It Starts at the Top

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he plans to assign a general officer to report directly to him regarding military ethics, character and leadership issues. This officer, who has not yet been named, also will work with each of the services to make sure actions are coordinated across all branches on this topic. “Competence and character are not mutually exclusive. They are woven together. They must be. And, an uncompromising culture of accountability must exist at every level of command,” Hagel told Pentagon reporters on Friday. He added, “Ethics and character are the foundation of an institution and a society. They must be constantly emphasized at every level of command, in training, curriculum, and all phases of DOD in both the officer and the enlisted corps, top to bottom.” The focus on ethics and leaderships comes after allegations of wide spread cheating in both the Air Force and Navy nuclear communities. Hagel said tackling this problem will be “an absolute top priority.” He said he plans to continue meeting weekly with the service Secretaries and members of the Joint Chiefs, so he can be updated “on the progress we are making.” (Hagel transcript)