I am in the military and the decisions that I make effects someone or something either directly or indirectly. My status in the military allows me to make all sorts of decisions, from what pens and furniture to purchase to who to send to war, where and when. This particular decision I want to talk about is a decision that involved peoples lives. This decision changed my aspect of life and the military as I knew it.
I was in charged of this element that was getting ready to deploy, and we had just had a urinalysis in which a couple of soldiers came up positive on for marijuana, cocaine and other barbiturates When a soldier comes up positive for an illegal substance, it use to be a time where we were suppose to detain the individual, send him to the necessary facility to get help and then Chapter him out the military because we can no longer use that individual. When these soldiers came up positive we attempted to chapter them out the military but, because we are at war the military goal now is to retain everybody. The military is not letting anyone go due to mental, drugs, medical, or family. The military does not have enough soldiers in to sustain our awesome army, so they are retaining as many soldiers as they can. Anyway because of this new MILPER message that came out across the military, I could not chapter these drug abusers out nor get them help prior to us deploying, so they had to deploy with us. Once we reached our undisclosed location we set up our communications and started to engage the enemy. To make a long story short, the individuals that came up positive on the urinalysis 2 lost their lives in one of the battles that took place, the other threw a grenade in the sleep tent and killed several of his fellow comrades. Even though they seemed like nothing was wrong apparently something was wrong and I not only overlooked it, but shouldn’t have deployed them with us, despite what the military dictated.
Expected Utility Theory
This is the normative Theory ( Plous, S ). The decision that I made in the first place was the normal decision anyone would have made. The military tells you that you will do something and you do it, not questioning it, or rebuttal. What I did was follow the orders or rather directive that was given to me. I knew that I should not take those soldiers with me, I knew that I should have left them behind, but I was ordered. If I had not deployed them I would have been relieved. If I had been relieved would this still have happened? I believe so. All they military would have done was place someone else in command who wouldn’t question their tactics and the soldiers would have still deployed.
In relation to this theory the question arises, was the gain of bringing those soldiers with us worth the losses of the soldiers as a result of it? Our element gain was minimal by bringing those soldiers in the first place. One was a computer programmer, and we already had about 35 of them. Another soldiers job was fiber optic and cabling, we already had over 30 of them. The other was satellite communication, and we had over 40 of these guys. By these soldiers coming they were providing us with another body to perform security and engage enemy forces. By these soldiers being here the loss of our element was far greater than what the expected gain was suppose to be.
This theory was current in my decision making process. I anticipated pros and cons for bringing the soldiers with us, but my involved maybe inconsistency, unproductive, useless man hours. I did not once think that they were going to die or kill others. Of course the possibility of death exist, and is prevalent or rather widely known but we try to minimize the reality as much as possible.
I am accountable for everyone under my command, instructions and authority, and I regret bringing those soldiers with us.
Implications of Judgment
People in general know how to make a decision and a judgment. All this implies is that people, even with the understanding of how to make a decision, do not actually know how to make a sound decision and judgment. I have went to many management class because I command a vast amount of soldiers, these classes were to do just this, open your mind up and implement procedures which allow or assist you in making the most sound decision. All these tools are just that, tools. They can not make your decision for you, they are in place to present and minimize errors in your decision making process so that you may in make the best decision. The general population makes decision off of emotion or norms, which result more times than others in not the best decision.
This analysis will assist me greatly in future decisions. I now know that I will not just follow orders, but use my judgment to make more informed decisions about different situations. I tend to choose my battles, and this was one that I should have chosen and fought.