Judgment In November – Is President Obama Fit For Duty?

October 30, 2012 — 4 Comments

From a religious and/or conscience perspective, there are ample reasons to not re-elect President Obama. But what about his leadership skills as President and Commander-in-Chief? Are they up to the task? I take a pragmatic but unique approach in answering that very question.

In my post “A Moment In Time – Service, Sacrifice, Honor,” I began by mentioning the deaths in Libya of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith and security personnel Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty––heroes all who died in the service of their country. Over six weeks later, the Benghazi story, highlighted by a stream of disconcerting news, has somehow metastasized into an American tragedy. Furthermore, the search for answers is apparently being thwarted by our government––for the moment, reasons unknown.

If the following news reports are true, the United States government––at the least––is guilty, intentionally or unintentionally, of misleading the American public. Beyond that, time will tell.


First, the sequence of events as we know it.

  1. Days/weeks leading up to the Benghazi attack––repeated requests for additional security forces in light of growing threat. Denied.
  2. Just prior to attack––requests for additional security forces/military backup. Denied.
  3. During consulate attack––requests for military backup. Denied.
  4. During subsequent attack on CIA Annex––requests for military backup. Denied.

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators twice to ‘stand down’ rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.”

Extracting a bit more from the above news story.

“Tyrone Woods was later joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty … They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the consulate began.” Woods and others had ignored the orders to stand down in order to help the beleaguered Americans at the consulate.

Fox then reported an apparent contradiction in the issuance of any “stand down” orders.

“We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi,” she said. “Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”

From the Blaze website, the intrigue deepens.

“Retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer said Saturday he has sources saying President Barack Obama was in the room at the White House watching the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya unfold.”

Later in the news report.

“Shaffer said the question now is what precisely Obama did or didn’t do in the moments he saw the attack unfolding. The CIA reportedly made three urgent requests for military backup that were each denied. ‘He, only he, could issue a directive to Secretary of Defense Panetta to do something. That’s the only place it could be done,’ Shaffer said.”

Finally, as reported by the Blaze, another contradiction of events.

“Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last week the military did not intervene because they did not have enough available information about what was happening on the ground.”

The attack on the consulate and annex resulted in the death of four Americans. One of whom, Tyrone Woods, was part of a small group that ignored the “stand down” order and rushed to help the ambassador and his team. Particularly poignant, Mr. Woods’ actions exemplified a most selfless act in that he probably didn’t know them personally, or at best, knew them casually.

His service and sacrifice, as well as those of his colleagues, requires that we honor their death with the truth.

All of the above has been background and preamble for the crux of this post which focuses on duty, performance and evaluation of that performance––more specifically, an evaluation of President Obama. With the upcoming election just days away, I thought this would be an interesting exercise.

Tyrone Woods lived and died because he aspired to do the right thing. He was governed by his value system of Duty, Honor, Country and his Code of Conduct. President Obama has duties and responsibilities as well, dictated by his Oath of Office. Are his values compatible with the successful execution of this oath? Do we have sufficient evidence of his moral code? Is it reasonable to say that values drive performance?

The job of President of the United States is a demanding one. Most of America is privy to comparatively little of the documents drafted by or for a president. Most citizens are unaware of the myriad of issues, options and final decisions a president makes daily. And it’s not surprising that presidential interactions with confidants and subordinates are rarely made public. In spite of all this, the electorate have ample information to make knowledgeable decisions when electing a Commander-in-Chief––especially if an incumbent is running for a second term. This will be the nation’s task at hand.

As a former Marine officer and Naval aviator, I was constantly being evaluated by senior officers, flight instructors, etc. Semiannually, my commanding officer would complete a formal report on my performance to be placed in my personnel records. This report, a Fitness Report (FitRep), would assess my personal skills, performance, and fitness for command as well as my ranking against my peers. Although this evaluation system changed somewhat in 1999, FitReps and their cousins form the basis of career advancement.

If we evaluate President Obama’s performance using the Military’s Fitness Report evaluation system––the same one that Tyrone Woods operated under­­––how would the President do?

To assist me in this evaluation, I’ve enlisted the help of my brother Greg. He began his first career when he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point where he earned a degree in Science and Engineering. Upon graduation, he was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps and served as a Marine Officer and military pilot. Highlights of that twenty year career include the following: aviator and test pilot; highly decorated combat veteran; promotion to the rank of Lt. Colonel and award of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is now a successful investment advisor and money manager. He is also eminently qualified to help me draft a performance evaluation (FitRep) for the President as if he were being held accountable to Marine Officer standards.

Four years is enough time to gain the measure of a man who holds the office of President. If you look carefully, his record speaks volumes.

Although, as a Catholic, I have multiple criteria when voting for a president and from many different perspectives (life issues, religious freedom, role of government, economic policies, social justice, etc.), I think it’s worthwhile to incorporate 11 relevant benchmarks from the Marine Corps FitReps for an evaluation of Barack Obama. Granted, this approach for Obama’s “FitRep” is narrow but it has merit.

President Barack Hussein Obama – January 20, 2009 – November 6, 2012

  1. Performance – Regular duties
    • Unsatisfactory / Below Average / Average / Above Average / Excellent / Outstanding
  1. Performance – Tactical leadership of military
    • Unsatisfactory / Below Average / Average / Above Average / Excellent / Outstanding
  1. Qualities – Attention to duty
    • Unsatisfactory / Below Average / Average / Above Average / Excellent / Outstanding
  1. Qualities – Judgment
    • Unsatisfactory / Below Average / Average / Above Average / Excellent / Outstanding
  1. Qualities – Leadership
    • Unsatisfactory / Below Average / Average / Above Average / Excellent / Outstanding
  1. Individual Character – Effectiveness Under Stress
    • Definition: Thinking, functioning and leading effectively under conditions of physical and/or mental pressure. Maintaining composure appropriate for the situation, while displaying steady purpose of action, enabling one to inspire others while continuing to lead under adverse conditions. Physical and emotional strength, resilience and endurance are elements.
    • Best evaluation of this character trait reads as follows (to wit the President should aspire): Demonstrates seldom-matched presence of mind under the most demanding circumstances. Stabilizes any situation through the resolute and timely application of direction, focus and personal presence.
    • Does the above evaluation describe President Obama? Yes / No
  1. Individual Character – Initiative
    • Definition: Action in the absence of specific direction. Seeing what needs to be done and acting without prompting. The instinct to begin a task and follow through energetically on one’s own accord. Being creative, proactive and decisive. Transforming opportunity into action.
    • Best evaluation of this character trait reads as follows (to wit the President should aspire): Highly motivated and proactive. Displays exceptional awareness of surroundings and environment. Uncanny ability to anticipate mission requirements and quickly formulate original, far-reaching solutions. Always takes decisive, effective action.
    • Does the above evaluation describe President Obama? Yes / No
  1. Leadership – Leading Subordinates
    • Definition: The inseparable relationship between leader and led. The application of leadership principles to provide direction and motivate subordinates. Using authority, persuasion and personality to influence subordinates to accomplish assigned tasks. Sustaining motivation and morale while maximizing subordinates’ performance.
    • Best evaluation of this leadership trait reads as follows (to wit the President should aspire): Promotes creativity and energy among subordinates by striking the ideal balance of direction and delegation. Achieves highest levels of performance from subordinates by encouraging individual initiative. Engenders willing subordination, loyalty, and trust that allow subordinates to overcome their perceived limitations. Personal leadership fosters highest levels of motivation and morale, ensuring mission accomplishment even in the most difficult circumstances.
    • Does the above evaluation describe President Obama? Yes / No
  1. Leadership – Ensuring well-being of subordinates
    • Definition: Genuine interest in the well-being of subordinates. Efforts enhance subordinates’ ability to concentrate/focus on mission accomplishment. Concern for family readiness is inherent. The importance placed on welfare of subordinates is based on belief that we take care of our own.
    • Best evaluation of this leadership trait reads as follows (to wit the President should aspire): Noticeably enhances subordinates well-being, resulting in a measurable increase in effectiveness. Maximizes resources to provide subordinates with the best support available. Proactive approach serves to energize units to “take care of their own,” thereby correcting potential problems before they can hinder subordinates’ effectiveness. Widely recognized for techniques and policies that produce results and build morale. Builds strong family atmosphere. Puts motto Mission first, America always, into action.
    • Does the above evaluation describe President Obama? Yes / No
  1. Intellect and Wisdom – Decision Making Ability
    • Definition: Viable and timely problem solution. Contributing elements are judgment and decisiveness. Decisions reflect the balance between an optimal solution and a satisfactory, workable solution that generates tempo. Decisions are made within the context of the President’s established intent and the goal of mission accomplishment. Anticipation, mental agility, intuition and success are inherent.
    • Best evaluation of this intellect and wisdom trait reads as follows (to wit the President should aspire): Widely recognized and sought after to resolve the most critical, complex problems. Seldom matched analytical and intuitive abilities; accurately foresees unexpected problems and arrives at well-timed decisions despite fog and friction. Completely confident approach to all problems. Masterfully strikes a balance between the desire for perfect knowledge and greater tempo.
    • Does the above evaluation describe President Obama? Yes / No
  1.  Intellect and Wisdom – Judgment
    • Definition: The discretionary aspect of decision making. Draws on core values, knowledge, and personal experience to make wise choices. Comprehends the consequences of contemplated courses of action.
    • Best evaluation of this intellect and wisdom trait reads as follows (to wit the President should aspire): Decisions reflect exceptional insight and wisdom beyond this President’s experience. Counsel sought by all; often an arbiter. Consistent, superior judgment inspires the confidence of America.
    • Does the above evaluation describe President Obama? Yes / No


Considering the requirements of a President and Commander-in-Chief, my attitude toward having President Obama continue for a second term.

  • Prefer Not / Be Willing / Be Glad / Particularly Desire

Is Barack Hussein Obama Qualified To Continue As President? Is he fit for duty?

  • Yes / No

Please forward this post to Mitt Romney.