Military Leadership: In Pursuit of Excellence

By Robert L. Taylor; William E. Rosenbach | Go to book overview

This article represents just the first half of the effort. The follow-up work must be an assessment of command ethics. Once we agree that a climate of integrity is a critical leadership issue, we'll want to measure that climate. Such an assessment must identify valid, reliable indicators of the ethical health of a command. It should highlight positive signs as well as warning flags of behavior that need to be addressed before a problem arises. That, it seems to me, is the key: having enough situational awareness in the command to foresee a problem -- or at least to recognize one as it is developing -- rather than seeing it only in hindsight.

Each commander can accept this challenge informally while preparing for new levels of leadership. Measuring how well the challenge is met might not be possible. That is, ethical lapses might still occur, and we have no way of knowing whether they would be more severe or more frequent in the absence of such an effort. What is certain, however, is that this examination -- both before assuming command and during command -- can ultimately groom more professional people and produce more effective units.


Notes
1.
"New Chief for 7th Air Force", New York Times, 17 May 1971.
2.
House Committee on Armed Services, Investigations Subcommittee, Hearing on H.R. 201, Unauthorized Bombing of Military Targets in North Vietnam, 92d Cong., 2d sess., 1972, 31-32.
3.
House Committee on Armed Services, Investigations Subcommittee, Report on H.R. 201, Unauthorized Bombing of Military Targets in North Vietnam, 92d Cong., 2d sess., 1972, 2.
4.
Ibid., 8-9.
6.
Ibid., 4.
7.
Seymour M. Hersh, The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House ( New York: Summit Books, 1983), 504-7.
8.
House, Hearing on H.R. 201, 7.
9.
Ibid., 8.
10.
Ibid., 41.
11.
House, Report on H. R. 201, 9.
13.
Ibid., 6.
14.
House, Hearing on H.R. 201, 4.
15.
Congressional Record, 92d Cong., 2d sess., 1972, 20761.
16.
House, Hearing on H.R. 201, 22.
17.
House, Report on H.R. 201, 5.
18.
"Hughes Drops Lavelle Probe", Air Force Times, 29 September 1973.
19.
Seymour M. Hersh, "General Bombed in North before President's Order", New York Times, 11 June 1972.

-192-

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