Leadership and Accountibility

“One day you will take a fork in the road, and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and … turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. … You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won’t have to compromise yourself. … That’s when you have to make a decision: to be or to do.”

These are the words of Col. John Boyd, USAF, who never made General, but was largely responsible for the F-15, F-16, and A-10. He was also the originator of the concept of getting inside your opponent’s Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action (OODA) loop as military strategy that became the basis of the Marines’ Maneuver Warfare Doctrine.

His moral dilemma, of making the hard decisions and hurting your career, or going with the flow, came to mind when I read this post concerning where responsibility lay for the death of a sailor on one of the Navy’s troubled LPD-17 Class ships. Were the officers on scene responsible or was it the result of leadership that provided poor tools to perform the job?

Recently the the author has apologized for possibly violating the Naval Institute’s editorial policy, but still, this is a great and thoughtful read.

I can’t help but think how these concepts echo our own “Deepwater” experience, and the resulting state of our cutter replacement program, now 25 years behind schedule in the case of the MECs.