West Point professor emeritus Don Snider today unveiled his plan for fixing the problem of retired generals’ ethics, most recently illustrated by the New York Times take-down of (fellow West Point prof) retired Gen Barry McCaffrey.
Snider writes in the Strategic Studies Institute’s latest update:
Can any retired three- or four-star general be a
West Pointprofessor upholding the standards of academicintegrity; a corporate advocate advancing through personal contacts thefortunes of defense contractors; an independent observer and objective reporterof current events for major news corporations; and, simultaneously, a moralexemplar for the Army Profession? The answer is a qualified yes; i.e., only ifthere is no possible perception of conflicts of interest.
[The chief of staff of the army] should quickly establish under the auspicesof the Profession an electronic registry of retired three- and four-stargenerals that details the affiliations of each officer, both with for-profitand not-for-profit entities. To rightly restore the moral obligations over thelegal, the registry would be voluntary. Each retired officer would voluntarilyenter their own affiliations and keep them current. Most importantly, theregistry would be open to the public so that any interested person could see atany time, under the auspices of the Profession, the ties each individualretired general has and has voluntarily offered to the public. Perceptions ofconflicts of interest can best be avoided if all affiliations are well-known inadvance of commitments and contracts.