Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sequestration, Resignation, & Budgetary Grabassery.

Last week over at USNIBlog, a few JOs put out a post that, in summary, call for;
... leadership must accept the full burden of their command.

Resignation is the only option for strategic-level leadership that truly disagrees with sequestration; the time has come for a new Revolt of the Admirals.
I respect and empathize with their frustration. Their hearts and minds are in the right place, but I think they are about 1/4 out of phase.

1. Sequestration is nothing more than politics. Two of the very big Titans of our system of government, the Legislative and the Executive Branches, are at loggerheads of their own creation - part of that messy part of a representative republic in action. This is political, and any act related to it will be taken by one side or the other as political unless it is clearly seen as a natural 2nd or 3rd order effect of the political friction. The military, in uniform in their official capacity, should avoid at all possible costs being involved in politics. There is being "in DC" and being "of DC." Yes, yes, yes ... I know the reality is different and very messy - but we go there at our own peril. Those who play in that game need to understand the downside both personally and professionally - as well as morally. Be careful what you ask for in politics - and don't bluff if you can't cover the call; odds are you will be called. I am the first one to snort at professional politicians, but I know better than to try to play their game. Even those I have the most contempt for, I would never go at them in a frontal assault, nor would I step out in a "come at me bro" stance. Do that and you and the service you are part of will lose.

2. Is there at time to resign? Sure, that is when you are given an order that is illegal or in good conscience cannot carry out. What is going on right now is about as far as "they" could and should go; "Oh, I can't do that ... sorry." That is fine. Resigning because the Executive and Legislative Branches are at loggerheads? That isn't a bug in our system, that is a feature. Our system was designed like that. I can no more recommend someone resign over the budgetary grabassery, than I can recommend someone resign over excessive freedom of the press.

As for the leadership issue writ large, while there are some exceptional 3 & 4-stars out there - you've heard my point before about the need to start over. The BURKE option; where in 1955 he was selected over 99 officers senior to him - every four and three star officer in the Navy and a number of senior two star officers - to relieve Admiral Robert Carney as the Chief of Naval Operations. We need the right civilians to reach down to the 1-2 star ranks and bypass those with the taint of the lost decade that has put us where we are. That ain't happening for the next four years, so embrace the suck folks. Do the best for your Sailors and your Commands and let time, luck and yes, politics take care of the rest.


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