Saturday, August 24, 2013

The problem with Army leadership

Thoughts from BlackFive here:

As a Navy guy on an Army post, specifically one that is training new troops out of Basic, I'm shocked at the difference in discipline. For the Navy, if a sailor messes something up (looks like a slob, gets a ticket, etc.) we put the responsibility on the local chain of command to fix. I've personally, as a division officer, corrected sailors for failing to salute Army officers and for looking like slobs. It's pretty rare, I think I've caught maybe six in the 2 years I've been here.

Contrast that with my first day on post. I've only had one, maybe two, sailors fail to salute me...and one caught herself before I could open my mouth to correct her mistake. In my first day on post, I had 10 soldiers fail to salute. I was shocked...and it wasn't just me, because they blew right by an Army Major too! While I was waiting at medical for check in, the soldiers I saw looked like trash...and they were in ACUs, which I thought were fairly easy to maintain and hid most problems.

I asked my Army neighbors about it, and they told me TRADOC, who owns the soldiers, doesn't police them well because they are trying to raise reenlistment. Even worse, when they try to police these soldiers, they get told to stop because it might affect reenlistment. My worry would be that soldiers would reenlist for all the wrong reasons.

Having standards doesn't mean you crush every problem, and it doesn't mean you coddle people. Holding people accountable should build pride in an organization. Everyone makes mistakes, even Admiral Nimitz ran a ship aground early in his career, and was punished for it. Had he been allowed to skate, who knows if he would have developed into the Admiral that helped bring victory in WW2.

I don't agree with everything in the post. Firing the entire chain of command for every problem a soldier or sailor does is stupid. You can't control people completely. There are noticeable differences though in crime rates between good leaders and poor leaders. Perhaps investigating that first might yield some issues that need to be solved.