Loyal Dessent: General Fogleman and the Decision to Retire Early
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB
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On 28 July 1997, Gen Ronald R. Fogleman submitted a request for early retirement, ending his term as the Air Forces 15th Chief of Staff one year ahead of schedule. This paper explores the three primary causes of his decisionhis disagreements with his fellow service chiefs and the Secretary of Defense over policy decisions made in the tank, the discharge of 1st Lt Kelly Flinn, and the punishment of Brig Gen Terry Schwalier in the aftermath of the Khobar Towers bombing. The study further asks what effect Foglemans departure had on American civil-military relations. To answer the research question, the author applies Professor Don Sniders dissent evaluation framework to the Fogleman case. After assessing General Foglemans decision along each of Sniders five factors, the author finds that his retirement had minimal effect on the senior officers three critical trust relationships with the public, the civilian leadership of the armed forces, and the services junior and noncommissioned officers. As such, Foglemans retirement was a justified act of dissent as viewed through Sniders model. Furthermore, the author finds that Fogleman took additional steps to mitigate the effects that his decision might have on civil-military relations. For these reasons, the author concludes that Foglemans early retirement decision demonstrates that loyal dissent is possible.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations