The Morning Drill
Bree Fram welcomes the opportunity to share a field ration with anyone that questions the ability of transgender people to serve in the military
The Lieutenant Colonel works for the U. S. Space Force and holds office at the Pentagon in Washington DC. She believes that if you «embrace the suck» you will be better off during a military exercise.
In this column «The Morning Drill» we are getting to know different people with a military connection by asking them the same questions via e-mail.
Name: Bree Fram
Occupation: Lieutenant Colonel and Astronautical Engineer, United States Space Force. Current duty title: Chief, Space Acquisition Policy and Process Division.
Place: Pentagon, Washington DC.
When, and most importantly how, do you get up in the morning?
– I am not a morning person, so I get up as late as I possibly can, wishing I could have slept longer, with just enough time to make it to my first event of the day.
– The US Army used to have a recruiting slogan that said they did more before 0900 than most people do all day. That’s one of the reasons I’m not in the Army.
What is the first thing you do after waking up?
– I’m not sure if I start thinking about coffee before or after I’ve tried to reach over and shut my alarm off, it all happens so fast.
When does your work day begin?
– It can vary, but most days start around 08:00.
Do you prefer dress shoes or combat boots?
– Unless it’s very hot weather, boots. I probably would have answered differently before 2007 when we switched to boots that did not need to be polished.
Do you prefer pumping iron or running a marathon?
– I’d rather run a marathon, but somewhere in my mid-30’s my knees and feet told me that distance running is no longer for me. But going on long-distance hikes up and down mountains is what truly brings me joy.
What is your best advice to keep morale high and enjoy yourself on a military exercise?
– I’m not sure if the phrase is universal to all militaries, but a widespread phrase in the US military is to “embrace the suck.” It’s a realization that there are some things we have to do that are hard, but necessary. Instead of complaining about it or wishing you didn’t have to do it, lean into it and get what you need out of it.
– Then, when there are moments to relax, I’ve always taken pleasure in getting to know the people I’m working with. It’s a great opportunity to make friends and build your network.
What is your weirdest experience in regards to cultural differences when working or exercising with foreign armed forces?
– I think one of the biggest differences I noted when working with non-NATO or Western militaries is the level of responsibility that we give to people at differing ranks. When I was a Major I worked with several Iraqi Generals and it took me a while to understand that I generally had far more ability to make decisions at my level than they did. Where we tend to push responsibility as far down as possible, many other militaries keep it as high as possible.
– On the more pleasant side, when I was deployed early in my career I got to sit alongside some Australians and just marveled at the joy and levity they seemed to bring to everything. I’ll never forget their “Wasabi Challenge” at the dining facility to see who could handle the most of it at one time.
If you were to choose one person to share a field ration with, who would that be and why?
– I welcome the opportunity to sit down to a meal with anyone who, out of fear or ignorance, questions the ability of transgender people to serve in the military. It’s often that opportunity to connect over some shared aspect of humanity, which can be as simple as a favorite field ration (MREs here in the States), that shatters stereotypes or breaks through the fear.
Smart watches - yay or nay?
– Nay, until next month. I’ve avoided them because I’ve worked in secure facilities and it would be one more thing I have to remember to put in a locker.
– However, the Space Force is going to a fitness program that requires the use of a watch as an alternative to annual fitness testing. So now I’m looking forward to my first smart watch!
In your opinion, what is currently the biggest challenge for your workplace specifically, and for the Armed Forces generally?
– My workplace has the challenge of building an airplane while we fly it, or in our case, satellites. With the stand up of the Space Force four years ago we had to continue delivering space capabilities to the joint force while creating the institutions that would support and enhance the key roles space capabilities play in today’s world. That process still has a way to go and we need to focus on building the Space Force we need, not the Space Force we were given.
– More generally, we need to continue finding ways to accelerate the delivery of new and resilient space capabilities. We can’t take the security of our space assets for granted; our competitors have already demonstrated the ability to challenge the US in space and we need to be able to operate in and through a contested space environment.
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