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Vetting US Presidential Candidates: It’s time to Integrate Examinations

April 30th, 2017 | Posted by David Whitfield in Executive Leadership

Our national leadership structure must make at least one dynamic change: Vetting the US President. And that’s because our structure, though designed to give us exactly what we’re getting, is dated, unproductive, and dysfunctional. The main reason is our process of vetting the Commander-in-Chief is inadequate and not sustainable.

One way to improve the process is to integrate examinations as part of the selection process. When I think how military officers are tested, selected for civilian education, advanced military schooling, and training, etc., I think similar strategies are possible for vetting our Commander-in-Chief. Once military officers reach the rank of general, they are ready to lead; meaning, they know geography; geopolitical and international relations; how economies work or don’t; how goods and services should flow or don’t and why; they are to a degree emotionally intelligent.  Ergo, they are much more prepared to become Commander-in-Chief/POTUS than those who have not been so vetted. And examinations can help move this forward. What content areas may be relevant?

Examinations on world geography, geopolitical and international relations, micro- and macroeconomics, logistics, strategic planning, action planning, and other planning, such as personnel and financial/budgetary matters; plus civics would be great for starters. A POTUS in my view needs a certain level of literacy in these areas as a minimum. There are ways to observe, critique, and engage her or his leadership gifts, skills, and talents, plus acumen. Just because one has business experience, doesn’t mean she or he is able to transfer those skills to the Oval Office. And I believe skills of a CEO are not as similar to those of a commander-in-chief as one would think. And that’s because building and maintaining relationships with direct reports is radically different from building and maintaining relationship with a political body such as the Congress, or a financial body such as Wall Street, etc.

Finally, I believe it is to the nation’s benefit to avoid another “bad hire” as has happened with 45. And that avoidance could be realized by using a more comprehensive vetting process to include examinations!

What are your thoughts?

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