Thursday, November 13, 2014

We Clearly Need a Purge

We like to comfort ourselves that China's military is much less powerful than the hardware would indicate. And it is correct to say that China's training and leadership is harmed by corruption. But that doesn't mean our lead on this aspect of military power is unassailable:

The U.S. Navy is undergoing an embarrassing situation as a growing number of senior officers are being investigated in a widespread corruption scandal. This involves a civilian firm, GDMA (Glenn Defense Marine Asia) which, for over a decade, used corrupt navy officers and officials to obtain contracts (to supply and service navy ships in foreign ports throughout the Pacific) and overcharge the navy for these services. ... At the same time more senior officers were identified as under investigation. That, in turn, led to some strange side-effects. Two of those identified as being investigated a year ago were the head of Naval Intelligence and his deputy. These two are still “under investigation” but not charged. When the navy was told these two were being looked at the Justice Department said it would charge them or drop the investigation within a few weeks. But now, a year later, the two officers are still “under investigation” and still in their jobs. The problem is that when you are “under investigation” your security clearance is suspended. For the head of Naval Intelligence this is a serious problem, since most of the materials the senior people in Naval Intelligence work with require a security clearance to look at. The navy refuses to comment on the matter. Thus there is no explanation as to why the two officers were not temporarily reassigned until they got their security clearances back and why the navy is allowing its intelligence branch to be crippled by the inaction of senior navy commanders. Corruption like this has also been showing up in the air force and army. That and the timid senior leadership are both symptoms of a larger problem.

Is one of those the same guy in this article?

A senior Navy intelligence leader whose provocative comments this year about Chinese bellicosity stirred an international controversy has been shelved in the wake of an investigation into his conduct, Navy Times has learned.

That article calls him the "director of intelligence and information operations at U.S. Pacific Fleet." Is that the same as the "head of Naval Intelligence?"

Because one article paints an officer fired for speaking his mind. If this is really about corruption, that's a very different matter.

I eagerly await clarification.

Aside from questions of identity here, quite honestly, if I was in charge of China and I found I was having too much of a problem improving my own officer corps in order to close the competence gap with our forces, I'd try reducing the effectiveness of our officer corps as the alternate method of closing the gap.

Or we can just pretend our intangible advantages are permanent and ignore the problem until we get hit hard--just like the Iraqis got hit hard at Mosul this summer after they let their own officer corps become a cesspool of corruption and incompetence after we left at the end of 2011.

And hey, the Iraqis are conducting purges. Are we capable of that, too?