DOD Seeks to Purge Toxic and Unethical Leaders

The Navy officer leading the Defense Department-wide effort to improve military professionalism after a rash of ethical failures said she is “working with the services to bring toxic leadership to the fore” earlier in officers’ careers so bad apples can be purged. The military must be “a culture of unquestioned integrity,” said Rear Adm. Margaret Klein, senior advisor to the Defense Secretary for these matters, at the Military Reporters and Editors Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 3. She noted that cultures change and military “leadership is changing and some [leaders] have failed to adapt.” She said she is seeking input from the services and from private industry to find tools the services can use to develop more ethical leaders. “We are not trying to make all the services uniform across the board” but to show them “what programs, tactics, and techniques can be adopted to make better leaders,” said Klein. She said her office was not involved in the investigations into the cheating by Air Force missileers and Navy nuclear submarine technicians, but she has been briefed on the findings. She also said she’s gotten advice from DOD’s sexual assault office on leadership improvement tools.