DoD to Replicate Air Force Welfare Inspection to Change Culture

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced the entire Department of Defense will mimic the “health and welfare” inspection conducted by the Air Force late last year to round up “offensive” materials.

The workplace searches will be conducted by “component heads” before July 1, and Hagel expects each service to submit a report summarizing the findings. The Air Force leadership will submit a report based on inspections it ordered in late 2012 and will not be expected to conduct a new round of searches.

The article also notes Secretary Hagel intends to hold leaders responsible for the “cultural change” necessary for an environment of “dignity and respect.”

The “culture” has recently come under scrutiny, as Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Amos attributed “bad behavior” on the part of some US Marines to “poor command climates:”

The commandant of the Marine Corps must “keep the moral and ethical health of our institution front and center” … and must acknowledge that “in some cases, our enforcement of important standards has slipped.”

Similarly, the New York Times recently made a point of highlighting that US military flag officers will be required to be evaluated on their personal character.

“You can have someone of incredible character who can’t lead their way out of a forward operating base because they don’t have the competence to understand the application of military power, and that doesn’t do me any good,” General Dempsey said. “Conversely, you can have someone who is intensely competent, who is steeped in the skills of the profession, but doesn’t live a life of character. And that doesn’t do me any good.”

It would seem the US military suddenly found itself wanting in the area of character while simultaneously at a loss of how to fix it.  Perhaps a 2012 article from the Journal of Faith and War might be illuminating.  While lengthy, it specifically addresses the issues of ethics in the military:  Beyond the Limits of Codified Morality: A Christian Military Ethic.