November 6, 2013

Fixing the military----


Yesterday I posted The down side of Totalitarian Rule of the military , and I may have just found some supporting evidence over at Danger Room:  How to Fix the Army: Sack All the Generals.
Tasty snippets: 
"Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis doesn’t have faith in Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.
Or the rest of the U.S. Army’s generals, for that matter.
Writing in the August issues of The Armed Forces Journal (“Purge the generals“), Davis argues that it’s high time to sack the Army’s senior leaders for what he sees as an institutionalized epidemic of astonishing failures that not only go unreported, but are typically rewarded. All of it, he says, is creating a self-perpetuating culture of abysmal performance that won’t go away until the generals do." 
"And Thomas Ricks wrote in The Atlantic in November 2012 (“General Failure”) that, “To a shocking degree, the Army’s leadership ranks have become populated by mediocre officers, placed in positions where they are likely to fail. Success goes unrewarded, and everything but the most extreme failure goes unpunished, creating a perverse incentive system that drives leaders toward a risk-averse middle where they are more likely to find a stalemate than a victory.”" 
"He added: “Ironically, our generals have grown worse as they have been lionized more and more by a society now reflexively deferential to the military… No one is pushing those leaders to step back and examine the shortcomings of their institution. These are dangerous developments. Unaddressed, they could lead to further failures in future wars.”" 
But how to fix such an ingrained, systemic problem?
Whereas Yingling wanted Congress to intervene, Davis is looking for top ranking Pentagon officials of the civilian class to make a number of changes, including shrinking the group of 900 generals and admirals to a more reasonable number and change the promotion system to be more aligned with performance and success that would encourage “prudent risk-taking and nonconformist thinking.”
But more than anything, Davis argues that it’s time to replace “a substantial chunk” of today’s generals, starting with the three- and four-star ranks. Without this move, today’s leaders, who are products and benefactors of the existing system, don’t have the motivation to invoke substantive change.
These are the symptoms of a leadership that  values conformity over innovation, motivation and
thinking.  Simply stated these general's that "need to be sacked" are not in the positions they are in because they are failures, lazy , or unmotivated, but because these actions are expected, or more correctly the inverse is punished by the totalitarian rule.  Why stick your neck out if it is only going to result in your head getting whacked?  Just go with the flow.  Self preservation is paramount, right? 
That is unless one is a moral and free thinker...... A free and moral man. 
Butter Bar LT. and his men are pined down by heavy enemy fire.  His men are dying.  His orders are to call in air support if heavy resistance is encountered.  What does he do?  He has called for help, he has been told to wait....  His men are dying. 
The obedient servant waits and hopes.
The moral free thinker does something....  Anything!  He leads!  The command may be "Retreat!" or could be just as well  "Fix Bayonets and CHARGE!, but he will not sit and let him and his men die.
Just as the business man, inventor, engineer, playwright or poet must be free to create, so must the military commander be free to lead.  Free to be innovative.  Free to call bullshit when he or she sees it.  Free to carry out the moral mission assigned, without reprisal or political pressures......And this is why we have had the greatest military on the face of the earth.....and why today it is something, well a bit different. 

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