Why Is Accountability Important in the Military
By: Michael D. Fashion
Accountability is the act of taking responsibility for that which falls under your domainâ€”in other words, itâ€™s doing what you say youâ€™re going to do. Accountability is the cornerstone of integrity, which is the result of consistent honesty and responsibility in your actions. In the military, it is absolutely imperative that you do what you say youâ€™re going to do and that you agree to be held accountable for those orders that are directed specifically to you or those in your command. A breakdown in leadership and responsibility can be bad anywhere, but it has the potential to be downright catastrophic in the military.
Keeping the machine working
Militaries throughout history have never been made to ...view middle of the document...
This means that every single person within that machine absolutely must be accountable for his or her actions or the entire thing may break down. None of it would be possible without accountability.
Preserving the chain of command
There is a well-defined and rigid hierarchical structure within the military, which is often referred to as the chain of command. An easy way to picture the chain of command is to think about a ladderâ€”you can only get up or down by going to the very next rung. Never jump the chain of command, except in extreme circumstances.
This chain of command wouldnâ€™t work if you couldnâ€™t rely on each person in the structure to be entirely accountable. Someone handing down orders to lower-ranking officers doesnâ€™t question whether or not they will continue to be handed down to those who will carry them out; itâ€™s simply assumed. Anyone who demonstrates a lack of accountability will suffer disciplinary action and very likely be demoted. Depending on the level of the infraction and how much damage has been done, the transgressor may even face court-martial, expulsion from the military and/or prison time.
If youâ€™re in the military, youâ€™ve obviously built some level of trust with those above and below you in order to get to your current rank. For those just starting out, the time in training helps superiors gauge your abilities and your commitment to the whole. Aside from all this, you have to build a trusted reputation with those with whom you work directly and are of equal rank. In the case of armed encounters, these are the people who will cover your back, and who need to be able to trust you to cover theirs. Nothing breeds trust like consistent, sustained accountability.