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Accountability is one of the key factors in any organization that is presentable, successful and dependable. Without proper accountability time is often spent inefficiently and the mission is often either delayed or unachieved. Accountability is defined as being responsible for someone or something at a certain time or event. It is also a duty to accept responsibility or to account for ones actions. Throughout this essay I will describe the importance of accountability and why it is so important to the United States Army by answering the following questions:
The United States Army has many time honored traditions that it still practices today. Amongst different battle drills, customs and courtesies and even ceremonies, accountability is one of these traditions, and perhaps even the most important. I have spent a little over three years in the United States Army and as to this date, I cannot remember a single time when accountability has not taken place. Whether we are getting a head count of how many soldiers are present in today’s formation, how many weapons have been drawn from the arms room, or even how many PT jerseys were drawn from Unit Supply there is always a mandatory count which is usually documented. In many real Army Units, Soldiers are often tasked with unloading Supply Conex Box’s that have been locked and secured since the last time that they were opened, just to ensure that all items are present and accounted for. Many people would ask why the Army stresses so much about having their arms, equipment and Soldiers accounted for and ready to go even in times when it seems unnecessary to do so. This is because the Army is expected to be ready to fight and win at moment’s notice. They are expected to be ready to deploy half way across the World at any given time and in order to do so, the Army must have all of it’s Soldiers, arms and equipment ready at all times. Army units break Companies down into smaller sections so that Leadership can keep closer tabs on their Soldiers and help guide and train them more affectively. Soldiers who are placed into the position of a team leader, squad leader, platoon sergeant or a company first sergeant know and demonstrate the importance of accountability to a high standard. They have earned the trust and respect of higher to be responsible for other Soldiers. They are the backbone of the Army, assuming reasonability not just for themselves, but also for others.
Soldiers are always expected to be at the right place, at the right time and in the right uniform. This makes it easy for the chain of command and the Command Team to push out any necessary information to their Soldiers and also allows them to receive an accurate count of how many Soldiers are present for duty and that if they are missing any Soldiers that they are tracking their absence. When a Soldier just fails to report without giving any type of alibi in advance to their absence, the mission can be pushed to the side. Time is now being spent on tracking down this Soldier and trying to ensure that they are safe. However, more time is usually spent on trying to find a Soldier who did not report than expected. Command teams often do not know where to look for missing Soldiers or how to contact them if they fail to answer their phones. Army is a team, a place where people take care of one another and have each other’s backs and refuse to allow simple mistakes to become bad habits. Whether it’s a hundred Soldiers missing or if its just one Soldier missing, a team is not as strong without them as they would be with them. Proper accountability also helps Units in times of emergent circumstances such as natural disasters. This is another reason why the military stresses so much about proper accountability.
As we have discussed many of the negative effects that not being accountable can have on a Military Unit, it is also important to discuss the benefits accountability can have on one as well. When Soldiers do as they are asked and report with their required gear, at the required location, and at the required time, the mission is either able to start on time or prior to. Soldiers are more focused on the event of the mission and completing it and are not concerned with other nonrelated factors such as missing gear or what’s going to happen to them because they didn’t show up on time to formation. When Soldiers and their gear are accounted for, the team is ready to go. Time and energy spent worrying about other irrelevant things is eliminated. The team is able to put this mission first and focus directly on accomplishing it. Furthermore when Soldiers are held accountable they tend to take more pride in their work. When a Soldier shows that they are responsible and that they can be counted on they define what is expected out of everyone else. They set the expectation for others to follow making them a leader. Developing a stronger trend for younger Soldiers to follow. It is much more important for Leaders to encompass and model the behaviors that they want to see within their unit. If you want your Soldiers to be responsible, you must first be seen being responsible. If you don’t interest in it, or take it seriously, why will they?
On 4 July 2019 I failed to report to the battalion run. My actions over wrote the reputation I have built of being responsible and accountable over the last year to the Command team. I am aware of the mistake I have made and have created a list of ways I can prevent something like this from happening again. I have purchased a new alarm clock that I will set with the time I need to wake up the following morning every night before I go to sleep. I will be sure to use my daily planner more efficiently and look it over every night before I go sleep so that I may have a good understanding of and be reminded of what lies ahead in the following day. I will learn to communicate more effectively with my team so that we are all tracking future events that need to be attended and to eliminate the possibility of something like this from happening again.
Throughout this essay I have explained what accountability is, why it is so important to the United States Army, the negative effects that improper accountability can have on an organization and the positive benefits that proper accountability can bring. I now have a better understanding of how detrimental not being accountable can be to the unit’s mission. And how forgetting the smallest thing could result in the biggest negative outcome. I also learned that when one Soldier fails to be accountable, the team often pays the price also. As a promotable specialist who missed points for the rank of Sergeant by one point last month, I realize that I must not get comfortable and that I still have a lot to learn because I may soon be the example for Soldiers to follow. I learned that the role of being accountable is not only to diagnose and remove negative factors, but also to identify and retain positive ones. I will take this mistake as a learning point and grow off it and ensure that it does not happen again. And in the future, if I get the chance to become a leader, always remember that as a leader I should always hold myself to the highest level of accountability and set the example for Soldiers who follow.
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