On accountability

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, commanding general of the North
Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center,
was relieved of command at 10 a.m. Thursday by Secretary of the Army
Dr. Francis Harvey, according to an Army press release. […]

Weightman
was informed this morning that the senior Army leadership had lost
trust and confidence in the commander’s leadership abilities to address
needed solutions for soldier-outpatient care at Walter Reed Army
Medical Center.

It has been a long time since a senior Army officer has taken been forced to accept responsibility for his actions or inactions. General Colonel Karpinski is the only one in recent memory. The Navy, by contrast, regularly sends commanders packing for running aground, bumping into fishing boats, etc.

The MFIC sits on a three-legged stool (authority, responsibility, perks) that all too often is missing a leg (responsibility). We saw this in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent recycling of national security seniors from discrete agencies into DNI positions. Almost none of those people should still be on the payroll, not because any given one of them is personally responsible for intelligence failures, but because that’s the price you are supposed to pay for being granted certain authorities. If you have nothing at risk, you are disinclined to do what is necessary to achieve real gains.

Unrealistic? In an age when everyone is special and no one makes judgment calls it may very well be. Cruel? It is not like someone with a Masters in International Relations (not to mention a security clearance) doesn’t have options outside the General Schedule.

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