I’m actually reading in Standto that starting late in FY 08 , all Army bands will be changed to organize bands into separately deployable/employable Music Support Teams (MST). These organizations can be deployed alone or combined with other MSTs to provide different types of music support.
I may get some flak from the Band members out there, but something strikes me odd that we are deploying soldiers as band members and hiring contractors to provide security…. Shouldn’t that be reversed? Frankly I think we would have fewer issues with hiring bands to fill needs for “music support” using same contract vehicles we used for cooks, etc in combat theaters. We reduced the number of Army Cooks years ago recognizing we could contract those skills and the result is much better selection and faire in dining facilities in the combat theater.
Why are we training a number of soldiers to fill roles that are prevalent in the civilian workforce… and it may not be PC to say this, I’d rather have an IPOD for my music support than lose the count of one soldier to play an instrument. If there are 20 soldiers in each band element across 10 organizations we are spending 200 soldiers to produce music I can get in a simple electronic gadget. (Although as a disclaimer, I don’t have much martial or band music on mine)
We need to rethink all aspects of our army to improve efficiency for every soldier trained. Antiquated Victorian institutions such as Army Division Bands don’t fit well in an organization that is struggling to maintain adequate warfighters in boots on the ground.