Monday, November 5, 2012

Ethics Training 2012 - Really?

We must do better than this!  I completed the 2012 Annual Ethics Training and purposely answered each of the questions incorrectly to see what might happen.  I completed the 55 part slide deck with zero correct answers and was greeted by this final slide of congratulations.  

By printing the certificate, I certified that I personally reviewed each of the 55 slides in the module.  I have to wonder how this constitutes compliance with U.S. Government Ethics requirements.

This probably explains why we continue to have problems.  Who could take this training seriously?  How could this possibly meet the training requirement?  How can this go on?  Who in a leadership position can be satisfied with a simple "check in the box"?

You can get your very own certificate (suitable for framing) HERE.


James Hammersla said...

We have taken too much of the personal mentorship, personal leadership & personal training that not only meets the intent of various requirements but also builds relationships, respect and camaraderie in our organizations. Some of the best mentorship I have received as a junior officer was from a very wise Senior then Master Chief Reeb who took the time (sometimes maybe just one or two minutes) to impart a nugget of advice, make a point or teach a lesson.

I am approaching 10 years of commissioned Naval service and have never had ethics training. A quick look and I see that the Marine Corps fomally sat me down and provided training in Combat Ethics, Ethical use of Deadly Force, Ethical Enforcement of Regulations, Ethical Disciplining of Subordinates, and even Financial Ethics at the Non-Commissioned Officer and Staff Non-Commissioned Officer stages of my enlisted career.

To answer your question "Who in a leadership position can be satisfied with a simple "check in the box"?" my answer is that no one should. Maybe the next question for those of us on active duty (to include myself) is “what am I going to do about it?”

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, the age old approach at solving problems DOD wide. Whenever a problem arrises, there is a CBT or training provided and leadership can say that they have adressed the problem.

What this really boils down to is leadership covering their own backsides instead of truly shaping behavior and culture over the long haul. To do that effectively, leadership must stop reacting to current events and start creating them with the correct message.

It's hard, yes; but it isn't impossible.

LCDR Woodruff said...

I couldn't agree with this post more. The only place that I received some relevant Ethics training was during the Ethics Symposium between each break at the U.S. Naval War College. The topics were outstanding and relevant to today's Navy/Military. This is one of the areas where today we have to take it head on as leaders and put the tough scenarios into our mentoring, all officers meetings, push it through the Chief's mess to the Sailors, and use Quarters wisely. Just because it hasn't come down from leadership doesn't mean we don't need to lead in this critical aspect of training.

Anonymous said...


I typically disagree with your assessment of any event or circumstance, but I do believe you are right on target with this post. Moral compass has little to do with what I always saw as the Navy’s mission during my career. And who is it that provides this compass direction, some individual who has no idea what the military people under his control are, their beliefs, religion, culture and the many other things and methods where they were raised from whelps to manhood to believe, and observe. But one thing was certain, in my day what a Sailor did on liberty was his business as long as he performed his duty as a Sailor during working hours. It is an unjust proclamation to Sailors to have females serve on the same ships as they do, while at sea, someone in authority other than some impotent old Admiral should have been involved in such decisions. The same goes with the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, if you have never been at sea for 7 months at a time you have no idea of the problems that might take place, and have no moral right to institute such an obscene command, even if you have the authority to do so.

I served my country for 24 years and we did not have have Ethics training in those days, our leadership felt that our job was to defend our country as our Constitution and oath stated, and our training was mostly to help us defend our ship and country against the enemies that were plentiful,they had been for generations, and still are by the way. If we have to take the time to attend training that is only a distraction from our combat readiness training we are depleting the overall combat training of our Navy.


Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

Between the confusion of AOL failing every few minutes, evidently because it was Election Day, and trying not to be a robot I posted a reply to your blog to the incorrect post. What I Posted on November 7, 2012 4:39 AM to your post "Ethics Training 2012 - Really?" should have been posted to your previous post “More on the Navy's "Moral Compass" Posted by Mike Lambert at 5:30 AM Sunday, November 4, 2012. My apologies to you and to Curtis.

Very Respectfully,

Curtis said...

Thanks Navyman834, I think. :)

I hadn't posted about the Ethics matter and Training issue gun decking but here it is.
I learned ethics at my parents knee. I learned what was mine, what belonged to others, to share, to not hit girls even though they deserved it etc. Now have those surprised by the stupidity of the Ethics Training described by our Host wondered how the USN and other forces of goodness prevailed for so many generations without the stupid formalized canned worthless Ethics in Government training mandated by the crooks and thieves? My first exposure to something along the ethical front was Navy Rights and Responsibilities with it's ridiculous standard for not merely avoiding impropriety but also for avoiding the appearance of impropriety. That was in 1989. Next up was working at SPAWAR in 1999 when I had to comply with the reporting requirements for govies/military working procurements. There was no canned training since they expected us to be able to read and comply with a few paragraphs of instruction printed on the forms.
I don't believe that ANY training in this realm is worthwhile or meaningful. Put it in the same category as punishment articles of the UCMJ---where it is, and leave it alone because it is very clear that everyone has very different ethics and just like with diversity, they all must be counted alike the same.

Anonymous said...


I am sorry about the confusion, but it was my intent to thank you for your expressed attitude in a recent post. I think just like you that the Navy did fine before the Federal Government stepped in some years back and required the Navy to institute mandatory training for all hands, in the late 1950’s the Navy had race removed from all forms, supposedly this would make them appear to be colorblind, us Sailors did not even know there was a problem as most folks in the Navy accepted anyone that wanted to do the job of being a Shipmate regardless of race. A few years later it was mandatory training for all hands to go to “Race Relations Training” and the average Bluejacket had no idea why he had to attend such a course. These Sailors in general felt that if they had been able to attend a school more in line with their Navy rating, they could be more of an asset to the Navy.

I retired from the Navy in 1978 and it would appear that the Civilians in charge of what the Navy should be and what the Constitution has to say to that Sailor are very different things. The oath of enlistment requires a Sailor to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, and obey the orders of the President and all officers above him. Unfortunately many of these individuals that the Navy individual is required to obey have neglected to live up to their oath and therefore are the ones at fault for issuing directives that are contrary to the United States Constitution for the Navy to follow.