The book that is certainly on the mantle of every Sergeant-Major: “1,001 DAMNFOOL THINGS TO DO ON DEPLOYMENT“. There are a lot of frustrating and pointless things you have to do in the military, and perhaps at some level they make sense… but I feel pretty safe in saying that if you dig a little, what you’ll probably find is a Sergeant-Major that has come up with a solution for which there was no problem.
It is common to have to show your identification card when you go places in the Army. We had to show it when we went to chow or to go into the PX, or gain access to any of a variety of areas on post. This happens in wartime and back home. It’s not surprising, or unexpected, but it gets old having to dig out your ID card all the time. So some enterprising soul came up with an armband with a clear plastic window on it. You can wear you ID card on your arm and it is ready for display any time. These were very popular until someone decided that they were a security risk, since unauthorized personnel could read your ID card and gain access to, well, your name, which is also printed on your uniform. Seriously, an ID card is mostly “fine print” so a spy would have to walk up to you and stare at your arm for a minute, or hold up his phone’s camera, to get anything. Presumably you’d notice this.
And, out of nowhere, we were told that we had to carry our gas masks with us whenever we were in “full battle-rattle”, or when we had to wear all our combat gear– armored vest, helmet, ammo pouches, etc. Way back in the day the gas mask was an everyday part of your field gear, but after the 1990’s it disappeared. We were issued gas masks but they tended to stay in duffelbags or wall lockers (or locked in a secure room) and we weren’t sorry to see them go. But then one day they became part of our daily routine again, and we had to dig them out, dust them off, and fasten yet a few more pounds of stuff to schlep around on our backs when we had to “gear up”. If there had ever been an actual chemical or biological threat issued, no one told us– the order just came from nowhere.
I have no proof that Sergeant-Majors were behind these decisions, but past experience makes me suspicious: