Saturday, June 20, 2009

Officers and Chiefs - a distinction

Serving as a commissioned officer differs from other forms of Navy leadership by the quality and breadth of expert knowledge required, in the measure of responsibility attached, and in the magnitude of the consequences of inaction or ineffectiveness.

A Navy Chief swears an oath of obedience to lawful orders, while the Naval officer promises to, “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.”

This distinction establishes a different expectation for discretionary initiative. Officers should be driven to maintain the momentum of operations, possess courage to deviate from standing orders within the commander’s intent when required, and be willing to accept the responsibility and accountability for doing so.

While Naval officers depend on the counsel, technical skill, maturity, and experience of the Chief to translate their orders into action, the ultimate responsibility for mission success or failure resides with the Naval officer.

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