The Navy Times keeps a running tally of commanding officers (COs), executive officers (XOs), and senior enlisted advisers fired, each one broadcast across the front pages of the latest issues: “Relieved amid allegations of personal misconduct,” “Fired for a profound lack of good judgment and professionalism.” In 2011 the Navy relieved 22 COs, 5 XOs, and 12 command master chiefs (CMCs). By the end of 2012, it had fired another 25 COs, 5 XOs, and 15 CMCs—almost half for personal misconduct.1 While the rate remains low relative to the vast majority who serve successfully every day, many of these cases attract media attention and further scrutiny of the image of military leaders as ethical public servants. Captain Mark Light’s comprehensive analysis on the relief of COs in the Naval War College Review’s summer 2012 issue implores the Chief of Naval Operations to begin reforming our leadership and ethical training.2 But thus far, it appears the Navy has yet to take a deep, introspective look at how it trains senior leadership from their first day in commission as officers.
Better Education Makes Better Officers
We need comprehensive reform, including true joint and ethical training.
By Lieutenant Ryan Hilger, U.S. Navy