15th Annual Stockdale Symposium
Wednesday, October 10 2012
On 10 October, 2012, the Fall Stockdale Symposium invited Rear Admiral (RADM) John N. Christenson, US Navy, to speak on ethical leadership at the this annual gathering. RADM Christenson commanded the USS McClusky (FFG 41), Destroyer Squadron 21, and Carrier Strike Group 12, and many other commands, amounting to eight deployments. Beyond his outstanding career as a naval officer, RADM Christenson also served as the commanding officer of Surface Warfare Officer School and as the president of Board of Inspection and Survey; making him the ideal speaker for the Stockdale Symposium.
In aims to imitate the high standards of ethical character that VADM John Stockdale heroically updheld as a POW in the Vietnam War, the annual symposium is an opportunity for experienced military leaders to share their wisdom with Army cadets, Navy midshipmen, leaders in the civilian field, and other members of the military. The event gives light to the ethical situations leaders face daily. This year, RADM Christenson spoke on the importance of conducting inspections with integrity. Inspections of people, materials, and functions of a military asset are crucial to knowing the war fighting capabilities of such asset; whether it is a ship or infantry unit. When challenged with the heat of combat at a moment’s notice, the capability of a single machine could hold the strategic significance of the engagement: holding responsibly for the fate of the engagement and/or the safety of the solider, marine, or sailor. RADM Christenson stressed how the leadership role of the officer during inspections is to ensure that honest inspections are upheld; keeping combat readiness as the goal.
The Annual James B. Stockdale Symposium was held at USD’s Shiley Theatre, University of San Diego (USD). The USD School of Leadership and Education Sciences and the San Diego Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) collaborate in hosting the symposium. Along with other annual events, such as the Combat Leadership Panel, these forums stand as a tradition of the partnership between the Army and Navy ROTC units and the University of San Diego. After each lecture from the keynote speaker, the floor is open for discussion. These discussions show the similarities and differences between the civilian leadership community at USD and the midshipmen and cadets that will soon commission as military officers. Each year, the need for ethical leadership proves to be a common denominator for both groups. The Stockdale Symposium links these groups together and creates space for everyone to learn from one another other to improve leadership development.