Marine Corps leadership has relieved six unit commanders and senior officers in the space of a few weeks, and the commandant, Gen. James Amos, is sending a clear message that COs will be held accountable for everything that happens in their unit.
The commandant has portrayed this initiative as a needed course correction following a wave of poor decisions by some and negative publicity that have harmed the Corps’ reputation. But some believe he’s gone too far in his zeal to get the service back on track. During his 2012 Heritage Brief tour promoting individual integrity within the Corps, Amos came under fire for comments that appeared to demonstrate undue command influence, calling for more convictions against sex offenders in the Corps. Now, some fear his call for greater accountability will cost good officers their careers — and that the ground rules are unfair.
We talked to some of the Marine Corps’ most famous and beloved commanders who saw their careers ended abruptly when they were relieved from their posts.
Retired Lt. Col. Asad “Genghis” Khan said he went from being a future contender for commandant to being “treated like roadkill” when he was relieved from command of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marines in 2004. Now, he worries that the commandant’s campaign for heightened accountability will result in timid junior officers who are afraid to take risks and make tough decisions.
We also talked to two former commandants who spoke about the difficult decision process to remove a unit commander and how carefully that choice should be made.
Is the Marine Corps sacrificing its strongest leaders to get the service back on track? Or is this an important part of military discipline and a call for a stronger, more cohesive Corps?
Read the story here and let us know what you think in the comments.