So when it becomes obvious that an upper level team member is not capable of doing the job and MUST be replaced for the success of the project, how do you explain the termination of employment. Also, how do you deal with the questions that are asked when the terminated team member goes over your head to complain about the unfairness of the firing. Do you have disciplinary documentation? If so, was it sent upward as I must do?
The military is nothing if not paper process bound. On the three occasions that I had to remove team members I found other projects for which they would be a better fit. In two cases they simply failed to focus on all the cumulative details of the project which allowed unintended consequence to surprise them. They were moved to projects that had fewer variables.
I would report that Lt X did not meet expectations and was transferred OR Lt X found a different project which better suited his career path goals and process that up the chain.
I never had anyone go over my head to whine. If they were moved out, both of us knew that the options that I provided would give them the best opportunities to build a career so going over my head would only negatively impact them. I have always been known to keep extreme documentation on what I do.
In R&D, much like the rest of the military, if you are in a position that requires quick, accurate, final decision making skills, seldom do you have questions from above about them. If you were trusted to make the decisions, they were assumed good. If you were not trusted, you would not have the responsibility.