Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Commanding Officer as Moral Arbiter

The Commanding Officer (C.O.) is the chief moral arbiter in a command. He becomes a constant trainer and teacher, especially in reaffirming the importance of character and interpreting moral principle into the concrete conditions of the command.

The C.O. also demonstrates his feelings toward honesty by taking actions that are visible to his people. IT IS NOT ENOUGH FOR THE C.O. TO BE QUIETLY HONEST. His beliefs must be overt, so that others can follow his example. He must announce policies that will help to establish a moral climate, such as clear guidelines on what constitutes right and wrong actions. His people will know him by the kinds of rewards and punishments he uses for proper and improper conduct. They will also judge him on his ability to keep competition and stress at levels that are short of generating cheating and lying among his subordinates.

Paraphrased from THE CHALLENGE OF COMMAND by Colonel Roger H. Nye

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