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Ethical Dilemmas and Senior Army Leaders

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Technical Report

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United States Army Sergeants Major Academy Fort Bliss United States

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The history of both the military tradition and the United States Army is replete with examples of general officers and other senior leaders who, when faced with adversity, stood up for what they believed to be right, did what they thought was best for their Soldiers or branch of service, and risked ending their career. By using historical examples and contrasting them with current leaders and their actions we will examine three crucial areas 1 the responsibilities of general officers and Army leaders, 2 the impact that these leaders have on the Army and our operations in Iraq, and 3 how leadership failures impact tomorrows Army. In short, the inability of senior leaders to make ethically tough decisions is the most serious problem in the Army today. First, the general officers of our Army have several responsibilities, but foremost among them are two crucial items the responsibility to advise our civilian leadership on the ability of our armed forces to conduct operations, and once embroiled in a conflict the responsibility to accurately convey the Armys progress and capacity to sustain the fight. I would submit that our senior leaders have failed the Army on both counts. Do not interpret this as any one individuals failure but rather an institutional failure. The U.S. Army has bred out risk takers in its senior ranks and replaced them with managers concerned with their careers and retirement. It has become painfully obvious in our conduct of the war in Iraq that the Army was, at all levels above the tactical, ill prepared and inadequately led, and yet the only general officer to say anything was GEN Eric Shinseki. He testified, before Congress and with the Secretary of Defense sitting next to him, that the plan to invade and stabilize Iraq was unrealistic he acknowledged that it did not include either enough boots on the ground or sufficient time to meet the stated objectives.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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