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Military Discipline and Accountability: Traditional Approaches or New Standards for a New Millenium?

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1997 was a banner year for military scandals. Kelly Flinn, Sergeant Major of the Army Gene McKinney, the Aberdeen sexual harassment fiasco, General Joseph Ralston, and General Terry Schwalier were just a few of the issues and people in the national spotlight causing Americans to wonder what kind of military their tax dollars are supporting. Add to this the interminable sex scandal involving the President of the United States and one naturally wonders whether the government deserves the publics confidence From the Commander-in-Chief down, these well-publicized spots of decay in the military-an institution consistently among the most respected in this nation have given it an undeserved black eye. In the past, the military has usually been able to pick itself up and dust itself off after taking such punches. Learning from these experiences has often made it stronger and better able to avoid them in the future. One of the best contemporary examples of this desire to emerge stronger after humiliation and embarrassment was the healing process the Navy is still going through following its Tailhook scandal. Though painful, by holding many of the principal actors accountable for their criminal offenses and leadership failures, the Navys catharsis has made its standards and expectations clearer than they have been in a long time. Fortunately, at that time, many agreed that holding Tailhooks major culprits accountable was an integral part of the healing process. Even Congress got into the act when it denied promotion to several officers whom it considered unfit because of their involvement.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law

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