The Pentagon’s leadership lies to Americans – America’s Toxic Military


 

By Mustang

The subject of command ability arises because of recent claims by retired Army Colonel Doug MacGregor (appearing recently with Tucker Carlson), who asserted that our problem in Afghanistan is the result of toxic leadership within the Armed Forces.  He may have been thinking of JCS Chairman Mark A. Milley, whose exhibited leadership would confuse even a recent graduate of Army boot camp.

Retired Army Colonel Doug MacGregor discusses collapse of Afghanistan, arguing he ‘can’t think of anything worse’ on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’

In the past, the selection of officers to command Marine Corps companies was the prerogative of the battalion commander.  A regimental commander selected his battalion commanders, and a division commander picked his regimental commanders.  While commanding generals still have a say in the commanding officer selection process, a bureaucratic screening board in Washington now decides which officers shall be deemed “good enough” for assignment to command the Marine Corps’ combat organizations.

The problem, or so it seems, is that given the number of command officers relieved of their duties, “for cause” suggests that individuals “deemed good enough” by Washington bureaucrats to command combat organizations weren’t good enough at all.

 

This process, whatever it entails in all the military services, isn’t simply a matter of selecting the best of the best to lead combat units; it involves all the elements that have destroyed the entire process of military performance evaluation.  Anyone today who receives an average fitness report has reached the end of their career.

The reality of this suggests, very strongly, that “average” is no longer good enough; it also indicates that “average officers” should have been discharged before advancement to captain, rather than allowing them to languish around “taking up space” until they reached the rank of colonel.

It is hard to imagine that any officer serving as a senior field grade officer would ever be judged “not good enough” to command an appropriate level combat organization.  If, for example, a colonel was determined “not good enough” to command a regiment, then why was this person promoted to colonel in the first place?  Any officer judged “not good enough” to command a brigade would never advance to brigadier general — so, why the double standard?

On the other hand, maybe there isn’t a double standard.  As it turns out, the services canned more than a few general officers because they exhibited poor leadership, which again begs the question: how does a poor leader ever become a flag-rank officer?  The answer is politics.

Rather than promoting officers into senior ranks with distinguished service in combat, which given the essential mission of the US military, to begin with, is what officers are supposed to do for a living, many flag-rank officers today have NO distinguished combat service awards at all.  They seem to have a plethora of administrative awards and commendations, which almost entirely encourage sycophantism and rewards or recognizes superior degrees of political correctness.

We are all familiar with the case of Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, promoted to flag rank because she was one of the Army’s first lesbian colonels, who gave us the debacle of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.  One might conclude from that incident that a better system to identify qualified colonels for promotion might be in order.  No, that isn’t the case at all.

Janis Karpinski - Wikipedia

Janis Karpinski

A few weeks ago, Military Times reported that while serving as Commanding Officer, 50th Space Wing, (then) Colonel Jennifer Grant’s poor leadership resulted in the worst toxic environment Air Force investigators had ever seen within the active duty force.  The Air Force interviewed more than sixty witnesses. Most of them claimed that Grant treated her subordinates with disrespect, created and maintained an environment of fear and that she even accepted gifts from junior personnel (apparently seeking her favor).  However, the most troubling of their findings involved three instances of suicide and increased incidents of alcohol abuse since she assumed command.

This is the official portrait of Brig. Gen. Jennifer L. Grant.

BRIGADIER GENERAL JENNIFER L. GRANT

Despite these findings, the Air Force advanced Grant to brigadier general early this year.  In another case, the Air Force fired Major General Dawn Dunlop for her poor leadership in creating and maintaining a toxic environment.  Dunlop continued to serve as a major general but in a different (less demanding) assignment.  In other words: no accountability.

At present, we have a horrible situation in Afghanistan, which Colonel MacGregor claims is essentially the fault of poor senior (general officer) leaders who had command authority in that country.  According to an article published in BizPacReview, MacGregor said:

“I think there are three things we have to take into consideration. First, of course, is there was never an exit strategy; no glide path out of Afghanistan. When I was in the Pentagon, the only thing I could find out was an intention to stay indefinitely. For some of the reasons you outlined in your opening remarks, lots of people were benefiting. Not the American people and certainly not our soldiers and Marines, but there was no glide path out of the place.”

“Secondly, is the problem with [toxic military leaders] [Note: with an inserted reference to General Mark A. Milley, CJCS] — toxic because they simply don’t tell the truth and for 20 years they’ve been lying, frankly, to the American people to soldiers and Marines doing the fighting telling them things were getting better, that we were making progress when the truth was we weren’t.”

MacGregor continued to criticize the decision to invade Afghanistan in the first place, laying much of the blame at the feet of retired Army General Tommy Franks, but returning then to the situation in Afghanistan over the past two years, he said:

“We don’t have democracy [in Afghanistan], we haven’t defeated terrorism per se, we have probably created some new ones [terrorists].  We have the largest Narco-state in the world that is now falling into the hands of new criminals and new terrorists.”

“When we first went into Iraq, there was an argument between [Donald] Rumsfeld and some others in his office, and finally Paul Wolfowitz interjected and said ‘look, we just want to get the army into Iraq.’  I think there were a lot of people that decided they just wanted to get the military into these places and that somehow or another, we would muddle through, that things would improve.”

“What you see now on television, this mass chaos and dissolution is the end of the illusions that began long ago in the aftermath of desert storm.  Well, we have employed it [the Army] and the Marine Corps all over the Middle East, and what have we created?  Chaos.  What have we established that’s in the interest of the American people?  Nothing”

 

The preceding is enough to lead one to this conclusion: the mission of the US military is defending the United States.  This mission strongly suggests that the Armed Forces’ critical duty is combat, combat support, combat logistics support, and combat readiness.

It is not vital race theory indoctrination; it is not making women equal to men in the combat arms, it is not righting the wrongs of past generations, it is not leveling the playing field for minorities through affirmative action programs, and it certainly is not nation-building or protecting Afghan women from their abusive husbands.  It is raw, horrific, blood and guts combat.  America’s senior military officers have (a) forgotten this essential mission, or (b) the mission has become secondary to their advancement.

But we must not lay this entire mess at the feet of senior field grade and flag rank officers.  The civilian leaders who tell the military what to do, have created most of this mess.  They encourage yes men by firing combat leaders and replacing them with men and women devoid of personal and professional integrity.

If you want to put stars on your collar one day, go with the flow.  Understandably, there will always be some element of politics in any organization, but to encourage it within the Armed Forces has produced, as we have seen, men who value their careers over that which is best for the United States of America.

And this is not simply toxic for our junior officers and enlisted men and women of our armed forces; it is dangerously unhealthy for our Republic.  Can any of this be “fixed?”  Sure — and it wouldn’t take long to accomplish — but only if Congress has the wisdom to see that it is necessary and the will to make it happen.

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

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47 Responses to “The Pentagon’s leadership lies to Americans – America’s Toxic Military”

  1. Baysider Says:

    And it isn’t just military leadership. Glenn Greenwald:

    Like

  2. Baysider Says:

    And that interview is great. Damning. The end of the illusions created by Desert Storm.

    Like

  3. Baysider Says:

    I have changed from expecting an “exit strategy” to expecting a “transition strategy.” I think it carries more the idea of thinking ahead to the consequences of your actions and not just ‘getting out.’

    I’m with Mustang – a Black Hawk Down episode could not possibly make Biden look worse than he already does.

    My understanding from Mr. B (who made it to captain in the 60’s) is that the promotion door upstairs from Major opens with politics as much as competence. Curious about your observations, Mustang, since you did that. My BIL was certainly a competent LC, but in the last year or 2 got promoted to full bird colonel which was considered fair for his service. As a chaplain with an amount of active duty this did not put him in a position to cause those under him to suffer, but rewarded him with a higher pay grade when he mustered out. I suspect THAT happens a lot, and depends on – well – politics.

    The mission of the military? One wag in the typing pool said it well. To army stationery that carried the item “peace is our business” he appended “war is just a hobby.” Not entirely fair, as keeping peace without war IS a substantial mission of protective forces. But the humor adds balance to the discussion. They are not there for peace at any cost or a test lab to right the wrongs or perceived ills in society.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mustang Says:

      @ Baysider

      The Marine Corps is a much smaller organization than its sister components, so the Army, Navy, and Air Force offer a much wider range of occupational fields. Some officer occupational fields in the Marine Corps terminate with captain, so unless one of these people can secure a lateral transfer to a different MOS, there is a limitation of their active duty service.

      As a general rule, 80% of serving captains can anticipate promotion to major. Every captain passed over for a promotion is entitled to a second opportunity for selection, after that … separation. The higher one progresses in the rank structure, the more likely it is that at some point, they’ll fail for promotion. At some point, everyone “fails” … even a four-star general because there is no five-star rank.

      FYI … A little over one million soldiers serve on active duty, or in the Army Guard/Reserve. The Marine Corps has 182,000 active duty and 38,500 reserve personnel, totaling 220,500. The Marine Corps officer to enlisted ratio is 1:8.1. In the other services, the officer to enlisted ratios are: Army, 1:4.5., Navy, 1:4.9, and Air Force, 1:4.1. I never said, of course, that Marine officers work twice as hard as their other service counterparts. 🙂

      Like

      • kidme37 Says:

        Everyone may know this but George Washington always outranks every other officer. So, right now, George is a 5 star general. If they introduce a 5 star rank in any US service, George will automatically become a 6 star.

        Like

      • Baysider Says:

        Thanks for your thoughts. In theory this system could have their pick to elevate the best. But I guess the question is “the best at what?”. I seem to remember that every Marine is a rifleman. Should be a job for all. 🙂

        Reminds me of a story my locksmith told me. His father was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot in WW2. One of 3 to survive in his squadron of 20 or 22, he flew in every major campaign theater in Europe throughout the war – France, England, Russia, North Africa, Romania and Germany. Near war’s end when the Germans ran out of gas they didn’t need pilots and handed him a rifle. “You’re in the infantry now.” He didn’t even know how to use it, but he knew how to get to the American lines!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mustang Says:

        The best at what?

        Leadership, Bay. Knowing your profession, leading from the front, inspiring your men, taking care of them, demanding the most from yourself and those under your charge; holding yourself accountable for failure; recognizing the good things that the troops do. Ultimately, winning battles. It isn’t easy to command a platoon; it gets four times more difficult when in command of a company. Command of a battalion will introduce you to ulcers.

        Semper Fi

        Liked by 1 person

  4. peter3nj Says:

    @Bunket:
    Surely you along with the rest who visit here regularly can recall that Mittens father George in the running for the 68’ GOP presidential nomination took a trip to Vietnam and later claimed to have been brainwashed while trying out for the starring role in Apocalypse Now and squashing his run for the nomination. Maybe the same witch doctor can have an intervention with Kamelho giving her the credibility she so sorely needs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mustang Says:

      Right Peter, but you do realize that it will first take a team of neurosurgeons to find her one gram of gray matter. A 12-week investigation could cost the American taxpayer another $12 trillion. Plan on the canoe taxes going up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • bunkerville Says:

      Impressive Peter to recall the brain wash story…. maybe the words “stranded” will have the same force and take Biden down. What an ugly speech he just made. Kamala is worried about Christmas and global warming.

      Liked by 1 person

      • peter3nj Says:

        Christmas? Had she never seen A Night At The Opera where we learned from Chico Marx that there is no sanity clause. I wonder how Willie Brown is feeling these days about the monster he created

        Liked by 1 person

  5. kidme37 Says:

    They may recall Bradley Manning and promote him up into the Joint Chiefs after giving him a gold star for actually having his genitals removed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • bunkerville Says:

      So the Bast*** is pulling out an leaving thousands to die.. Bergdahl comes to my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kidme37 Says:

        This subject is rife with evil. Yea, bring the deserter back sans any charges, release the top taliban guys form Gitmo, at least one of which now is running things in A-stan, absurd amounts of military equipment with at least a significant dollar value left there, and of course thousands of Americans who could have been extracted in them months leading up to this – just at the 10000 foot level.

        I think of those 6 or 7 Biden signs that were in my small neighborhood; the re-election of obama, and the knowledge most of these puke stains woudl elect both of them again tomorrow, and excuse me while I watch this freak show from as far away and with as much humor as I can muster…..

        Liked by 1 person

      • bunkerville Says:

        Looks like they may try and fry Harris’s brain in Vietnam… Reports are that a bunch of the Embassy people have been complaining of the “Cuba” syndrome of head aches, etc… think it is mircrowaves….her plane was held up for three hours for no reason given.

        Liked by 2 people

      • kidme37 Says:

        Interesting stuff Bunk. 3 more years of the evil at least. Good luck to all (except the evil doers of cours)

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mustang Says:

        Looks like they may try and fry Harris’s brain in Vietnam.

        Should only take a nano-second.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mustang Says:

      Darn it, Kid … how many times do I have to remind you that Bradley Manning is now Chelsea Clinton?

      Liked by 2 people

    • peter3nj Says:

      Kid, If he underwent penal removal he can’t be joint anything

      Like

  6. nrringlee Says:

    So what is really wrong with our officer corps? Here is the algorithm: Bush + Clinton+ Bush+ Obama equals yes sir, no sir three bags full. Thank you sir, may I have another?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mustang Says:

      I joined the Marines with no expectation of making it past corporal. Our NCOs back then were the best (in the field, but at some risk on liberty). Miracles happen, but I always believed (and still do) that the real honor was being entitled to wear the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. Everything else was secondary. I hope this is still true about Marines, but we do have a few duds wearing stars.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Linda Says:

    I am so glad I am married to an alpha male who was in the Marine Corps. when “woke” was never part of the military. He is beyond disgusted with Mattis, Kelly, and Dunford who were his former bosses. All these woke folks need to be lined up and tried for treason, period. Sadly, the alpha male is no more.

    Hey, Uncle Mustang, speaking of alpha males, did you Jocko Willink’s current Instagram post? You can put it in your search engine. smiles

    Liked by 4 people

    • Mustang Says:

      Thanks, Linda, I’ll check it out.

      I’d say that 99.5% of our company-grade officers and NCOs today are on target as Marines. Too many officers turn to shit once they reach the field grade ranks and full colonel’s in the zone for brigadier will gut a brother officer if it means increasing their chances for promotion. You didn’t see this in the Marine Corps until Krulak became Commandant. See N R Ringlee’s comment above.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Mustang Says:

      @ Linda

      I think it’s time to insert a positive note. I regard Tom Waldhauser and Larry Nicholson as true credits to the Marine Corps and its warrior ethos, and I would follow either of these men any place they’d care to lead. Waldhauser “bucked” the Commandant (Amos) when he attempted to assert unlawful command influence in the case of the Taliban pissers and basically told Amos to mind his own business or he’d take the matter to court. Jim Amos looked good in uniform, but that’s about all anyone could say about him. He was no leader.

      Nicholson is the officer who created “Marineistan” in Helmand Province. He accomplished that by informing Army commanders in Kabul that the Marines didn’t need their help or suggestions about how to fight insurgencies … we’ve been doing it for well over 100 years. He may have even suggested to them that if they ever got around to leaving their air-conditioned offices, they might learn something valuable about combat. I’ve written about Marineistan at Fix Bayonets (if you have the time). You can use the search box to find the (two) posts.

      We do (or did, since both of these officers are now retired) have a few good ones. I think we also need a few sergeants major to remind these not-so-good leaders to get their heads out of their behinds.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. hocuspocus13 Says:

    I guess that explains it …

    Why the Countries around the World are going to Russia for help in Afghanistan

    …and PS for a heads up

    Late Late last night the notorious she-devil Nancy Pelosi called everyone back in session to change the rules [[[quietly]]] so to pass the awful Green New Deal etc with trillions more tacked onto the debt

    Conservative Tree House has an excellent write up on it

    Liked by 2 people

    • bunkerville Says:

      I caught that on twitter… while we were looking the other way…. I just heard 5 house dems are insisting it be brought to the floor not sure how that works, and the AZ gal said a few minutes ago she will vote no.. Are they getting “woke.”?

      Like

  9. markone1blog Says:

    If …

    this be “fixed?” Sure — and it wouldn’t take long to accomplish — but only if Congress has the wisdom to see that it is necessary and the will to make it happen.

    Sounds like we might be in for a world of hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. markone1blog Says:

    I have heard that Obama did a number on our military by clearing out the conservatives from the brass. That would go a long way to explaining Milley and Mattis; however, I am not familiar enough with the whole subject to affirm the assertion.

    Is it true?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mustang Says:

      An officer’s oath of office should take precedence over political party affiliation. It is a solemn oath and a commitment to the Nation. I cannot say that the officers Obama fired were “conservatives.” I can say that those he forced out were warriors. Having fired a number of these who then served at high positions, what was left were the “yes men” (the political generals) who placed politics ahead of their personal and professional integrity. Many of these remain in high positions today, and none of them serve the interests of our country or its people; they, like most of our politicians, serve themselves.

      Liked by 3 people

      • markone1blog Says:

        Now that you have articulated this explanation, I remember that the person that the person I was reading likewise said that Obama forced out warriors of all stripes in lieu of “yes men.”

        Thanks for refreshing my memory and correcting the record.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mustang Says:

        Mark, you may be interested in researching what happened to General (four-star) Carter Ham, US Army. He commanded Africom during Benghazi. He was getting ready to send in a relief force of Marine Raiders, which was contrary to Obama’s orders when Obama had him arrested and relieved him of his command. Talk about an interesting “sea story.” It was an intention signal from Obama to either get in line or get fired. The good ones got fired or retired, and the POS stayed around to father the likes of Mark Milley, who I like to think of as a lollipop dressing up as a general.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bunkerville Says:

        https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/biden-told-us-commanders-not-rescue-americans-trapped-kabul-feared-black-hawk-moment-make-look-bad/

        Biden told US Commanders Not to Send Out Troops to Rescue Americans Trapped in Kabul Because He feared a ‘Black Hawk Down’ Moment — It Would Make Him Look Bad

        Like

      • Mustang Says:

        Interesting, Bunks. Although to be honest with you, I don’t know how it could be possible to make Biden look any worse than he already does. What a low creature he is … and unfit to serve as president (IMO). Did any of those “generals” who he ordered NOT to intervene resign in disgust? I’ll bet not.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bunkerville Says:

        The nightmare has only begun Mustang….. Aug 31. A day that shall remain in infamy.

        Like

  11. markone1blog Says:

    As Peter said and I echo, these bits of research are well appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. markone1blog Says:

    Interesting. I just blogged on stories that have not aged well — starting with the General Mattis story on how he would have staged a coup against Trump.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. peter3nj Says:

    Mustang:
    As always informative and excellently written, lending one not to put it down but to read the piece in it’s entirety. At one point though I found that today’s (maybe always the case) military is interchangeable with our political class where you say “devoid of personal and professional integrity.” Thanks as always

    Liked by 4 people


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