oct 2000, Ron H. wrote:
> In a message dated 10/3/00 12:58:13 PM Pacific Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org
> writes:<< I had referred to willing warriors, eager soldiers, those who
> fought for god and country. >>
> Somewhere I heard that only about four percent of men are truly warrior
> material. Can you shed any light on this? Anyone?
While four percent sounds like a rather arbitrary number (I would be
interested in knowing the source for this), fitness as a warrior does seem
to follow a Pareto distribution. A lot of research has been done regarding
the actual behavior of men in combat versus the idealized or expected
behavior, mostly in the mid-20th century. As has been noted by many
military researchers, the *majority* of men won't even fire their weapon
during combat, some not even in defense of their own lives. Additionally,
for a given infantry unit, a handful of individuals are usually
responsible for inflicting the vast majority of casualties on the enemy.
These and other comprehensive studies of *actual* combat behavior were
significant factors in the shift of US military doctrine in the 20th
century, which had previously been driven by a rather idealized vision of
the average soldier.
Now that I think about it, that four percent figure is probably pretty
close to the correct figure for the percentage of men who have both the
mental and physical competencies required for superior combat
performance. Obviously, people who have what it takes tend to concentrate
in the more "elite" units as they self-select for these traits; the
concentration of good warriors diffuses rapidly as one descends the
military unit heirarchy and into the support units. To a signficant
extent, the mental aspect (which is most of it) is environmental and can
be trained into people, although the military has to work from the
baseline of the population it draws from.
To expand the topic, in my experience, while a small but
significant percentage of women have the emotional hardness required (our
current environment doesn't seem to encourage this very much), only a very
tiny percentage have the innate combat awareness to make them truly
effective warriors. This is probably a gender specific mental adaptation,
and it really becomes apparent under observation. Women approach a hot
combat situation very differently than men, and arguably much less
efficiently due to apparently inferior situational awareness during
combat. The differences seem (to me anyway) to be based largely on how the
two genders obtain and maintain their situational awareness.
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