first published on September 29, 2015 by Josh
Moral courage is the very essence of doing what’s right, even knowing that there may be negative repercussions. In today’s military the very essence of this is lost at senior levels of leadership because they fall into a false reality where their career is more important than doing what is right. These political leaders fail time, and time again to step up to the plate and go to bat for their junior service members, and for the institutions which they serve.
Today I had the pleasure of speaking with one of my former subordinate enlisted war-fighters, one who is currently forward deployed. We discussed, at length, the many things about his service experience that he has found troubling. He told me of how rank and completed courses in primary military education (PME) are holding weighted consideration over general and tactical military knowledge and service experience. He referenced his observations of simple infantry tactics being forgotten or completely disregarded. We talked about how the combatant leadership is failing to look at things from the perspective of the junior NCO, considering a ground-up approach, and instead making decisions based on what may reflect better upon themselves and their senior commanders.
The deployment dodgers are rotating back into the combat units, following prolonged absences from the operating forces. Many of these personnel, having acquired their rank while occupying comfortable stateside offices, are dismissive of the hard won experience and insight of their proven subordinates. They preach a path of political correctness in order to attain promotion. To be considered for promotion, a war-fighter must complete a plethora of online PME, check the duty assignment boxes, ignore the deficiencies of their own leaders, and follow along with the ever shifting program, because to do anything else means death to their career.
This is a new parade deck military where administrative formations are held, men are marched completely in step, and the prestige of a unit is judged on the amount of online courses its men have completed. A place where the skills and lessons of the last two wars of the Global War on Terrorism are quickly being erased and replaced with haphazardly written field manuals by someone puffing their own fit rep, and the bad ideas of the Junior Commissioned Officers have been left unchecked by their enlisted counter parts. After all they sign the fit reps right?
In today’s politically correct peacetime military there is no more room for camouflage paint, and in depth battle studies. In the new anti-fieldcraft military there is only room for the fitness report fluffing “yes-men”, who will do anything to preserve their own retirement. Moral courage has been lost in the post-GWOT armed service at the most critical levels of leadership. The days of striving for combat proficiency ratings instead of PME completion percentages are falling away, and it no longer pays to be the “best man for the job.”
To be successful today you must be lacking in moral courage. You must be willing to let the follies of the inexperienced be accepted as wise courses of actions. You cannot stand in front of your superiors and tell them tactfully and professionally that they are wrong, nor should you expend the effort to correct your peers, because the judgement of the politically correct and administratively minded will be levied against you. Experience and skill are frowned upon, and all field uniforms must be inspection ready.
“No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.” – Murphy’s war law