- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is note I got this morning from an NDU insider.
Speaking of notes, I’ve had many from outraged NDU faculty members (and others) unhappy with the broad Guamanian brush I used to describe them yesterday. I apologize for that. I should have been clearer that I was talking about some, not everyone. In addition to the entrenched mediocrities, there are some great faculty members, too. I guess I am just sad to see a once-great institution tarnished, losing enough lustre to threaten its accreditation, and now facing what appears to be a crisis in leadership or morale, or both.
Anyway, here is the note.
I can say from firsthand knowledge that the problems you describe are accurate, but only scratching the surface. General Martin is a truly friendly and unbelievably enthusiastic individual … but those traits are overshadowed by his admittedly horrid personal time management abilities and nearly utter disregard for his senior staff’s time, a frustrating inability to prioritize effort, inconsistent focus and vision, paralyzing personal indecisiveness, and a shocking level of paranoia over many on his staff (to the point that he often referred to some as “The NDU Taliban”).
His actions were often characterized as an ADHD child on a sugar-jag, or a Mr. Magoo in uniform by some at the top echelons of the NDU’s colleges. And then there were the pettiness and ethical grey areas from the general that has tarnished the reputation of the NDUP in the eyes of those who work with him on a daily basis.
Good folks opted to leave rather than work under the unstable an unpredictable leadership coming from the NDUP and his Exec. Others have just hunkered down to wait out the current administration. The staff alienation was palpable. Some of his senior staff have gone so far as to cynically comment that the J7 must have brought general Martin to the NDU as a “fall guy” during this difficult transition time in the university’s history, knowing that he would set a new and lower leadership bar for his successor to build from in the future. BG Martin is not a toxic leader in the traditionally abusive or amoral manner of many other officers, but the leadership he delivers is poisoning the NDU nonetheless.
This note represents the views of the writer, and are not necessarily those of the Defense Department or the U.S. government.