Maj. Scott Stagner took this lesson away from his time in 2006 commanding a 7th Special Forces Group detachment in southern Afghanistan: "We are so rushed as officers to get through and check blocks. In my opinion, everyone is looking more toward their next job than they are at their current job. I fault our system for that ... We rush people through because we are stuck on this system of trying to get everyone through all the jobs that we can possibly get them exposed to. So, 1) they are never held accountable for truly their actions. You have to really mess up to get relieved and it does not happen very often. And 2) you don't ever get to operate in the job that you are training for. You are always getting trained to move on to the next position, so rather than employing the best person for that job. The best person is the guy that gets pulled out immediately to go and do something else."
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.