Monday, May 5, 2014

Toxic Leadership at the US Department of Defense

 Toxic leadership remains a vexing problem for the US Department of Defense (DoD), for both military personnel and civilian employees. I had quite an experience with an abusive supervisor at the DoD myself.  The DOD really needs to do something to address toxic leadership within its ranks. 
The Defense Management Data Center (DMDC) is a little-known government agency whose principal claim to fame is having once included Linda Tripp on its payroll.  Mrs. Tripp was far from being the only DMDC employee who ever sought a demotion just to get the Hell out of that God-forsaken place. 

The DMDC bills itself as "the authoritative source of information on over 42 million people connected to the United States Department of Defense."  Ostensibly to support the information needs of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (and of other entities affiliated with the DoD), the DMDC maintains a highly aggressive schedule of personnel surveys, such that individuals may be contacted for multiple surveys each year.

Information that derives from sample surveys could potentially be useful in formulating personnel policies and decisions. However, the statistical methods used in DMDC surveys are so appallingly defective that really none of the numbers or figures provided in DMDC reports should be trusted at all. The DMDC's poor performance severely affects the DoD's ability to carry out its missions, and reflects gross mismanagement and an egregious waste of funds (millions of dollars per year). That is millions of your dollars, per year, plus the time of hundreds of thousands of people contacted to participate in the surveys, to produce ridiculous piles of rubbish that are supposed to satisfy some insipid DoD bigshots' "information needs."

The root cause of this hideous waste is toxic and abusive leadership within the DMDC. Toxic leadership is acknowledged to be a severe problem throughout the DoD, but is outrageously so at the DMDC. The DMDC suffers from a lack of professionalism at all levels, but most acutely so within the managerial class. An employee who dares display a modicum of integrity risks being subjected to a “Perfomance Improvement Plan”, which entails many hours of opprobrious and excruciating supervisory “counseling”, and which is contrived to culminate in the employee’s removal from the federal service. The DMDC will simply not be able to correct its statistical mistakes, and begin to generate useful products, until its virulent management troubles have been fully rectified. Unfortunately, the DMDC, like much of the civil service, seems to be run by incorrigible, stinking scoundrels who just don't give a damn.



DEFICIENCIES IN DMDC STATISTICAL METHODS

From September, 2006, until July, 2008, I held the position of Lead Survey Statistician with the DMDC.  My principal duties included providing advice on the quality of databases, and on appropriate methods of statistical analysis for sample surveys.  To that end, I identified a number of critical deficiencies with the DMDC's surveys whilst tasked to write statistical methodology reports to describe the sample design, sample selection, weighting, and estimation procedures for the DMDC's 2006 Survey of Active Duty Spouses (2006 ADSS) and for the DMDC's 2006 Survey of Reserve Component Spouses (2006 RCSS). 
 
Briefly: 
  • stratification of the sample without proper consideration of the survey objectives rendered impossible the attainment of reportable information for many desired population groups; 
  • when problems were observed in the sampling, no efforts were made to re-stratify to correct the problems--instead, the decision was made to accept the fact that some of the wanted information would be unattainable; 
  • extreme over-stratification caused many of the sampling strata to have very small numbers of respondents, both expected and actual;
  • logistic-regression models (used first to adjust sample weights for unknown eligibility and subsequently for survey completion among eligible respondents) contained an extremely large number of explanatory variables (plus two-way crossings), which led to absurd weight adjustments-- most weights were adjusted very little (or not at all), while a few weights received enormous adjustments (sometimes more than 100-fold);
  • no efforts were undertaken either to examine or to mitigate the effects of excessively variable weight adjustments, which can cause severely warped estimates;
  • post-stratification cells (used in the final post-stratification adjustment to the weights) were inconsistent with the survey objectives;
  • the post-stratification adjustment demonstrated that many survey estimates following the second logistic-regression-model adjustment were off by quite a lot (as much as 42 percent);
  • sampling strata were collapsed together to form new “variance strata” for variance estimation, which effected a downward bias in the variance estimates, in order to make the survey results appear more precise and accurate than they actually were.  The variance estimates that resulted from the creation of the “variance strata” were inappropriate because the variance estimates did not reflect the actual sampling design.  The margins of error presented with the 2006 ADSS survey results grossly misrepresented the actual uncertainty associated with the estimates. 

DMDC MANAGEMENT RESPONSE

Consequently, on April 5, 2007, my supervisor presented me with a “Letter of Warning”, wherein she stated that I was performing at an "Unacceptable" level in the Critical Job Element "Team Participation and Organizational Orientation."  The “Letter of Warning” included the following accusations:  "You have attempted, for public consumption, to characterize DMDC statistical methodology as wrong, even dishonest...Specifically, the draft methodology reports received February 8 and March 4 for the 2006 Survey of Reserve Component Spouses and the 2006 Survey of Active Duty Spouses, respectively, were essentially commentaries, critical reviews, evaluations, text book-proposals for redesign--anything but methodology reports that simply described procedures and results.  Stratification, allocation, design effects, weighting adjustments, variance estimation were all explained in a manner leading to the conclusion that DMDC's methodologies were wrong.  Statements such as these from the February 4 draft of the 2006 RCSS report are absolutely inappropriate:  'The fact that all of the design effects for all of the reporting domains were greater than one probably should have raised an alarm that something was amiss with the design.' 'Creating "variance strata" that are completely different from the sampling strata is not an entirely honest proposition.'"

 Another point that my supervisor made in her "Letter of Warning" was that the three statisticians (whose work I was presumably leading) were "highly knowledgeable about the mechanics of the sampling and weighting process...but they are not equipped to make independent statistical judgments." Well, why the bloody Hell not? They all had at least as much education as I did (one of them even possesses a God-damned PhD, for Christ's sake), and many more years of agency experience. Why weren't they equipped to make "independent statistical judgments?" Does she consider them to have been a bunch of pathetic, incompetent nincompoops? "You have proposed ideas and identified errors, but often left them without hands-on guidance for execution. Yon have also passed on to them work that they should not be expected to do independently." If such is the case, then why should the DMDC want to retain these useless knuckleheads in their positions?

The “Letter of Warning” established a 90 day period during which I was ostensibly to be provided with an opportunity to improve my performance “to at least the minimally successful level in this critical element” for me to be retained in my position. Which, of course, was utter scat. Government human-resources specialists generally refer to a supervisor's purported expectations surrounding such a 90-day period as a "Performance Improvement Plan" (usually abbreviated to PIP, given their intense fondness for Three Letter Acronyms, or TLA's).

On June 25, 2007, shortly after taunting me about my disability, my supervisor informed me that she had decided to extend "the formal opportunity period to demonstrate at least the minimally acceptable level of performance" from July 25 to August 28. I asked my supervisor about the likely outcome, and she replied with a sneer that it was “going to be a war”, and that the extension to the opportunity period was “just postponing the inevitable.” My supervisor evidently extended the "formal opportunity period" for the sake of affording her the opportunity to compose a few damaging and insolent memoranda, that she could use to support her case for removing me from the federal service, and which she had left neglected during the initial 90-day period. During her extension, my supervisor presented me with a series of strenuously damning, denunciatory and nasty documents, each entitled "Memorandum of Counseling." The August 2, 2007 “Memorandum of Counseling” stated that "DMDC's statistical methodology has been informed by private and academic research organizations and driven by real-world trade-offs. You find fault with many aspects of the methodology; indeed, you raise valid issues, but not one of them is news to DMDC."

Finally (surprise, surprise), on September 21, 2007, my supervisor accorded me a “Proposal of Removal for Unacceptable Performance”, based upon “unacceptable performance in Critical Element 5 of your Performance Plan: Team Participation and Organizational Orientation.”  The attack began as follows: “In terms of Critical Element 5, your performance of the above duties and tasks has failed most notably with respect to Organizational Organization (sic erat scriptum); the sub-element Seeks to bring credit to DMDC has been a serious problem. The performance standards describe the unsuccessful level of this element as: Uninterested in DMDC management goals and team decisions. More precisely, the problem has been your failure to accept the body of DMDC’s methodological decisions and to incorporate the resulting practices and conventions into the performance of your duties. This was the problem in February with the 2006 RCSS and 2006 ADSS statistical methodology reports, in which you attacked DMDC's methodology as wrong, even dishonest…Costs of these failures in Organizational Orientation were high…the issues you raise are valid but nothing new; your contribution to re-examining them would be welcome.”

Note that the February time frame of the statistical methodology reports precedes the start of the 90-day period (April 5, 2007) during which I was supposedly to be afforded the opportunity to “improve my performance to at least the minimally acceptable level.” Moreover, my supervisor’s choice of words, that I had “attacked DMDC’s methodology as wrong, even dishonest”, demonstrates that she believed me to have been reporting gross mismanagement. As sensitive as folks at the DMDC may be to perceived “attacks” on DMDC methodologies, the Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits (at least officially, if not in practice) "any federal employee who has the authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action from taking, or threatening to take, a personnel action with respect to any employee because of any disclosure of information by an employee which the employee reasonably believes evidences gross mismanagement."  Which isn't to say that anyone at the Office of Special Counsel actually gives a hoot. 


The “Proposal of Removal for Unacceptable Performance” continued with a long series of libelous comments, vicious tripe, and inane accusations, and concluded with: “DMDC survey products support the personnel information needs of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel Readiness (sic erat scriptum) and other DoD customers. The information they provide is critical to formulating a wide range of personnel policies and decisions. Your poor performance has negatively impacted the organization’s ability to carry out this mission. Before proposing this action, we considered the feasibility of assigning you to another position at or below your present grade in lieu of removal from the Federal Service. However, there are no suitable vacancies anywhere in DMDC. Because of the nature of DMDC’s work, the likelihood of your success in any other position would be no greater than in your current position.” What a sweetie!

The basic templates for establishing the paperwork required to remove a career employee from the federal service, based upon alleged “unacceptable performance”, were provided by a human-resources specialist, and my supervisor told me that each document that she had prepared was reviewed and approved by a DoD lawyer.  The overall procedures are outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations, 5 CFR 432.  The “Proposal of Removal for Unacceptable Performance” was ultimately found to be ridiculous and unacceptable, and was consequently rescinded, as I successfully rebutted each of her points. It took me a long time (about two weeks), as her proposal went on and on for about 20 pages, and her supporting materials filled a good-sized cardboard box. Her commentary was deliberately hurtful and insulting. But, once I got started, it was as easy as goosing federal managers at a donut-eating contest--just very time-consuming, as I was compelled to compare each accusation against her supporting material. The bulk of her claims consisted of outright lies, dastardly distortions and egregious exaggerations.

For example, she wrote: "In terms of Critical Element 5 your performance has also failed with respect to Team Participation....the problem with the sub-element Cooperates with Others has been that in working with others, you have attempted to pass off your responsibilities to them. This was the problem all April 26 when you requested that the FCAT-M Statistician produce a new allocation reflecting response rates based on email coverage; the Statistician did not know how to compute those rates; in fact it was your responsibility to provide them to the Statistician." In fact, my supervisor's records clearly showed that I did compute those rates, that I did not ask the Statistician to compute those rates, and that I did provide those rates to the Statistician. Moreover, those rates were very simple to compute, and the Statistician should have been able to compute those rates by himself, without help. He had a master's degree, in Statistics. What, indeed, would be the point of keeping such a dull-witted dolt on the payroll, if he is unable to compute a simple response rate?

The agency’s lawyer made certain to include verbiage in the Settlement Agreement that I would waive any rights that I might have had, including any entitlement to accommodation, under both the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawyer may have been unaware (and probably didn't care) that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't even apply to federal employees. Heck, the agency's lawyer even had problems with basic grammar and spelling when he was trying to compose the settlement agreement.  What is a guy with a law degree to do, when he can't even compose a simple sentence without splitting an infinitive?  Beyond getting a government job and defending unscrupulous supervisors who violate the law, there may not be many jobs available.

The agency’s lawyer insisted on including: “each party to pay its own attorney’s fees.” My supervisor never paid a dime for the many hours of legal advice and assistance that she received, over a period of several months, from the agency’s lawyer. After deliberately placing me in a position where I needed to hire a lawyer, the very least that the accursed agency could have done would have been to offer to pay my legal fees.


TOXIC LEADERSHIP AT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

According to the Rehabilitation Act:  “The Federal Government shall become a model employer of individuals with handicaps. Agencies shall give full consideration to the hiring, placement, and advancement of qualified individuals with mental and physical handicaps.  An agency shall not discriminate against a qualified individual with physical or mental handicaps.”  The federal government will never become a model employer of individuals with handicaps, so long as agencies provide lawyers and human-resources specialists to assist and abet supervisors who seek to violate the civil rights of subordinate employees.


Toxic leadership remains a vexing problem for the DoD, for both military personnel and civilian employees.  Many police departments use the Psychopathic Deviate Scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) to screen candidates for police officer positions.  Perhaps a similar test could be used to help evaluate candidates for supervisory positions within the federal government. The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III) may be the best for assessing personality disorders.  At the very least, supervisors who exhibit psychopathic traits should be identified and either moved to a non-supervisory role or counseled to modify their behaviors. Productivity will increase if supervisors are more empathetic--employees will be better able to focus on their work, the DoD will experience less staff turnover, and be confronted with fewer fights and lawsuits. Providing nasty supervisors with lawyers and human resources specialists to help them abuse and victimize subordinates is counterproductive. A special need exists for supervisors to be held accountable for their actions. Supervisory accountability is sorely lacking at the DoD.

McIntosh and Rima identified five types of "dark leaders", all of whom have the potential to cause organizational turmoil: (1) the narcissistic leader, (2) the compulsive leader, (3) the paranoid leader (4) the co-dependent leader, and (5) the passive-aggressive leader.  The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.  Individuals with a NPD exhibit most of the following traits: an exaggerated sense of self-importance; a preoccupation with unlimited power or success; a belief that he or she is "special" and should only associate with other high-status people; a demand for excessive admiration; a strong sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations); interpersonally exploitative; lacking in empathy; envious of others (or beliefs that others are envious of him or her); arrogant and haughty behaviors and attitudes.  Individuals with a NPD are characteristically highly motivated to gain the esteem of others to receive affirmation of their superiority, and consequently often seek out positions of authority over others.  Their use of superficial charm, coupled with their sense of entitlement, can help persons with a NPD to ascend into a leadership position. Once in a leadership position, the tactics that narcissists often deploy to gain admiration and affirmation from others can be very destructive to an organization. For example, because narcissists view other people as inferior and are insensitive to the concerns of others, they are frequently given to derogating people, and thus undermine interpersonal relationships.  While narcissists generally regard themselves as superior leaders, they can be hyper-alert to perceived or imagined threats, which they frequently discover in their surroundings, and to which they often respond aggressively.  Individuals with high levels of narcissism experience anger more frequently, and are more likely to express their anger by engaging in counterproductive work behavior, than other people.  Lamentably, no effective method no effective method of coaching narcissists to become productive team players in the work place has been identified.

Some employees (especially if they share my particular disability) may be innately unable to gratify and fulfill the needs for excessive admiration, and affirmation of superiority, that a supervisor who has a NPD may have. Such employees may find the supervisor's consequent aggressive response to be perplexing and terrifying. In her proposal to remove me from the federal service, my supervisor wrote: "The Critical Element 5 sub-element Understands Role in Organization has also been a serious problem. I have made considerable effort to ensure that you understand your role in the organization: we have reviewed in detail your Position Performance Plan; I have repeatedly counseled you about the duties and responsibilities of your position. We have met at least once a week and communicated via e-mail almost daily. Rather the problem has been your failure to assume that role and to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of your position." I certainly did listen to my supervisor talk quite a lot during my "Performance Improvement Period"--sometimes in her office for several hours after everyone else had gone home, whenever the spirit so moved her. My supervisor's "counseling" consisted of abundantly carping at me and severely criticizing me. Everything that I did or tried to do she deliberately construed in a negative light.

During her excruciating "counseling" sessions, my supervisor frequently made inappropriate but confidential remarks to me about other employees, particularly about people who were of the same formal bureaucratic rank as she was, and whom she seemed to have regarded as rivals. She considered one of these equally-ranked employees to be "clueless". She did, however, speak admiringly about her immediate supervisor (except on occasions when the topic of conversation turned to his presumed sexual orientation--yes, he's "queer", and yes, he probably does enjoy "sucking cock", so what?  Lots of women also suck cock) and quite glowingly about other higher-ranking staff members. My supervisor would occasionally speak in a positive way about lower-ranking employees, but only when her purpose was to take the opportunity to point out some aspect, quality or accomplishment in which she found me inferior in comparison.

Although I did my level best to humor her, I was never able to fathom what my supervisor thought my role in the organization should have been, other than that I should be removed from the federal service. My supervisor’s efforts were very costly to the DMDC in terms of the hours required to document her criticisms and accusations, discouraging innovation, and ultimately taking the time to respond to her insipid proposal to remove me from federal service for unacceptable performance. She was very disrespectful towards me personally, and I found her contemptuous attitude to be enormously draining. While I had never previously been subjected to similar calumny and abuse, particularly by a supervisor under the guise of "counseling", being severely bullied is an all-too-common experience for people who share my disability. A number of authors have examined problems associated with toxic leadership and workplace bullying (for example, Bully in Sight How to Predict, Resist, Challenge and Combat Workplace Bullying by Tim Field, When You Work for a Bully: Assessing Your Options and Taking Action by Susan Futterman, and The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn't by Robert I. Sutton.  Bullying-induced anxiety can make it impossible for a person to function at all in a position (such as Lead Statistician) that requires considerable cognitive skills.

Ironically, a number of DMDC surveys have sought to elucidate information on problems of harassment within the US military. For example, data from a 2004 DMDC survey were used to examine instances of sexual harassment among US military reserve members.  DMDC surveys have looked at problems associated with racial harassment in the US military.  A 2005 DMDC survey studied sexual harassment and assault at the military service academies.  The first page of the report on the DMDC's 2007 Workplace and Equal Opportunity Survey of Reserve Component Members contains the following statement: "The Department of Defense is committed to eliminating all forms of racial/ethnic harassment and discrimination. Such behavior diminishes respect for individuals, impairs personnel and unit readiness and performance, and adversely affects recruitment and retention."  The DoD ought to be similarly committed to eliminating all forms of harassment and discrimination against employees with disabilities.

Edward Spar lamented as counter-productive the problem of "stove-piping" within government statistical agencies, where people are expected to remain in one position for an extended period of time.  Typically, government agencies hire very inexperienced people for low-level positions, who must patiently await promotions for years as senior staff retire, which gradually generates vacancies as people slowly advance through the hierarchy. If an agency should happen to hire a new employee who has expertise in his field, and who is able to perceive flaws in the way that the agency has been conducting business, then it may become incumbent upon the new employee’s supervisor to initiate the efforts required to remove the new employee from the federal service. One time-honored approach is to claim that the new employee’s job performance is unsatisfactory, to put the employee through a PIP, to accumulate a sufficient number of damning and libelous documents during the “Performance Improvement Period”, and then to proceed with removing the employee from the federal service because of “unsatisfactory job performance.” I've really never seen anything good come from a PIP, nor anyone's federal career actually survive a Performance Improvement Period. Another common and more-facile (but considerably less-sporting) method is to accuse a subordinate of falsifying a timesheet, even by so little as 15 minutes. This essentially amounts to a criminal offense that is usually impossible to disprove. It really doesn't matter whether the employee arrived 15 minutes late or not--all that matters is how vile the supervisor happens to be.


EVENTUAL DMDC RESPONSE TO STATISTICAL ISSUES

Subsequent to leaving the DMDC, I published a brief research note to document some of my observations concerning the quality of DMDC surveys.  In what might charitably be described as a pathetic attempt to cover the DMDC's sorry ass, three very-well-compensated members of the DMDC's payroll conspired together to write a response to my commentary.
 
They began with the patently false assertion that my observations had been based upon a “preliminary data set with incorrect weighting variables”, rather than a final “publicly-available” data set, and thus lacked “the necessary empirical support to be useful in improving the DMDC survey program.”  First, the DMDC never makes any data sets "publicly available" (the DMDC hardly even makes any survey results "publicly available", even on its website).  Second, I did use the right data set.  Moreover, their assertion that "it is clear that eligibility status adjustments should be as close to 1.00 as possible" is wrong, and demonstrates an utter lack of understanding of the basic subject matter.  Most of the weight adjustments were close to 1.00, which would mean that response rates had to have been very close to 100% in most of the sampling strata.  Response rates were nowhere near 100% in any of the sampling strata.  The DMDC's absurd weight-adjustment methods simply destroyed whatever credibility the survey might otherwise have had.


The three proceeded to claim that “each iteration of the weighting process goes through vigorous quality control checks to assure accuracy of the weights.”  Utter nonsense.  The DMDC had no quality control checks.
 
The three went on to assert that the DMDC “expends a great deal of effort to ensure that its methods are in line with current research standards” and “is a firm believer and practitioner of continuous process improvement, including enhancements to its statistical methods.”  As evidence, they stated that, in 2008, the DMDC began using the Chi-squared Automated Interaction Detector (CHAID) to “identify the best predictors for inclusion in the non-response logistic regression models.”  CHAID is type of decision-tree method (based upon adjusted significance testing) that has been available for more than three decades, and is an exploratory technique that is an alternative to multiple linear regression and logistic regression, particularly when the data set is not well-suited to regression analysis.  In adjusting survey weights for non-response, CHAID (and other branching algorithms that have been developed more recently) is typically used to form weighting classes directly, thus avoiding the need for logistic-regression models.  Using CHAID to identify predictors for inclusion in non-response logistic regression models is highly irregular, and the DMDC really ought to reflect upon its approach.

The three concluded that the “DMDC takes its mission to collect, analyze and report data to support the military community very seriously.  While there may be steps that DMDC can take to advance this mission, the suggestions made in Losinger (2010) are not among them.”  The problems that I had pointed out in the DMDC surveys comprised very basic mistakes with regard to issues that are well discussed in the statistics literature, and constitute relatively simple concepts that could be corrected by reviewing standard texts.  Neither supreme nor extraordinary intelligence would be required.  The clowns at the DMDC are just either too proud or too lazy to do it.  The Secretary of Defense should either compel them to make the corrections, or simply shut down the program.  The Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness could just as well sacrifice a sheep and hire a haruspex to interpret the entrails for the agency's information needs.  That would at least save the government millions of dollars that we don't have, and afford the Undersecretary's staff something to eat.


HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?

If Pentagon decision-makers are going to rely on numbers from personnel surveys, then the decision-makers should be entitled to the best numbers possible.  Decision-makers also should be afforded a full and coherent explanation of any limitations in the survey results, especially if any particular circumstances may adversely affect the accuracy of the numbers.  Instead, the DMDC provides Pentagon decision-makers with numbers that are grossly unreliable, and no-one really cares.  When I pointed out problems in DMDC statistical methodologies, DMDC management moved forcefully to remove me from the federal service.

The stinkers on the U.S. Supreme Court certainly dealt a significant blow to government whistleblowers when, in the case of Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), they ruled that government employees did not have protection from retaliation by their employers under the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Apparently for no better reason than "because they could."  Whistleblower attorneys had previously used the free speech protections of the First Amendment to protect whistleblowers from retaliation.  In response to the Supreme Court decision, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 985, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007. President George W. Bush, citing bullshit "national security" concerns, promised to veto the bill should it be enacted into law by Congress.


In his successful 2008 campaign, President Obama pledged dramatic increases in government openness, with a unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability. President Obama's Transition Website included the following statement:  "We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance.  Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government.  Barack Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process."

Faulty information, including grossly inaccurate assessments of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, has been cited as one of the major factors precipitating the USA's costly invasion of Iraq.  Outright lies regarding the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident served as an excuse to escalate American involvement in the war in Vietnam, which led to the deaths of more than 58,000 American soldiers. Signaling a break with the past, Vice President Joe Biden specifically tasked the CIA to provide "the facts as you know them, wherever they may lead, not what you think we want to hear."  By remaining silent about the abuses that I witnessed at the DMDC, I would be doing nothing to advance the nation's "national security concerns."  In fact, I would be accomplishing just the opposite.


On January 21, 2009, shortly after assuming office, President Obama issued a memorandum, for the heads of executive departments and agencies, to establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration in government, with the goals of strengthening democracy and of promoting efficiency and effectiveness in government.  Some federal managers may have felt overwhelmed and threatened by the president's goals.  Others, of course, feigned support.  Most of them, when they finally got done laughing, just ignored the president's ambitions.

Finally, on 27 November, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Whisteblower Protection Enhancement Act, which, in principle, now protects federal employees from reprisal even if they aren't the first person to disclose misconduct; if they blow the whistle while carrying out their job duties; or even if they reveal the consequences of a policy decision.

As pointed out above, my supervisor stated in writing, several times, that the fact that I had identified some basic mistakes and very serious flaws in the agency's statistical methods had motivated her to seek my removal from the federal service.  If the agency's lawyer had chosen to exhibit a shred of integrity or competence while reviewing her documents, then he would have pointed out to her that she was in blatant violation the Whistleblower Protection Act, even as it existed in 2007.  But, nobody in government has any interest in such things.  Supervisors who brazenly transgress the law should be held accountable, but they aren't.  Even if the lawyers and human-resources specialists who support and abet the supervisors are a bunch of morons and half-wits, they cost the supervisors nothing.  All that matters is that the supervisor gets to feel important, and that her ego is exalted.
 
Every year, DMDC surveys consume millions of dollars, and the time of hundreds of thousands of survey participants.  According to the three well-compensated members of the DMDC payroll referenced above, DMDC surveys “have had profound effects upon military spouses and their families, such as directing funding to valued support programs and shaping policy to better reflect the needs of military families.”  One can always tell when one is reading a document composed by government employees: the split infinite is de rigueur.  Moreover, the statistical methods applied to DMDC surveys so abominably defective that information from DMDC surveys should not be relied upon for formulating personnel policies and decisions, even within the DoD, at least until all of the mistakes have been corrected and the statistical issues satisfactorily addressed.
 
DMDC activities are financed by American taxpayers, and the results of the surveys are used as input in decisions that affect millions of Americans.  Particularly in light of the President’s commitment to unprecedented levels of openness and transparency in government, the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should be neither afraid nor ashamed to make DMDC survey results fully available to the public, at least once the statistical problems have been corrected.  At the very least, the DMDC should make reports from all of its surveys freely accessible on its website.

Finally, the President really needs to do something to mitigate the effects of the abominable assholes and nefarious narcissists who make up the bulk of the government's managerial class.  They are both extremely annoying and a pathetic disgrace to the nation.  We really can no longer afford the expense and the asininity of feeding their incredibly stupid egos.  Until then, individuals who are afflicted with an elevated sense of integrity or professionalism really ought to reflect carefully before entering the civil service.  On the other hand, if you're a disgusting asshole who doesn't care about anything anyway, then a government job may be just the ticket.  Just turn on the artificial charm, and you'll find yourself promoted up the pointless government hierarchy in due course.

Granted, as part of the Settlement Agreement, which was composed by the agency's semi-literate lawyer, I was, in the future, to refrain from posting to the internet information concerning my supervisor's unscrupulous and unprincipled actions.  And, I did, from the date of the Settlement Agreement until now, which was the future, from the point of view of the date of the Settlement Agreement.  The Settlement Agreement didn't say "never", nor "forever."  Only in "the future", which has come and gone.  The rascals on the Supreme Court, just as surely as they decided the wrong way in Garcetti v. Ceballos and in Dred Scott v. Sanford, will certainly back me up on this.



Notwithstanding, as I do not claim to be a complete asshole, I will graciously agree to remove the present post from my blog, once the Secretary of Defense and I are fully satisfied with the corrections to the DMDC's statistical methods, and once President Obama has made sufficient progress with curbing the noxious and dishonorable activities of toxic supervisors within the federal workforce.  Otherwise, go and fuck yourselves, and happy reading.  If the Secretary of Defense doesn't give a shit, then neither do I.

As for the DoD's accursed lawyers: once we've tackled the DoD's depraved leadership problems, then, of course, there will be no more demand for your "services", such as they are.  While what you are doing now may indeed be good enough for government work, I would highly recommend putting forth the effort to improve your reading comprehension and basic writing skills, particularly if you have any ambition of eventually seeking employment outside of the government.  Local community colleges are an excellent resource, and the DoD would likely pay your tuition.

LAUGHABLE SEXUAL-ASSAULT STATISTICS

In a recent article by Rowan Scarborough in the Washington Times:
The Pentagon’s survey results for the percentage of military women who are sexually assaulted in a year are much higher than the Justice Department’s findings for young women in the U.S.
In its 2012 survey, the Pentagon said 6 percent of military women — or 12,000 — were victims of unwanted sexual contact, which is abusive contact that includes rape. The release of that figure triggered an uproar on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers said the military suffers a sexual misconduct epidemic.
A Bureau of Justice Statistics survey released last year found almost one-fourth of a percent of women ages 18 to 34 had suffered such abuse in 2010. Preliminary numbers for 2012 show a rate of just over four-tenths of a percent.
The age range roughly, but not perfectly, matches that of women in the armed forces. If the military’s abuse statistics corresponded with the national figures, fewer than 1,000 active-duty female service members would have been victims.
Overall, the Bureau of Justice Statistics survey found that sexual assault against U.S. women declined sharply over 20 years until 2012, when preliminary numbers show it jumped up to 2008 levels. The number of individual female victims 12 and older plunged 55 percent, to 127,730, in 2010.
Social conservatives who have compared the Pentagon and Justice Department surveys say the disparity can mean one of two things: The armed forces is in the throes of a sexual misconduct wave unmatched in the civilian world, or the methodology of the Pentagon’s email survey is flawed.
Critics of the Pentagon survey say its 20 percent response rate for 2012 may include a disproportionate number of those who are motivated to participate. This might produce a higher number because the response did not capture a true scientific sample of the total female active-duty force, they say.
The Pentagon defends the survey as sound....
 
Well, I have some news for you.  The Pentagon is full of shyte.  The article continues:
...Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer and a defense fellow at the Family Research Council, said that if the Defense Department survey and the Justice survey are to be believed, it means military women made up 7 percent of all female sex abuse victims in the country in 2010, yet only a fraction of the population.
 “It is wildly out of bounds, and yet President Obama and congressional feminists grasped the results and are jamming politically correct solutions down our military’s throat,” Mr. Maginnis said. “The result in fiscally austere times is to rob other more important training and intimidate our warriors.”...
 
Yep.  That's exactly what this is all about.  Mrs. Jessica Wright, the Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, is a huge Feminist.  From an article last year by Terri Moon Cronk:
 At an open house marking the Defense Department's launch of a new peer-support service for sexual assault victims, senior Pentagon officials today reaffirmed the department's commitment to eradicating sexual assault in the military....
The Defense Department has joined with a private organization to launch the DOD Safe HelpRoom -- a private online chat room for service members and military families to seek help following an assault. The new service gives victims and survivors access to chats with their peers, through an agreement with the nonprofit Rape, Incest and Abuse National Network.
"Sexual assault is a crime DOD will not tolerate," said Jessica L. Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness and a 35-year military veteran. "Our service members sign up to protect the United States, and they have to feel safe within our ranks. I know what it's like to be asked to do risky things, and we don't want to put our service members at risk as they're doing [their jobs]. From the newest private to the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and everybody in between," Wright said, "we've locked arms against this crime, and we will work diligently to eradicate it from our ranks."
Eliminating sexual assault from the military will require a culture change...
The numbers that come from DMDC surveys are not to be trusted.  The Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness simply cherry-picks numbers from DMDC personnel surveys to justify whatever action she wishes to take.  In this case: curbing the sex drives of male service members even further, in the name of "culture change."  In a prior post, Sexual Objectification in the Military, I demonstrated that, over time, as increasing numbers of women have been joining military service, male sexuality has been dramatically reigned in and repressed, to accommodate female preferences.  The military culture has already undergone tremendous change.  Now, the "culture change" is set to become ever more drastic, thanks to the pinheads at the DMDC.    
 
In a Wall Steet Journal article, Lindsay Rodman wrote:
In the days since the Defense Department's May 7 release of its 2012 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, the media and lawmakers have been abuzz. The report's estimate that last year 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact prompted many to conclude, incorrectly, that this reliably estimated the number of victims of sexual assault.
The 2012 estimate was also significantly higher than the last estimate, causing some to proclaim a growing "epidemic" of sexual assault in the military. The truth is that the 26,000 figure is such bad math—derived from an unscientific sample set and extrapolated military-wide—that no conclusions can be drawn from it.
Yet three bills have been introduced in Congress since the report's release, all intended in various ways as a response to the findings. This week the Senate Appropriations subcommittee, which has power over the Pentagon budget, will hold a hearing where military leaders will be questioned about sexual assault in the armed forces.
It is disheartening to me, as a female officer in the Marine Corps and a judge advocate devoted to the professional practice of law in the military, to see Defense Department leaders and members of Congress deal with this emotionally charged issue without the benefit of solid, verifiable data. The 26,000 estimate is based on the 2012 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Military. The WGRA survey was fielded throughout all branches of the military in September and November 2012. As the report indicates, "Completed surveys were received from 22,792 eligible respondents," while "the total sample consisted of 108,478 individuals." In other words, one in five of the active-duty military personnel to whom the survey was sent responded....
...The term "sexual assault" was not used in the WGRA survey. Instead, the survey refers to "unwanted sexual contact," which includes touching the buttocks and attempted touching.  All of that behavior is wrongful, but it doesn't comport with the conventional definition of sexual assault or with the legal definition of sexual assault in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as enacted by Congress.
The estimated 26,000 service members who fell victim to unwanted sexual contact in 2012 is higher than the 19,000 estimate based on the 2010 WRGA survey (the survey wasn't conducted in 2011). Does this mean that there was a 34% jump in just two years? The data are too unreliable to tell. Before 2010, the Defense Department did not extrapolate military-wide in this manner, and for good reason. If you apply the same extrapolations to the 2006 WGRA survey results, you arrive at a far higher number—34,000.
These numbers vary widely because incidents involving unwanted sexual contact cannot accurately be extrapolated military-wide using this survey. The number of active-duty personnel is more than one million. The U.S. military as a whole is 14.6% female. Though the 2012 survey does not specify the gender composition of its respondents, the 2010 respondents were 42% female (10,029 women and 14,000 men).
Nevertheless, to achieve the 26,000 military-wide estimate in 2012 (and 19,000 in 2010) over half of the victims must have been male. Of course, male victims do exist, but empirically males do not constitute anywhere near the majority of victims of unwanted sexual contact—no less sexual assault....
 ...The military isn't averse to changing to assure that all its service members, especially women, are treated justly. But change should come as a result of supportable data....
 
Mrs. Wright obviously adheres to the standard Feminist principle that we live in a "rape culture", where men rape and harass women, and tell dirty jokes, with impunity.  I might, some morning, go out for a walk, notice a couple of women standing somewhere, and think to myself "well, I'm not quite up for a threesome right now.  I think that I'll just rape the thinner one, and maybe tell the other one that she is 'fat' or something.  That should take care of my obligations for today."  By Mrs. Wright's reckoning, a woman is much safer on any street in America, at any time of the day or night, than she is anywhere near the vicinity of a military installation.  A woman who dared enter a military base would spend the day being gang-raped and fat-shamed by soldiers.
 
Shoddy statistical practices at the DMDC are proving to be extremely costly to the DoD.  So much nonsensical activity, and even members of Congress getting all riled up, simply because the statisticians at the DMDC don't know what they're doing, and don't want to know what they're doing.  Nonetheless, look for military commanders to be under a lot of pressure to reduce the number of ladies reporting "unwanted sexual contact" in the next survey.  Plus, service members at all levels are going to be subjected to some rather intense sexual-sensitivity training, and will be told how to behave themselves.  And, of course, a few poor soldiers are going to be prosecuted, for the sake of serving as an example and instilling fear throughout the military.  Oh, all of the guys are going to be on pins and needles for the foreseeable future.

In my previous post, I pointed out that "sexual harassment" shifts in meaning and interpretation: it is entirely at the woman's discretion to decide whether she has experienced sexual harassment. Such is her prerogative.  She is both the object and the subject of the experience.  If she declares that you attempted to touch her, then you did.  You're a rapist.  Women are going to be running roughshod all over the men.  Broads who share my former supervisor's personality deficits will be running the place.  If you're not a man who is especially handsome and charming, or is not disposed to becoming some horrible wench's sex kitten, then flee the DoD before it is too late.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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