A recent (21 January 2013) article by Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor addressed the issue of misconduct among senior military officers. Many senior officers have been in the news lately for conduct-related offenses, often though not always sexual in nature. According to Baldor’s reporting:
"'It's troublesome,' said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy's top spokesman. 'Navy leadership is taking a look at why personal conduct seems to be a growing reason for why commanding officers are losing their commands. We're trying to get to the root causes. We don't really fully understand it.' He and other military leaders agree that poor leadership, bad judgment, and ethical lapses, rather than operational failures, are growing factors in the firings. But Kirby said it's not clear whether that has anything to do with the strains of the past 10 years at war or simply reflects deteriorating morals among the general population."
I don’t know what Admiral Kirby’s full views on these matters are, but I’ve heard similar remarks from many in the military when discussing issues such as cheating scandals, sexual assault, and so on. With much encouragement from the civilian populace, the military tends to see itself as apart from, indeed above, the rest of us. When military members are praised for their selflessness and service, their success is not generally attributed to the high moral standards of the population from which the recruits come – instead, it is the exceptionally virtuous culture of the military which is usually invoked. When military members are found misbehaving, we often hear degenerate civilian culture indicted, however. Perhaps it is time to seriously consider whether military culture itself is not at least part of the problem?