From the Deckplates - The Paramount Duty of Us All

By Senior Chief Jim Murphy, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Another disturbing situation is the string of high-profile failures in judgment, sometimes professional but too often reflecting weak personal character. One example of this is the prosecution of several military and civilian officials for the disclosure of classified information to and acceptance of bribes from Navy contractor “Fat Leonard” Francis.

Congress must renew its commitment to the principal responsibility of defending the Constitution and making decisions that are honestly necessary for our national defense before its members seek to protect their personal interests. Continued acquisition of surplus equipment at the expense of needed modernization or deficit reduction harms readiness and is bankrupting our nation. Members’ oath of office demands better.

Military leaders, veterans, and citizens must hold Congress accountable and speak out against exaggerated statements and self-serving spending. Senior military officials must make decisions based on readiness instead of social pressures, and must speak to Congress in more compelling ways while respecting its oversight role. Citizens must call and write to elected and appointed officials to demand fiscal responsibility and better leadership.

None of us can sit idly by and allow elected and uniformed leaders to financially and martially bankrupt our national defense. We must not forget yesterday’s lessons lest they become tomorrow’s disaster. A hundred years after his article appeared, Admiral Fiske’s call remains the paramount duty of us all.

Senior Chief Murphy retired from the Navy after 21 years of service. He is a contributing author to Everyday Leader Heroes (Caboodle Books).


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