After reading a few of these threads I notice a common complaint from some of the more senior members here. In the Basic Training Campus thread 20+ Years said this:
I am not picking on 20+ here because he is right but I think there is more to this. I only served 6 years in the AF but in that time I had the opportunity to see a lot of issues from different angles. I made SSgt at 3.5 years and I was supervising 5 troops by the time I got out. So needless to say I have been both the inexperienced NCO as well as the troop who needed help/info. During my time as an Amn I would have loved to use my chain of command but I quickly learned it simply does not work.As a first term Airmen, I was a low performer. However, I NEVER would have spoken to my flight Capt without going through my NCOIC. You just didn't go to the Capts office. Now days, how do you think that works with the Airmen when they want something?
Maybe I always had pretty bad supervisors but it seemed none of them were capable of even making a simple decision. I had one supervisor in particular who wouldn't even approve my leave requests without checking with his supervisor and the NCOIC. Anytime I wanted leave I would have to ask my supervisor and then wait while he asked 2-3 other people. After a few times I quickly learned it was much more efficient to simply ask the NCOIC if I can take leave and then tell my supervisor it was already approved and simply have him sign it in Leaveweb. This small issue is one thing I learned not to do when I was a supervisor. I always made it very clear that leave requests were approved by me and if I need to defend my decision to my supervisor I have no problem with that.
So I guess my question is which came first weak NCOs or the death of the Chain of Command? In my opinion the weak NCOs killed the Chain of Command. If your only purposes in the chain is to relay my information I really have no use for you. Especially with problems of a personal nature I can imagine a young Amn skipping the entire chain and going to the shirt. Why would you want to tell your supervisor so that he can tell his supervisor who can then tell the shirt? Why not just go talk to teh shirt yourself or even the commander? My opinion of Chain of Command is that it is useless unless people at the bottom of the chain actually try to solve the problem or make a decision.