Report Out on Fort Hood, HasanThe AP reported this morning that the Army report to be released today will implicate Army Maj. Nidal Hasan’s supervisors and those who knew of his troubled behavior, but failed to detail it in his records or further followup on it.

Hasan’s disturbing behaviors were detailed as far back as during his medical residency and were apparently known to anyone who worked closely with him in a supervisory capacity. And when they became aware of his behavior, did they detail it and pass it along to Hasan’s future bosses? Apparently not:

Hasan got passing grades and a promotion in part because disturbing information about his behavior and performance was not recorded by superiors or properly passed to others who might have stepped in, the report found.

As Hasan’s training progressed, his strident views on Islam became more pronounced as did worries about his competence as a medical professional. Yet his superiors continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving through the ranks and led to his eventual assignment at Fort Hood.

It became even worse — he got promoted despite his increasingly troubling behavior, and worries that he may have not even been that competent a psychiatrist. It’s like the Peter principle — we keep promoting people way beyond their own competence. In the Army, this is almost a given if you’re an officer — it’s a rare thing for the services to deny an officer a promotion (especially in lower officer grades). The expectation of promotion time and time again leads to a person inevitably being promoted — whether they should be or not. The same is true in the civilian world — we promote people beyond their skill or expertise level. And sometimes people get promoted so they become someone else’s problem.

Of course, most of the time, nothing comes from promoting incompetence. So you have a dysfunctional person in a higher managerial role (or in this case, health care role). The hope is that such people won’t make a major mistake.

Sadly, with Hasan it appears the mistake wasn’t just with Hasan’s intolerant religious beliefs — it was also with the people responsible for his training and leadership skills. And yes, those people need to be held accountable as well. The Army system of near-automatic promotions also needs to be held accountable. Because while individuals were responsible for each decision made along the way, the environment of automatic-promotion is so rampant, to go against it would mean significant troubles and headaches for anyone who tries.

Read the full article: Report on Fort Hood Said to Fault Army Officers