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Strengthen—PR. The correct answer choice is (A)
This question type is rare, so it is important that we have a precise understanding of what is meant by the language in the question stem: "The committee member's argument conforms most closely to which one of the following principles?" Note that the answer choices are in the form of "should" statements. Our task is to find the answer choice that most accurately summarizes the thrust of the committee member's argument, what the committee member "is driving at." The correct answer will be a principle that follows the line of reasoning used without being to general or specific and without ignoring certain key "moving parts" within the stimulus. If we do not see this at the beginning, we could take a quick look at the answer choices and realize that each answer choice is a generalized statement that has the potential to apply here. The four wrong answers will somehow significantly deviate from what the committee member is "driving at." This is something like an abstract Main Point question. In order to test the answer choices against the stimulus, we must know exactly what the stimulus is saying.
If our reading is precise, we will notice that the actual conclusion involves a recommendation regarding voting. The committee will vote on the person to be the head of the military, and the committee member is arguing that anyone with a history of excessive drinking should not be voted into the position. Two statements are used to support this conclusion: that persons who drink excessively would not be able to command certain subunits of the military and that "leadership must be established from the top down." The difference between these statements is crucial: the former statement is purely factual (such a person would be barred) and the latter statement is a value judgment (leadership should be a certain way). The committee member could have spelled out his or her thinking more completely, but we can see that the argument relies critically upon an assertion that the military's top leader SHOULD have certain characteristics and one of these is the absence of excessive drinking because a leader who drank excessively would be giving orders to people in jobs that the leader would not have been permitted to perform. We must consider each answer choice to see just how close each one mirrors this assertion.
Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. Here, we do not have a mention of excessive drinking, but we do not need one. This answer choice is more general than the argument in the stimulus because it covers all organization types and it covers all reasons for being prohibited from a certain job. Clearly, this answer choice would address people who drink excessively because those people "would be barred from important jobs" [controlling missiles, bombers, and fighters could reasonably be thought of as important tasks]. People who drink excessively would not be able to lead the military because they would be barred from important subordinate jobs. We needed a principle that is closest to the principle underlying the committee members statement, so we must look at the other answer choices. However, we should feel confident in our analysis so far.
Answer choice (B): This answer choice should be quickly discarded because the committee member does not discuss whether a job candidate has served in a certain capacity, only whether a job candidate COULD do so. Furthermore, we can imagine that the committee member would not assert that a job candidate must have been a missile wing commander and a bomber squadron leader and a fighter contingent leader. The military is a large organization and such a requirement would take several lifetimes. This answer choice has no chance of matching up with the committee member's assertion.
Answer choice (C): This is a tricky answer choice, but it provides a great learning opportunity. If we really understood the stimulus, we should be pretty comfortable with answer choice A, which is quite different from this one. Answer choice A discusses prohibitions and answer choice C discusses affirmative requirements. If true, answer choice C would require that an army general from infantry know how to drive a submarine or fly a jet before getting the top job. No modern military operates this way, and no organization of sufficient size could operate this way. Once we realize this, we can confidently remove this answer choice from consideration.
Answer choice (D): This might be the most frequently selected wrong answer because test-takers lose their bearings. Remember that we are picking the one answer choice that is closest to the original argument. With this answer choice, we have a statement that WOULD SUPPORT the committee member's final conclusion that the committee should not vote for a person who drinks excessively, but the statement significantly deviates from the LINE OF REASONING we are comparing. The correct answer for this type of problem will contain the structure found in the stimulus, including all the "elements" of the argument. This answer choice directly references excessive drinking, but leapfrogs the entire premise regarding qualification for subordinate positions of leadership. For this reason, the two principles' moving parts do not match up, and we can discard this answer choice.
Answer choice (E): Much like answer choice C, this answer choice tries to get into the details of being qualified for certain jobs within the military. As we have noted, this is not what the committee member is driving at. It would be very difficult to imagine knowledgeable military figures arguing that the top commander should be required to know how to run a missile command, which probably involves very specialized training over several years. Commanding an entire military is hard enough without having the added burden of learning "rocket science."