The Pentagon goes soft on big-time military mistakes
It looks like the Pentagon is shying away from serious discipline of those responsible for military disasters.
Last Thursday, the Defense Department released a summary of its findings on the October jihadi ambush in Niger that killed four US Special Forces soldiers, blaming a series of “individual, organizational and institutional” blunders — not fingering a single senior officer.
As DOD noted, the troops fought bravely and “died with honor.” But they’d received neither proper training nor adequate equipment to capture a local ISIS bigwig — which was tossed on a force that just finished a routine mission after the assault force that was to take the lead got grounded by weather.
The report faulted two officers (including a captain wounded in the attack) for mischaracterizing the mission’s nature in planning documents, but hit no higher-ups for dumping the extra task on the unit. New mission protocols are said to be in place.
The disaster would’ve been far worse if French forces hadn’t come to the rescue. Yet the report’s language — e.g., about “a lack of attention to detail in quality control and quality assurance” — sounds like bloodless corporate CYA.
Also last week, the Officer of the Deck during the USS Fitzgerald’s collision last June with a 29,000-ton freighter pleaded guilty to charges of dereliction of duty for a wrist-slap sentence of a letter of reprimand and three months on half-pay.
Only junior Fitzgerald officers have been subject to court-martial so far. The ship’s commander awaits charges, while higher-ups have retired or transferred.
Who’s really in charge at the Pentagon: Defense Secretary James Mattis, or the bureaucrats and politicians-in-uniform?
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