Discussion Questions

Prepare for class discussions by answering the discussion questions.

1. Do you think it’s necessary for a social worker to have military experience to truly be able to appreciate the military culture? What if the social worker didn’t serve in the military, but grew up in a military family?

2. The military has at times been criticized for incentivizing marriage to the point that young people who normally would wait much longer to get married do so at much younger ages in order to gain some of the benefits (e.g., better housing options, not having to be separated). Marriage at a young age is positively correlated with divorce even among the civilian population, and the military life often adds unique stressors not normally found in young marriages. What do you think of this criticism?

3. The argument has been made that the increase in sexual assault in the military should have been expected as more women entered the military. Some pundits (including some women) have said that this is evidence we should decrease the roles of women in the military, and others have said that the presence of women can compromise a mission because men will “naturally” want to protect the women, perhaps at the cost of the mission. What do you make of this seeming contradiction? Should we expect assault or caretaking of women by men in the military? What other explanations could there be? Is this an example of victim-blaming?

4. Getting a dishonorable discharge from the military is sort of akin to being convicted of a felony. It shows up on a background check and can disqualify someone from particular jobs as well. It also prevents the individual from accessing VA benefits. Do you think there should be more options for men and women who have left the military under less-than-ideal circumstances to be able to clear their record and have a better chance to support themselves and their families?