Personally, I think they're a pain in the arse. If you want to talk to the troops, debrief them when they return.
We had Kim Beasley pay us a visit during an exercise when he was Minister for Defence back in the late 1980s. Our company had been dropped off somewhere, done a lengthy patrol and was settling into all round defence when he popped in for a visit. I remember him looking sweaty and uncomfortable as he was led around from position to position. It was baking hot, and dusty as hell and we were digging in. Normally, we'd be stripped off, but the CSM had marched around and ordered us to keep our kit on; apparently my naked chest would have been offensive to the Minister.
I had to dig more than anyone else in our section, as I was the gunner. The rest could dig a shell scrape and then gradually enlarge it over a few days. As we were going to be there for a while, I had to dig a proper U-shaped pit to the regulation depth as quickly as possible. That meant moving a lot of dirt.
So there I was, shovelling sand onto a hootchie (we didn't just throw the sand anywhere - signs of digging are a great way to give your pit away - we would cart it away somewhere else in the hootchie and cover it over) when Beasley rolled up. He had the usual cluster of brass in tow, plus the RSM. The RSM stood behind Beasley slightly to one side, where Beasley couldn't see him, and fixed each digger with a death ray stare as Beasley chatted to them. That stare said, "Say the wrong thing, and we will be having words". Words with the RSM was something to be avoided at all costs, so we were very careful about what we said.
Actually, at that point, a short break was probably welcome. He asked the standard questions - how is your kit, how is the food etc etc. I had to stifle a laugh - almost all my kit by that point was non-regulation. I replied that it was excellent - and it was. I had paid a lot of money for it, and had stashed all the crap that the Army issued me in my parent's garage.
He wandered off happy, thinking that he was overseeing a system that was delivering great kit to the troops. No one bothered to tell him that all of us had bought our own boots and sleeping bags, many had non-regulation packs and most would soon be following me in ditching their Boer War era webbing for the modern seat belt stuff I had found. Everyone threw away the wet weather gear and bought their own. Out truck drivers had bought their own radio sets in order to talk to each other, because the Army wouldn't provide them.
Unless a politician has a nose for ferreting things out, they're liable to be fed a truckload of bullshit, and they'll go home thinking everything is perfect. Beasley seemed to think he had a top notch Army, when it was falling apart at the seams due to lack of funding and clapped out, Vietnam era kit.
I would have preferred that he stayed at home and organised for me to get a better pair of boots.