Monday, March 31, 2008

Virtual Presence = Actual Absence

"The last effect, influence, has been perhaps the most enduring trademark of effective Sea Power throughout the ages. Our presence at those crossroads, both figurative and literal, sends a powerful message in a war of ideas. "

"We hear a lot about virtual presence today. I believe that for a naval force, virtual presence is actual absence, and that simply won't suffice in the world in which we live.Our presence, and influence, as a city at sea, can and does inspire hope especially for those under the bonds of tyranny, who aspire to the freedoms we share."

"It's what makes us relevant. But there are other characteristics that make sea power relevant."

Admiral Mike Mullen, National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C
-16 August 2005

Our standards are extraordinarily high

“The proximate cause for my relieving him was based on a statement he made ... considered to be false. I reviewed the materials and lost confidence in his ability to serve in the position of the director of the Navy Staff. And I would add that [for] the flag officers that we have serving today — and I would, by extension, include our senior executive civilians — our standards are extraordinarily high, and they live up to that day in, day out.”

Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations explaining why he fired VADM John Stufflebeem, Director of the Navy Staff

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Coherent operational art

"This next version of Naval Network Warfare Command brings to our Navy the increased power of information operations, our networks and intelligence as a coherent operational art. Bringing these together delivers to Navy and joint commanders an unprecedented level of IO expertise and responsiveness that hunts, understands and changes the information environment to meet peace, crisis and wartime objectives.”

Rear Admiral Andrew M. Singer, former Vice Commander, Naval Network Warfare Command

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The rudder and sails of your seafaring soul

"Your reason and your passion are the rudder.. and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction."

Kahlil Gibran

Friday, March 28, 2008

Brilliance and integrity of Secretary of Defense - Hon. Donald H. Rumsfeld

"He comes to work everyday with a single-minded focus to make this country safe. We're lucky as a nation that he continues to serve with such passion and such integrity and such determination and such brilliance."

Admiral James Stavridis,
Commander, U.S. Southern Command

For more than a year, (while I was the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Staff Director for the Detainee Task Force) I shared the back bench in the Secretary of Defense's conference room with Admiral Stavridis. The first day in the conference room he was a one star. The very next morning he was a three star admiral. He had been selected for his second star prior to his arrival in the Pentagon. Before he had a chance to put on that second star, he was selected as Secretary Rumsfeld's Senior Military Assistant (SMA) and that got him his third star.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Information Warfare Officer Leadership

"The demand for our skill sets in Fleet, Joint, and National billets rings loud and clear. Our 1610 ACDU billet base has grown by 181 billets since 2000 - that is approx 25% growth in operational billets over the last 8 years. There is simply not that kind of growth in many other Officer Communities.

Obviously, the future brings great challenges and opportunities, and any reflection of our immediate history leads me to only one conclusion - as a community, we are well postured to accept those challenges and expand on those opportunities.

Positive self-talk is a good thing and creates lots of momentum, and I ask that each of you take this letter and use it to guide an IW Wardroom discussion about who we are, the myriad roles we play in support of the GWOT, and the incredible opportunity we all have as individuals and a community to lead the CNO's concept of Decision Superiority."

Rear Admiral Edward H. Deets III, Vice Commander, Naval Network Warfare Command in his 25 March 2008 letter to Information Warfare Officers

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chiefs - go take care of our Sailors

"Chiefs, I need, and the Navy needs, your help. I truly know Chiefs are the backbone of the Navy. However, the only way we get our seniors and juniors to believe that too is to show them. If we make the effort to not leave any Sailor behind, my suspicion is that our entire Navy will agree that we are indeed the backbone and when we say we take care of our people, we mean it. Thanks Chiefs, go take care of our most valuable asset - our Sailors."
FLTCM (AW/SW) Jon Thompson

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Requirements for effective leadership

"One of the first requirements for effective leadership is knowledge. A leader quickly becomes aware that his people are watching him to see how he performs under certain circumstances and how he reacts to unexpected things, so the leader simply must conduct himself to the best of his ability and in a way that indicates he understands what he is doing."

Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Monday, March 24, 2008

A sixth sense

"The ship talks to you. A good Commanding Officer understands that personal contact with the crew is essential. You need to go to where the trouble is. Have lunch with the crew. Visit all the crew's spaces regularly - by yourself. Make yourself a picturebook with a page for every member of the crew - create your own biography of all crewmembers."

"The single factor that distinguishes one superior command from another - the Commanding Officer."

"The primary responsibility of a naval officer in every grade is to help move the 'leadership bell curve' to the right, to improve leadership at every echelon."

Admiral James Holloway III - Chief of Naval Operations 1974-1978

From "American Admiralship"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

MCPON Jim Herdt

"Jim Herdt is a forthright man of integrity. Integrity is high on his list. He's a man of honor. He is a leader who combines dedication to mission with the compassion and concern for our Sailors that is necessary to make sure that we maintain the readiness to be able to continue to meet the mission."

Former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A naval officer should be

"The Naval Officer should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness, charity and understanding. No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without reward, even if the reward be only on word of approval. He should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate; at the same time he should be quick to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetency and well-meant shortcoming from heedless and stupid blunder. As he should be universal and impartial in his rewards and approval of merit, so should he be judicial and unbending in his punishment or reproof of misconduct."

John Paul Jones, Scots-American Admiral - 1776

Friday, March 21, 2008

John Paul Jones of the enlisted force

"Del Black was the John Paul Jones of the enlisted force. He was the warrior, leader, gentleman, and mentor that began the long march that brought the enlisted force from the era of rocks and shoals to the elite, professional and responsible force we are today. His contributions to our Navy will be talked about far into the future, and written about for all time to come."

Former MCPON MMCM(SS/SW/AW) Jim Herdt

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blog reading level

blog readability test

Good training and leadership

"... all the wonderful platforms aren't worth the metal or the composite material that they are made from if we don't have motivated and dedicated Sailors to bring them to life. Motivated and dedicated Sailors are produced by two main things - good training and good leadership."

Admiral Jay Johnson, Chief of Naval Operations

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Victim of yourself

“What Epictetus [told] his students was that there can be no such thing as being the ‘victim’ of another. You can only be a ‘victim’ of yourself. It’s all how you discipline your mind.”

VADM James Bond Stockdale

Monday, March 17, 2008

The need for good leadership, therefore, is the constant factor

"The need for good leadership, therefore, is the constant factor, and in this lies the officer's greatest opportunity for service to his country and to the cause of freedom throughout the world.

As leaders, naval officers are the example to whom others look for guidance, for inspiration, and for standards upon which to base their own conduct and beliefs."

Admiral Arleigh A. Burke

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Built to fight

"This ship is built to fight. You had better know how. "

Admiral Arleigh Burke

Friday, March 14, 2008

Admiral Lord John Jervis

No harder seaman than Sir John Jervis ever served in the Royal Navy. A man of iron, who feared neither enemy nor mutineer, he was merciless to inefficiency and his discipline was so strict that one of his flag officers once challenged him to a duel. Altogether, he was about the last man a junior would choose as an object of familiarity, especially on his own quarterdeck.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heads we win--Tails we lose.

“The Lord gave us two ends to use; one to think with and one to sit with. The war depends on which we choose -- Heads we win -- tails we lose.”

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Admiral Burke's Farewell to the Navy

"Experience has brought me a full appreciation of the prize cargo a man can hoist aboard. To this beloved Navy I do commend:

- Love of country, overshadowing all other loves, including service, family and the sea.

- Individual desire to excel, not for aggrandizement of self, but to increase the excellence in the Navy.

- Devotion--perhaps consecration--to personal integrity in oneself, in one's service, in one's country.

- Courage to stand for principle, regardless of efforts to dilute this courage through compromise and evasion."

Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, 10 July 1961, Farewell to the Navy

I have not made any Chief Petty Officer ashamed

"The challenge as Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy is to face that new situation, deal with each with dignity, and overcome the problem. My goal as MCPON was to do these three years and finish knowing that I have not made any chief petty officer ashamed of being a chief. It goes back to ethics and being able and having the courage to stand up to the CNO, or any flag or captain, because you hold those individuals in high esteem, and say to them that they are wrong. It's a very lonely feeling, but that's what this position is for."

MCPON William Plackett

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You don't need the wardroom's permission

“You don’t need the wardroom’s permission to lead Sailors. I really believe it rests in the hands of the chiefs’ mess to fix this (Career Development)."


Character and Integrity

"...let me reinforce something you already know: that character and integrity must be at the core of your quest for high achievement. These are what make a decent and productive life possible, whether in public service or in the private sector. At a time when we are all too aware of the social, political, and even economic costs of politicians who lie, business leaders who cheat and steal, and other fraudulent individuals, your honesty and your integrity will be your greatest assets. They will shine like a beacon in a storm. Develop them. Refine them. Bind yourself to them."

Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense

Monday, March 10, 2008

Chief Petty Officer Responsibility

“The chief petty officer can, and should, take the responsibility of keeping every Sailor under his leadership informed. If one of his Sailors has a problem, he has a problem. There should be no excuses. There is a solution to every problem, and it should be pursued until his Sailor is satisfied that every means has been exhausted in the effort to find a solution. I feel very strongly that we need to improve our leadership abilities to keep pace with the high level of technical skill. The rapidity of advancement has caused a need for establishment of more leadership classes at the command level. My feelings are that we must have a chain of command from top to bottom, but even more important, we must have a channel of communication and understanding.”

MCPON Del Black, United States Navy's 1st Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Enlightened Leadership

"The enlightened leader will recognize individual differences and vary his appeals (positive and negative) accordingly. He will try to create a sense of trust, self-discipline, and responsibility that emphasizes the dignity and judgment of the individual Navy man or Navy woman as well as the operational needs of the Navy. I believe the enlightened leadership practiced by our Chief of Naval Operations (Admiral Elmo Zumwalt) has proven it can raise the quality of Navy life for young and old alike."

MCPON Jack Whittet

Just One Navy

"There is no black Navy, no white Navy--just one Navy--the United States Navy." "Z"-gram #66

"For years, white men from the South in large measure ran the Navy while it lagged behind the other services, and the country, in its racial attitudes and policies. . . . When I became CNO there had yet to be a black admiral in the entire history of the Navy."

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations

Saturday, March 8, 2008

We believe in command, not staff...

"We believe in command, not staff. We believe we have 'real' things to do. The Navy believes in putting a man in a position with a job to do, and let him do it--give him hell if he does not perform--but be a man in his own name. We decentralize and capitalize on the capabilities of our individual people rather than centralize and make automatons of them. This builds that essential pride of service and sense of accomplishment. If it results in a certain amount of cockiness, I am for it. But this is the direction in which we should move."
—Letter from Arleigh A. Burke to RADM Walter G. Schindler,May 14, 1958

Friday, March 7, 2008

CPO mess as the focal point...

"Admiral Thomas B. Hayward's (CNO) idea of leadership was that the CPO mess should be the focal point of the community. Because of their seniority and experience, he placed lot of weight on the CPO. We both believed that leaders needed to be honest with their people. They needed to be the teachers, trainers, and role models. And they needed to speak up when necessary."

MCPON (4th) Thomas S. Crow

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Willingness to think hard...

"We have to maintain in ourselves, and imbue our juniors with an ardor to keep our Navy in front. We must pass along a willingness to think hard--to seek new answers --to chance mistakes--and to 'mix it up' freely in the forums and activities around us to promote knowledge. From that knowledge we can inspire our country to have faith in us--not because the organization of the military forces is the only place to put our national faith, but because we have discharged our responsibilities in such a manner that we have justified confidence in the effective manner in which we operate.”

Admiral Arleigh A. Burke

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We communicate with purpose. . .

"We will synchronize words and actions, and assess results to ensure all understand our action and intent. Actions without corresponding words are open to interpretation. Words without corresponding action can ring hollow. Effective communication is fundamental to achieving desired effects in every domain."

Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations
From CNO's Guidance 25 October 2007

The Captain is King

"A ship is a bit of terra firma cut off from the main; it is a state in itself; and the captain is its king."

Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Admiral Burke's memory of combat...

"Things that used to be important become completely unimportant. Good food was important. A glass of beer was important. What your shipmates thought of you was important. But what was written down on some piece of paper, or what somebody who was not fighting thought about how you were fighting—that was completely unimportant."

Admiral Arleigh Albert Burke
Time Magazine Article
One week after being named CNO
Monday, Jun. 06, 1955

There are no great men...

"There are no great men, only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet."

Admiral of the Fleet William "Bull" Halsey

Old time leadership...

"Remember ladies and gentlemen, you can shoot the stars but I don't want any of you shooting the moon."

CWO4 W.L. Exum, Navigation Instructor, Officer Candidate School, Newport, Rhode Island, February 1982

CWO4 Exum served in the Navy from 1943 to 1985. His service spanned WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War. He was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received on 17 February 1945 while landing U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima from LCI-457. He had been in the Navy for 2 years and was only 18 years old.
He and his lovely wife Joyce are living happily in Cave Creek, Arizona - close to the loving arms of their daughter Marilyn and her (soon to be) husband Donald.

Discipline and command

"Discipline is a function of command. Juniors as well as seniors must be made responsible for and be cognizant of their responsibility. Commanders can not delegate or reassign their own responsibility. Morale problems cannot be turned over to the chaplain or the dispensing of justice to the legal expert. Specialists must be naval officers first and specialists second, and work for the commanding officer rather than function separately. Command must have the authority necessary for the exercise of its responsibility."
Admiral Arleigh A. Burke

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.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

For you are leaders...

"For you are leaders, men to whom other men will look for guidance, for example, and for a standard upon which to base their own conduct and beliefs."

Admiral Arleigh Albert Burke

Saturday, March 1, 2008

VADM J. B. Stockdale - Things to think about

"The test of character is not 'hanging in' when you expect light at the end of the tunnel, but performance of duty, and persistence of example when you know no light is coming."

"Do the right thing even if it means dying like a dog when no one's there to see you do it."

Story about the VADM J.B. Stockdale Award winners here.