Wrong kind of influential
I am in awe — and not a good awe — of your endorsement of Pfc. [Bradley] Manning as No. 60 among your 100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense [Dec. 17 issue]. The flawed reasoning was that he helped fuel the Arab Spring. He also endangered the lives of many Americans and some of our allies.
As a retired Army veteran, I cannot accept anyone, regardless of what his reasons were, to give away documents that were deemed to be classified/secret. In my belief, Pfc. Manning was out to harm the U.S. and some of our allies. We do not know how many more documents WikiLeaks has, and Pfc. Manning most likely did not read all the thousands of documents he allegedly sent. So, due to the possible nature of harm that may still be forthcoming from these leaks, he should be considered a traitor and hopefully he will be judged as such.
His alleged actions were done in a traitorous manner, and yet, Federal Times chose to give him credit and a podium for his message.
I do not agree with the view of naming him in a special place among influential people, but I respect the right of Federal Times to do whatever the wish is with its views. In this case, I believe it should have been on the editorial page and not where it was printed. This is someone’s opinion at Federal Times and is a galvanizing position to many Americans.
— Retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Gabriel T. Arnold, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Value in conferences
Is it possible that a solution can be so onerous as to hobble an organization? Yep, and the knee-jerk reaction to conferences is one.
For many disciplines, the use of conferences is critical to the professional development of the employee — professional development that can be immediately transitioned to action at the office or the bedside or the battlefield.
While there is a morbid fun in criticizing the General Services Administration and Veterans Affairs Department for conference indiscretions, it is a lack of sensitivity to the benefit of a conference that is lost to the taxpayer.
For some, this conference conundrum has created overly zealous middle managers with the penchant to say no to anything.
How about spanking those who created the problem? Create some discipline in the Senior Executive Service and middle-manager ranks.
Painting everyone with the same paint brush is demoralizing and is a disincentive for those who do perform.
— James N. Phillips Jr., Grass Lake, Mich.