Navy sailors harbor “widespread mistrust” in the admirals who command them, complaining of poor leadership and a disciplinary environment that tolerates absolutely no mistakes, says a survey of the fleet.
The disgruntlement runs deepest in the officer corps, where scores of commanders have been relieved of duty in recent years.
“Senior leadership should stop proactively highlighting the reliefs for cause of commanding officers, command master chiefs, and other senior enlisted advisors,” said the report “2014 Navy Retention Study.” “What was originally intended to demonstrate accountability to the public has, instead, resulted in a significant breach of trust with our sailors and resulting in an almost ‘reality TV’ mentality.”
The independent survey was released amid complaints by some aviators about excessive political correctness as the military seeks to stamp out sexual harassment and misconduct in an increasingly gender-integrated Navy.
“Most troubling is the perception sailors hold of senior leadership,” the report says under the heading “Widespread Distrust of Senior Leadership.”
“Sailors feel strongly about their distrust of senior leadership, and believe the Navy has a significant risk-averse culture and zero-defect mentality,” the report says. “Officers in particular hold an incredibly negative view of the current state of affairs, with vast majorities decrying the overwhelming perception of a risk averse and zero-defect mentality culture.”