Report: 129 Army Commanders Fired Since 2003

There have been 129 battalion and brigade commanders booted out of the Army since 2003, data obtained by Army Times shows.

According to Army data going back to 2003, the largest branch of the U.S. military has fired “98 battalion commanders and four lieutenant colonel staff officers… Twenty-four of those reliefs were conducted in combat,” Army Times reported.

“In that same time period, 31 brigade commanders and four colonel staff officers were relieved; one of those was conducted in combat,” the report continued.

The article noted that the largest branch of the U.S. military has taken several steps in its ongoing efforts to hold the upper echelons accountable for their actions.

“You’ve got to convince soldiers by your actions,” Army Secretary John McHugh told the Times. “While I understand that the narrative is that we don’t act against leaders who may have strayed from our standards, I think the record’s a little bit different.”

The Army has reportedly implemented several initiatives to generate better leaders and root out the deficient ones.

Army Times pointed out that those initiatives include “360-degree assessments” that embrace “input from not only superiors but peers and subordinates as well.”

“Those kinds of things don’t happen overnight, and soldiers don’t respond to them overnight,” acknowledged McHugh, later adding, “We’re doing everything we can to rid our ranks of so-called toxic leaders, moving those out, and acting on credible cases where they exist.”

According to McHugh, there are several tools and options available to deal with “toxic” leaders.

“[There have been] several recent high profile cases where I’ve pretty dramatically downgraded the conditions of retirement, the rate of retirement, for general officers,” he said.

Other Army data obtained by Army Times reportedly shows:

  • The Army has administered non-judicial punishment (Article 15s) to 1,472 officers since 2008.
  • It has court-martialed 41 lieutenant colonels or higher, including two general officers, in the last six years.
  • Seven general officers have been relieved from their positions since 2008.
  • Since 2010, 29 general officers were referred to Army Grade Determination Review Boards.
  • Since 2001, the Army vice chief of staff has issued 100 memoranda of reprimand, 147 memoranda of concern and conducted 45 verbal counselings of general officers.

“The rate of misconduct is actually a little bit lower than the historical average, but that doesn’t make you feel any better,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn told Army Times.


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