Sunday, June 3, 2018

Command at sea


It is not the job itself, which is mostly the same duties the captain has done before summed up together in new responsibility.  It is not even the freedom and independence of the job, which, though large, are far from total.  The magic of command is the magic of opportunity.  Every captain starts with a clean slate and I urge him to write on it boldly and with pride in his personal signature in the form of a strong command tour in which he accomplishes every reasonable good for his ship.

Captain John Byron
The Captain
USNI Proceedings
September 1982

Saturday, May 26, 2018

May 2004 was a hectic time for me

My former boss - Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld

- I'm not into this detail stuff.
- I'm more concepty.
- I don't do quagmires.
- I don't do diplomacy.
- I don't do foreign policy.
- I don't do predictions.
- I don't do numbers.
- I don't do book reviews.
- Now, settle down, settle down. Hell, I'm an old man, it's early in the morning and I'm gathering my thoughts here.
- If I know the answer I'll tell you the answer, and if I don't, I'll just respond, cleverly.
- Oh, Lord. I didn't mean to say anything quotable.

I served as his Staff Director for the Detainee Task Force (Geren-Maples Group) from May 2004 until I retired in May 2006. SECDEF is a brilliant, selfless American patriot. Those who say otherwise have not had the great pleasure and honor of working for him.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A week of Rickover: Thoughts on Man's Purpose in Life - You have one





Thoughts on Man's Purpose in Life

by
Admiral H. G. Rickover, U. S. Navy
at a Luncheon Meeting of the
San Diego Rotary Club
San Diego, California
Thursday, February 10, 1977
Voltaire once said: "Not to be occupied and not to exist are one and the same thing for a man." With those few words he captured the essence of a purpose in life: to work, to create, to excel, and to be concerned about the world and its affairs.
The question of what we can do to give purpose or meaning to our lives has been debated for thousands of years by philosophers and common men. Yet today we seem, if anything, further from the answer than before. Despite our great material wealth and high standard of living, people are groping for something that money cannot buy. As Walter Lippman said: "Our life, though it is full of things, is empty of the kind of purpose and effort that gives to life its flavor and meaning."
I do not claim to have a magic answer. But I believe there are some basic principles of existence, propounded by thinkers through the ages, which can guide us toward the goal of finding a purpose in life.
Among these principles of existence, responsibility is the one which forces man to become involved. Acceptance of responsibility means that the individual takes upon himself an obligation. Responsibility is broad and continuous. None of us are ever free of it, even if our work is unsuccessful.
Responsibility implies a commitment to self which many are not willing to make; they are strongly attracted to accepting a course of action or direction for their lives imposed by an external source. Such a relationship absolves the individual from the personal decision-making process. He wraps himself in the security blanket of inevitability or dogma, and need not invest the enormous amounts of time, effort and, above all, the thought required to make creative decisions and meaningfully participate in the governance of his life.
Responsibility also implies a commitment to others, or as Confucius taught, each of us is meant to rescue the world. It is the business of little minds to shrink from this task or to go about it without enthusiasm. Neither art, nor science, nor any of the great works of humanity would ever come into being without enthusiasm.
The sense of responsibility for doing a job right seems to be declining. In fact, the phrase "I am not responsible" has become a standard response in our society to complaints on a job poorly done. This response is a semantic error. Generally what person means is: "I cannot be held legally liable." Yet, from a moral or ethical point of view, the person who disclaims responsibility is correct: by taking this way out he is truly not responsible; he is irresponsible.
The unwillingness to act and to accept responsibility is a symptom of America's growing self-satisfaction with the status quo. The result is a paralysis of the spirit, entirely uncharacteristic of Americans during the previous stages of our history. Even complaints about high taxes and high prices are illusory. Behind them is hidden the reality that the majority, in terms of sheer creature comfort, never had it so good. Those who are still on the outside looking in are not strong or numerous enough to make a political difference.
The task of finding a purpose in life also calls for perseverance. I have seen many young men who rush out into the world with their messages, and when they find out how deaf the wold is, they withdraw to wait and save their strength. They believe that after a while they will be able to get up on some little peak from which they can make themselves heard. Each thinks that in a few years he will have gained a standing, and then he can use his power for good. Finally the time comes, and with it a strange discovery: he has lost his horizon of thought. Without perseverance, ambition and a sense of responsibility have evaporated.
Another important principle of existence which gives purpose and meaning to life is excellence. Because the conviction to strive for excellence is an intensely personal one, the attainment of excellence is personally satisfying. Happiness comes from the full use of one's power to achieve excellence. Life is potentially an empty hole, and there are few more satisfying ways of filling it than achieving and exercising excellence.
This principle of excellence is on which Americans seem to be losing, and at a time when the Nation stands in need of it. A lack of excellence implies mediocrity. And in a society that is willing to accept a standard of mediocrity, the opportunities for personal failure are boundless. Mediocrity can destroy us as surely as perils far more famous.
It is important that we distinguish between what it means to fail at a task and what it means to be mediocre. There is all the difference in the world between the life lived with dignity and style which ends in failure, and one which achieves power and glory, yet is dull, unoriginal, unreflective, and mediocre. In a real sense, what matters is not so much whether we make a lot of money or hold a prestigious job; what matter is that we seek out others with knowledge and enthusiasm—that we become people who can enjoy our own company.
In the end, avoiding mediocrity gives us the chance to discover that success comes in making ourselves into educated individuals, able to recognize that there is a difference between living with excellence and living with mediocrity. Sherlock Holmes once told Dr. Watson, "Watson, mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself. It takes talent to recognize genius." To which he could have added, it takes talent to know that what counts is condemning mediocrity not in others but in ourselves.
We should honor excellence, but not necessarily with material rewards alone. The Japanese have a custom which I believe it would be well for us to emulate. Instead of honoring their artists with peerages or knighthoods, they give them the respectful title, "National Human Treasure."
Creativity is another of the basic principles of existence which I believe help to give purpose in life. The deepest joy in life is to be creative. To find an undeveloped situation, to see the possibilities, to decide upon a course of action, and then devote the whole of one's resources to carry it out, even if it means battling against the stream of contemporary opinion, is a satisfaction in comparison with which superficial pleasures are trivial.
To create you must care. You must have the courage to speak out. The world's advances always have depended on the courage of its leaders. A certain measure of courage in the private citizen also is necessary to the good conduct of the State. Otherwise men who have power through riches, intrigue, or office will administer the State at will, and ultimately to their private advantage. For the citizen, this courage means a frank exposition of a problem and a decrying of the excesses of power. It takes courage to do this because in our polite society frank speech is discouraged. But when this attitude relates to questions involving the welfare or survival of the Nation, it is singularly unfitting to remain evasive. It is not only possible, but in fact duty of everyone to state precisely what his knowledge and conscience compel him to say. Many of today's problems can be brought forward only by complete candor and frankness; deep respect for the facts, however unpleasant and uncomfortable; great efforts to know them where they are not readily available; and drawing conclusions guided only by rigorous logic.
To have courage means to pursue your goals, or to satisfy your responsibilities, even though others stand in the way and success seems like a dream. It takes courage to stand and fight for what you believe is right. And the fight never ends. You have to start it over again each morning as the sun rises. Sir Thomas More wrote: "If evil persons cannot be quite rooted out, and if you cannot correct habitual attitudes as you wish, you must not therefore abandon the commonwealth. You must strive to guide policy indirectly, so that you make the best of things, and what you cannot turn to good, you can at least make less bad."
These principles of existence—responsibility, perseverance, excellence, creativity, courage—must be wedded with intellectual growth and development if we are to find meaning and purpose in our lives. It is a device of the devil to let sloth into the world. By the age of twenty, some of us already have adopted a granite-like attitude which we maintain throughout life. Intellectually, e must never stop growing. Our conscience should never release us from concern for the problems of the day. Our minds must be forever skeptical, yet questioning. We must strive to be singularly free from that failing so common to man, deplored by Pascal in the "Pensees," of filling our leisure with meaningless distractions so as to preclude the necessity of thought. To be an intellectual in the fullest sense, one's mind must be in constant movement.
Aristotle believed that happiness was to be found in the use of the intellect. In other words, ignorance is not bliss; it is oblivion. The inspired prayer does not ask for health, wealth, prosperity, or anything material, but says, "God, illumine my intellect." Man cannot find purpose in his life without expanding and using his intellectual qualities and capacities. Liberal learning is a primary source of these qualities. By liberal learning, I refer to discerning taste; wise judgment, informed and critical perspectives that transcend specialized interest and partisan passions; the capacity to understand complexity and to grow in response to it.
A cause of many of our mistakes and problems is ignorance—an overwhelming national ignorance of the facts about  the rest of the world. A nation, or an individual, cannot function unless the truth is available and understood; no amount of good on the part of the leaders or the media will offset ignorance and apathy in the common citizen. Since the United States is a democracy, the broad answer is that all of us must become better informed. Reading is one method of accomplishing this purpose. By spending a few dollars for a book, the thoughts and life's work of a great man are available to us.
The proof of living, as Norman Cousins has said, "is in memory, and all of us, through reading, can live five or six lifetimes in one. Through reading, the sluices of the mind open up, making accessible a range of experiences otherwise beyond our personal reach." In reading books, we grow both emotionally and intellectually.
As a reader, man is unique among living things. The ability to read—and more broadly, the ability to express complex ideas through language—distinguishes him from all other lifeforms. Without language, complex though is inconceivable and the mind is undeveloped. The inability to speak and write imprisons thought. In the same vein, sloppy, imprecise thinking begets sloppy, imprecise language. Language and thought are interconnected, and the written word is the vehicle which best advances both.
Therefore, I count reading, and its associated skill, writing, among the most significant of all human efforts. Good writing, after all, is simply the result of enormous reading, detailed research, and careful though. It means studying to gain a good vocabulary, and practicing to learn how to use it. It seems to me that these kindred skills should be developed and nourished from the very first, if man is to grow intellectually. And unless he can express his thoughts well, he can exert little influence on his fellowmen.
I now will discuss on final principle of existence essential to man's purpose in life: the development of standards of ethical and moral conduct. Good, it is generally conceded, has made a remarkable job of the physical universe but has, strangely, not done quite so well with the spiritual element. There is abundant evidence around us to conclude that morals and ethics are becoming less prevalent in people's lives. The standards of conduct which lay deeply buried in accepted though for centuries no long are absolute. Many people seem unable to differentiate between physical relief and moral satisfaction; they confuse material success in life with virtue.
The decline in morals parallels the decline of traditional religion in all areas of our society. In our desire to separate church and state, we have gone to the opposite extreme and have exorcised religious training from our public schools and colleges, thus depriving our youth of the lasting standard of the morals and ethics enunciated by the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.
Morals are the quarrel we have with behavior. Any system of education which does not inculcate moral values simply furnishes the intellectual equipment whereby men and women can better satisfy their pride, greed, and lust.
We are now living on the accumulated moral capital of traditional religion. It is running out, and we have no other consensus of values to take its place. This is partly because man can now obtain on earth what previously was promised him when he reached heaven.
In our system of society, no authority exists to tell us what is good and desirable. We are each free to seek what we think is good in our own way. The danger is that where men compromise truth and let decency slip, they eventually end up with neither. A free society can survive only through men and women of integrity. Fortunately, there still exist human beings who remain concerned about moral and ethical values and justice toward others. These are the individuals who provide hope of the ultimate realism that is marked by a society's capacity to survive rather than be eventually destroyed.
Ethics and morals are basically individual values. A society that does not possess an ethical dimension will find it almost impossible to draft a law to give it that dimension. Law merely deters some men from offending and punishes others from offending. It does not make men good.
It is important also to recognize that morals and ethics are not relative; they do not depend on the situation. This may be the hardest principle to follow in working to achieve goals. The ends, no matter how worthy they appear, cannot justify just any means. Louis Brandeis, who was deeply convinced of the importance of standards, said: "One can never be sure of ends—political, social, economic. There must always be doubt and difference of opinion." But Brandeis had no doubt about means. "Fundamentals do not change; centuries of thought have established standards. Lying and sneaking are always bad, no matter what the ends."
This is a very enabling statement. Life is not meaningless for the man who considers certain actions wrong simply because they are wrong, whether or not they violate the law. This kind of moral code gives a person a focus, a basis on which to conduct himself. Certainly there is a temptation to let go of morals in order to do the expedient thing. But there is also a tremendous power in standing by what is right. Principle and accomplishment need not be incompatible.
A common thread moves through all the principles I have discussed: It is the desire to improve oneself and one's surroundings by actively participating in life. Too many succumb to the emotional preference of the comfortable solution instead of the difficult one. It is easy to do nothing. And to do nothing is also an act; an act of indifference or cowardice.
A person must prepare himself intellectually and professionally and then use his powers to their fullest extent. This view is well expressed in two extracts from I Ching, the Confucian Book of Changes: 
—The superior man learns and accumulates the results of his learning; puts questions, and discriminates among those results; dwells magnanimously and unambitiously in what he has attained to; and carries it into practice with benevolence.
—The superior man nerves himself to ceaseless activity.
It is important to be both a thinker and a doer and to have sense of responsibility. A theoretician who has no responsibility is withdrawn from the real world. His recommendations are made in a vacuum. Because he is not required to carry them out, they may be irresponsible and do harm. Similarly, those in charge—the doers—are often devoid of any real thought.
To find a purpose to life, on must be willing to act, to put excellence in one's work, and have concern for what is right ahead of personal safety. Life must be felt, not observed. But to do so means applying oneself to the task daily. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please—you can never have both."
No professional man has the right to prefer his own personal peace to the happiness of mankind; his place and his duty are in the front line of struggling men, not in the unperturbed ranks of those who keep themselves aloof from life. If a profession is to have its proper place in the further development of society, it must be increasingly dissatisfied with things as they are. If there is to be any exaltation in one's work, one must learn to reach out, not to struggle for that which is just beyond, but to grasp at results which seem almost infinite. As Robert Browning wrote, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for."
Man's work begins with his job; his profession. Having a vocation is something of a miracle, like falling in love. I can understand why Luther said that a man is justified by his vocation, for it is a proof of God's favor. But having a vocation means more than punching a time clock. It means guarding against banality, ineptitude, incompetence, and mediocrity. A man should strive to become a locus of excellence.
Most of the work in the world today is done by those who work too hard; they comprise a "nucleus of martyrs." The greater part of the remaining workers' energy goes into complaining. Employees today seldom become emotional about their organizations or its output; they are only interested in making money or getting ahead. And many organizations are killing their employees with kindness, undercutting their sense of responsibility with an ever-increasing permissiveness. This is a fatal error. For where responsibility ends, performance ends also.
"We measure ourselves by many standards," said William James. "out strength and our intelligence, our wealth and even our good luck, are things which warm our hearts and make us feel ourselves a match for life. But deeper than all such things, and able to suffice unto itself without them, is the sense of the amount of effort which we can put forth." Man has a large capacity for effort. But it is so much greater than we think it is, that few ever reach this capacity.
We should value the faculty of knowing what we ought to do and having the will to do it. But understanding is easy. It is the doing that is difficult. The critical issue is not what we know but what we do with what we know. The great end of life is not knowledge but action. Theodore Roosevelt expressed this concept well in his "Man in the Arena" statement:
It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
The man in the arena has found a purpose in life. He daily experiences Emerson's declaration that nothing is achieved without enthusiasm. He knows that men seldom come within shouting distance of their hopes for themselves. Yet he does not quite in resignation as have those who have taken trouble with nothing except to be born. In his work he is buffeted from two sides, challenged by his own ideas which revolt at the compromises of reality, and assaulted by reality which fights the ideas. He spends himself in that struggle, and he wins by a constant renewal of effort in which he refuses to sink either into placid acceptance of the situation or into self-satisfaction.
I believe it is the duty of each of us to act as if the fate of the world depended on him. Admittedly, on man by himself cannot do the job. However, one man can make a difference. Each of us is obligated to bring his individual and independent capacities to bear upon a wide range of human concerns. It is with this conviction that we squarely confront out duty to prosperity. We must live for the future of the human race, and not of our own comfort or successs.
For anyone seeking meaning for his life a figure from Greek mythology comes to mind. It is that of Atlas, bearing with endless perseverance the weight of the heavens on his back. —Atlas, resolutely bearing his burden and accepting his responsibility that gives us the example we seek. To seek out and accept responsibility; to persevere; to be committed to excellence; to be creative and courageous; to be unrelenting in the pursuit of intellectual development; to maintain hight standards of ethics and morality; and to bring these basic principles of existence to bear through active participation in life—these are some of my ideas on the goals which must be met to achieve meaning and purpose in life.
Copyright ©1977, H. G. Rickover

No permission needed for newspaper or news periodical use. Above copyright notice to be used if most of speech reprinted.
Admiral Rickover

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Moral Leadership

Arleigh A. Burke: Teach our young people

"America's most important role in the world, almost from the day our country was born, has been the role of moral leadership... Teach our young people to believe in the responsibility of one to another; their responsibility to God; to the people of the world. Teach them to believe in themselves; to believe in their worth as human beings; to believe in their place in leading the world out of the darkness of oppression. Teach them to believe that no one owes us a living, but that we owe so much to others. Teach them to believe in their priceless heritage of freedom, and that it must be won anew by every generation. And teach them to believe in the United States of America. The hope of the world lies here, in our physical power, our moral strength, our integrity, and our will to assume the responsibilities that history plainly intends us to bear."

Admiral Arleigh A. Burke
United States Navy

From NAVPERS 15890
Moral Leadership: The Protection of Moral Standards and Character Education Program

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Remembering Steven Daughtery

We have a duty to remember - 11 years ago today

CTT1 (SW) Steven Daugherty was born on 16 May 1979 in Apple Valley. No one thought he would leave this earth before he was 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years old. But, the young man is gone. Gone, but not forgotten. No. Not by a long shot.

He was from Barstow, California and really never intended to join the Navy. He was a student in my schoolhouse at the Naval Center for Cryptology at Corry Station, Pensacola. We had about 8000 students graduate in a year. So, I can't say that I even recall who he was. That won't keep me from remembering him.

After his time at Corry, he served in the typical billets of our young Petty Officers. He went to sea and advanced reasonably quickly. While at Navy Information Operations Command Norfolk he became interested in the SEALs and qualified to deploy to a U.S. Navy SEAL team operating in Iraq. He advanced to Petty Officer First Class (E-6) at a pretty good pace.

On 6 July 2007 (my daughter's birthday) he was killed in Iraq by an improvised explosive device (IED).

We can argue about whether Steven Daugherty was a hero or not. We can't argue about his patriotism. There is no doubting that.

Obituary:  CTT1 (SW) Steven Phillip Daugherty, USN, 28, passed away July 6, 2007, on duty in Baghdad, Iraq. He was born May 16, 1979, in Apple Valley. Besides his love for the Navy, he enjoyed playing his guitar and spending time with family and friends. He is survived by his parents, Thomas and Lydia Daugherty of Barstow; a son, Steven P. Daugherty Jr. of Tacoma, Washington; two brothers, Robert Daugherty of Omaha, Nebraska, and Richard Daugherty of Colorado Springs, Colorado; a sister, Kristine Daugherty of Killeen, Texas; and his grandmother, Pearl Watkins of Yermo. A graveside service with full military honors was conducted in Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, July 24, 2007, at 10 a.m.

Friday, May 4, 2018

18 Years Ago - From the Archives: Long letter to my Junior Officers as I departed command in June 2000

In August of 1982, after Officer Candidate School and SERE/DWEST school and some leave, I reported to NSGD Atsugi to face my first division in the Navy and the Naval Security Group as a brand new Ensign. Damn, I was excited and nervous, eager and unsure. Looking back on those early days of my Navy life as a commissioned officer, I have asked myself, from my perspective as your outgoing Commanding Officer, what might be of interest to each of you – my first junior officers.

The word “purposeful” kept coming back to me, and it occurred to me that you, as naval officers (first, and cryptologists second) for the next generation, are more important now than perhaps at any other time in our brief Naval Security Group history. The United States Navy is the only true over-the-horizon worldwide deployable force in the world, and RADM Whiton has re-invented cryptology for a Navy-Marine Corps Team which has the most visible forward presence on the world stage and certainly here in Yokosuka, Japan - forward deployed with the Navy's SEVENTH Fleet.

My friend and former boss, CDR Jack Dempsey used to keep a flight journal back in the 80’s while we were flying with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1) in which he started each page with a borrowed quote from Charles Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES. Each page started with - “These are the best of times, these are the worst of times…” Can we have it both ways? You are fortunate at the command to have some of the very best and brightest Sailors in the Naval Security Group. You have a chance to lead the entire claimancy in all areas of cryptology if you choose to do it. It won’t happen by accident. You have to make it happen. That’s your job.

You guys (and gals – with LTjg Kim and ENS Sabedra here) will lead our Sailors at this turning point in our claimancy’s history. And so I want to you to know just how “purposeful” and important I believe you are, and second, what I believe each of you has got to do at a very personal level to seize what could be the best of times in our community’s history and then you can start your own journal with…”these are the best of times….”

From day one, you are not only division officers and sometimes Department Heads, but you are ambassadors for the Navy’s Core Values, the CNO’s 4 Stars of Equal Magnitude and the cryptologic community’s Strategic Plan (Maritime Cryptologic Architecture, the Maritime Concept, etc). PASS THE WORD. I genuinely believe your involvement is critical to RADM H. Winsor Whiton’s and RADM Joseph D. Burns’ plans that will carry the community through most of your careers (if you choose to have one in the Navy). The Sailors and Chiefs you will help lead will be more “purposeful” - and far more challenged - than ever before. As a result, your genuine leadership will be more “purposeful” and more valuable than ever before. You are the ones who will have to deliver U.S. Naval Security Group Yokosuka’s promise of “Quality Cryptologic Integration For The Fleet” on a daily basis.

If you do not think you are more “purposeful” and important than at any other time in our community’s history… think again. SECGRU’s vital leadership today is reflected by the leadership positions cryptologists hold throughout the Department of Defense – Captain Rich Wilhelm (a former 1610) served in the Vice President’s office as recently as 5 years ago, many are serving on the Staff of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff in key positions while others are serving the SECNAV directly. We live in a world of global communications, connected economies, and instantaneous video coverage of world and local events. The result often means that a decision made by you - while running a SSES on BLUE RIDGE, leading a team on JOHN S. MCCAIN or CURTIS WILBUR , or simply running your division here at the command - could have immediate and substantial impact on the Sailors under your charge and …perhaps…even world events. Your leadership must be “purposeful”, and you bear a tremendous responsibility. You have to CHOOSE to make a difference. It is a choice. It is your choice. Do something or do nothing – you decide. Don’t let things happen by accident – MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.

A famous Admiral whose name escapes me at the moment said “there is… no career in the world that encompasses the daily physical and mental demands of that of one in a nation’s Navy.” I would argue further that only unrelenting loyalty, as demonstrated by many in the Navy provides the necessary foundation to lead effectively. There are some officers, Chiefs and Sailors that would have us believe the opposite… that loyalty is a dying characteristic in this Navy. I say that the loyalty we value so much is more “purposeful” than ever, as an asset for and example to the American public we are sworn to protect.

As the value of your loyalty and leadership is being debated around you, I urge you to pay attention to and join in the debate. Retired CDR Mike Loescher wrote in a USNI PROCEEDINGS magazine article that the Naval Security Group was broken. RADM H. Winsor Whiton responded that, “ NSG isn’t broken and that this an exciting time to be a cryptologist”. I share the Admiral’s view. I’m excited. Certainly, we all have to guard against mediocrity and against attacks on our time-tested core values and against other charges that diminish our effectiveness. I sought to bring positive changes for this command. You’ve all been helpful in that respect. I thank you for that. Our team effort earned the command recognition through the award of a meritorious unit commendation. That doesn’t happen every day.

As I emphasize that your leadership is more “purposeful” than ever. Let me turn now to what I believe you must do, individually, to bring effectiveness to your leadership skills, as you chart a new course for the command with CDR Sean Filipowski in the new millennium and one of the few great turning points in our claimancy’s history. Because you will be so “purposeful” to our community’s future, I believe you must go beyond the bedrock fundamentals of leadership.

Some of you have heard me drone on and on about Traits of Leadership which date back two thousand years… ((They are in every book on Naval Leadership – this is not new stuff.)) I’ve given each of you the basic library of Naval leadership books. Take the time to read them. There’s good stuff in there.

A leader is trusted, a leader takes the initiative, a leader uses good judgment, a leader speaks with authority, a leader strengthens others, is optimistic and enthusiastic, never compromises absolutes, and leads by example. Lots of great Covey “Seven Habits” in there. We’ve covered all that before, haven’t we? You HAVE to take that stuff onboard and make it a part of your daily life.

I believe you should adhere to these timeless traits of leadership. But today, I believe you must also apply something more… you must apply adapted traits of leadership… that is, techniques appropriate to your particular style and situation. You can achieve it only one way… by staying connected to the Sailors and Chiefs you are entrusted to lead.

It is time for each of you to do a tactical and strategic level re-focus to adapt and apply your own leadership styles appropriate to the times. In short, you will have to build upon the bedrock fundamentals of leadership. You must have a solid foundation if you plan to put anything on top of it. I tried to give you the tools to establish a solid foundation.

The best leaders in our Navy have always found ways to build upon the basic foundations of their leadership skills. Because each of you is so important to the future of our community, I also urge you to invest some time and effort in looking for answers within yourselves, to a question that is being asked more frequently today. “Are we losing the Navy spirit?” Some believe that because our Sailors so rarely actually go into harm’s way… that because technology is removing them from the actual battlefield, on a physical level we will lose the guts to fight effectively when the time comes. Some have suggested that we don’t even have the strength of character we once had. I don’t believe that.

The Navy spirit is not only physical courage at sea…courage that must be present in the face of physical danger. That is important, and that deserves our full attention. But the Navy spirit is also the ability to cope with the stresses involved with day-to-day leadership of our Sailors and Chiefs.

Hardship, stress and fear…exist for a Sailor whose ship, while far at sea on seemingly calm waters, can face an incoming missile attack during a long-range engagement. Technology will not change that fact much. We must address how we can develop the Navy spirit within our Sailors in all scenarios.

When I worked for Admiral Whiton in the Comptroller’s office (he was a Captain then), he kept a placard on his wall with the mission of the Navy as defined in Navy Regulations, Chapter Two. It said simply: “The Navy… shall be organized, trained and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea.” Every one of us needs to understand the mission of the Navy in its most basic form.

How can you instill the Navy spirit and genuine understanding of the Navy’s mission in the Sailors and Chiefs you are charged to lead? The Navy has invested a great deal of time and money preparing you. They will invest a great deal more. It is time to do your part, for it is how you return the Navy’s investment that will bring it value; that value is limitless, but it depends on you. GET BUSY!

I challenge each of you to search within yourselves for ways now, to build upon the framework of leadership you are learning … and develop a strong support structure that will serve you and those you lead when you are asked to go do the Navy’s business – however mundane it might seem at any given moment. I am talking about a very personal structure of character that is most appropriately developed through experience. 25 years of experience takes nearly 25 years to get - there are no F*ing shortcuts. Make the most of every experience you have. When character is involved – promise me this – you will always go the long way and never take shortcuts. There aren’t any. Trust me, I would have found them in my exhausting search for them over the past 25 years. Where character is concerned, I have always tried to go the long way. It’s a much better trip. Take my word for it.

The real challenge for each of you, however, is that the Navy may not give you the luxury of time and experience to build your foundation. When you walk across your own ship’s brow PCS for the first time (Paul Lashmet on ESSEX; Andy Reeves on FIFE so far), you may be called upon to lead decisively that very day. Your skills as a Naval officer will be put to the test from the very start – your skills as a cryptologist on that ship may never be tested. BE A NAVAL OFFICER FIRST AND FOREMOST – that’s what you are! The cryptologic stuff is secondary and it will remain so. Remember Admiral Whiton’s brief – "we do cryptology because we have a Navy – not we have a Navy to do cryptology.”

Truly great leaders in history did not sit idly by and wait for experience to find them. They aggressively sought to build their own personal foundations of character, on a daily basis. Colonel Teddy Roosevelt , General Colin Powell and LT John F. Kennedy knew that their chosen military and political lives would present them with immediate and unrelenting challenges – all certainly more daunting than anything we have yet faced. They knew their “crowded hour,” could arrive at any moment. That is one reason they all worked to build their physical abilities to match their intellectual capabilities. Somehow, I knew that the Navy’s PRT program had some relevance in here somewhere. Physical fitness is important also. But it’s only part of the overall picture of a Naval Officer.

The leadership, the spirit and the strength of character displayed by Colonel Roosevelt, General Powell and President Kennedy were more products of their own pursuits, above and beyond the framework they had been given. As a result, they were “purposeful” to their time and are revered in history. Who can say today what your legacy will be? I will just tell you that you are working on it now. DON’T MESS IT UP.

All of them led their Sailors and soldiers from the heart, and had something more, crafted from the environment around them… the character of a man like Admiral Arleigh Albert Burke… the strategic vision of Admiral Chester Nimitz in the heat of a tactical nightmare… the innovation of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt with his phenomenal understanding of race relations and Admiral Hyman Rickover’s creation of the submarine force… the dynamic leadership of great Marines like General Lejeune and more recently General Krulak and a personal hero of mine from USS Blue Ridge – Colonel Bill Wesley. What will you do, not just to be “purposeful”, but to be enthusiastically followed during the personal challenges that will surely come for each of you, in these, the best of times in the history of our claimancy?

When I faced my first division at NSGD Atsugi in 1982 and in every assignment since including U.S. NSGA Yokosuka, I found, as you will, the Sailors and Chiefs returned the same level of loyalty and dedication to me that I devoted to them. More important, it is abundantly clear and readily apparent to the most casual observer that Sailors and Chiefs will quickly look past the veneer of your lineage (some of them went to better colleges than we all did and all of you went to a better college than I did) and the gold or silver (and blue) bars (and oak leafs) on your collar. Our Sailors and Chiefs have a unique ability to see past all that, and perceive the foundation you are building. They will know when you are on rocky ground. They will sense the weakness in you. They will perceive your character and all its inherent defects. Some great man once said, “The true character of a Naval officer cannot be hidden from his/her Sailors.” There is no place to hide. Lead, follow or GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY. Again – you get to decide.

If they find your character to be strong and true, they will go the extra mile for you. If they find you to be weak, prepare for the worst – it is bound to come. We’ve all seen it in its ugliest forms. At this period in our claimancy’s history, when our Sailors and Chiefs are so essential to our mission, there is no greater test of your mettle as a Naval officer, than leading Sailors and Chiefs who can count on your loyalty and your character. Be true to them. They will be true to you.

I am confident you will seize these days, whether or not they personally are for you …”the best of times or the worst of times”, to carry-on what we have started together at U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka and develop your own personal foundations of character that will serve you well during the challenges each of you can surely expect in your own future.

Thanks for helping me get the command to where it is today. You all played a big part in that. You have been part of something very important and special to our community. You built a command from the ground up. That’s something you can really be proud of. I certainly am.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The importance of writing in the Navy profession

Any casual reader of my blog knows how I feel about the value of reading and, more importantly, writing.  Over the 2017 calendar year, I made time to send over 800 pieces of personal correspondence to a number of civilian government officials, senior Navy leadership, many of our NAVIOCOM Commanding Officers, Shipmates and many other people of consequence in my life. Writing is very important to me.  Relationships are very important to me.  Successfully putting those two things together has always been a source of personal satisfaction for me.  (Lots of "I" and "me" in this post - sorry about that).

I was taught early in my Navy career that "answering the mail" was an essential element of an officer's responsibility and an expression of his/her social/professional 'breeding'.  Fortunately, my Mother was a prolific letter writer and she taught me well.  I cannot fail to mention that my sister helped immensely with my penmanship lessons.

The responses (and non-responses) to my correspondence over the past year have been instructive for me.  I often hear some variation of the following (excuses):
  • Hey, I got your letter and meant to answer it.
  • Oh yeah, I need to do a better job of keeping up with the mail.
  • You just don't know how busy it is on the staff here.  I barely have time to eat my lunch.
  • I'm just not a good letter writer. My penmanship is horrible.
  • I can never find the right paper to write on.
  • I wish I had more time in the day to write like you do.
  • I've been meaning to write.  I'll give you a call.
  • You have no idea what my schedule is like; I don't have a minute for myself. Busy, busy, busy.
I was heartened to learn recently that the United States Navy recognizes the value of personal and professional correspondence and provides instruction through the COMMANDANT OF MIDSHIPMEN INSTRUCTION 1520.4B.  The subject is OFFICER PROFESSIONALISM AND CIVILITY TRAINING PROGRAM which addresses some of the following areas (relevant to my discussion here):

c. Stationery.
   (1) Social and military correspondence (Examples displayed during seminars).
    (2) Stationery specifics.
         (a) Calling Card.
              1. Correct size and correct information on card.
              2. Various ways of using calling card.
         (b) Personal Card vs. Business Card.
              1. Correct size and correct information on card.
              2. Correct use.
         (c) Stationery Use.
              1. Writing paper.
              2. Thank you notes.
              3. Condolence notes.
              4. Use of ink fountain pens.
          (d) The personal signature in life.



So, I have resolved to continue to work on combining writing and relationships in 2018.  Some of you will continue to hear from me.  And others, well...I will continue my onslaught of filling your inbox in hopes that one day you will pick up a pen and put it to paper.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

What I told my CO. Ensigns don't try this at your command. My boss and I were the same paygrade.

This is a summary of my 360 degree feedback to a former commanding officer.

Skipper, there's no doubt you're going to be the leader of this community; these things may help you. You are a great speaker. Be careful not to lose the feeling behind the words. Words have meaning; actions have con­sequences.  Ensure your actions match your words.  Some Sailors actually listen to every word. They can sense any hint of insincerity.

  • Your command philosophy should be written down and distributed widely in the command. This is a huge reason for the CNO's success in the Navy. We all know where he's going and we talk about it. The command wants to follow you. Tell us where you want to go. 
  • Respect our time. Typically, ten or more people are always awaiting your late arrival at some function (staff meeting, wardroom meetings, dinners, graduations, etc). If people believe that you are willing to consistently waste their time, they will stop feeling guilty about wasting yours. 
  • Be consistent with your administration of military justice. It's easy to punish junior members in the command for trivial violations. Applying the same standards across the board does not always work. In fact, the more senior the individual is, the more accountable they should be held for their action or inaction. Everyone is watching and judging. 
  • When senior officers visit the command, maximize their exposure to the junior Sailors of the command. They will benefit the most. 
  • Take your junior officers, Chiefs, and Sailors to lunch or simply go have lunch with them in their mess. Everyone will learn a lot, especially you. 
  • Invite your key command leaders to your home for a social event so they can see how it's done. Juniors need to see how their seniors do this. It's part of the learning process. 
  • Share information with your department heads. It is astounding how much information a commanding officer is exposed to and that is not shared with the department heads. Distributed information is enormously powerful. Your department heads can keep a secret if there is a requirement for secrecy. Trust them. 
  • Don't play favorites with members of the wardroom. It hurts the wardroom and it hurts you. 
  • Focus your calendar on the command 's mission. Ceremonial events and public relations are important, but your time should be spent on those areas the commanding officer can directly influence for the greatest benefit to the command's mission. 
From my January 2007 PROCEEDINGS magazine article "360-Degree Feedback: Can We Handle the Truth?"  You can subscribe to PROCEEDINGS (the professional journal of the U.S. Navy) HERE.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Our Navy Mistress

Our Navy is a fickle mistress.  She will never love any of us as much as we have loved her.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Letter writing etiquette

For some of my naval officer contemporaries.  I don't know why you didn't learn this at the USNA, in your NROTC program or at officer candidate school.


As a rule, every letter, unless insulting in its character, requires an answer. To neglect to answer a letter, when written to, is as uncivil as to neglect to reply when spoken to. In the reply, acknowledge first the receipt of the letter, mentioning its date, and afterwards consider all the points requiring attention. From @artofmanliness

Monday, March 26, 2018

Wardroom meetings

Do these happen ashore any more?  What do you talk about?  What leadership challenges are you discussing?  What leadership guidance is your Command Officer and Executive Officer providing?

Command Excellence - The Wardroom

Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group CTF 1090, for example - 


 
The wardroom at Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group:
•    Is Cohesive
•    Matches CO-XO Leadership
•    Raises Concerns with CO and XO
•    Takes Initiative
•    Does Detailed Planning
•    Takes Responsibility for Work-Group Performance

The wardroom is the interface between the senior officers of the command, who make the policy, and the senior enlisted, who carry out the tasks of the command. The wardroom is responsible for developing and imple- menting plans that achieve the goals set by the CO and XO. In top commands, the department heads and division officers make sure these plans are specific, deciding who is to do what, when, and how. They gather information from chiefs and other relevant sources, and are careful to coordinate their department's or division's activities with other work going on.

This means that the wardroom must work as a team with the CO and XO. In superior commands there is more congruence between the wardroom and the CO-XO on command    philosophy    and leadership style than in average commands. Everyone is headed in the same direction. They identify with the goals set by the CO and XO and with how the CO and XO wish to accomplish them.

Officers of superior commands take initiative in several ways. They try to find new and better ways to do their jobs, and when they see that something needs to be done, they do it without waiting to be told. They are often willing to do more than they are required to do in order to achieve the command's mission. And they readily ask for guidance or information from the CO or XO if they believe these are necessary to accomplish their jobs or to develop themselves professionally. They also raise command issues with senior officers before those issues turn into serious problems.

One of the greatest strengths of wardrooms of superior commands is their sense of responsibility for the performance of their subordinates. This leads them to try to anticipate problems before they occur, to take responsi- bility when a problem does occur that they should have prevented, and to hold their personnel accountable for meeting the command's standards. There is a strong sense of ownership and pride.

Finally, superior wardrooms support division officers, who, although they outrank enlisted personnel, are among the youngest people in a command and are relatively inexperienced when it comes to hands-on technical knowledge and management know how. Thus, department heads must do their own jobs and also attend to the needs of their junior officers.

FOR MORE ON COMMAND EXCELLENCE, GO HERE.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Professionalism of our cryptologic force



The professionalism of our force is built upon mastery of a core set of skills that every cryptologic professional must possess. It all starts with a deep understanding of the fundamentals of cryptology, and a requirement that our professionals think clearly, and convey their analysis and assessments just as clearly to our Navy and our nation's decision-makers.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Unhappy Sailors

Unhappy Sailors can be the Navy's greatest source of learning.  What are your unhappy Sailors telling you?  Are you listening?