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Hagel worried about ethical breakdown in U.S. military

10 Comments

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is concerned that recent scandals signal a potential ethical "breakdown" in the U.S. military and has asked commanders to urgently address the problem, his spokesman said Wednesday.

The Pentagon chief was "troubled" by revelations of cheating on exams, as well as other incidents, and had raised the issue with the chiefs of all the armed services in talks earlier Wednesday, Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference.

"I think he's generally concerned that there could be, at least at some level, a breakdown in ethical behavior and in the demonstration of moral courage," Kirby said. "And I think he wants to get at that."

He spoke a day after the U.S. Navy acknowledged that 30 sailors were implicated in a cheating ring on an exam for nuclear reactor instructors.

And last week, the Air Force said 92 nuclear missile launch officers were tied to a cheating scandal involving a proficiency test at a base in the state of Montana.

The cheating allegations follow a spate of embarrassing incidents in which several generals and admirals were relieved or investigated for personal misconduct over the past year, including cases of heavy drinking, adulterous affairs and illegal gambling.

"This issue has his full attention, and it's fair to say that he's deeply troubled by it," Kirby said.

"He's concerned about the health of the force and the health of the strong culture of accountability and responsibility that Americans have come to expect from their military."

Hagel has already asked for a review of how the military academies and colleges instill ethical principles among the troops and has backed efforts to bolster the importance of ethics in the training of senior officers, Kirby said.

But Hagel believes "there must be more urgency behind these efforts" and that military leaders should place a "renewed emphasis on developing moral character," he said.

However, the scale of the potential crisis remained unclear, as well as what measures the Pentagon chief planned to take to tackle the problem.

In examining ethical lapses, the Pentagon will take into account the effect of more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan on the force, Kirby said.

Hagel "believes that this is a factor that should be looked at," the spokesman said.

Top officers have said the wars have severely strained the all-volunteer military, contributing to a rise in mental health problems and post-traumatic stress cases among troops.

In his weekly meeting with the chiefs of the armed forces and their civilian secretaries, Hagel focused on the ethics issue and told them it would remain on the agenda in future meetings, according to Kirby.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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I feel bad for the soldiers, great men and women and have to suffer the embarrassment of a president that is weak, capitulates and is ready to throw our brave men and women under the bus.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

This is a non-story as we in the U.S. military are entirely amoral and unethical to begin with, as I'm often informed by some here on JapanToday...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I feel bad for the soldiers, great men and women and have to suffer the embarrassment of a president that is weak, capitulates and is ready to throw our brave men and women under the bus.

Not sure how shutting down US operations in Iraq, sticking to the timeline in Afghanistan, and avoiding new conflicts works with your theory, Bass. Perhaps you think this newfound freedom has created boredom sufficient to encourage cheating, womanizing and substance abuse? Or could it be the opposite:

In examining ethical lapses, the Pentagon will take into account the effect of more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan on the force, Kirby said.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Any honest veteran, (yes, they do exist) can tell you they have personally seen countless examples of unethical, unscrupulous behavior by plenty of both enlisted an officers. Immorality is another issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gosh. I hope its still ethical to bodily support wars of aggression, lies, and plunder and kill people in their own country.

we in the U.S. military are entirely amoral and unethical to begin with

Well don't forget about those who are just plain gullible.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

US Military and ethical? lol

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"US military and ethical? lol"

I can't wait to hear about which country's military IS ethical, lol

0 ( +2 / -2 )

US Military and ethical? lol

Really? Then why is that every time, there is some turmoil or when a country needs the best fighting and most capable military force in the world, the call on the US military, so if we're not noble and ethical, then who is?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@bass4funk no country ever has called for help by the us military. neither in korea, vietnam, afghanistan, iraq and many other countries. Its bloody reality that, wherever us solders are, the situation goes from bad to worse and the amount of crimes are increasing. also they don´t respect the local rules and tradtions.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

no country ever has called for help by the us military.

Not true.

neither in korea, vietnam, afghanistan, iraq and many other countries. Its bloody reality that, wherever us solders are, the situation goes from bad to worse and the amount of crimes are increasing. also they don´t respect the local rules and tradtions.

So we shouldn't deal with the threat of NK, the same with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, in those situations, we had every right to go in and neutralize any existential that can and would pose a danger to the US. Also, people like you never talk about the money the US gives out to many families, help build roads, schools, humanitarian relief, escorting children to schools, protecting women from the likes of the Taliban and many other examples of the good that the US does. But people like you never want to focus on the mostly good, just the small bad and it's obvious what's going on. As far as respecting rules, customs and traditions, you do have a few idiots that don't follow the rules, but stereotyping and lumping the entire US military is not only ridiculous, but insanely laughable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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