Feb 20 2012

Christian Air Force General Doesn’t Expect His Subordinates Not To Do Dumb Things

Last week, when Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, the new head of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), held a commander’s call to introduce himself to DISA’s employees, the new boss showed a PowerPoint presentation that included the 18 rules he lives by.

The first of “Ronnie’s Rules” was “Always put God first, and stay within his will,” and the last was ” Alway remember that God is good — all the time!”

The alpha and omega of their new commander’s “rules” being so overtly religious shocked many DISA employees and made them extremely uncomfortable. Twenty-one DISA employees, both civilian and military, immediately contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), with one of these employees sending MRFF a copy of Lt. Gen. Hawkins presentation.



MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein reached out to officials at the Pentagon on behalf of the DISA employees, but getting no response went to the media.

As reported by the Air Force Times, Lt. Gen. Hawkins was quick to excuse his clear endorsement of religion in a command setting by saying that the slides of his “rules” were “in no way a directive or expectation I have for our dedicated men and women.”

Really? A commanding general doesn’t think that what he presents at a commander’s call as his “rules” won’t be seen as what he expects from his subordinates?

Well, if the general has no expectations that the men and women under him will feel any pressure to follow his religious rules, then I guess he has no expectations that his subordinates will feel any pressure to follow any of his other 16 rules either.

Therefore, it is clear that under Lt. Gen. Hawkins the 16,000 employees of DISA will no longer be expected to take care of their families, to keep their emotions out of their decision making, to stay focused, to work as a team, to be outstanding or winners, to share the credit and spotlight with their teammates, to conduct themselves with conviction — and they will absolutely not be expected not to do dumb things!

With none of these expectations to worry about, it sounds like DISA is going to be a mighty easy place to work under Lt. Gen. Hawkins.



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  1. 1

    I was lucky to miss the god stuff during my military tour in the ’70s. During my civilian career I have had two managers who started their introductory speech with: “God is first with me.”

    Both were assholes, one was a full on narcissist who seemed to think it was OK to abuse staff who did not loudly proclaim Yahweh as their running buddy.

  2. 2

    It is becoming more and more apparent just how far the fundies have forced themselves into our military. It really is eroding all aspects of our society. The fact that Santorum can even be taken seriously as a potential candidate is more than enough evidence for that.

  3. 3

    Actually I’d call it wise not to expect one’s subordinates not to do dumb things. For example, I’m pretty sure Chief of Staff Schwartz fully expected his subordinates to do dumb things when he issued his policy guideline on government neutrality regarding religion. And Lt. Gen. Hawkins does not disappoint.

  4. 4
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    And on the rest of the rules, can he be charged with being an utter moron?

  5. 5

    Oh I’m sure it’ll be okay, look at rules 4 and 6, surely those would stop him putting his personal motives ahead of the duties of his post

    BWAHAHAHA sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face there

  6. 6

    Will someone inform Gen. Hawkins that casting calls for Dr. Strangelove have ended?

  7. 7

    Amazing how we have the mix of fairly commonsense traits mixed in with religion-speak and bully-speak. These traits in combination are terrifying for a superior officer to hold.

  8. 8
    M can help you with that.

    Amazing how we have the mix of fairly commonsense traits mixed in with religion-speak and bully-speak.

    Well, yeah. It’s all about mixing basic stuff with explicitly religious and/or otherwise authoritarian stuff; insist that all your “rules” are a set, and to object to any of them is to object to all of them. We see the same thing from the religious totalitarian set when they insist that anyone who objects to inscribing (a Protestant version of) the Ten Commandments in ten-foot-high letters on every public building must be objecting to “thou shalt not murder” and “thou shalt not steal”.

  9. 9

    He should revise his list for the sake of his professional standing, just to eliminate conflicts between his explicit orders and Rule #1. Come to think of it, Rule #1 already conflicts with Rule #3. There’s some useful stuff in there, but nothing that wouldn’t fit on a single slide. BTW, St Augustine called. He wants Rule #12 back!

  10. 10

    God completely aside, I hope whatever DISA does isn’t important, because it appears they’ve just been handed to an egotistical bullying manager. Generally that’s followed by a pretty spectacular productivity crash, after a short period of gain while people attempt to prove their worth. Slides like these, god or no, are a red flag warning of power- and head-game playing sadistic manipulative bastards.

  11. 11

    How hard would it be for him to just man up and say, “Those are the rules I live by. I shouldn’t have included the religiously motivated rules in this presentation.”

    IMO, problem solved right there. Admit you were wrong and move on.

  12. 12
    Timothy (TRiG)

    Keeping emotion out of your decision-making is also a very bad idea (not to mention impossible). Without emotional investment, we have no need to make decisions.


  13. 13

    #1 & # 15 conflict with #5 & #14.

    Yes, General Asshat, dumb people do dumb things. You’re exhibit fucking A to that effect.

  14. 14

    Grrr. 1 and 18. Hit the wrong key.

  15. 15

    Familiar with the concept of ‘controlled opposition’?
    It’s a simple proposition: infiltrate the enemy camp, take over the reigns of power, and feign their position. Badly. Very badly. Thus ensuring their demise.

    Or perhaps the Hegelian dialetical: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Erect a straw man so heinous, so repugnant, that an overreaction commiserate in magnitude is effected, yielding inevitably to the desired effect, the dissolution of the original proposition. In other words, you win in the end.

    That is, some clown comes along purporting to be strong on an untenable, highly public philosophical position; that proposition is batted down, soundly disposed of; a chilling effect is created, such that the original proposition may never rear it’s ugly head ever again.

    By this means, religiousity in particular is forever banished from the public sphere, secularism reigns unfettered.

    Whether real or not, the end result with be the same. You folk will harp and carp and wail and gnash your teeth, the “church” will be chased back into the sanctuary, tail tucked between legs.

    Beautiful, no?

    The good LG’s bullet points seem perfectly fine, acceptable, between numbers 2 and 17. The first and last, however, are enough to set your world aflame.

  16. 16

    Doesn’t rule #6 pretty much throw out the rest of the list?

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