Long time reader, first time writer. After a recent job related event I decided it is time to get off the sofa and participate.
Prior to my position with ATF I graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served the Navy for six years.
ATF is administered by pyscological cowards. This is my opinion based on 14 years of ATF observation and experience.
Our leadership does not have the self-confidence to admit when they make a mistake. They believe that by admitting they did something wrong that somehow makes them less of a leader. Had they recieved any type of training or acquired any combat experience they would know that making a mistake, unravelling it to find the cause, admitting it, correcting it and taking actions to prevent it from happening again makes you a stronger leader. Not only in the business of commanding but in the eyes of your troops. Our commanders donít get that. They have what we called, "no trigger time", meaning no real time under the gun of pressure.
Instead they hide, make excuses or find someone else to point the finger at. They cover for each other and use chief counsels office to fix their blunders. As I said, pyscological cowards.
Now we are experiencing forced accountability. Our management has shown they are not capable of policing themselves. By not being able to discipline their own acts or those of their peers they have created a situation where the agents are conducting the oversight for them. We call this leading from the rear.
I once worked for a field commander who told me that, "poorly lead groups will ultimately recieve guidance from the bottom up."
If there is anyone left in management who has the skills and courage to fix what is wrong, please step forward. Donít use the excuse that one man cannot change anything. Now is a time to do something great but it doesnít seem that we have anyone willing to take that chance on themselves.
ďDonít tell me that the seaís are stormy, just bring the damn ship to port.Ē - Admiral David G. Farragut (United States Navy's first four-star Admiral, 1801-1870)
What happens when?
1 reply to this topic
Posted 09 January 2010 - 10:29 AM
Former SAC Steve Martin was once asked "What are you gonna do once you have fired or run off all the senior agents"? Answer; "there are 3000 applicants who want their job". Staffing a Bureau or a field division completely with new hires. Does anybody else see the insanity behind that philosophy besides me? Well he is just one of many senior managers who have not garnered the respect and loyalty of the senior field Agents across the country and now the field and the Bureau are paying for it. Why must WE reap what THEY sow. 20 year veterans are punching out at alarming rates. A job which was once so coveted that you practically had to drag agents out of the building when they hit mandatory retirement age, is now seeing Agents counting down to their 50th birthday. Highly experienced and trained experts in Arson, Explosives, Undercover, and Major cases are leaving in droves. They are not willing to stand by and watch this illustrious Agency go down the tubes. There is no other plausible reason in a time when the economy is tanked and the job market is scarce. And nobody in HQ seems to be paying attention or seems to care. In one western field division new agents outnumber journeyman training officers 4-1. Sacs are shortening training periods and lowering the expectations and practices for new agents as their solution to the problem. That is going to get someone killed. In a west coast field division, HQ has stood by idly (and they have been made aware) while 10+ NON mandatory senior highly skilled Special Agents have been run off. With them they took experience (which is sadly lacking in our management staff these days), thousands of hours of training, and an institutional knowledge that cannot be regained. If this trend continues, we will have an investigative body in which the average time as an ATF Agent will be somewhere around 7 years. Not good my brothers and sisters. Not that many years ago you weren't even considered to be ready to be a RAC until you had 12-14 years on the job. Now its 6. How can we possibly compete and shine in the Law enforcement community or proclaim to have any significant impact on violent when fielding a Rookie team. Hell even the senior managers are jumping ship way before their shelf life has expired. Mr. Melson, PLEASE get involved and stop this trend. 3 Agents out of SF in two months? Not one of them mandatory? Do any of you see this pattern as troubling? Yes it was difficult reporting my first day to a training officer with 15-18 years on the job. The standard was high. But because of it, the standard remained high. Mr. Melson, Mr. Holder DO SOMETHING.
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