In modern military operations, the role of Generals and Admirals is critical in shaping the direction and outcomes of defense strategies. However, there has been an increasing concern over the failure of these top-ranking officers to fulfill their duties effectively. This essay examines the reasons behind this perceived failure and the implications for our military today.

I am a retired General Officer, and I know these mistakes. I have taken responsibility for these failures and my shortcomings. Accountability, commitment, trust, and the truth have been marginalized in the military. It is time to change and restore the values and principles needed to ensure our military can do its job for the American people.

One of the primary reasons for the failure of Generals and Admirals is the disconnection between strategy and implementation. The military’s senior leadership seems to be concerned with their continued advancement, stuck at the tactical level, focused on conventional warfare mindsets, concerned with pleasing their political masters, and failing to adjust to the changing dynamics of modern warfare. This mindset and approach have caused a lack of innovative strategies, a critical factor in today’s rapidly evolving battlefield.

Moreover, the prevailing culture of bureaucracy and political correctness often stifles candid discussions about critical issues. Generals and Admirals are constantly walking on eggshells to avoid political backlash, and they fail to address problems inherent within the system because they fear repercussions. This culture has led to the suppression of innovative ideas and the promotion of ‘yes men’ who are not critical thinkers. This failure to encourage open dialogue, contrarianism, and constructive criticism has, in turn, affected the military’s operational efficiency. An example is the decisions made and sustained in dealing with COVID-19 in the military devastated service members. These decisions have still not been corrected, and many service members and their families still suffer. Generals and Admirals have failed to prevent wokeness from undermining readiness in the military. Wokeness in the military is being imposed by elected and appointed leaders in the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon who have little understanding of the purpose, character, traditions, and requirements of the institution they are trying to change.

The disconnect between the top-ranking officers and the ground troops is another concerning factor. Generals and Admirals are often accused of making decisions from the comfort of their offices without fully understanding the realities of the field. This lack of firsthand experience and understanding can lead to flawed strategies, potentially endangering the lives of servicemen and women. The failure of Generals and Colonels to listen to the ground commander in Niger resulted in an ambush that unnecessarily killed US Special Forces and Niger soldiers.

Recruiting and retention are two critical areas that determine the strength and readiness of a military force. The climate that Generals and Admirals have developed has negatively impacted both. When moms and dads feel political and military leadership cannot be trusted, they are less likely to promote the military as an option for their children. In addition, the retention rate is negatively impacted by poor senior military leadership that micromanages, fails to provide cover, and fails to trust their subordinates. A proposal to reduce Army Special Operations Forces due to failed recruitment is an example of the poor strategic critical thinking by senior leaders.

Furthermore, there is a perceived failure to maintain proper military ethics and standards. Several incidents have spotlighted the lack of accountability and moral integrity within the senior ranks (Afghanistan withdrawal, COVID policies, woke policies, poor readiness, Ukraine policy, Taiwan policy, and poor resource management). These incidents have eroded the trust and respect of those serving under them and the public, undermining the overall morale and effectiveness of the military.

To ensure the military’s effectiveness and efficiency in the face of evolving global threats, several areas require urgent attention and improvement.