Monday, April 25, 2016

More on US Civ Mil Today

The McRaven op-ed is even more problematic than I thought since it was blessed by the Chief of Naval Operations.  What we have seen over the past 15 years or so is a commitment by the military to not hold accountable those who mess up in a big way. Sure, you dent your ship or have sex with a subordinate and you might get fired.  But if you are a toxic leader, as long as you kiss upward as you kick downwards, then promotions ahoy.  This is how we got Tommy Franks, right?

Think about the case here--Rear Admiral Losey--made it to two stars and now this big fight is over him sticking around a while longer.  As a wise Canadian general once said, folks at this level should declare success and focus on the greater good, rather than careerism.  Anyhow, the multiple fouls he has been accused of are related to a search for whistleblowers, leading to retaliation against several (innocent) people he thought had ratted him out for minor violation.

Once again, tis the cover up and not the crime that matters.  I guess that is one of the key tests of character--you get caught doing something wrong, and what is your reaction?  This guy's was to search for the whistleblower recklessly and indiscirminately, which is ironic since the Special Ops guys are supposed to be precise and careful about hitting only the target (perhaps that is exaggerated?)

Again, with all of that hot competition among officers with stars on their shoulders for the next billet, the Navy decides to promote the guy who was found at fault by the DoD Inspector General (not the partisan Senators) rather than someone else?  What does that say about civil-military relations?  Not good, and then the Navy blesses this op-ed?  While I am not a fan of how partisan oversight has become, this is a case where it is not about partisanship (looks like Senators from both parties were opposed to Losey's promotion).  Instead, it is about the Navy protecting its stars even if they are toxic.

Oh, and one of the powers given to the Senate is precisely this one--vetting the senior officers.  They took their job seriously in this case.  This is not political correctness, but the Senators doing their job.

McRaven has built up a rep that has a heap of respect.  He is tarnishing that reputation now. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You said in your earlier post that "[McRaven] complains about ... lawmakers and folks in DoD (he does not blame the White House, which is interesting)" Good catch. There have been rumours for a few years that Admiral McRaven has wanted to pull an Eisenhower/Powell/whatever and dive into the political world for the Democrats (particularly for a Cabinet-level position in a future Clinton admin, or more outlandishly, as a potential VP pick). This op-ed won't do him any favours.

There was a reason why Ike, despite his "armchair general" status, was able to rise up the ranks so quickly - he knew when to say the right thing at the right time. McRaven is so obsessed about maintaining a sense of camaraderie with Losey that it's blurring his judgement regarding whistleblower rules. Perhaps this recent tendency of ambitious officers in the service contracting foot-in-mouth disease is a positive.