High-ranking military officers supposedly always have been held to higher personal conduct standards than the personnel under them. But now they are going to be under much stricter conduct review.

Due to the actions of a few who have conducted themselves unbecoming of officers, especially with the rank held, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has established a policy under which generals and admirals will be evaluated by their peers and the people they command as to their professional performance and personal character. Gen. Dempsey is upset by “misconduct” issues widely reported about several high-ranking officers.

Gen. Dempsey said the new policy goes beyond the traditional assessment of performances by senior officers. The new program will include courses to train security personnel, executive staffs and the spouses of senior officers.

Gen. Dempsey often has voiced “pride” in the majority of senior officers as to their conduct. But there have been problems with a few high-ranking officers who have been fired, penalized for poor judgment, misuse of military services, and sexual misconduct. These have been serious cases of misconduct.

As long as the assessment review is conducted with fairness, it should be a good policy. A good leader must set an example for the troops he commands and that includes personal conduct. The key element in the new policy is fairness.