Crises in the U.S. Navy tend to be viewed as isolated problems. Sexual assaults, binge drinking,synthetic-drug rings, port-call prostitution, the “Fat Leonard” scandal, Tailhook ̓91, and the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) collisions, however, all share a common thread—issues of character. The Navy’s core has been weakened by a culture that cultivates too many leaders who are distracted by goals such as promotion, command status, loss avoidance, or personal gratification, which causes them to make poor ethical decisions, compromising their character in the process. It is time to strengthen the character side of the Navy Leadership Development Framework (NLDF) and for Navy community leaders to drive programs that teach leaders to act with both competence and character.1 These new and effective sets of leadership development tools also will reinforce the development of and help retain the emerging millennial force.
1. ADM John M. Richardson, USN, “Navy Leader Development Framework 2.0,” Chief of Naval Operations, www.navy.mil/cno/docs/NLDF_2.pdf. The Navy’s community leads are identified in “NAVADMIN 060/17,” www.public.navy.mil/bupers npc/reference/messages/Documents/NAVADMINS/NAV2017/NAV17060.txt.
2. Kenneth Goodpaster, “Ethics or Excellence? Conscience as a Check on the Unbalanced Pursuit of Organizational Goals,” Ivey Business Journal (March/April 2004), iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/ethics-or-excellence-conscience-as-a-check-on-the-unbalanced-pursuit-of-organizational-goals/.
3. Goodpaster, “Ethics or Excellence?”
4. Kenneth Goodpaster, “Work, Spirituality and the Moral Point of View,” International Journal of Value-Based Management 7, no. 1, 49–62.
5. Goodpaster, “Work, Spirituality and the Moral Point of View.”
6. ADM Harry Harris Jr., USN, “Final Endorsement on Command Investigation into the Circumstances Surrounding a Class Alpha Mishap Involving HSC-6 MH-60S Aircraft, BUNO 167985, Which Occurred At N 22° 34’ 18” E 037° 25’ 29” Resulting in the Deaths of LCDR Landon L. Jones, USN, and CWO3 Jonathan S. Gibson, USN, on 22 Sep 2013,” U.S. Pacific Fleet Official Endorsement, 2014.
7. Goodpaster, “Work, Spirituality and the Moral Point of View.”
8. Guy Snodgrass, “Keep a Weather Eye on the Horizon,” Naval War College Review 67, no 4. (Autumn 2014), 64–92.
9. Compare GEN Peter Pace, USMC, “Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States,” U.S. Department of Defense: Joint Publication 1, 2007, to GEN Martin Dempsey, USA, “Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States,” U.S. Department of Defense: Joint Publication 1 2014.
10. Goodpaster, “Work, Spirituality and the Moral Point of View.”
11. Craig Whitlock and Kevin Uhrmacher, “Prostitutes, Vacations, and Cash: The Navy Officials ‘Fat Leonard’ Took Down,” The Washington Post, 20 September 2018.
12. Craig Whitlock, “Leaks, Feasts and Sex Parties: How ‘Fat Leonard’ Infiltrated the Navy’s Floating Headquarters in Asia,” The Washington Post, 23 January 2018.
13. Craig Whitlock, “The Man Who Seduced the Seventh Fleet,” The Washington Post, 27 May 2016.
14. Government Accountability Office, “Navy Readiness: Actions Needed to Address Persistent Maintenance, Training, and Other Challenges Facing the Fleet,” 7 September 2017.
15. David B. Larter, “U.S. Navy Worked Around Its Own Standards to Keep Ships Underway: Sources,” Defense News, 7 September 2017.
16. ADM Phillip S. Davidson, USN, “Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents,” United States Fleet Forces Command Official Report 2017.
17. For more on this topic see Harvard Kennedy School course offerings at www.hks.harvard.edu/faculty/ronald-heifetz and www.hks.harvard.edu/faculty/marshall-ganz.
18. Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen, and Kari L. Granger, “Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Approach,” Harvard Business School Negotiation, Organizations and Markets Research Papers, 30 May 2013.
19. CDR Darcie Cunningham, USCG, “Millennials Bring a New Mentality: Does it Fit?” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 140, no. 8 (August 2014).
20. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, “The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey,” www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-millenial-survey-2016-exec-summary.pdf.
21. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, “The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey.”