Marcus Aurelius: Toxic Army Leadership Casts Long Shadow – Not Just Generals but Field Grade Also

Corruption, Ethics, Military
Marcus Aurelius

While many of you criticize WaPo, believe this is a real and growing problem within Army.  I have read both Ward and O'Reilly DoDIG reports — shocking.  IMHO, if 5 percent of what's in those reports is 10 percent true, those two generals should be going to Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth.  Yet both cases have been at route step for months.  O'Reilly is a West Pointer, Ward is not.  At least in Sinclair case, a court martial process is gearing up.  Even worse, we have field grade officers throughout Army mimicking this kind of behavior, particularly the O'Reilly variant.  Toxic leadership gets a great deal of lip service but almost zero action in Army. Center for Army Leadership and Association of the United States Army have both written on topic, but nothing seems to happen.  For those of you familiar with Anton Myrer's classic historical novel on military leadership, “Once an Eagle,” Courtney Massengales seem to be proliferating in Army.  At least that's what I'm perceiving.

Washington Post, October 28, 2012, Pg. 3

Accusations Against Generals Cast A Long Shadow Over Army

Leadership screening is scrutinized; Complaints about senior officers are growing

By Ernesto Londono

The accusations leveled against three Army generals over the past six months are as varied as they are striking, the highest-profile of a growing number of allegations of wrongdoing by senior military officials.

A one-star general was flown home from Afghanistan this spring to face criminal charges, including sexual assault. A four-star general formerly in charge of the increasingly vital Africa command was accused of financial mismanagement, accepting inappropriate gifts and assigning staff personal tasks.

And a three-star general who oversees the U.S. Missile Defense Agency was described in an inspector general report as an abrasive and verbally abusive boss.

The investigations have become an embarrassment for the Army, raising questions about how thoroughly the military has screened senior leaders before putting them in crucial assignments.

The Defense Department’s inspector general reviewed 38 cases of alleged wrongdoing by senior officials in 2011, and substantiated the accusations in nearly 40 percent of the them, up from 21 percent in 2007. The total caseload this year is on track to exceed last year’s.

“It’s always concerning when senior leaders have issues, because we have very specific faith in senior leaders,” Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, said in a recent interview. Odierno said all such cases are taken seriously, but argued that “we can’t allow a few to detract from the honorable service of many.”

The investigation into Gen. William E. Ward, the former chief of Africa Command, is being closely watched at the Pentagon, where rank-and-file officers wonder aloud whether senior leaders will be reticent to punish one of their own.

A June 26 report, compiled after investigators pored through a trove of e-mails and expense reports, portrays a general using taxpayer funds to support a high-rolling lifestyle.

The inspector general concluded that Ward used government funds to pay for personal travel expenses; assigned staff to run errands for him and his wife; and accepted meals and Broadway tickets from a defense contractor, in violation of Pentagon rules. The inspector general’s report says he wasted and misused tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars. For example, he billed the government $129,000 for an 11-day trip to Atlanta with a team of 13 people, even though he only conducted business during three of the days, the inspector general found.

Read full article.

Phi Beta Iota:  INTEGRITY, if it is the Chief of Staff of the US Army's “commander's intent,” is fairly easy to define, monitor, and reinforce.  A major part of the problem is the confusion of officers who have not been properly trained in understanding that they swear an oath to defend and support the Constitution of the United States of America, against all enemies domestic and foreign.  Loyalty to the chain of command is NOT a substitute for integrity in honoring one's oath.  Lies kill one's comrades, be they in policy, acquisition, or intelligence/operations.  What the Army could use right now, in our humble opinon, is a one-day stand-down for INTEGRITY, that includes a 360 degree peer-senior evaluation to quickly cull out and dismiss those found by their subordinates and peers to be toxic or unethical, with one page summaries to the Chief of Staff and final say by the Chief of staff.  A majority of these individual could be retained on a one year probation period.  Ethics is an intangible priceless attribute for any serving professional.  It must be a “root” value.

See Also:

2013 Robert Steele: Reflections on Inspectors General

2013 Public Governance in the 21st Century: New Rules, Hybrid Forms, One Constant – The Public

2002 FAILURE of 20th Century Intelligence

Graphic: Ethical Evidence-Based Decisions

Graphic: Ethics Dilemma Grid

Journal: Reflections on Integrity UPDATED + Integrity RECAP

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