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Thread: Army demotes former defense secretary's 3-star aide after scathing IG investigation

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    I'm completely with you that, in this case, the General got screwed, literally and figuratively. I don't think either of these guys should have gotten in trouble. I stated so at the beginning of this argument. However, taking person A who fraternizes and has an unprofessional relationship and person B who uses his GTC at a strip club and lies about it, there is no doubt that the punishment for person A should be much stronger than person B...One offense (person A) can actually lead to something inappropriate happening and it could possibly impact the mission. Person B going to a strip club doesn't hurt anyone.
    Debate ... not argument.

    I think both should have been held accountable.

    In the case of person A, he admitted to fraternization and adultery ... as a 3 and 4-star.

    In the case of person B, he was removed from a 3-star job, 3-star is temporary if not reassigned to a 3-star job in 90 days, so he reverted to 2-star. Why the reduction for retirement to 1-star? Don't know ... if for the action as a 3-star it seems to be piling on.

    I do suspect that in the case of person B, it was the false official statements more than the strip errrrr "dance" club. A simple lie, from someone in a special position of trust who is expected to be beyond reproach is a big deal.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    I'm completely with you that, in this case, the General got screwed, literally and figuratively. I don't think either of these guys should have gotten in trouble. I stated so at the beginning of this argument. However, taking person A who fraternizes and has an unprofessional relationship and person B who uses his GTC at a strip club and lies about it, there is no doubt that the punishment for person A should be much stronger than person B...One offense (person A) can actually lead to something inappropriate happening and it could possibly impact the mission. Person B going to a strip club doesn't hurt anyone.
    Debate ... not argument.

    I think both should have been held accountable.

    In the case of person A, he admitted to fraternization and adultery ... as a 3 and 4-star.

    In the case of person B, he was removed from a 3-star job, 3-star is temporary if not reassigned to a 3-star job in 90 days, so he reverted to 2-star. Why the reduction for retirement to 1-star? Don't know ... if for the action as a 3-star it seems to be piling on.

    I do suspect that in the case of person B, it was the false official statements more than the strip errrrr "dance" club. A simple lie, from someone in a special position of trust who is expected to be beyond reproach is a big deal.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    Debate ... not argument.

    I think both should have been held accountable.

    In the case of person A, he admitted to fraternization and adultery ... as a 3 and 4-star.

    In the case of person B, he was removed from a 3-star job, 3-star is temporary if not reassigned to a 3-star job in 90 days, so he reverted to 2-star. Why the reduction for retirement to 1-star? Don't know ... if for the action as a 3-star it seems to be piling on.

    I do suspect that in the case of person B, it was the false official statements more than the strip errrrr "dance" club. A simple lie, from someone in a special position of trust who is expected to be beyond reproach is a big deal.
    You're still speaking in specifics...take the stars out of it...take the positions out of it, because they don't matter...we have two people...one person lied about something that doesn't hurt anyone involved...the other cheated on his wife and misused his authority. Could have been a 3 star...could have been a high school teacher...could have been a baseball coach...could have been the night manager at McDonalds...it makes no difference. One is far worse than the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    You're still speaking in specifics...take the stars out of it...take the positions out of it, because they don't matter...we have two people...one person lied about something that doesn't hurt anyone involved...the other cheated on his wife and misused his authority. Could have been a 3 star...could have been a high school teacher...could have been a baseball coach...could have been the night manager at McDonalds...it makes no difference. One is far worse than the other.
    Agree ... one is far worse than the other (and if the unproven assault also true, it is a travesty). In the civilian world much of this isn't even in the preview of your employer.

    Big picture, you are right ... take the specifics out and both are a much more benign issue than they are because in these specific situations both are in the military where our rules are different, our lives are different. It isn't just a job, if people want just a job without the extra benefits and (at times) drawbacks of the military ... that is fine ... they should go find a job.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    Agree ... one is far worse than the other (and if the unproven assault also true, it is a travesty). In the civilian world much of this isn't even in the preview of your employer.

    Big picture, you are right ... take the specifics out and both are a much more benign issue than they are because in these specific situations both are in the military where our rules are different, our lives are different. It isn't just a job, if people want just a job without the extra benefits and (at times) drawbacks of the military ... that is fine ... they should go find a job.
    I guess that's where we disagree most...IMO it's just a job. I'm not, nor was I, more important than anyone working any other job. My NCOIC was no more important than the manager at the water company. My Commander was no more important than the head doctor at the hospital. You put someone incompetent in either position and there are huge, very bad, consequences that put lives in danger.

    And you're right...in most jobs that stuff doesn't fall under the purview of the employer. There's a very good reason for that. And, for the most part, it doesn't happen in the military, either. There's a reason, as you know, that the IG and that the defense counsel don't answer to the same chain of command. It's because the chain of command can't be expected to make objective decisions. Certain people will be given the benefit of the doubt...it's human nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    I guess that's where we disagree most...IMO it's just a job. I'm not, nor was I, more important than anyone working any other job. My NCOIC was no more important than the manager at the water company. My Commander was no more important than the head doctor at the hospital. You put someone incompetent in either position and there are huge, very bad, consequences that put lives in danger.
    We do disagree there. But it isn't about the NCOIC or Commander being more important than a manager or doctor ... it is just that the roles are different, the duties are different and the responsibilities are different. In your field in the Air Force & in my current assignment it may not be much different, in Combat Arms or at sea etc. the differences are much larger and IMO needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    And you're right...in most jobs that stuff doesn't fall under the purview of the employer. There's a very good reason for that. And, for the most part, it doesn't happen in the military, either.
    Probably depends on where you are in the military too.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    There's a reason, as you know, that the IG and that the defense counsel don't answer to the same chain of command. It's because the chain of command can't be expected to make objective decisions. Certain people will be given the benefit of the doubt...it's human nature.
    I think the commanders are expected to make objective decisions, and for the most part are good about that. At the same time, there are certain things that need a third party to look at ... some of the best views are from the outside looking in.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post

    I think the commanders are expected to make objective decisions, and for the most part are good about that.
    I've seen, and I'm sure you've seen, situations in a Squadron where two people get two completely different punishments for the same crime. DUI, for example...one guy gets stripe pulled and fined while the other guy only gets license suspended with zero fine, keeps stripe, etc. This is guys working in the same squadron at the same rank. How is that possible? It's possible because punishments are subjective. Maybe one guy is involved in all the BBQs, gets a 98% on his PT test, has that A-type personality and everyone likes him. The other guy does his job very well but isn't visible in the squadron...runs a little slower, etc. Two different guys, two different punishments, same crime. There can be no claim that there is objectivity. It's why I'm not a big fan of NJP with stuff like this. IMO, the only NJP type stuff should be for rules broken that are strictly UCMJ type rules...not for things that are also crimes in the civilian world. For instance, the cops aren't gonna arrest me downtown for telling my boss he's a douche bag...but that's definitely something that could require NJP.

    Crimes, however, are crimes, and should be treated objectively, all the time. If the courts find mitigating circumstances then so be it, but equal crimes MUST garner equal punishment or the system doesn't work.

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    [QUOTE=sandsjames;369891]I've seen, and I'm sure you've seen, situations in a Squadron where two people get two completely different punishments for the same crime. DUI, for example...one guy gets stripe pulled and fined while the other guy only gets license suspended with zero fine, keeps stripe, etc. This is guys working in the same squadron at the same rank. How is that possible? It's possible because punishments are subjective.

    Without knowing the mitigating circumstances, I couldn't tell you. Most of what I have seen for DUI's has been pretty uniform maxing folks out. What I have seen for other offenses (theft etc.) has been looking at who was the ring leader vice a follower -- which resulted in different punishments.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    Maybe one guy is involved in all the BBQs, gets a 98% on his PT test, has that A-type personality and everyone likes him. The other guy does his job very well but isn't visible in the squadron...runs a little slower, etc.
    What you are describing is the 'whole person concept', which I know you have heard. Again, why the military isn't just a job is because how you are evaluated is not just how you do your job, it is also how good of a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    Two different guys, two different punishments, same crime. There can be no claim that there is objectivity. It's why I'm not a big fan of NJP with stuff like this. IMO, the only NJP type stuff should be for rules broken that are strictly UCMJ type rules...not for things that are also crimes in the civilian world. For instance, the cops aren't gonna arrest me downtown for telling my boss he's a douche bag...but that's definitely something that could require NJP.

    Crimes, however, are crimes, and should be treated objectively, all the time. If the courts find mitigating circumstances then so be it, but equal crimes MUST garner equal punishment or the system doesn't work.
    I am not a fan and automatic "crime A gets punishment X", because in some cases it ties the hand of the adjudicator. We put commanders, or civilian judges etc. into their positions to exercise authority, make decisions, live with and in some cases be held accountable for those decisions. In part it is looking at extenuating circumstances, secondary effects and in part it based on the individual. I have seen some people reduced for an incident and others confined to the barracks and put on extra duty for 45 or 60 days ... the reasoning being that one didn't care if you reduced him ... he was getting out and DNGAF, but mess with his free time and he got the message and afterward at least went through the motions that were required. I saw someone not reduced, but fined and confined to the barracks to avoiding dinging his family too much ... maybe it isn't fair to the guy who does get reduced, but commanders & judges can be subjective in their adjudication ... I think they should be allowed to be.

    NJP and more about maintaining good order & discipline than punishment(which is unique to the miltiary and again ... not a job), but yes, you can punish someone to enforce the required order and discipline. The same types of subjective judgement you will find in civilian courts ... unless you establish an equation (infraction A, punishment X) you won't get what you are saying you want; I don't like that mentality because it sets up someone to be Jean Valjean (character from Les Miserables, 19 years in prison for theft ... stole bread to feed his sister's family ... but still a thief). What about someone late to work because their car broke down, technically violated Art 86., so punish them as you would someone who was late because they were sleeping off a bender? Both not at their appointed place of duty at the required time but two very different scenarios.

    Digging into any incident ... it is so rare to find two that are 'exactly' alike that to punish them the same may not be warranted.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    [QUOTE=Mjölnir;369892]
    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    I've seen, and I'm sure you've seen, situations in a Squadron where two people get two completely different punishments for the same crime. DUI, for example...one guy gets stripe pulled and fined while the other guy only gets license suspended with zero fine, keeps stripe, etc. This is guys working in the same squadron at the same rank. How is that possible? It's possible because punishments are subjective.

    Without knowing the mitigating circumstances, I couldn't tell you. Most of what I have seen for DUI's has been pretty uniform maxing folks out. What I have seen for other offenses (theft etc.) has been looking at who was the ring leader vice a follower -- which resulted in different punishments.



    What you are describing is the 'whole person concept', which I know you have heard. Again, why the military isn't just a job is because how you are evaluated is not just how you do your job, it is also how good of a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman you are.



    I am not a fan and automatic "crime A gets punishment X", because in some cases it ties the hand of the adjudicator. We put commanders, or civilian judges etc. into their positions to exercise authority, make decisions, live with and in some cases be held accountable for those decisions. In part it is looking at extenuating circumstances, secondary effects and in part it based on the individual. I have seen some people reduced for an incident and others confined to the barracks and put on extra duty for 45 or 60 days ... the reasoning being that one didn't care if you reduced him ... he was getting out and DNGAF, but mess with his free time and he got the message and afterward at least went through the motions that were required. I saw someone not reduced, but fined and confined to the barracks to avoiding dinging his family too much ... maybe it isn't fair to the guy who does get reduced, but commanders & judges can be subjective in their adjudication ... I think they should be allowed to be.

    NJP and more about maintaining good order & discipline than punishment(which is unique to the miltiary and again ... not a job), but yes, you can punish someone to enforce the required order and discipline. The same types of subjective judgement you will find in civilian courts ... unless you establish an equation (infraction A, punishment X) you won't get what you are saying you want; I don't like that mentality because it sets up someone to be Jean Valjean (character from Les Miserables, 19 years in prison for theft ... stole bread to feed his sister's family ... but still a thief). What about someone late to work because their car broke down, technically violated Art 86., so punish them as you would someone who was late because they were sleeping off a bender? Both not at their appointed place of duty at the required time but two very different scenarios.

    Digging into any incident ... it is so rare to find two that are 'exactly' alike that to punish them the same may not be warranted.
    I'll simply say this again, and leave it at that. NJP should have to do with UCMJ violations that aren't covered in the civilian world. Other crimes should be punished via a court.

    This is a situation that, when instituted, made sense. The military wasn't as public as it is today. Units handled their problems internally. A Sgt used to be able to deal with the junior enlisted in a way that would ensure compliance. That's no longer possible because of visibility towards the public media. The UCJM is absolutely necessary for to handle issues the civilian world isn't equipped to deal with. However, the ability for the military to protect their people FROM repercussion for violating civilian laws has far passed it's time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post

    I'll simply say this again, and leave it at that. NJP should have to do with UCMJ violations that aren't covered in the civilian world. Other crimes should be punished via a court.

    This is a situation that, when instituted, made sense. The military wasn't as public as it is today. Units handled their problems internally. A Sgt used to be able to deal with the junior enlisted in a way that would ensure compliance. That's no longer possible because of visibility towards the public media. The UCJM is absolutely necessary for to handle issues the civilian world isn't equipped to deal with. However, the ability for the military to protect their people FROM repercussion for violating civilian laws has far passed it's time.
    Okay, my Art 86 example is purely military in nature.

    Two individuals, neither at appointed place of duty at the required time but for two very different reasons (one due to a car break down, one who was too drunk to get up and come to work). Do you punish them both the same?

    Punish both the same and I think you are likely being overly harsh on the one whose car broke down.

    Don't punish them both the same (or don't punish one at all) and you are being subjective about an 'identical' infraction.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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