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August 2, 2013

Poor Leadership Let Bradley Manning Hurt Us

Many ask how Bradley Manning was able to access, amass and expose 700,000 of our nation’s classified documents. The simple answer is the use of a Lady Gaga CD and abuse of the trust that was placed in him to not copy classified data and release it to the world. But failed leadership gave him an unparalleled opportunity. Pouring over various leaders’ own words as reported on  and Bradley Manning’s defense’s request for Article 32 witnesses portray a clear picture of the litany of errors. They are shocking but at no time do they excuse Bradley Manning from responsibility for his crimes. Doing so would be like blaming a bad cop for a criminal committing murder.

Manning served in a unit with some severe leadership challenges. COL David M. Miller, BDE commander, moved Manning’s officer in charge, Major Cliff Clausen, the S-2 or intel section chief, while deployed because after six months this officer didn’t “communicate information the way the commander needed it.”  Four months later, Manning’s company commander was relieved for poor accountability and decision making. These changes had no direct impact on Manning, but they do indicate some shortcomings in enforcing standards.

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About the Author

served over 20 years as an Infantry officer in Europe, the Middle East, Korea and Latin America. He has extensive experience in both light Infantry and mechanized warfare to include combat. He was selected to serve as a TAC at West Point and his final assignment was to the Infantry’s Battle Lab conducting research on tomorrow’s Infantry force. He concentrated in National Security at West Point, holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling & Leadership Development and is a graduate of the Combined Arms General Staff College. Born and raised in a tough section of New York City, Will lost his accent in the Army but kept the attitude. Read more from Will at

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  • SEAL76

    Poor leadership is the cause for so many of the problems that our modern armed forces have and had. The war in Vietnam was lost because of poor leadership from politicians and general officers. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were fought bravely by the men who were assigned to both of those wars. Leadership from politicians was abysmal. Nation building and trying to establish democracies in areas not suited for that kind of government have cost the  needless loss of dedicated service personnel. Generals and Admirals who were too weak to tell the politicians that the armed forces purpose is to engage and destroy the enemy are to blame. Unreasonable ROE and lawyers have no place in war. As for Manning he is a traitor and got far less than he deserved for his crimes.

  • majrod

    "Manning Takes Stand, Apologizes for Hurting US" Funny how waiting on a judge to decide on how much of 90 years in jail you should get can make you sorry...

  • majrod

    FWIW, the below article confirmed the BDE XO and first S2 that was relieved also recieved letters of reprimand. Kerns and Clausen both said they received letters of reprimand as a result of an Army investigation into Manning's actions. They are among 15 people disciplined in the case." defense strategy in the sentencing phase has focused on Manning's mental health and poor leadership.  Just gotta love how in today's society you can blame a boss for one's decision to do the wrong thing.   It's akin to "my boss didn't lock the register so he made it too easy for me to steal".

  • majrod

    Here is an interesting blog written by a former Captain doing time in Leavenworth.  Interesting in respect to a view from the inside. He never mentions what he did which makes me leery AND curious.

  • majrod

    cllueloyes and yes. I've heard 5% of military convicts get parole but I can't confirm.