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Navy Ethics Paper

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In March 2016, eight sailors and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Navy equipment was nearly lost due to the sailors falsifying an official report. Sailors aboard the ship claim they did the required maintenance on the piece of equipment that failed. Mishaps like the one mentioned above are something that the Navy tries to avoid by mandating sailors follow the procedures laid out. These procedures, especially the more common ones, become very tedious and bothersome for sailors to follow. These sailors have already proven that they know how to operate their systems, so they feel the need to take shortcuts to “save time”. To “save time”, sailors do what is known as gundecking logs. Gundecking logs, as stated by Merriam-Webster is falsifying reports by writing up as if meeting requirements but actually without having carried out the required procedures . There has been several other well documented cases that show the consequences of gundecking logs. These mishaps could have been avoided by holding our sailors to higher standards as far down as the divisional level. As a future Junior Office I will be the Navy’s first level of defense when it comes to preventing gun-decked logs from being approved. In this paper I will address and analyze some of the reasons why sailors gun-deck logs and how Junior Officers could stop this culture in our divisions.

Educating and leading by example is a good start to deal with sailors gundecking, but in order to completely eradicate the problem we must get to the root cause. From the outside looking in, sailors in the Navy that choose to fake their reports appear as unmotivated individuals who don’t want to do their assigned task. As a Junior Officer, I would have to ask myself if they are choosing to be lazy, or a they just don’t have the time to complete all their assigned task. Being the division officer, it would be my job to make sure that my sailors have the time to get their task done. I would have to make sure that they are prepared for the training that they are being tasked to do. I can’t expect them to complete the required maintenance logs truthfully without properly preparing them. This is where I would have to rely on my chief, as the subject matter expert, to make sure the sailor are prepared. If they are well prepared, but still choose to gundeck their logs then I would know it is a matter of laziness.

From the Junior Officer level there isn’t much that I can to do to make service wide changes. With that being said, there is nothing I can do about the pace of the Navy. The Navy is a fast-paced job that requires Sailors to constantly work a fast tempo. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agrees that the pace of the [Navy] is what has caused sailors to ignore their ethics and fake their reports among other things. “It is the pace, and our failure to understand that at that pace, we were neglecting the tools that manage us as a profession over time.” From this quote and the whole article in which General Dempsey addressed the lack of ethics in the military, it is quite clear that the pace isn’t going to change anytime soon, but the way we address the issues needs to change. He calls ethics and character, absolute values that cannot be taken for granted and must be constantly reinforced. As the Officer in charge of my division I must be the one ensuring that the sailors under me are always thinking ethically.

Another way to properly deal with this problem as a Junior Officer would be to show my sailors that I expect integrity in everything that we do as sailors. To establish this level of trust I need to take the time to verify what they are doing is accurate. To this I would randomly check in on them and ask them to show me what they are doing. I wouldn’t do this everyday or with everything they do, but I would make it regular enough so that my sailors are always doing their work with the expectation of having it inspected. This culture that I would establish as a Junior Officer would assist in the efforts to remove the thought of sailors faking their reports.

This is a major ethical dilemma that can analyzed with several moral reasoning theories as well as several practical divisional culture theories that have been determined through the knowledge of former division officers. First and foremost, the division leader must instill a culture in their division, thus their sailors, that

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