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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    North Mountain, West Virginia

    Default Zero-Defects Mentality

    From a statement by Cavguy in the Afghanistan ROE thread:

    In an odd way, this turns back to the discussion I have had with COL Gentile over "dogma" and doctrine. We seem to have a recurring pattern of commanders following "letter of the law" in risk adverse fashions rather than tailoring to each situation. Yingling has offered one reason why. I believe it goes back to the late 90s zero-defect checklist approach to training mentality. I don't believe it's the doctrine's fault, it's a sign of a massive failure in our Leader Development and Education System, and our inability to develop individual leaders and hold individuals responsible for their actions. We see every problem as a fault of the system, and issue blanket one size fits all policies as a result.
    By Ken White in the same thread:

    THAT / those are the problem. Not tactical level training but the mentality we have developed over the last 30 years or so. That, I contend is inculcated by trying to define 'training' down to the lowest possible level and it is exacerbated by a culture that treats minor foul ups as major crimes while ignoring major crimes as non events. We have a minor tactical training problem -- we have major personnel management, integrity and military professional education problems.
    I've noticed a number a number of guys mentioning a "zero defects" atmosphere in the 1990s Army. Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but I thought zero defects was a manufacturing quality control initiative adopted by DoD in the middle-1960s that eventually crossed over from the R & D community into troop units. Zero defects was eventually repudiated, at least outside of the engineering and manufacturing community.

    A master sergeant told me his division in Germany wore pillow cases over their spit-shined boots when they marched to where JFK was going to review them so they wouldn't scuff their boots. A guy who had been in the 82nd told me that in the 1960s the way to prepare for an in-ranks inspection in fatigues was to have a friend hold your trousers while you jumped into them from the top bunk so they wouldn't wrinkle behind the knee. (No sitting down allowed.) When I served in '77-'84 we had spit-shined Corcorans and starched fatigues but nothing quite like that. By that time zero defects was a discredited philosophy.

    Was the zero defects of the 1990s merely the unofficial resurrection of an old term?
    Last edited by Pete; 01-13-2010 at 03:12 AM.

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