There are dozens of things I learned from my twenty-two years in the Air Force. One of those things was.....when something really bad or crappy occurs.....the fewer that know about it....means the lesser chance that some punishment or disciplinary action will come out of the event.
If it's just an event with three people who know what happened, then it's almost a zero-percent chance that trouble will come out of the mess.
Once you get to a dozen people who know what happened, it's almost a fifty-fifty shot that trouble will come out of the screw-up or event.
Once you get past twenty people....well, you might as well prepare yourself for some long campaign where some investigation episode will occur.....statements will be taken.....some base legal guy will be in the mix.....and some idiot will lose a stripe or owe the government for setting some bunk mattress on fire, or getting stupid drunk at the NCO club, or expanding a fire extinguisher in the barracks hallway.
Today, here in Germany, via the news folks.....we kinda learned that thirty-odd managers at Volkswagen were inside of the diesel engine 'fix'.
Thirty guys knew and helped in some fashion to make the software 'fix' work as it did.
No one sat there and asked stupid questions about how this would relate to destroying the company if ever found out. No one suggested ethical boundaries. No one could find any way to do the right thing.
Jail-time for the thirty? No, I have my doubts that they can find any law that works for this case.
If I were a stock-holder.....I'd be demanding all thirty be fired immediately. If they aren't fired within seven days.....I'd go ahead and suggest the CEO himself needs to be let go.
No one says the age mix, or educational background of the thirty. It might be interesting to know if they are all engineers, or a mix of computer geeks and management guys. Women in the group? Unknown.
Under the Air Force umbrella....the sad thing is that as some event was unfolded.....other people usually got dragged in who had almost no knowledge of the event and given twenty-odd questions over their participation or lack of participation. All of this leads to people being frustrated with the guilty parties and makes a four-star event into a five-star event. It's probably the same that will occur with the VW people.