What with the multiple scandals involving generals and in the interests of closing the barn door after the cows have already bolted, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has called for a review of ethics training for generals and admirals:
WASHINGTON — Responding to a string of recent scandals that have tarnished the military, the Pentagon’s top two leaders, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served notice on Thursday that they would strictly enforce ethical standards for their most senior officers.
“The fundamental mission of the Department of Defense is to protect the nation,” Mr. Panetta said in a memo to General Dempsey ordering a review of ethics training for generals and admirals. “Any behavior that negatively impacts our ability to perform that mission is unacceptable.”
I have a better idea. Why don’t we start reducing the number of general and flag-level officers? My experience as a contractor has been that every guy above a certain rank has a pet project and he’ll continue to promote it, first as an active duty officer and after he retires as a consultant, until he dies.
Today there are roughly 900 general and flag-level officers with a total active duty military of about 1.3 million. In 1945 there were about 2,000 general and flag-level officers for a total active duty military of 12 million. The number of officers then was about the size of our whole military now. I think that a gradual reduction in the number of general officers would have little deleterious effect on force readiness (I hear an active duty noncom somewhere snickering), would reduce costs, and might actually keep the general officer corps on their toes.
For perspective see here.