Firing Line


When it comes to being an Army leader, brilliance is not enough.

Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency, is often credited with putting missile defense programs on the right track. But now he is in the hot seat for his management style. We've been hearing rumors for some time about the difficulties at MDA, and the agency's morale has scored consistently low rankings.

Some of the details of what went on behind the scenes are contained in a DOD Inspector General report uncovered first by Foreign Policy's The Cable. The report recommends the Army secretary consider "appropriate corrective action" with regard to the general.

Although MDA employees described O'Reilly as "brilliant," and said he often knew "the business of his subordinates better than they did," the report said his treatment of his employees was not up to Army standards. At least four senior officials said they left the agency at least in part due to the general's behavior, the report says.

It describes one incident in which the general, who is expected to retire soon, berated an employee in a resort lobby. The report also contains quotes from at least eight employees who, among other things, called him, "Without a doubt ... the worst manager I have ever worked for."

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