Yesterday, we brought you the story of Col. John Klein, commander of Travis’ 60th Air Mobility Wing, imposing draconian (and indeed unlawful) restrictions on his organization as a response to late Officer Performance Reports. You can read that story here.
Take a look at this key excerpt from the policy Klein issued, which went into effect October 25th. (Emphasis mine).
Not a lot of room for mistaken intent in there.
Basically everyone who touches an OPR is bound by the policy — to include the hapless ratee who is already the victim of a late report. And Klein draws a tight circle around what constitutes a non-mission critical TDY.
Today comes the revelation that Klein is not at Travis, lording incessantly over his bedposted staff as he eagerly awaits the opportunity to sign a tsunami of late reports. Klein is instead attending the annual Airlift/Tanker Association Symposium in Orlando, Florida … rubbing elbows with generals, fellow commanders, and industry elites. His presence at the event — which began October 26th — has been reported to JQP by a dozen participants at the conference … who were surprised he’d be dumb enough to attend after telling his entire wing late reports were more important than their leave, off-duty employment, and training flights.
There is zero doubt Klein is a signatory of many of the late reports he held out as justification for his crackdown. There is also zero doubt that the convention he’s currently attending does not meet any definition of “mission critical” … to include the definition he himself provided. ATA is a bloated, booze-fuelled social outing pretending to be a professional development event. It has modest value, but not nearly enough to justify its cost, … to say nothing of the disingenuous manner in which it pretends to be about airmen while serving as a speed dating opportunity between military-industrial salesmen and generals (active and retired) who influence the defense budget.
What we’re left to conclude is that Klein believes he’s above the rules he expects others to obey. This makes him the worst kind of hypocrite and robs him of any credibility he might have built with his people before this embarrassing fracas.
If there is a single report that ages a single day waiting for Klein’s signature because of his attendance at the convention, he should do the honorable thing and step down from his post, having demonstrated such poor judgment that his fitness for command is assailable.
But even short of that, he ought to explain himself. The mind boggles to imagine the degree of hubris it takes for someone to issue a policy restricting TDY … and then go TDY literally the very next day. His actions scream “the rules are for everyone else … I’m the boss.”
This is the precise attitude that has fuelled an ethical crisis among senior service leaders, and a red flag if ever there has been one.