So I learned a couple days ago there’s something called a Military Writers Guild!
I found this out when I was reading an article in Defense One – an online military magazine – about how the military needs to innovate more like Silicon Valley. It’s a favorite talking point for people whose deepest subconscious desire is to have a threesome with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Never mind the fact military and private business goals are critically different, or that Silicon Valley has a serious misogyny problem due to a hierarchy that favors white tech bros that they insist doesn’t exist (“It’s all about your coding skillz, bro!”), or that the vast majority of “disruptive” tech companies fail due to a combination of bad luck and unrealistic assessments of the market, OR that “going fast” and “breaking things” often results in chaos and dysfunction rather than game-changing capabilities, OR that too many tech bros determined to “disrupt the system” are really just stroking their own egos……
NO! Ignore that stuff. The military should be more like this. Cuz, you know, Steve Jobs in his garage and shit.
But hey, you know what I WOULD like to see someone innovate? How about an exit strategy for Afghanistan that’s better than just giving up and leaving after eighteen years of getting nowhere? Or, more broadly, an overhauling of American warfighting strategy so the utility of our forces isn’t severely limited by unclear political objectives, murky end states, and a refusal to accept and adjust to the reality of smaller ambiguous conflicts as the majority of our business for the foreseeable future?
Sigh. ANYWAY, so this guy wrote an article about innovation where he hyperlinked roughly every other word – you know, to prove he reads – and in his bio, he says he’s a member of the Military Writers Guild. Hey oh, what’s this? I decided to check it out.
Turns out the Military Writers Guild is a group of authors who wax poetic about military stuff in various fiction and nonfiction formats, formed in 2015. Their website hasn’t been updated since 2016, but they seem active on Twitter. Their mission is to encourage and support each other, etc., that sort of thing. Positive but intangible, you know. I thought, “Hey, I’m a military writer! Maybe I should be part of this guild??”
Well, turns out you can’t just submit an application and pay a small fee or whatever to join. You need to be personally invited into the guild by an existing member. As in, you need to catch the eye of one of these
writing bros literary titans with your brilliant wordsmithing and stroke their egos humbly accept their invitation into their hallowed ranks. That’s the only way to get in.
Weird no one’s approached me yet. I mean, I’m right here, I haven’t been hiding! I even just published a book specifically about military stuff!
And the guy who wrote the article about innovation had this as his first sentence: “I recently had the privilege of attending a Silicon Valley conference attended by leaders across the national security ‘innovation ecosystem.'” I mean, come on – he used a version of the word “attend” twice in the same sentence! The guild’s standards can’t be that high.
Okay, maybe I’m being unfair here. There’s a tiny, tiny chance they don’t know I exist, since this invitation-only system caters to people who run in the same circles – I haven’t been to a Silicon Valley conference in ages! Or perhaps I’m intimidating. I’ve been told I scare people, so there’s that. I’m also a mouthy broad who’s critical of the status quo, which could be incompatible with their brand. I mean, we should be disruptive…but not disruptive to traditional social power structures!
Nonetheless, I patiently await my invitation. I’m gonna assume I haven’t gotten it yet cuz they’re practicing in front of the mirror, making sure the delivery is just right…