At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland delegate, followed Benjamin Franklin from Independence Hall. He recorded a question asked by a lady, directed at Dr. Franklin.

The lady asked, "Well Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?"

"A republic," replied Dr. Franklin, "if you can keep it."


"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Commentary on Mismanagement

Why do the best US Army officers leave the service?

As a former Naval officer, I can tell you that it's the same in the Navy and Marine Corps...

From an article in THE ATLANTIC [LINK HERE]
(Quote from the Article) Why is the military so bad at retaining these people? It’s convenient to believe that top officers simply have more- lucrative opportunities in the private sector, and that their departures are inevitable. But the reason overwhelmingly cited by veterans and active-duty officers alike is that the military personnel system—every aspect of it—is nearly blind to merit. Performance evaluations emphasize a zero-defect mentality, meaning that risk-avoidance trickles down the chain of command. Promotions can be anticipated almost to the day— regardless of an officer’s competence—so that there is essentially no difference in rank among officers the same age, even after 15 years of service. Job assignments are managed by a faceless, centralized bureaucracy that keeps everyone guessing where they might be shipped next.
The present system ensures that the services retain the most risk-averse, and leads to long-term mediocrity. The military service follows the track of the country where it's politically incorrect to single out greatness or to mediocrity. The rewards come to those who go along to get along and the outstanding men and women in the armed services who dare to win and take calculated risks are often repudiated.
(Quote from the Article) But the Pentagon doesn’t always reward its innovators. Usually, rebels in uniform suffer at the expense of their ideas. General (Billy) Mitchell was court-martialed for insubordination in 1925; and who can forget the hostile treatment afforded General Eric Shinseki in 2003 after he testified that “something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” would probably be required to stabilize post-invasion Iraq?
In a 2007 essay in the Armed Forces Journal, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling offered a compelling explanation for this risk-averse tendency. A veteran of three tours in Iraq, Yingling articulated a common frustration among the troops: that a failure of generalship was losing the war. His critique focused not on failures of strategy but on the failures of the general-officer corps making the strategy, and of the anti-entrepreneurial career ladder that produced them: “It is unreasonable to expect that an officer who spends 25 years conforming to institutional expectations will emerge as an innovator in his late forties.” 
One of the most strident indictments of General Billy Mitchell was his preposterous prediction in 1925 that the Empire of Japan would attack the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor with aircraft.  Can you imagine any Army officer being that politically incorrect? That sort of thing needs to be punished...


WoFat said...

There are two points of view in the Army: "Take the hill!" and "Wait a minute, wait a minute, maybe a strong wind will come along and wear the hill down."

Sandee said...

Yep, if you don't think the way they want you to you're out. Sad isn't it. All that expertise and not allowed to use any. Too bad.

Have a terrific day. :)

LL said...

WoFat, the military bureaucracy in peacetime is oppressive. It's not so bad in war - but there are always REMF's.

Race Bannon said...

Reminds me of another entity of the Federal Government where (it seems) the only ones that promote are the ones that have only pushed the envelope from behind a desk, into the outgoing box...

Paul J. said...

I mean...this turn of mind runs straight through little league baseball to the military?

Ridiculous...everyone's a winner, no one loses, can't hurt anyone's feelings.


WomanHonorThyself said...

PC world is unreal isnt it...............snow here again..woohoo!

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