Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Social Engineering, the Military and Leadership

Over the past 70 or so years, the military has been used as a social engineering prototype for society.

Look at the success of the integration of the races within the military--from segregated units at the beginning of WW2 to shortly thereafter fully integrated units. There is a case to be made that the great baseball player, number 42, Jackie Robinson or the Syracuse running back Ernie Davis could never have been successful in crossing the color barrier without the social engineering which preceded them in the military.

I have been reading about the recent spate of sexual misconduct problems in the military, and frankly, I am mystified. Women and men have been working together in the military for decades. I know, I have personal experience working for and with women. I can categorically state that it works. Just like the integration of races, the integration of genders is a military decades long pioneered success story.

So what is different now that all of these incidents are being reported?

In my mind it is leadership. Or the lack of leadership from the lowest to the highest levels.

We live in a risk averse society and the military is beginning to adopt a risk averse mentality. This is a recipe for failure. The military, by design, is a high risk environment. Where else is the reward for doing you duty faithfully possibly death?

The current crop of military leadership has grown up in an environment of microscopic oversight which leads to legal entanglements and a stifling of initiative which results in management rather than leadership. And it results in rules and laws replacing the demand for common sense and good judgement.

The loss of judgement by leaders is what is behind the problems currently being experienced by our military.

We need, our military needs a new crop of leaders who can make decisions without having to consult lawyers before making a decision.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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