Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Mongo, Sep 15, 2010.
You mean a University's Board of Trustees was angered that an oversight agency found something wrong at their beloved school and had the temerity to report it?
Shocked, I say! Shocked!
Perhaps the USNA Board of Visitors is not the same as a civilian University Board of Trustees to which you refer. The Board is appointed by the President, VP, Speaker of the House, and the Chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. It is their tasking to provide oversight themselves. And they seem to do a commendable job.
True. But I'd prefer to rely on the USNA's own description of the BoV as to what their duties entail.
So what we have here is a civilian Board of Trustees, appointed by some high ranking politicians, who were upset by an outside agency's findings about their school.
I remain shocked....
The reason I posted the link was to point out that the Board agreed that Navy accounting procedures were not really compatable with the donation system required to keep an Academy solvent, a point that was discounted by some on a previous thread. But thanks for your interest in the inner workings of the Naval Academy organization.
Well, in my humble opinion, I just have the impression that you started this thread in the hope to continue your quest to contort the fact that there was an integrity issue within the Naval Academy’s leadership, in the hopes to remove the tarnish from your beloved Academy’s reputation. Posting the position of an obviously biased body (whose reputation is also tarnished by the findings) in order to attempt to provide legitimacy to claims that the actions taken by the Navy’s own Inspector General were somehow unfounded is simply a poor example to set for the future military leaders who use this site to help prepare them for their upcoming responsibilities in the service of their country.
Do I honestly care about the inner workings of the Naval Academy? Not a bit. I DO care that this situation should be used as a further example for ALL the young men and women here as to how their integrity can and will be tested sometime during their career. The USNA is NOT a civilian university, it remains a MILITARY organization, and thusly must always be compatible with Naval accounting procedures. Same as every other Service Academy out there, and also the same as every military organization out there. There are numerous examples of organizational leaders in every service who cut corners or got caught cooking the books in attempts to meet the mission or go beyond it. The dismissal of the Air Warfare Center’s Commander for the Thundervision fiasco is a fine example of this. Dismissal of commanders because of the use of NAF money towards “beautification projects” on an installation or other “pet projects” being more prominent examples in many cases.
Admiral Fowler, in his previous command duties, was intimately aware of these issues and should have known better. A use of an excuse of “well, the academy is different” is just wrong, and just because the civilian oversight at the Academy doesn’t agree with Mother Navy’s opinion on the matter doesn’t make it right.
I have nothing but the upmost respect for the fine institution that is the USNA, as well as all the other Service Academies. They continue to do this nation proud, as they continually prepare the next generation of leaders both within our military and without. But as military leaders, we also need to look into our mirror constantly and address the warts rather than make attempts to justify them. America expects too much of us, and has the ultimate respect and faith in our integrity, for us to do any less.
Bottom Line: this was a good learning example for the future leader here on integrity. Similar situations will happen during their careers, and I hope they can look back at this and say to themselves “remember what happened to the Naval Academy Sup in 2010? Perhaps I should examine my situation a little closer.”
Your attempts to muddy the waters with excuses and the opinions of those who may or may not have been complicit in the illegal activity have not helped the situation. I’d prefer if you simply accept the fact that the USNA got caught in an integrity issue, and use this situation in the proper way--as a learning lesson for the young people here. Heaven knows, I’ve been familiar with many other examples of leadership failures in integrity before, and no single service or organization is immune from these situations happening sometime in its history.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion no matter how misinformed it might be. And also your apparent unwillingness to acknowledge any bit of factual evidence contrary to your unfounded opinions. Unfounded opinions which apparently were the basis of the entire media frenzy.
And no, I am not interested in continuing this discussion. However, I will take excdeption to the "obviously biased" comment. Unlike civilian universities, every single individual Board member is directly appointed by a duly elected individual whom we entrust to have the best interests of our country as a whole at heart. It is irresponsible to call them biased without fact to back it up.
Thank you. Rather obvious to mention that the same goes for your opinion.
Pray, do tell? Exactly what FACTS were presented by the BoV, other than their opinion that the process was unfair? I think I’ll stick with the facts and findings presented by the Navy IG in their report when discussing this matter, versus the opinions of those who were supposed to provide the oversight of the organization the report found fault with.
No, the findings of an official investigation by the US Navy’s IG were the basis of this media frenzy. Are you suggesting you find the Navy IG findings to be “unfounded opinions”?
Same. But I doubt you will be able to help yourself from continuing to post on the situation, as witnessed by your starting of this thread.
Fact: the BoV is responsible for oversight of the USNA’s activities
Fact: An official investigation conducted by the US Navy’s Inspector General’s found and reported numerous incidents of financial impropriety with the USNA.
The fact that this occurred under the BoV’s watch either indicates they were: 1) complicit in the activity and /or turned a blind eye to it, and are therefore also just as guilty in the impropriety, or 2) delinquent in their oversight responsibility or just plain ignorant for not discovering and addressing the issue themselves.
While option 2 is not as bad as option 1, ignorance of impropriety under their watch has never been an acceptable excuse for leaders in a military organization, as attested to the numerous previous courts martial and / or dismissal of persons in leadership authority positions in every service and nearly every military organization. Quite frankly, if the BoV members were military rather than civilian political appointees, they would have been shown the door as well.
Fact: Members of this aforementioned oversight organization (the BoV), who have just been found lacking in their duty (or just as guilty of impropriety), voiced their opinion in the media disagreeing with the IG report.
Fact: definition of the word “biased” (ref: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/biased) : adjective; favoring one person or side over the other
Opinion (mine) The members of the BoV quoted in the article you posted above are naturally displaying their bias and prejudice against a report that finds fault in the institution they were tasked to oversee. They have this bias in their opinion, regardless of the fact they were appointed to their positions by duly elected officials who have the best interests of our country in the hearts. To not acknowledge this simply demonstrates your OWN biases in the situation.
And while this may be my OPINION, I stand pretty firmly on my assessment that this perception (that the BoV is simply attacking the messenger here rather than acknowledging and accepting the fact that there was an underlying integrity issue) is overwhelmingly shared by the majority of people who are removed from the situation and don’t have any underlying interests in the matter. And my impression is YOU are firmly in the position of those who are not removed from the situation and has strong underlying interests in the welfare and reputation of the USNA.
Simple question (and you can choose whether to respond or not based on your stated lack of interest to continue this discussion): Do you feel the Navy’s IG report of financial improprieties was accurate? If so, didn’t this demonstrate a leadership integrity issue? If not, I guess a need to address the integrity issue is moot….
Bullet - I have to ask you, did you read the entire article that was linked, including this--
So, I dunno. Are you calling Nancy Johnson a liar?? I admit, I had never heard of her but here is her resume. Heck she is even a Republican. Your assumption that the BOV would always sing the same tune as the Administration is faulty. I have seen a few times over the years when the opposite was true.
The crux of the entire IG report is that SecNav instructions authorizes(d) unrestricted gifts to be utilized as the Supt sees fit to further the mission of the Naval Academy in new areas of endeavor where appropriated funds may be a while forthcoming. USNA Foundation policy mirrors Sec Nav policy. GAO guidelines, established recently by case law and not caught by either SecNav or Academy officials placed a more restrictive policy on usage of these gifts. It all boils down to SecNav policy was that USNA could disperse these funds on any "desirable" project while GAO case law restricted it to "necessary" projects.
In each and every case, ADM Fowler obtained approval for the expenditure from both his JAG and his Finance Dept.
The sum total of the IG report was to find a few of the purchase "desirable" and against regulations as opposed to "necessary" and okay. I don't think any of the expenditures were deemed inappropriate.
Yes, "Honorable people were demeaned." However, it was not so much the IG report as it was the irresponsible media, blog, and forum frenzy that followed it.
Am I suppose to be impressed with Nancy Johnson? Is this the part where I'm suppose to put my hand on my chest, sigh a deep breath, and be proud that we have politicians like Nancy Johnson looking over us? Sorry, just trying to determine why her pseudo-biography is being posted.
There are those who belittle those who "attempt to provide legitimacy to claims that the actions taken by the Navy’s own Inspector General were somehow unfounded" and "is simply a poor example to set for the future military leaders who use this site to help prepare them for their upcoming responsibilities in the service of their country". Yet, they turn around in the next breath and belittle our own elected leaders which also, in my opinion, "is simply a poor example to set for the future military leaders who use this site to help prepare them for their upcoming responsibilities in the service of their country".
So let's all disregard the Inspector General's Official Report, let's instead go with Nancy Johnson and her Naval Academy board's opinion.
Nancy Johnson and the USNA board offer nothing but their own opinions.
Nada. Just their opinions about the the report, and I suppose we're to beleive that the USNA Board has no bias in favor of the institution they represent.
I repeat - absurd logic.
Bullet, you nailed it. Excellent commentary, excellent observations, excellent rebuttals, flawless logic.
If you believe that all elected officials are above reproach, and should be followed blindly by the constituency, then you have a lot to learn. And as a "Retiree", I am a 100% full member of the constituency. Active duty military members most times must bite their tongue and follow the laws and decisions of our elected officials. Well, once you've left the military and paid your dues, that is one right that you gain back again. Freedom of speech. There is no belittling whatsoever in questioning an elected official. It is our responsibility, having been on BOTH sides of the isle of the military, (Tax paying constituent and active duty military member who is required to follow elected official's rulings), to protect our active duty brothers and sisters by standing up to our "Elected Officials" when they can't.
So don't give me any of this attitude about being an example for our future military leaders. I AM providing them the BEST example possible. That while their hands are INDEED handcuffed in many political and constitutional matters, a military retiree or other veteran, is no longer handcuffed, and we're here to speak up for those in the military that can't speak up.
Oh, and just in case you or anyone else has forgotten; Nancy Johnson and the other elected officials....... "THEY WORK FOR ME!!!!!" "They are MY EMPLOYEE". I don't work for them. I don't report to them. I am not responsible to them. They work for me and the citizens of our great country. I will most definitely question her and any other elected official. All the way up to the President of the United States. Just because they were elected, doesn't mean that they are above reproach or free to make decisions without being responsible. It also doesn't mean that those who elected them might not have made a mistake. No, I am here for our military members who can't speak for themselves. I am no longer active duty. I am displaying the perfect example. What they are serving for, and that they will once again in the future be allowed to have this right restored to them.
However, to make disparaging remarks about our duly elected leaders simply because one has the right to do so and with no other valid reason whatsoever, is rather childish, don't you think? And also not a very stellar example for the young people on this forum?
Mongo, thank you for your assessment of the crux of the IG report. From the media sources (and personal discussions with Naval counterparts within the Pentagon), it was my understanding that the main crux of the situation was very shady book-keeping procedures, which will always get a leader in trouble if caught.
But you know what? I haven't read the IG report. I'm betting few on here have (or I may be mistaken and I'm the ONLY one who hasn't! LINK PLEASE!) I guess I'll have to go with the media version (and multiple confirmations of that version from personal Naval acquaintances, some pretty high up) rather than some internet poster until proven otherwise. Again: LINK PLEASE.
And JAM. Yes, I did read the entire article and the Congresswomen's words. And you know what? Ignorance of the law does NOT hold you any less accountable to the law. Just ask any judge. Or better yet, Congresswoman Johnson. On second thought, better not ask a person who is confusing a military organization such as a Service Academy with a normal college.
And Admiral Fowler should have known better. His own biography demonstrates he held command positions multiple times, and was well aware of the scrutiny of ANY and EVERY financial transaction on his organization's part while he was in command, andf how they properly and always should be held to the highest standards of integrity. Do you mean to tell me not once it crossed his mind that perhaps the purchase of champagne, fancy dinners, and expensive gifts for folks under his command may come across as shady. Just where did he think the money was coming from? And where in any other part of the US military are actions such as these legal and legit?
I would accept he was ignorant of the situation, and perhaps feel a little sorry for him (but as a leader, he is always aware that his is the ultimate responsibility for his organization's actions). I would, however, question his ability to properly maintain oversight if this was in fact the case, and this did in fact continually and habitually happen under his watch (which it appears it did). His JAG and CFO may be saying, "trust us, Sir. It's fiiiiiine.", but based on previous command experience, his heart and mind should have sent off huge warning flags about the situation.
Actually, I'm not to happy with the whole situation and would rather see it mercifully and finally put to rest. The whole thing sickens me, and more importantly upsets me that a fine institution such as the USNA has to be drug through this mess. Again, I'd prefer it to just go away.
But like I said, I do see the value of this situation when used a a learning point for the future leaders on this forum. No one is above reproach for poor judgment, and as a future leader we expect only the highest integrity.
Sorry that lesson had to be presented in this fashion.
Bullet - get out the Webster's and look up "retroactive".
CC - whom to believe? They ALL work for the evil government, and thus all must be liars. I am not sure an IG auditor is any more ethical than a Congresswoman or an Admiral. Perhaps you have inside knowledge. Honestly, I thought she would get points for being a Republican, since we all know that all Democrats are liars but only half the Republican's are liars. I guess she lost point for being female.
Have both of you personally scrutinized the spending practices of the AF academy and their athletic expenditures? Don't be surprised to find some changes occuring at the other SA's as a result of this. When that occurs I hope you both will take an aggressive stand at their prior practices and their administrations as well.
Hmmm. Retroactive, retroactive, retroactive.... That starts with "R". So it comes after "E", like in example. And it comes after "I", as in integrity. Also comes after "J", as in judgment. Comes after "L" as well, as in leadership.
Ah, here it is!
Retroactive; adj., Influencing or applying to a period prior to enactment.
As in: the rules in this situation were retroactive, so even though they changed in the middle of this fiasco, they were correctly applied to the entire time the improprieties were committed.
In the great words of Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride: "I don't think it means what you think it means".
And whom do I believe? Well, let's look at motivation for each of the parties involved, shall we? What motivated the IG to investigate and report what it did? Love? Jealousy? Job security? A sense of revenge because the entire IG was previously rejected from the USNA? Really can't pin in on anything obvious, can we?
Now let's take a look at our Congresswomen's motives, shall we? Hmmm, member of an Board that was supposed to make sure the USNA was performing to standards. Said Academy gets in trouble for possible shady book keeping. Oversight Board looks now either 1) complicit, or 2) incompetent. Congresswomen now looks either 1) or 2). Yeah, no motive to disagree with the findings there!
And quite frankly, I am a little angered by your assumption that if this was occurring at the AFA (or USMA, or any of the other Service Academies for that matter) I would not be so quick to point out the integrity issue. Sorry, I'm just not that petty in my "support all things AF" stances as you obviously think I am. I prefer to stand for good examples of leadership an integrity, wherever the example may be from, whatever service demonstrates it.
And I was one of the first, and loudest, in my squadron to protest my outrage when the AFA went through it's own issues a few years back with Coaches pushing religion in the locker-room.
And I remain one of the loudest in my office in my protests that the push for success in NCAA sports by our service academies is doing more harm than good at these fine institutions. It is my fear that similar situations will be discovered there, but I hope not. I know Lt Gen Gould VERY well (former boss), and would hate to see him be brought down by a similar situation. But I also had another great former boss brought down by the whole "Thundervision" fiasco, and although I personally liked the guy, I at least opened my eyes on the lack of integrity involved and admitted he did wrong.
Funny how you and Mongo remain one of the few (outside of the BoV) who refuse to do the same.
It will also be interesting to see the CNO's and SECNAV's reaction to the BoV's now public statements on the matter. I wonder whose side they'll choose, the political appointees or their own IG?
Like I said earlier, a sad, sad story that should have died, but for the efforts of a sorry few who couldn't accept facts that integrity trumps all....
You're going to have to translate those terms for several people around here. Their Internet expertise on all subjects military is constrained by bias against the idea of accountability.
Separate names with a comma.