Rank has its privileges. To an extent, that’s as it should be.
But sometimes, those in high positions abuse their positions and their authority. To me, it’s particularly galling when they do so through abusing their subordinates. And as the case of our recent Johnson of an adulterous former Brigade Commander shows, sometimes they get away with being abusive for a while before getting nailed for other reasons.
However, every once and a while an abusive senior leader gets fired simply for being an asshole. And it seems that’s happened at MDA.
The SECDEF has announced that LTG Patrick O’Reilly, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, is being replaced and will retire. His replacement will be RADM James D. Syring, who has also been nominated for promotion to Vice Admiral.
Apparently LTG O’Reily was a . . . real piece of work. According to a recent DoD IG Report, LTG O’Reily reportedly “engaged in a leadership style that was inconsistent with standards of senior Army leaders and a violation of military [ethics] regulations.” Examples given were
- yelled at subordinates in public and private
- demeaning and belittling employees
- behaved so poorly that six employees quit
- loudly attacking senior staff members on a personal rather than professional level
- telling a senior official over the phone, “If I could get my hands through the phone right now, I’d choke your f—-ing throat.”
Really classy behavior, general.
Yeah, I understand that individual leadership styles vary. Yeah, I understand that a leader sometimes has to be an asshole towards a few who just don’t “get it”. And yeah – I understand the need to “kick ass and take names” sometimes, even at very senior levels.
But there’s a right – and a wrong – way to do that. And attacking subordinates publicly, on a personal level, ain’t the right way to do it. What I learned was “praise in public; chew ass in private; and don’t get personal.” It sounds to me like O’Reily was rather out of control. IMO, the Army probably did the right thing in “encouraging” O’Reily to retire – now.
Obviously the DoD IG – and senior DoD leadership – agrees.
Maybe O’Reily “caught the PTSD” worrying about how that next BMD test would turn out. If so, maybe the VA can get him into an anger management class or two during his retirement.