The media has been abounding in negative stories about the climate in today’s military. The Air Force Officer Nuclear Cheating Scandals (see: http://www.stripes.com/news/air-force-secretary-proposes-changes-to-missile-force-1.264657 and http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140130/NEWS/301300016/Nearly-half-missileers-Malmstrom-now-tied-cheating-investigation ), General Officer Misconduct (see: http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140130/CAREERS03/301300009/AFSOC-one-star-relieved-command-amid-IG-investigation-into-alleged-inappropriate-relationship- ) and issues of toxic leadership (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pentagon-investigations-point-to-military-system-that-promotes-abusive-leaders/2014/01/28/3e1be1f0-8799-11e3-916e-e01534b1e132_story.html?wprss=rss_national-security and http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/5643345-life-at-ndu-gen-martin-said-to-threaten-to-fire-anyone-who-questions-h ).
Today’s military has earned the respect of the general US population even though smaller and smaller segments of that population seem to have direct experience with the military. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been brought home as never before due to the relentless OpTempo of deployments and redeployments.
Pending budget cuts, RIFs and other action are putting pressure on the services and their components to compete for declining budgets.
What does this mean for the MISO force?
Frankly it means that Officers and their NCOs need to work together as never before. The bond of trust that had been taken for granted in most military circles apparently needs to be renewed. Officers need to lead by example while CSMs and 1SGs need to mentor and coach as never before.
Today’s force has been tempered by repeated exposures to combat. This means they have developed a no “BS” mentality and their views cannot be simply brushed aside because of rank. Today’s junior NCOs in particular have been put in positions of responsibility that their non-military peers cannot perceive. The Officer Corps for its part must buffer the troops from the machinations of Higher HQ.
This may mean expressing candid views within the chain of command (behind closed doors of course) and to be the voice of common sense and advocate for troop mental and physical welfare.
Staff officers bear the responsibility of bringing bad news to the boss in a timely manner and of being the voice of reason in the face of ludicrous demands from Higher. This is not an easy role and one that Majors in particular will find challenging. Nevertheless this is a responsibility that must be shouldered.
Being the CDR is an honor and a privilege. CDRs have to lead by example and be their soldiers’ advocates in the halls of Higher HQ. The coming years will be challenging, hopefully the MISO community is up to the task and will be recognized as head and shoulders above the other branches for their leadership in the face of mental and fiscal adversity.