US military plagued with `toxic commanders`, reveals Pentagon probe

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 15:13

Washington: The number of ` toxic commanders` in the US military has significantly increased in the past two years, a new report by the Pentagon has revealed.

Pentagon found that emotionally brutal behavior of generals and admirals has trickled down to even civilian leaders at the defense department, questioning its ability to detect and root out flaws in its command culture.

According to the Washington Post, there have been past instances where officers have complained about abusive leaders in the military system, including some, where the working atmosphere is described as `toxic`, `corrosive`, and akin to being `a prisoner of war camp.`

One such was Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Schmidt, who ran through six executive officers and aide-de-camps in a year and retired recently after an Air Force inquiry concluded that he was `cruel and oppressive` and mistreated subordinates.

Officers under Joyce E. Morrow, a civilian official at Army headquarters, complained of menial servitude and they revealed that they were forced to fetch Morrow`s iced tea, which she would refuse to drink if it was not served in a cup with a lid and a straw, but no ice.
The report said that although, most military commanders are upstanding and well respected by their troops, in the recent months, the armed forces have been rocked by series of sex scandals, gambling and drinking issues, among other ethical lapses.

The defense department`s current and former officers have blamed the tolerant system that is promoting too many lousy leaders.

To address the issue, the armed forces are increasing the number of surveys and evaluations in which troops are asked to rate their commanders, while to increase accountability, Congress adopted a measure late last year requiring that the surveys be provided to a commander`s immediate superior, the report added.

First Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 15:13
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