Friday, October 28, 2011

Neller Responds

If you have followed my back and forth with LtGen Neller in the Marine Corps Gazette, you must read his article in this month's edition.  There is no blueprint for action, but he admits that the institutional leadership must listen to the "young turks," adapt where required, and explain their stance where they cannot adapt.  I don't think things will get better any time soon.  There are a whole host of toxic and incapable "leaders" that need to face the hatchet, or the firing squad, but won't.  And the politics and posturing only get more intense as the budget fights loom.


  1. MCA won't let me access it.


  2. I thought that people would be able to at least see the image of the first page, but I guess not. Well, if you are military you can probably see it at the base library... Sorry.

  3. The Gazette has put it out on the web outside the paywall:‘young-turks’

  4. We see some similar comments in the Army from some of the GOs.

    Heard a two-star the other day telling everyone about haircuts, finger nail polish, stuff like that: "standards". They tell us there will be tough choices, that we have to select the best, "burn the deadwood" and so forth.

    Well, it has to start at the top and it must be public: The GOs and the SGMs/CSMs need to be ranked, dirty laundry aired, and the bottom of that cohort needs to be discharged. Those at the top need to start being more "efficient". Rather than directing us to command our little piece of the pie with less, yet find a way to do more, it's time to have less E9s and GOs and demand that they do more and lead the way here. Not seeing that at all right now.

    For years they demanded that we spend, spend, spend - must spend that GWOT money. Now they tell us we spend too much, have spent too much, and that we don't understand supply discipline, or how to be a judicious custodian of our resources.

    The most senior E9s and the 3&4-stars were all senior leaders when 9/11 hit: they were BDE Cdrs, BN CSMs, and now are Corps Cdrs, Post CSMs, and so forth. They were the leaders that trained the force that went to war, they are the ones that lead the force at high levels during the war, and now they're bringing us back from war. If they're telling us that things are broke, that we need to get back to "standards", and so on - then the first thing they must do is look in the mirror and ask themselves: "what did we do wrong?"

    These leaders told us just a few years ago that we were the most disciplined and lethal force the world has ever seen: now we're overpaid, we get too many benefits, we have too many people, we're out of shape, we've lost our ability to follow and enforce standards.

    Best thing for the top leadership to do, since we know they're not going to enforce this 'getting back to standards' on each other, is for them to clearly define standards and expectations, forgive all past transgressions (ie: don't data mine personnel records to find someone with a blemish in order to reduce end strength), and start fresh. If we truly want to rebuild our military, heal old wounds, preserve capabilities, define a new future, we must start fresh, with a new perspective.

    Our entire military needs to heal up after these wars end - assuming they do actually end. We have to learn how to conduct training and build our capabilities with true guidance and vision, not just Joe on the ground figuring it out. And, we have to train for combat, not canned scenarios aimed at a war we are unlikely to fight. Also, it means resetting our equipment, which cannot be done overnight. It means getting our wounded back to full speed with smart training and proper care, not pressure to perform that leads to more injury or inadequate performance getting them kicked to the curb; it means we are going to have to understand that war is tough, people do bad things and they are not perfect, so we can't view a person's one-time incident as if it's a lifetime of guilt. Treating our people like garbage, when we have an all-volunteer force - is a great way to ensure the volunteers will go away and that quality replacements will not step forward.

    Our transition to peace is as important as our transition to war and will most assuredly affect our next transition to war. We need to get it right.

  5. Bumperplate,
    Few would have seen your comments here, so I posted them as a stand-alone post with a short preamble. Doctrine Man mentioned it on his Facebook and it got nearly 500 views so far today!