September 11, 2015
Bribery, gambling, misuse of
government funds, sexual misconduct: not the things you think about when it
comes to military officers.
After a series of embarrassing
scandals over the past few years, Congress tasked DoD with reviewing how it
addresses professional development and ethical behavior. Unfortunately,
according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), DoD has failed to
implement several necessary changes.
The biggest impediment to change is
that the department did not develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of the
program. Without adequate metrics, GAO says DoD has no idea if its efforts are
working, much less warranted.
According to the report, “Without
identifying information sources and developing intermediate goals and
performance metrics that are clear, quantifiable, and objective … decision
makers in DoD and Congress will not have full visibility into the department’s
progress on professionalism-related issues.”
Other issues identified in the
report include a failure of the Navy and Marine Corps to conduct 360
evaluations on all general and flag officers and for the Army and Air Force to
require command climate assessments in performance reviews.
The questions remain: Are today’s
military officers less ethical? Has the longest period of sustained conflict
eroded military leaders’ ability to distinguish right from wrong?
“Without reliable data,” said Col.
Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s Director of Government Relations, “there may
literally be no way to tell.”