Sunday, August 9, 2009

SECDEF Robert Gates on 'Blunt Truths'

More broadly, if as an officer one does not tell blunt truths or create an environment where candor is encouraged, then they have done themselves and the institution a disservice. This admonition goes back beyond the roots of our own republic. Sir Francis Bacon was a seventeenth-century jurist and philosopher as well as a confidante of the senior minister of England’s King James. He gave this advice to a protégé looking to follow in his steps at court: “Remember well the great trust you have undertaken; you are as a continual sentinel, always to stand upon your watch to give [the king] true intelligence. If you flatter him, you betray him.”
An officer's duties are:
  • To provide blunt and candid advice always.
  • To keep disagreements private.
  • And to implement faithfully decisions that go against you.
Dr. Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense
Parameters Magazine

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