Generals know better: An inside look at the military's charm schools
By KEVIN BARON
Published: November 16, 2012
Before an NBA rookie plays his first game, the league teaches the youngster that his world is about to change. People will fawn over him, women will fawn over him, do whatever it takes, say whatever he wants to hear to get close to him and his newfound power. He’ll definitely need a CPA. And in exchange for the riches, fame, and public influence, he will be unforgivingly scrutinized -- his every move, every word, and every action carefully watched and critiqued.
In the NBA it’s called the Rookie Transition program. In the military, it’s called “charm school.” The military services require nearly all officers selected become general or “flag” officers -- the military’s designation for those with the rank of brigadier general or rear admiral, or higher -- to go through intense ethics training on what to expect when you become, well, a big shot.
Strong emphasis is placed on being constantly mindful of outside perceptions of one’s behavior. The Pentagon, it turns out, ensures that the nation’s generals and admirals are taught to avoid the ethical trapdoors of becoming the military equivalent of an NBA all-star, including adultery.
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