Special Operations Command this week released its long-awaited report on the “culture and ethics” of the elite military units. The 69-page report concluded there is no "systemic ethics problem" in the special operations community, but also acknowledged it needed to address certain issues resulting from a high operations tempo insufficient leadership.
Per Task and Purpose, Constant deployments have caused rest periods to be "habitually broken" and cohesive teams to constantly be split up, all of which "challenges unit integrity and leader development, and erodes readiness," the review found.
When it comes to recruiting, the review found the special operations community overemphasizes physical training. The special treatment that special operations candidates receive during their selection and training also fosters "an unhealthy sense of entitlement.”
The ethics review also found the special operations community does not devote enough time and resources to junior leadership development and professional military education. As a result, many officers and enlisted leaders, "Struggle to grasp the fundamentals of officer-enlisted leaderships, mentorship practices, accountability and discipline."
Overall, the special operations community puts too much emphasis on combat experience when measuring how well leaders perform, according to the review.
The Washington Post wasted no time in using the report as a reason to once again attack SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher, saying the “ethical squeeze” in the SEALs “got worse” last year, when President Trump intervened in a military discipline case to protect a publicity-hungry SEAL named Eddie Gallagher, who had become a darling of Fox News despite allegations that he had violated SEAL rules.”
Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel.
Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke, the SOCOM commander, told reporters Tuesday: “We have a ‘can do’ culture with a bias toward action,” but nearly two decades of war have “imbalanced that culture” and “set conditions favorable for inappropriate behavior.”
Clarke underlined that message Tuesday with a letter to the roughly 75,000 servicemembers under SOCOM: “Trust is our currency,” he wrote, but recent discipline issues have “jeopardized that trust.”
SOCOM warned in its 69-page report that it had “uncovered not only potential cracks in the SOF foundations at the individual and team level, but also through the chain of command, specifically in the core [tenets] of discipline and accountability.” If the underlying conditions aren’t addressed, “unethical behavior and misconduct” could put performance and safety at risk.
Those points are valid and well-taken, but “unethical behavior” would seem to better describe the misconduct by Gallagher’s prosecutor and agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) – misconduct like illegal surveillance.
Gallagher’s critics seem to conveniently forget all major charges against him were dropped. And his remaining “crime,” however you may feel about it, is not only not uncommon, but no member of the military has been prosecuted for it in decades…except Eddie Gallagher.
But as we all know by now, Gallagher’s biggest crime was having the support of Donald J. Trump. The president’s critics will never let up in their efforts to destroy his presidency, even if it means destroying others along the way.