Thursday, February 25, 2010
This is the place in my narrative that I ask you what you would do. Approve? Disapprove? Is it none of your business? Is it just another chit? Or maybe it's a personal choice? Then again, maybe it's a child. Would you be an accessory? Read on as the story continues.
BM3 Smith said, "Are you sure you have time?" I replied, "Of course, what is it?" She began, "Well, Sir, 5 or 6 months ago I was dating a few guys, one or two from the ship and even seeing a couple from other ships over at the barracks." "OK," I said gently, "Continue." "Sir, I just want you to know that I don't want to leave the ship, that's why I put in the chit," she said ominously. "It's just that I am doing well here and . . . and all my friends are here, Deck is my family." "What are you going to do in a few weeks that will ensure you stay onboard?" I prodded. "Just take care of a personal problem. You see, around 5 months ago I got pregnant," she paused "and I have began showing, I've been able to continue working hard, and nobody's noticed. So, I figure I would just take care of it before it became a problem." I am not easily surprised, but this one set me on my heels. As I sat there for a moment I was amazed that she certainly was not showing and that there was no way to tell she was pregnant. I sat quietly for a minute, then I asked her to come see me in the morning with Chief; that I wanted to talk with her about this.
After she left I slowly closed the door and sat there in silence as I thought and then prayed in desperation. I pondered what it would mean for me to approve her request chit to take care of "personal business." And I thought . . . I knew that the state allowed abortions through the second term, but I also have a good friend whose healthy little girl was born early at just 5 1/2 months into the pregnancy. Then my mind flashed to images of my own child.
Ethical leadership ceased being a neat idea, fascinating concept, and positive tag line that day - it became real. Hope to hear from you on this one . . .
The story goes:
There I was, just hanging out in the deck office on the ship chopping awards, evals, and special request chits. For those not familiar, in the military a special request chit is submitted to your chain of command for any unusual personal reason or circumstance that requires permission. Examples for their use range from the command sponsoring your dependent overseas to getting married. On this particular day a uniquely vague chit came across my desk. Chief had mentioned that he wanted to talk to me about it later, from what I recall, but I wanted to clear out the inbox and thought I would take a look at it. The request was from Bm3 Smith (one of my best young Sailors). The comment section of the chit simply requested to have a day of work off for "personal business" in about three weeks. "Personal business" seemed a bit general, but she works hard and it was almost an easy check in the "approved" box before passing it onto the out box pile. Just so happens about that time I heard a few Sailors walking down the p-way outside the office returning to the Bos'n locker from the Messdecks - BM3 was amongst them. So, I poked my head out the door and said, "BM3, got a minute? I was just looking at your special request chit." She came in the office and took a seat. I asked her how she was doing. We made small talk, then I simply asked what kind of personal business she was planning to do in a few weeks. She said, "It's a long story, Sir." "Help me, Lord," I prayed as the GQ alarm sounded internally. Whenever you hear that from a Sailor you had better listen (and pray). So, I said "I've got the time I'd love to hear it?"
To be continued (almost time for quarters) . . .
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Rom. 1:20-32)
Monday, February 22, 2010
The U.S. military officer corps, the professional body entrusted with preparing and training the armed forces for war and peace, is at the forefront of an ever-increasing array of challenges. Indeed, America arguably relies on its armed forces to perform a wider variety of functions than any other nation in history. To respond effectively to a rapidly changing strategic environment, the U.S. military must develop and maintain a high degree of adaptability within the officer corps. Twenty-first-century military officers must learn and embody enduring principles of warfare and leadership, but the teaching and training of officers must change to meet the contemporary demands and opportunities they are likely to face. In addition to demonstrating a high degree of proficiency in conventional state-on-state warfare, officers must also develop a broader skill set in politics, economics, and the use of information in modern warfare to cope with a more complicated and rapidly evolving international environment. Determining the proper balance between conventional competencies and emerging requirements – and the best means to train and educate a corps of adaptive leaders – remains a contentious issue with no obvious consensus solution.
This report is based on a series of working group meetings and collaborations with military officers and outside experts to gain a variety of perspectives on the nature of officership in a new strategic environment. Its chapters provide an analysis of these issues from several informed perspectives, while the concluding chapter provides both a summary and a series of recommendations for how the United States can keep its edge in military officership. As a whole, the report highlights the necessity to provide a broader range of educational and professional experiences to military officers – essential components of training agile minds how to think rather than what to think – and cultivating new skill sets that are more relevant to 21st-century challenges.