Seriously, there must be something in the water at Travis Air Force Base the past few years. Normal people go there and morph into alien mutants. In the latest Travis episode of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Jackass, we have a self-important Colonel basically losing his shit over late reports … and in response, holding an entire organization under his thumb to show them he has the power. Worse yet, he’s abetted in his criminal mischief by a ready-made henchwoman more than happy to amplify his top-down pressure rather than deflect it as good leaders do.
This here tale I’m about to unfurl … well … it’s every bit as stupefying as any abuse of power I’ve seen out of Travis in many years of regrettable observation. At least as bad as the time a bunch of uniformed thugs tossed a civilian out on the street to restrain his free speech.
It seems Col. John Klein, aka the Pol Pot of performance reports, rolled out of bed one day determined that he was going to fix the late report problem in his organization. This was hill he would take or die on. Not the pilot shortage. Not grotesquely bad morale. Not quality of life, family well-being, or excess deployments. Performance reports. If he could fix just this one thing, Klein likely surmised, he just might become the Rudy Giuliani of the Air Force … magically fixing big things by obsessing over minutiae.
Klein had at his disposal the full power allocated to a wing commander, which is to say not all that much. But he was determined to flex his muscle until his enemy collapsed, cowering in puddle of his own involuntary piss. Reviewing his options, Klein likely surmised that he could (a) attack the root cause, (b) enable, or (c) unreasonably dictate. The obvious choice is (c). It requires basically zero interest or analysis, takes the least time, and steers a wide berth around having to genuinely give a shit.
Klein then did what fearless Air Force Colonels do in these situations. He sent out a policy via email and then returned to his golf cart.
As his policy cascaded across the local minionscape, there was great disquiet. For it seemed Klein had done everything except cancel Christmas. And as if that wasn’t enough, Col. Theresa Weems, who carries the title Operations Group Commander, found it wise to put some stank on Klein’s gut punch by suspending flying operations for those ensnared in the administrative web of unfortunate reports.
Cast your own eyes upon on this festival of shite.
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Now, I could write pages — books, even — about this sort of horsefuckery. But for the sake of not giving these two losers any more attention than they already don’t deserve, I’ll keep to a few salient points.
- Raters are responsible for meeting reporting deadlines. If reports are late, the raters are the sole legitimate target of discriminate bombing, not the entire village of everyone involved.
- Punishing a ratee for a late report is like re-abusing an abused child. This is repugnant.
- This is not a kosher reason to suspend leave, and using leave coercively is a violation of DoD Instructions, to say nothing of every commander’s moral duty to take care of people.
But I think the very worst part of this is Weems’ pathetic grapple to prove she could be even more irresponsible than her dumbass boss … by putting administration squarely and unmistakably above the actual fucking mission of her entire organization.
Way to go Theresa. It’s now fully public that you’re really tough … so tough you’re willing to give up readiness and lethality in exchange for a soft, reassuring pat on the head from the guy who signs your own OPR. The real question: if Pol Pot is late signing the OPR you wrote for yourself, will you suspend your own leave and cancel your much-needed local training sortie?
Didn’t think so.
Look, clowns. The only way to get excellence is to resource it. That and that alone will entitle you to beast people in this way. After you’ve resourced people to meet administrative deadlines, then you can and should beast those individuals who are late or ineffectual. Not everyone. But in the end, if it’s not directly connected to lethality, does it really deserve this much of your attention?
So much more to be said about this, from reports being late because too many people get to meddle with them to reports taking more space to say less because we’ve cultivated a generation of lazy-minded morons and given them too much misplaced rank.
But I’ll halt here and let the comment section do the rest.