Army Study Proves Majors Worse Than 2nd Lieutenants sandy December 12, 2012 Army 83 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: ARLINGTON, VA – Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno announced today the results of an Army-wide study on company and field-grade leadership, which showed Majors are far more dangerous to soldiers than Second Lieutenants. “While this was something we suspected for a long time,” Odierno said, “this study confirms it and provides the scientific background so we can appropriately react.” US Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Commander General Robert Cone briefed the results of the study. “Two years ago TRADOC awarded a significant contract to Booz, Allen, Hamilton to review tactical after action reports (AAR) from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Cone said. “They conducted thousands of soldier surveys and reviewed thousands of Officer Efficiency Reports looking for trends that they could tease out of the data and extrapolate their findings.” After several pie-chart-rich slides, Bond summarized, “While we all know 2LTs have no experience and practically no training to mitigate that, no one expects anything more than marginal performance from them and no one gives them any real responsibility. That rests with their platoon sergeants.” “Majors, on the other hand,” Bond explained, “with around 10 years’ experience in the Army are expected to actually know something and can be given positions of pretty significant authority. With that authority, bosses expect these majors to perform. Unlike when they were lieutenants, these majors seriously think they can succeed without a senior NCO carrying the weight for them.” Odierno admitted that this was a problem he has had his eye on for a while. “Remember I was there once. When I was a 2LT, I had a Platoon Sergeant looking after me. When I made major I was the battalion S3, Ops Officer, and suddenly the Battalion Commander had expectations. Fortunately they were low expectations. At least I didn’t lose two vehicles like the major in supply. Of course Dennis recovered and he’s the Commanding General at Army Materiel Command now. Our boss just kept reminding us we were really lucky he graded on a curve.” “Now that we have a documented problem we can fix it,” Odierno went on, “but how do we fix it in a resource constrained environment?” Odierno’s answer: promote Captains two years earlier in their careers. While he admits this solution is not perfect, he also says he does not have a lot of cards to play. “To have these guys ready to fill the role of a field grade officer as soon as they get promoted to major is going to take an overhaul of the way we train and foster the careers of company grade officers. That’s just not going to happen with the resources we have available. So, we’ll promote them earlier and get their screw ups out of the way sooner.” Odierno summed up his plan. “Since we can’t raise performance, we’re just going to have to lower expectations.” Tammy Guillet says: June 13, 2014 at 6:44 PM Wow, I completely disagree. There are many great leaders in the army, both NCO and officer alike. Leaders make mistakes, they’re human too! In the army, your job always changes, so even though you have increased responsibility, the responsibility is new. People need to understand that and recognize the fact that this could be a possible reason for the outcome of the study. I bet if they did a study with any leader in the army it would come out just like the study with the Majors!! Again, we have amazing leaders in the army, their dedication and sacrifices should be recognized, not criticized! Tammy Guillet says: June 13, 2014 at 6:44 PM Wow, I completely disagree. There are many great leaders in the army, both NCO and officer alike. Leaders make mistakes, they’re human too! In the army, your job always changes, so event though you have increased responsibility, the responsibility is new. People need to understand that and recognize the fact that this could be a possible reason for the outcome of the study. I bet if they did a study with any leader in the army it would come out just like the study with the Majors!! Again, we have amazing leaders in the army, their dedication and sacrifices should be recognized, not criticized! Mark Gomez says: June 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM Really? Generals are the worse! They are Congressman in Uniforms! Dee LH says: May 27, 2014 at 5:29 PM MAJ rank…Field Grade 2LT. Pedro A. Cruz says: May 26, 2014 at 8:59 AM Did Gen Odierno really said this!?!?!?!?!? Downhill on an oiled slope. Arjun Krishna Singh says: May 23, 2014 at 6:40 PM lol.. Scientific Reasons for Several morons.. in that rank.. Eric T Holmes says: May 19, 2014 at 6:54 PM What about the Staff College level requirements before making Major, and then going to Command College level training. Don’t lower expectations , raise them and promote those that really perform, not just do their job. Ian Terrell Parker says: April 16, 2014 at 2:39 AM Something about gold rank lol Jason Beasleigh says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM Finally confirmed! Cheryl Teague says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM send them all back to basic training Greg Jarmusz says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM It’s amazing how people will believe anything they read. Thomas Eichacker says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM The problem is the military took away the field promotions or blood rank promotions. A proven soldier is commonly overlooked by the FUMU soldier. Lou Moss says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM The majority of O4′s that I’ve worked for feel they are too good to listen to their NCO’s…..even if they aren’t branch qualified!!!! Nicholas Rose says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM I think the real issue is an ego problem. The NCO’s, in most cases, have been pounding the ground and are veterans of both combat situations and dealing with the lower enlisted. They have a wealth of knowledge that is often overlooked due to the NCO being outranked by the officer, and the officer’s fear of having his or her authority undermined by the NCO and their ideas on how to command. So instead of fostering an environment of cooperation an environment of blind obedience is encouraged, an ‘I am in command here and you will do what I say and save the comments for someone who cares’ environment. I could be wrong, but this was my experience in the Navy. Carol Injasoulian says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM Wow, how about we try going back to large Army combined exercises. It is unfortunate that most of the field grade officers get their first experiences using joint doctrine and joint tactics is on the battlefield as opposed to a sim center or large STAFFEX. Especially in the Army reserve and national guard, we lost our war trace in the reserves and guard which means we lost our funding and capability to be part of CORPs level exercises. We should be getting our experience in the training environment not on the battlefield, as we all know all to well when you hit a combat zone and a real mission you are drinking from a firehose to begin with. We have to create real world exercises so we can truly assess the capabilitiles and talents of all our soldiers. Until all (active, guard, reserve, irr, etc…) of our soldiers are doing a true NTC rotation at all levels this problem will just continue. You cant think big when you get stuck in a microcosm of ankle biters every drill weekend (online training, stand downs, evaluations etc). Victor Velasquez says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM Hey CG how about requiring CPTs to earn the right to wear oak leaves. The whole merit system that once existed in the military. If they can’t cut it don’t promote them. Michael Little says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM I am impressed that the report was laid out so blatantly but that’s General Odierno’s style. why I liked him as a commander. I do have another solution. While in Iraq, I had two, count them, TWO, 2nd LTs that actually went up to an IED in the roadway and kicked it to, I guess, see if it was real. Both times they were real, and both times the LTs walked back to the RPC. Now as far as lowering expectations, how about using the 2LTs to do manual route clearance and the ones that make it, promote? Is that a little extreme? Just thought I would ask… LOL have fun with this one guys! Matthew Kirkpatrick says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM I love how people always think this page is real Scooter McHeadshot says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM That’s why the rank insignia for a major is an oak leaf. If you look at illustrations from the garden of eden, you can see that even then we covered our pricks with an oak leaf! LOL Tim Friedrich says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM Life cycle from an NCO Point-of-view: 2nd LTs rely on an NCO (PLT SGT) to be successful, than as 1st LT (S4) know everything, than as CPT (Company CO) rely on NCO 1SGT to be successful, than as MAJ (S3) know everything, than as LTC (BN CO) rely on BN SGM to be successful and beyond that all knowing. Michael Alan Cavalier says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM Ok gang…I appreciate satire and understand there must be grains of truth in satire to make it humorous…but this is so close to the truth that too many people are missing the fact that this is supposed to be satire. Michael Beans says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM The problem is not with the knowledge, skills and abilities of majors or lieutenants, somehow the Army does not enforce the simple ethic of command, “the commander is responsible for everything his/her unit does or fails to do”… Commanders have a solemn responsibility to coach, teach, mentor and train ALL the personnel in their organization. Commanders have their part of the responsibility in developing their majors, just like the responsibility to develop their LTs and that responsibility extends when units are deployed into harm’s way. No wonder we have so many toxic leaders at the senior levels…they re too busy blaming majors and everything else for their shortcomings Pete Chapla says: February 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM The two most dangerous things in the world? A 2ndLt saying “..based on my experience….” or a major saying, “I’ve been thinking…” Daniel J. Burris says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM LOL Kevin Ponder says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM good thing that I was passed over last year for O-4 huh? James P Tortorelli says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Seems to be linked to gold colored collar devices. James Grady Alexander says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM If you are in the Army or ever been in the Army you should read this completely.. See Jay Bones says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM For real? Tom James says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM how many Majors commented here?…………. Joe Blanchette says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM “Odierno summed up his plan. ‘Since we can’t raise performance, we’re just going to have to lower expectations.’”. Classic! Larry Jason Whitehurst says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Can we just rename this site “Fuck Officers News” and get it over with? Joe Kuhns says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I guess my question is, how many millions of hard earned taxpayer bucks did you pay Boozo & Allen (ad agency), to do your job?? Susan C. Butler says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Odierno summed up his plan. “Since we can’t raise performance, we’re just going to have to lower expectations.”. Since this plan requires that someone else carry the load for the Majors, will the pay plans shift compensation to those who actually do their work for them? Yeah. We’ll all hold our breath for that to happen. Eula Elmore Day says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I think a Major who doesn’t stand behind his family..who can’t be trusted by their own family..should be fired..If his own family can’t trust him, why should a whole country..I sure as he’ll hope our country isn’t that stupid..period. Kevin Peterson says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM As I recall, in some of the Commonweath forces, CPTs are staff officers and MAJs are Co Commanders. It gives the CPTs staff time to understand the big picture before they take command and MAJs command time before they move up to Bn Comand. Pretty Radical, eh. And yes I realize the article is satire. John Alexander says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM That should be Army Materiel Command (not Material). Joe Kuhns says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM No good decision was ever made from a swivel chair!! If the senior rater isn’t doing the job they need to be fired just like in the civilian world. If the major candidate can’ t lead, they should never be promoted. They get passed over three times they are gone. This problem should NEVER occupy space in the four star in-basket. Dre DaKid Neutron-Sloan says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Phucking LMAO Mitchell Roberts says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I think the problem with the whole report is there are field grade officers out there that know, understand, and execute mission correctly but you have those who don’t give a crap or think they have to know it all and won’t ask any questions that screw up the pool for the rest. No one knows everything ask a question and trust your people. As for Warrants I have seem my fair share of screw up warrants. It comes down to the person and not the rank, and how committed they are to being successful in what they do. Sheila Burke says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM LMAO….so if a major was passed over for promotion for…..let’s say….adultry, conduct unbecoming, disobeying direct orders, etc., he not only becomes more dangerous too other soldiers, but also, as the study reports, he is not made nor expected to live up to any responsibilities or commitments, whether it be to his unit, battalion, brigade, his family, his children, the law, etc.,…and, because the Army invested so much time and effort into this useless soldier, and because the Army does not want to be embarrassed by this major’s disgraceful actions, his discrepancies are “covered up” and he is allowed to continue to serve in a position of authority called, as I’ve been told, “The Good Old Boys Club.” Although I have the upmost respect for those who choose to protect this country which includes my children and me, I find it incredulous that the Army allows this to continue. Joe Ezell says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Well, we’re just doing this whole rank thing wrong. You should go in as a General, and if you’ve got your Sierra in one Bravo then you get out as a 2ndLt. I mean any current 2ndLt would’ve known to stay away from diddling a journalist and not to send thousands of e mails to some bim who thought she was an ambassador at large. Randy Bartlett says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Ha: Vindication. I’ve said for 20 years gold rank messes up brain waves. Take a perfectly serviceable NCO and make him a 2LT or a perfectly serviceable CPT and promote him and watch what happens. Yes, I know it’s satire but humor is the imp playing close to the big hot fire that is truth…. Erik Burney says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM If the insignia is the color of brass, the officer in question will be a pain in your ass. Say, that reminds me of an old saw about field graders…when they make Major thier mouths get sewn shut. When they make LTC they get lobotomies, and when they make Colones they unsew their mouths. Brian Williams says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM So true. Josh Lyons says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM hahaha awesome Michael Hasbun says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM LOL… this is awesome =o). Thom Roose says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I KNEW it! (Anzalone, Gardner- I’m lookin at you.) Angela Scimonelli says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM That last sentence is a little disconcerting. Edward Simmons Jr says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Army study shows Majors are more dangerous to soldiers then second lieutenants ha ha ha Louis Levesque says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Master Sergeants. There’s your answer. Pair one limbo rank to another. Michelle OwensMartin says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM These officers suck and the solution is to promote them faster… sounds like an Army answer to me. Jose J Clavell says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Perhaps we need to assign a CWOs to babysit new Majors. Larry Lambert says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM And all this time I thought that God and Generals went to majors for advice. The study must be seriously flawed. Anthony Domeier says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Well if you look at the rank…Master painters and sculptors have always used Oak Leaves to cover up there assholes and dicks… Edwin Pierce says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM wow so we lower the standard with the hopes of achieving a better result why don’t they jus assign a senior NCO as his/her counterpart that way you have an NCO guiding them throughout their whole career. Frank Helms says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Wow, How much did it cost to determine what anyone that’s been in for more than a year already knows? And what’s the answer? Lower our standards. Hmmm, good answer. Jordon Swain says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Reminds me of when the Chinese ran a recent piece out of the Onion on the good looks of a certain N. Korean leader- I understand the confusion in that instance due to language and culture differences, but come on english speaking Americans- exercise some critical thinking here and you’ll realize something (I would argue you should read all articles with a critical eye and not just the satirical ones!) Anthony Domeier says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Majors are middle ground…Smart enough to think they know everything…Too smart to take advice…Part of the problem with the Major rank is…they have no leadership positions…it’s all staff until they make LTC….That and too much checking the block with Army Officers…Not experience time…One year…Move them to another check the block position or school. Anonymous says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I agree with Hasbun. I take every individual on a case by case basis. I met the Chief of Staff for 60 seconds and we both looked at each other and said absolutely nothing, he said nothing, I said nothing, we just stared. John Miller says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I realize this is satire. With that being said, I’m retired Navy. LCDRs are the shit. They hold LEADERSHIP positions anywhere from Department Head of major departments like Engineering to Executive Officer. Some LCDRs are even Commanding Officers. Yes, LCDR is a position of great responsibility in the Navy, and almost every single one I knew over the course of 20 years actually listened to their enlisted personnel. Hell, the XO & CHENG at my last command were both prior enlisted men themselves! Tim Avis says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM So I read and understand this and now feel stupider Travis Wewers says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Erik – this is satire? Holy Crap, guess I shouldn’t have sent it to my COLs….. Brandy Worley says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM So when all else fails….lower expectations? What? Robert P. Wills says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM As a CW4, I heartily agree with this article. Even though it is satire. But I’m not kidding- I agree with it. Although I understand it is satire. Even though it isn’t in this case. Joseph Mahadas says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM This reminds me of the 5 most dangerous things one will encounter in the US ARMY. 1. A Private states, “I learned this in Basic”. 2. A SGT. Stating, “Trust me sir”. 3. A 2LT. stating, “Based on my experience”. 4. A captain stating, “I was thinking”. and 5. A CWO chuckling saying, “Watch this”. Joe Czekalski says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM This report vindicates me! Especially with the last moron major I had to deal with in my army career!!!!! Nathan J. Scholten says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Nothing has changed since I was in the Army. Proof that S^#t floats to the top. Perhaps if they didn’t promote crap in the first place we wouldn’t have the lackluster POS general officers we do now. If they don’t make the grade RIFF them out. Just because they make it through Officer Advanced and Comman and General Staff College doesn’t mean they are more qualified to command any thing more important than a Cub Scout troop. Cory Eshleman says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM How did I not see this before. I knew it Mike and Jen. Eric Hodek says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM you guys realize this is satire, right? Ben Bryant says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM If experience and common sense are so short within the commissioned officer ranks increase the Warrant officer authority or create a new officer rank as was the case in the Roman Legions with the Centurions. Greg Ashley says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM its called RIF…you got a pick get out or go enlisted to SSG…Capt s must have a Higher standards a must , don’ t cool the Fire for them after all they are Commanders… therefore Command if they can t… ya gotta go too. no RIFs just walk and thank you for your service… Most Capt. s or commander are at 7yrs But Maj.s may be at 8- 12 yrs.put t on them..can they be enlisted..a NCO I say most will opt out. Ty Jesseman says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Didn’t really need study to convince me. Nick DiGirolamo says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Hey Majors, and other Commissioned Officers, and even Generals, (just a thought) any problems, first, just ask a Chief Warrant Officer for advice. That may be what we are there for! We would be glad to help! GO ARMY! Mark Aldrich says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I think I just had this conversation with someone and although this is parody it certainly sounds like the real deal. Great article. Can’t wait to get pinned. Mike Day says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Fast tracking promotions actually HAS been the solution for the last 10 years. That screeching sound you hear is not the brakes, but rather young officers upset they aren’t Majors three years from commissioning… Johnieb Wood says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM In my experience, Majors were usually S2/3 at a Brigade HQ, not a Bn., though I didn’t pay much attention to the people in the Bn. TOC. Has this changed, or did I catch you in a TO & E error? In truth, Majors in staff slots were fuck-ups because they are so damned eager to get back in the game they’ll do anything, no matter how silly, to get that promotion to LTC. Don Marin says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Lmao… this is too funny….and yet in many ways true David Hartman says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I realize that this stuff is satire but this one has a larger kernel of truth than most. During my tour in Nam as an 11 Bang-Bang our 3 S3′s were all known by the rank-and-file nickname of “MAJ Disaster”. All had records as competent company commanders. At least two later became competent colonels. No one in combat arms can handle the jobs that come with the gold leaf. Rod Williams says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM Wow. I hope a lot of these folks don’t ever stumble on The Onion….it would mess them up completely. Ashley E Hyter says: January 3, 2014 at 3:39 AM I cannot get over the lower expectations comment. Did he really say that?