Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Heart of An Officer

"The system of naval officer development we have today is fundamentally a product of the Cold War, with a very strong emphasis on technical education and a career pattern dominated by platform-related assignments. In a career chock full of requirements, “wickets” to be hit, those officers who in the past have received rigorous preparation for joint or interagency command did so more by their own force of will than by the design of the Navy’s personnel system. The Navy’s current generation of joint leaders has risen to joint command despite an educational and career system that has seldom been conducive to their acquisition of joint and regional knowledge or development of strategic communication skills.

Competing demands on naval officers’ time, education, and career assignments have made it increasingly difficult to prepare these officers to be joint leaders in an international and interagency setting. To be sure, since the end of the Second World War the Navy has supported an expansion of several joint educational and assignment initiatives (attendance at the war college, completion of a joint tour, etc.). However, in parallel with the Navy’s acknowledgment of the need for more joint education has come an increased requirement for officers to gain technical education, earn technical subspecialties, and take platform related duty assignments.

With the Navy career already packed in order to meet such demands, one may ask how a larger number of Navy officers can find time for more rigorous joint, interagency, and international preparation. It is doubtful that officers can attain additional joint, interagency, or international preparation without hazarding their technical and platform expertise. It is in that sense that the current Navy career model may have reached its limit. It is increasingly inefficient and stressed by attempts to accommodate the emerging joint, interagency, and international requirements. But to transform the career model from“roadblock” to a “bridge” that leads to a more adaptive officer corps will not be easy. A first step in the task is to understand where the roadblock came from, who built it, and why."

The Heart of An Officer
Naval War College Review
Admiral Jim Stavridis and Captain Mark Hagerott


Anonymous said...

Excellent article. The only disagreement I would have with this article is the comment about the officer path being a Cold War model. I'd say it is an industrial age model. Heavy on engineering, light on international engagement, joint operations, diplomacy, planning, regional expertise, geography, international law, sociology of religions, educational systems. The things that bite us in the rear end all the time. The sad thing is with all the engineering education the Navy pushes officers through, we don't seem to benefit from it. Officers rarely get their PE certification. They lack practical work experience in the field of their education and the navy still relys on civilian engineers and contractors for engineering expertise. We aren't designing ships and airplanes. Officers write requirements and contractors do the designing. Has anyone told the CNO that we are no longer building naval guns at the Washington Navy Yard?

Anonymous said...

To unknown contributor,

You did not state your qualifications, sir. And from your verbosity one has to assume that you most likely were never a CO of a battle ready Navy ship. The fancy terms such as, sociology of religions, educational systems?, and other such niceties of a liberal education are probably not the focus of a Navy Officers training. You said nothing about leadership, sir, and that along with knowing your men/ women and making them proficient in their abilities to wage war against the enemy is still one of the Navy’s main objectives. The Sailor’s creed is included for your enlightenment. It does not separate enlisted from commissioned Sailor’s because it is one Navy.

Sailor's Creed

I am a United States Sailor.

I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.

I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and all who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.

I proudly serve my country’s Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment .

I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.

You may want to also enlighten yourself by looking at some of the newest Navy warships, they may be found on the internet easily and you will find that most still have conventional guns. Someone out there is still providing guns for the Navy and the lack of those guns is what will bite you in the butt.

Very Respectfully,