Getting Squeezed

Case Solution

Kenneth Winston
Harvard Kennedy School ()

The Assistant Army Chief of Staff prepares nomination forms for all eligible Army officers, which are then sent to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) for approval and subsequent confirmation by the Senate. During the officer’s tenure, an investigation by the SASC revealed that serious racist incidents had occurred at four military bases. In response, SASC is creating new guidelines for the advocacy process that require a disclosure statement that establishes any involvement or allegation of involvement in a racist incident, whether or not it is warranted. The statement should also include all incidents in which the candidate’s subordinates are involved. Although the officer and the chief of staff have developed a relationship of mutual respect and admiration, they disagree on this issue. The official believes that all the necessary information should be submitted to the SASC. The boss disapproves of the guidelines as there are unproven allegations that need to be reported and finds it unreasonable to hold superiors accountable for subordinates. The officer wants to maintain a relationship with his superior, but does not want to commit any crime. Under pressure, he chooses an external policy compliance strategy knowing that the boss will modify his reports before submitting them to the SASC. House number HKS 1458.0

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