“Excessive political correctness …”
Even the most casual news watcher by now knows of the Secret Service detail assigned to the White House dropping the proverbial ball when an unauthorized individual jumped the fence, ran the length of a football field, overpowered a female Secret Service at the main entrance to the White House, then essentially wandered at will throughout the halls of the Executive Mansion until certain Secret Service personnel with a modicum of both professionalism and presence of mind to take the knife-wielding Omar Gonzalez into custody. Reportedly, Gonzales also had more than 800 rounds of ammunition, a machete and two hatchets in his car.
The deepest unauthorized incursion by a would-be assassin into the White House ever, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer opined on the air on Sept. 30, 2014, “The problem is not outside the gates, it is inside the gates. This is an agency that is lax, not doing its job and is absolutely out of control.” Despite the very real possibility that the morale rate for those assigned to the Presidential Security Detail being very low, due to the nature of the job it’s highly unlikely that even an unofficial poll of plainclothes agents and uniformed members of the Secret Service will ever see the light of day.
However, there are a handful of surveys and polls being taken, such as The Washington Times on Sept. 30, 2014, and also by USA Today on Sept. 28, 2014, that illustrate that low morale and a perception of lack of leadership from above aren’t the exclusive purview for just the Secret Service. With the Armed Forces being one of the largest demographics of federal employees, recent reports paint a picture of both Officers and Enlisted seem rather disheartened and unsure of the competence of senior leadership, both those in uniform as well as those nattily attired in $1,500 suits.
In the 2014 Navy Retention Study, it was uncovered that “Most troubling is the perception sailors hold of senior leadership,” the report says under the heading “Widespread Distrust of Senior Leadership,” it was made clear that “Sailors feel strongly about their distrust of senior leadership, and believe the Navy has a significant risk-averse culture and zero-defect mentality,” the report says. “Officers in particular hold an incredibly negative view of the current state of affairs, with vast majorities decrying the overwhelming perception of a risk averse and zero-defect mentality culture.”
While many leaders from all walks of life consider minor mistakes as long-term learning tools, “when asked whether they agreed that the Navy operates a ‘risk-averse’ culture, nearly 90 percent of officers answered ‘yes.'” It was also cited that “the independent survey was released amid complaints by some aviators about excessive political correctness as the military seeks to stamp out sexual harassment and misconduct in an increasingly gender-integrated Navy.”
USA Today reported on a survey commissioned by The Military Times (despite the same, isn’t officially answerable to or part of the federal government) where it was uncovered of the 2,200 active-duty troops queried if in their own opinion, should the United States deploy at least a “substantial” number of combat troops “to Iraq to support the Iraqi security forces?” Slightly more than 70% responded with a resounding “No.”
With the Obama Administration still cutting the size of the military, but still maintaining a rather high operational tempo, an anonymous Navy Hospital Corpsman assigned to one of the Marine units at Camp Pendleton, Calif., said his numerous deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a toll on him mentally, physically and personally. “We’re burned out,” he flatly said.