A fascinating study was released in February of 2015 by a variety of authors including retired military officers and professors at the US Army War College. It is cleverly named Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession. As one can imagine, the study is about the lack of truth and how far it permeates through the culture of the military. Focusing specifically on the Army, the authors identified the many ways that we lie to ourselves and our senior leaders on a daily basis – but also looked at whether or not the institution of the military was encouraging this lying.
One of the simple premises for this discussion focuses on the mandatory training that military figures have come to loathe. It is the 20 second discussion which has been adopted by an organization in the military and turned into a 45 minute online video which must be watched on a government computer with dozens of questions that must be answered by each individual service member. This ignores the lack of government computers to conduct the training as well as the ridiculous nature of a 45 minute online game show to convince people that they should be respectful of each other, or refrain from being abusive in relationships. This is but one of the many examples that units face every day.
The study assesses that mandatory training alone would require 297 days… out of a total of 256 available! So how does an organization that requires more work to be done than time is available expect that members will be truthful? How do service members balance the requirement to conduct seemingly useless mandatory training while also having to conduct extremely necessary combat training? How should subordinates react when they know they are given a 10 gallon bag and are told to put 15 gallons of water in it?
Quite simply, they lie.
The organizational failure is not in the expectations that service members will be honest all the time, but in the lack of reality surrounding the requirements that cannot conceivably be accomplished while simultaneously being critical of subordinates who cannot accomplish the requirements.
The military is surely not alone in this shortsightedness. Most institutions demonstrate it in some form or another. It is the company that does not notify its employees about a requirement for the next morning until the end of the day, and seemingly expects that employees will have it ready first thing. Most managers find it difficult to understand the effects that their unnecessary requirements have on overall productivity. Most employees find it difficult to express this to their employers… without finding themselves fired.
At the end of the day, the military is an organization where honesty and integrity are greatly valued amongst its service members. People hold themselves to the standards that are achievable and make personal decisions towards the standards which are unrealistic. The most honest thing an organization can do is assess itself, and this study will help to bring to light many issues that need to be resolved.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.