Monday, August 17, 2009

"Now that we're in a recession, we can afford to be picky about the terrible NCOs we tolerated for years.."

Today's issue of the Stars and Stripes really made me laugh. Some of us have been complaining for years about the poverty of leadership in senior NCO slots, and about how in time of war, the military seems uninterested in ensuring that those who sit over our troops are actually competent-or as Stars and Stripes puts it, not just 'marginal'.

Well, now that the recession's going on, and people are signing up like crazy because the unemployment rate is up, apparently the Army has decided that it can afford to get rid of senior NCOs with "driving under the influence, sexual harassment charges, drug abuse and alcohol problems".

The Pentagon official in charge of carrying out the program said, "We're trying to target those NCOs who don't understand by looking in the mirror that they are not what the Army needs."

Really? I'm honestly amazed it takes an actual program, but I can't say I'm surprised. After all, I've seen a good chunk of senior leadership not living up to the Army values and/or behaving inappropriately. Usually they don't even get to the level of being 'removed for cause'. Usually, unfortunately, they stay right where they are.

But I have to say, that, amused as I am that just two years after denying that there had been any 'military breakdown' because of the Iraq War the Army is now admitting they have some dirtbags in charge of troops, I fully support this program.

Yes, that's right. You heard me. I fully support a Pentagon program and stand 110% behind it.

In fact, I stand so much behind it that I'm ready, willing and eager to help the Pentagon out. You see, they may not be aware of some of the poor examples of senior leadership they have within the ranks. So I'm going to provide a space for both poor examples I've seen, and also open it up to my fellow soldiers. Have you seen examples of poor leadership? Please, comment on it here!

Now, I encourage everyone to be careful of getting in trouble for disrespect. Cite only specific examples. I.e. /not/ "My first sergeant is an asshole" but rather "First sergeant X sent a suicidal soldier to work in the arms room. I think this may be an example of poor leadership."

I'll start, of course.

I think a first sergeant Hudson I once served under should certainly go on the consideration list for being encouraged to retire. The specific examples of poor leadership I cite include: 1) discouraging soldiers to seek mental health counseling, as a result of which we had an avoidable suicide in the unit 2) Denigrating a soldier under his command who died by saying "He came from the ghetto and returned to the ghetto", 3) Refusing protection or assistance in obtaining protection to a domestic violence survivor, because "if he had meant to kill you he would have done it already".

Anyone else feel like contributing?


liberranter said...

This sort of campaign has been launched periodically in the past and is driven by a combination of politics and macroeconomics. While it would seem to be a good idea on the surface to prune the services of dead/diseased wood at the top (things were reaching the point of intolerable ten years ago when I got out, and I can only imagine that it's gotten worse since then, despite the need for bodies in two combat zones), it's unlikely that any such effort would be performed with the standards of objectivity necessary for positive accomplishment. In other words, criteria for eliminating the dead/diseased wood would be political rather than practical. “Leadership skills,” for all of the lip service paid them by the brass and politicians, aren't really key criteria or considerations for promotion. A junior NCO who takes care of their troops, confronts and prevents wrongdoing, and speaks truth to power, even at the cost of their own career, is a dangerous and toxic thing in the eyes of the powers-that-be. Far better to promote an ass-kissing politician suck-up who will tow the party line, keep “the troops” in line, and tell the higher-ups what they want to hear. It doesn't matter if these people have deleterious personal issues of their own (e.g., a penchant for alcoholism or domestic violence, or just a complete lack of interpersonal skills) that are ultimately poison to their subordinates and their units as a whole. All that matters is that the well-oiled machine continues to run, even if it grinds up the machinists in the cogs (after all, these "machinists" are regarded as consumable parts).

That said, maybe some good will inadvertently come of any “purges” that take place. Now if only they'd focus the same campaign on the officer corps – starting at the top and working their way down.

Anonymous said...




Jen said...

Why does Col Bradlee think someone putting a spoon in his butt is a good thing?

I am also confused, did he eat from it, or did some poor unsuspecting soldier do so? Did he enjoy eating with butt spoon? sounds like it.

Does having a pair make one inclined to enjoy spoons up ones butt? In that case why would anyone want a pair?