Delta In The Spotlight
An aura of respect and mystery has always surrounded Delta Force, the U.S. Army’s elite counter-terrorism unit. Their members are chosen from the most proficient in the Special Forces, and among their ranks is Sgt. Maj. Michael Weimer, a multiple recipient of the Bronze Star and owner of two Purple Hearts. This past Friday, Weimer left the shadows of Delta Force to stand in the full glare of the Army’s spotlight as its new sergeant major, the representative of every soldier in the Army.
Weimer’s approach to leadership is distinctive. With less conventional Army experience than most, he admits his perspective is different, one shaped by his special operations background and a love for change. He rejects the status quo and welcomes the possibility of fresh solutions. This sentiment echoes the ethos of Delta Force—offering a unique approach to existing challenges.
Weimer’s position as the sergeant major of the Army demands much more than a readiness for war. He is now the face of the Army, the one who sets the tone for its operations and oversees all personnel matters. These duties constitute the majority of the day-to-day concerns of the force and fall to him to manage.
An Unusual Choice
The decision to select Weimer as the Army’s top enlisted leader may seem unusual. While his combat experience is undisputed, his time in the conventional Army is limited, and his perspective is shaped largely by his experience in special operations. This sets him apart from the 16 previous sergeants major of the Army, only three of whom had any experience in special operations.
Those who know Weimer will tell you of his jovial spirit and his knack for remembering names and faces after just one encounter. He interacts warmly with everyone he meets, paying keen attention to their stories and finding common ground swiftly. This ability to connect on a personal level may be his secret weapon in leadership.
Despite his many accolades, Weimer is often seen in a uniform stripped of awards. He sees the badges as reminders of past accomplishments but is more focused on current efforts and future goals. However, his meticulous attention to his formal dress uniform hints at the pride he takes in his service and achievements.
Leadership at a Critical Time
Weimer steps in as sergeant major of the Army at a pivotal time. With the end of the global War on Terrorism, the Army is now focusing on conventional warfare, upgrading its doctrines, policies, and equipment. Weimer’s passion for a warrior mindset, whether for a logistician or a cyber warrior, will play a significant role in shaping this transition.
In his new role, Weimer will grapple with personnel issues such as the condition of barracks for junior enlisted troops, the rising rates of suicide among soldiers, and the potential changes to dining options for soldiers. He acknowledges the need for policy, talent, and funding but stresses the importance of engaged leadership in overcoming these challenges.
Congressional proposals to change the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) are causing heated discussions. But for Weimer, the ACFT is non-negotiable. While he acknowledges that it can evolve over time, he firmly believes that it is good for the Army and provides a more rigorous measure of a soldier’s fitness.
A Green Beret Since ’96
Weimer’s military journey began in 1993. By 1996, he had earned his Army green beret and later served as a Special Forces weapons sergeant. He graduated from Norwich University with a bachelor’s degree in strategic studies and defense analysis. His unconventional path from Special Forces to the highest enlisted leadership of the Army signifies a shift in the Army’s leadership style.
On the topic of relaxing grooming standards, particularly regarding beards, Weimer is unequivocal. As a disciplined soldier who shaves seven days a week, he sees no room for change. To him, the act of shaving symbolizes the discipline required of a soldier.
As Sgt. Maj. Michael Weimer steps into his new role, the U.S. Army is entering an era marked by fresh perspectives and innovative approaches. Guided by the principles of a Green Beret and the discipline of a Delta Force operator, Weimer is ready to face these challenges head-on.