Home > Current Events, Leadership, Personnel System, Toxic Leadership > Keep Firing Assholes! Another Army Brigade Commander Relieved

Keep Firing Assholes! Another Army Brigade Commander Relieved


The Army keeps firing assholes.  Another Army brigade Commander has been relieved.  This time its COL James H. Johnson from the 173rd Airborne BDE.   No word yet on what COL Johnson did or did not do, however, some things are becoming clear from chatter in the blogosphere.  Some felt COL Johnson had a poor command climate, and if you believe some accounts, was a toxic leader.

However, there appears to be an ethical/moral piece to this story as well, possibly involving one or more UCMJ offenses.  It’s unclear exactly what this might be.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out given the recent relief of COL Zachar from the 172nd.  In particular, I’m going to keep an eye on what role COL Johnson’s alleged toxic leadership style may have played in his undoing.

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  1. March 31, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Ever since the Army took the CG level oversight away from these separate BCTs the unit CDRs develop a sort of god complex. COL Johnson was a horrible leader in which he surrounds himself with “yes men” instead of those who can give him the information he needed to make the right choice. He treats people as if they were garbage and if you disagreed with him you were out. Is he a toxic leader? Absolutely! The Army did a great thing when they removed him. Army leaders must have Army Values to lead Soldiers. COL Johnson had none.

    • April 1, 2011 at 7:00 am

      Interesting observation about the move to the brigade-centric organization.

      Did you know or work for COL Johnson? If so, would you be willing to provide some (anonymous) insights into his command and/or relief?

  2. Anonymous
    April 6, 2011 at 6:05 am

    I was formerly a member of COL Johnson’s organization. He is the textbook example of a toxic leader. His constant screaming attacks against members of his staff, complete disregard for dissenting opinion and lack of faith in any of his staff officers or commanders was disheartening to watch. The entire unit walked around in fear and worked hard just to keep the ass chewing sessions to a minimum. His command climate stifled all real discussion and led the unit to only work for his interest instead of the unit’s. Unfortunately this behavior is not what got him fired. He was fired for other reasons (adultery, fraud), ultimately it is a good thing for the unit itself; but the brigade suffered under his toxic leadership for 2 long years.

  3. April 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Look into his cronies next. Look closely, shed some light on and investigate Johnson’s unit leaders who emulated him – who kidded themselves with versions of his Hubris Trait God Complex where the cup and flower fund was raided and people in lower and middle management were forced to FUND THINGS TO MAKE SENIOR LEADERS LOOK good because their contracting could not punch their way out of a wet paper bag and look real close into ALL THINGS that S7 group did – contracts? payments? Waste Fraud or Abuse? Ends justify the means? Step on necks to get where you need to be with your own personal career? Johnson did more than what he did – he left behind little Johnsons with Johnsonesque styles and methods that are cruel harsh and retaliatory not to mention wrong and at opposite poles with Army values

    • April 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm


      Thanks for the comments. You bring up a great point – the potential negative impact of all the “mini-mes” that grew up under these officers going out and doing the same sorts of things – and getting promoted. An entry on that to come…

  4. CSM (ret)
    April 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    HA! It sounds like the same guy I worked for several years ago, only mine was a LTC Engineer Bn CDR. Weak leaders surround themselves with weak subordinate leaders (yes men) so no one ever has the bal…, er,…backbone to tell the, “Boss, that’s a lousy idea.” With them, the best you can hope for is that they don’t do too much damage to the organization.

    • April 30, 2011 at 9:58 am


      Sounds like this is not a recent problem – maybe we are just now paying attention?

      Thanks for the comment!


  5. June 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    The crony principle only gets wrost in USAR and ARNG when we cross-level ( a practive the CAR said we would never do) troops an it makes for a US AND THEM or The UNIT and the Agumentees. The Cmdr saves he rating profile for “his” people.

    Solution: 360 Evals and unit cohesion.

  6. June 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    The crony principle only gets wrost in the USAR and ARNG when we cross-level ( a practice the CAR said we would never do) troops and it makes for a US AND THEM or The UNIT and the Agumentees. The Cmdr saves his rating profile for “his” people.

    Solution: 360 Evals and unit cohesion.

  1. April 10, 2011 at 9:29 am
  2. April 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm
  3. April 26, 2011 at 10:23 pm
  4. April 28, 2011 at 3:49 am
  5. May 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm
  6. August 4, 2011 at 1:41 am
  7. January 30, 2014 at 9:27 am
  8. January 30, 2014 at 9:47 am

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