Sunday, September 12, 2010

Did he really say this? Did he mean it?

Let me start by saying that I believe that it is good to speak out. It is essential for us as leaders that our people feel free to speak out on these matters—and they do, trust me. Many of our people out there have seen combat and been deployed two, three, even four and five times. They have earned the right to express their opinions.

In fact, senior officers need to spend even more time listening to them and considering what they have to say.

When I put on my first star, I received a congratulations letter telling me that I would now
“always eat well and never hear the truth again.”

Admiral Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


Anonymous said...

Yes, he said it. It's a recurring theme.

Yes, he meant it.

No, he doesn't live by it. All you have to do is look at any of the Admiral's calls he's held over his career. He'll hear what is asked, but he won't spend one microsecond contemplating it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised by that statement. And from my experience it's totally true - people want to tell the Admiral the "right" information and what the Admiral "needs" to hear.

I would argue flag officers need to step away from the conference table, stop looking at power point slides, and talk with Sailors at least one level under the O-6's reporting to him. The deckplates will have the info you're looking for.

Mark Hofer said...

I hope the military comes to act that way. But I doubt the CJCS's comments reassure the Army Colonel who got canned for his op-ed.

stephen said...

I knew Mike Mullen when he was CHENG of the USS FOX.

He struck me then as an entirely honorable man of great integrity.

Anonymous said...

Mike Mullen came to speak to the SWOs at Monterrey shortly after he made flag (he was still wearing O-6 stripes at the time). He started his talk with this same anecdote about good food and the truth. It was meant as a light-hearted story, but obviously he has carried the message with him all these years.

Incidentially, he went on to give his talk and then opened up floor for questions. He stayed until past 2300 - over five hours - answering every question that came up.

So yes, he meant it.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, it seems like "the good food and truth story" is told by every Flag. I've heard it dozens of times.

I say, give him some unpleasant news and see how he reacts.

Anon said...

From a letter to NAVET Steve Corneliussen, LT Mullen's shipmate on USS Noxubee.

"Admiral Mullen is not the first, nor will he be the last, officer to fail to display the same kind of courage in Washington that he did in the field.

Thank you for your service.

Lawrence Korb"
Former Assistant SECDEF
24yr NAVET

Mike Lambert said...

I am a HUGE fan of Commander and Captain Mullen as a Navy leader. He was one of two officers awarded the VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award in 1987 as the PACFLT winner.

Anonymous said...

"I am not suggesting that military professionals abandon all personal opinions about modern social or political issues. Nor would I deny them the opportunity to vote or discuss . . . or even to debate those issues among themselves. We are first and foremost citizens of this great country, and as such have a right to participate in the democratic process." Mike Mullen CJCS (July 01, 2008, Joint Force Quarterly)