This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

Truth Seeking Truth

Loss of Confidence Goes Both Ways

Mike Ford 11/8/2021 7:23 AM

The President of the United States, having reposed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of….

The Captain of yet another Naval warship has been relieved by his senior commanders for “loss of confidence,” reports the United States Naval Institute, a non-profit think tank that focuses on Naval issues. The attack submarine, USS Connecticut, evidently ran into an underwater obstacle while on patrol. From the article (emphasis mine):

The commander, executive officer and senior enlisted sailor for attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) have been fired following the results of an investigation into the Oct. 2 underwater collision in the South China Sea, the Navy announced on Thursday.

Connecticut commanding officer Cmdr. Cameron Aljilani, executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Cashin and Chief of the Boat Cory Rodgers were removed from their positions at the direction of U.S. 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Karl Thomas.

The reliefs are due to loss of confidence. Thomas determined sound judgement, prudent decision-making, and adherence to required procedures in navigation planning, watch team execution and risk management could have prevented the incident,” reads a statement from the Navy.

READ: USS Connecticut CO, XO, COB Relieved Over Collision in South China Sea ‘Due to Loss of Confidence’

There has been a spate of military commanders being relieved over the past decade. The reasons vary from running ships into other ships or objects to moral turpitude. Invariably, the verbiage used by the superior authorities doing the relieving contains the verbiage: “lack of confidence in his/her ability to command.” Although there might be a few standout instances of unfairness, for the most part, the reliefs were rightly justified. So, why is this happening?

The first thing that comes to mind, is that the system that puts these officers in command billets, has defects. I don’t know how the Navy does it, but the Army has a pretty rigorous screening process that determines fitness for command above Detachment or Company level. Starting with Battalion command (Lieutenant Colonel level) command selection is by a centralized board at Department of the Army. I would assume the Navy has an equivalent process to select the folks who will take charge of multi-million/billion-dollar warships, their crews and in some cases, nuclear weapons.

While admitting that no system is perfect, perhaps the selection process isn’t focusing on the right attributes required for promotion candidates. We will delve more deeply into that later. So, you might be asking at this point, “Are you going somewhere with this Ford?” Great question. We’ve discussed the expectations superior commanders have of their subordinates.  It’s quite correct to remove subordinate commanders who fail to live up to those expectations and the awesome responsibility they have to safeguard the lives of our sons and daughters entrusted to their care. But what about the expectations subordinates have of their superior commanders? What about (to quote an Army promotion order) subordinates’ “special trust and confidence in their commanders’ “patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities?” Where does that come into play?

We are starting to see some indicators of that. Those indicators are manifesting in an area long assumed to be within the military’s purview when it comes to the health and readiness of its warriors…vaccinations. I’m sure those of you who have been a minute or two serving, well remember this image. Getting your shots, when being inducted and prior to deployment was just part of the business. What changed?

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Otis Historical Archives/National Museum of Health and Medicine

On a recent edition of the Sean Hannity Show on Fox News, 3 former West Point Cadets spoke out regarding the Academy and Department of Defense mandatory vaccination policy…along with some other issues. Have a listen and then we’ll proceed.

Here is the Fox News Link

Both Sampson and MacDonald have also published opinion pieces on their treatment and the overall culture at West Point.

Nickayla Sampson:https://amgreatness.com/2021/10/30/west-point-vaccine-mandate-is-an-unlawful-order/

Hannah MacDonald: How COVID Vaccine Coercion Drove Me Out Of West Point

West Point, as cloistered as it is, isn’t the only part of the military that appears to be having some angst with this order. Mid-grade officers, folks just short of a fully funded retirement and medical care for the rest of their lives, are choosing to walk away from that well-earned reward for faithful service.

In his resignation letter, LTC Paul Douglas Hague writes: 

“First, and foremost, I am incapable of subjecting myself to the unlawful, unethical, immoral and tyrannical order to sit still and allow a serum to be injected into my flesh against my will and better judgment,” 

Read: Army officer resigns over Biden vaccine mandate, ‘Marxist takeover of the military’

LTC Hague isn’t the only one. Although this is nowhere near a full scale revolt, we do have to ask why field grade officers of more than one branch are publicly immolating themselves. Over at Task and Purpose, a military oriented news and opinion site, Jeff Schogol believes he has the answer. He writes

There must be something in the water that mid-level military officers are drinking because four of them have publicly thrown down with their chain of command since spring and the acts of open defiance show no signs of slowing down.

 Since May, a Space Force lieutenant colonel has claimed that the military’s diversity and anti-extremism training are rooted in Marxism; a Marine lieutenant colonel became a lightning rod for openly critiquing military leadership over the Afghanistan withdrawal while in uniform; an Army lieutenant colonel has tried to resign just short of retirement because he believes that requiring troops to be vaccinated for COVID-19 is an “unlawful, unethical, immoral, and tyrannical order”; and a Navy commander has gone on Fox News to promote conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines.

Read: At least four mid-level officers have revolted against military leaders. What is going on?

Schogol does a pretty decent job at explaining many of the factors that these officers must consider before jumping into the public fray and ultimately destroying promising careers. But then he quotes retired Army Colonel Bob Wilson who states

“You’re at 17, 18 years; you’ve kind of chosen your lot in life, and you may not be super happy with it – a kind of middle-age kind of thing, mid-life thing,” said Wilson, a fellow with the New America think tank’s International Security program.

Followed by

Also, the country has become decidedly “hyper-partisan” in recent years and more people getting most of their news from sources that conform with their own political beliefs, Wilson said, adding that he thinks senior leaders should take a fresh look at how the military educates officers.

I dissent. First of all, let me handle the low-hanging fruit. This isn’t a training issue, at least how COL(R) Wilson appears to believe. These officers knew full well what they were doing, the possible repercussions and the reason military discipline requires such sanctions. THEIR training isn’t the issue. We need to go back to where I started this, trust and confidence.

Each and every officer either serving or aspiring (USMA Cadets) in this situation, opined that it wasn’t simply the forced vaccination that led to their actions. In so many words, all of these officers have lost trust and confidence in the abilities and judgment of their leaders…leaders they will have to follow into battle some day and if stuck in a metal tube 1,000 feet underwater, believing that their Captain won’t kill them by running into an underwater mountain. More to follow on military leaders and priorities. Stay tuned!

Article first posted in American Free News Network

Re-Posted With Permission From Mike Ford

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