Officers fired for inaptitude


MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - A large number of senior Russian military officials are to be discharged over a failure to pass an aptitude test, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said on Tuesday.

"We are not going to keep officers who are not fit for their positions," Gen. Pankov told journalists, as reports indicated around one-fifth of officers had failed the military aptitude test.

"The Defense Ministry took a decision to carry out unplanned tests among officers and NCOs. A considerable number of senior officers have proved inapt and will be dismissed from the Armed Forces," he added.

Pankov said 85% of senior military officials had taken the test so far. He said 50 generals and other people occupying senior positions would be dismissed from the Armed Forces. He also said 133 officials would be reshuffled.

This makes me recall tips like "An organization should change by at least 10% every year." or "An organization should fire the 10% worst performing employees every year." or a study result that was if I remember correctly like "7% of the personnel in an organization can block 79% of the most necessary reforms.".

The Russians have - like many other modern forces - a badly top-heavy force structure. Armies with more general officers than combat battalions and navies with more admirals than ships are normal - not an exception - in NATO. These firings are apparently part of a planned downsizing that happens in great part among the officer ranks.

This reform shows a political willingness to reform the Russian Army. It does also show a willingness to fire high-ranking officers.

That's something that I missed when for example several German soldiers died in Afghanistan in a bus. A bus! A BUS!
I would have fired just about everyone 2nd lieutenant upwards who did neither prevent nor report/protest (but knew about) the madness of using a soft bus on predictable routes in a war zone. In fact, I think I would have fired everyone involved from Uffz upwards. That's the lowest NCO rank.

Firing officers for competence should be the most distinguished activity of political oversight over the army. You cannot hope that an organization corrects all of its own faults itself.

The U.S.Army's leadership fired (or relieved of command) about 500 officers ranked colonel or higher in WW2 (especially early in WW2) for incompetence as far as I know.

We should more often revert to the tool of firing leaders for incompetence. It might cure many problems. It's worth a try.


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