Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Teaching our senior leaders to lead better

The focal point of FLAG University programs are the five critical competencies identified by Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Vern Clark, as essential for every senior leader:

1. Financial Literacy. The goal here is not to turn admirals into CPAs or CFOs, but to give every senior leader in the Navy the requisite skills to successfully manage complex budget, procurement, and contracting processes so that taxpayers' money is used for its intended purpose.

2. Information Management. IT systems change with head-spinning frequency. The Navy is presently working to implement and optimize the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, one of the most ambitious network rollouts ever conducted. Senior leaders need to stay current on major aspects of this project, as well as on other IT systems and projects that enable unprecedented levels of flexibility and responsiveness to new and emerging threats to national security.

3. Sailor Power (sometimes called - Human Capital) Ensuring that the right people are in the right place at the right time and doing the right work is a challenge in the best of times for the best of organizations. With nearly 1 million personnel spread far and wide across the globe, the challenge is complex for Navy senior leaders.

4. Change Management. In large organizations, it's often said that the only constant is change. Now, with the officially named Global War on Terror beginning to come into sharper focus, it becomes increasingly clear that the old adage regarding change will be relevant for years to come. Navy leaders need to be expert at implementing and communicating significant change at every level--from grand to granular--to ensure that every service member not only has the orders for the day, but also understands how those orders contribute to both mission and readiness.

5. Leadership. Effective leadership begins with an individual who has an accurate understanding of self. Toward that end, FLAG University sponsors Navy senior leaders in a week-long intensive program at the Center for Creative Leadership, which is preceded by completion of five personal survey instruments, including two that require 360 degree feedback from subordinates, peers, and superiors. From there, the many dimensions of leadership are woven throughout the career learning continuum provided for Navy senior leaders.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Information Capable Warrior (ICW)

The National Strategy for Maritime Security demands that the Navy be a more capable and versatile force, collectively possessing the wide array of knowledge, skills, and abilities required to deliver information effects in synergy with kinetic effects in all other domains to achieve coalition/joint force victory.

Three potential options for a path ahead are bounded by these assumptions:

- Battlespace dominance includes the Information Domain.

- The Navy will deliver effects that may be kinetic (heat, blast, or fragmentation effects)
or non-kinetic (effects restricted to the Information Domain).

- "Information" both supports kinetic operations and delivers desired effects.

- Navy Information Capable Warriors are essential to all current and future operations.

Option 1: Establish a new URL community to develop fully qualified, future Information Domain leaders, some of whom may be designated as Maritime or Joint Information Warfare Component Commanders. This new community, drawn from officers serving in current URL and information-centric communities, must build competencies and broad experience in cyber, physical networks, and social networks domains, along with thorough knowledge of core enabling competencies (e.g., computer skills, information systems theory, language, signals intelligence (SIGINT), signals/radar fundamentals, communications systems, networking theory, space systems, shaping cognitive perceptions, etc.).

Option 2: Maintain current communities/designators and career paths, but establish a corps of Information Domain experts at the senior O-5 level and above. This Information Officer Corps could be competitively screened and selected from specific “feeder” communities/ cadres to create a pool of URL senior leaders with expertise in multiple information-specific domains (cyber, physical networks, and social networks) to develop the Information Domain leaders of the future, some of whom could be designated as Maritime or Joint Information Warfare Component Commanders.

Option 3: Maintain the status quo, but clarify the purpose of IP, IW, INTEL, PAO, FAO, Space Cadre, and EW communities/cadres. Additionally, require enhanced, collaborative resource management to address existing competency overlaps/deficiencies among these communities. This option does not address recognized performance gaps of existing career development processes, nor will it serve to develop the broad and deep Information Domain expertise that we will need in our Maritime or Joint Information Warfare Component Commanders of the future; but it may establish a clear rationalization for specific community membership and clarified swim lanes for individual missions, processes, and functions.

From a paper by Captain Mark Wilson - July 2007

Monday, September 28, 2009

Navy Force Shaping Business Rules

It is Navy policy to access the nation's best and brightest young people into its officer corps and then, through training, education and leadership, grow them into future leaders. Just as we expect our junior officers to take their commitment to the Navy seriously, the Navy takes its commitment to them seriously.

Consequently, we are obliged to ensure we have the required number of officers to meet the Navy's mission, today and in the future, while remaining within our authorized end strength and manpower personnel funding levels.

It is necessary to separate those officers who no longer have viable career paths or who do not possess unique and critical skills that could be utilized in a critical designator.


1000 Ser 00/003 of 22 Jan 09

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tips For Success in Assuming Command

• Go slow with regards to changing processes—make sure you fully understand current procedures before making any changes.

• Concentrate on three or four specific qualities you want to instill in the individuals in your command.
- How will you instill these qualities in your command members?
- What will you emphasize?
• Assess early what actions you should stop, start, continue, or avoid in order to produce the legacy you want to create.

• “Dare to be a person, not a position” (be honest, take responsibility, and keep your ego in check).

From Air University's AU-2 "Guidelines For Command"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Machine Signs Your Award

There has been much discussion over a very long period of time about the proliferation of military awards (i.e., USAF - lots of them, Army - many of them, Navy - some of them and USMC - none of them).

My recommended solution was that the award nominating authority be required to hand-write the award and the awarding authority be required to personally sign the award. Neither is ever going to happen. But, it sure would add to the value of the award.

My highest awards in 30 years of Navy service - a personal letter (hand-written) by the CNO (ADM Jay Johnson) and the many personal letters from the parents of my truly awesome Sailors.

As shameful as it sounds (and is), some of our Commanding Officers actually use rubber signature stamps to sign letters of commendation for our Sailors - incomprehensible and inexcusable.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Signs of institutional vitality and health - Does your organization have them?

I should note that during my time as Secretary, I have been impressed by the way the Army’s professional journals allow some of our brightest and most innovative officers to critique—sometimes bluntly—the way the service does business; to include judgments about senior leadership, both military and civilian.

I believe this is a sign of institutional vitality and health and strength. I encourage every member of the military to take on the mantle of fearless, thoughtful, but loyal dissent when the situation calls for it. Agree with the articles or not, senior officers should embrace such dissent as healthy dialogue and protect and advance those considerably more junior who are taking on that mantle.

In the military, as at every university or company in America, there is a focus on teamwork, consensus-building, and collaboration. Yet make no mistake, the time will come when a leader in today’s military must stand alone and make a difficult, unpopular decision, or challenge the opinion of superiors and tell them that they cannot get the job done with the time and the resources available—a difficult charge in an organization built on a “can-do” ethos like America’s Army; or a time when a member of the military will know that what superiors are telling the press or the Congress or the American people is inaccurate.

These are the moments when an officer’s entire career may be at risk. What will they do? These are difficult questions that require serious thought over the course of any officer’s career. There are no easy answers.

If they will follow the dictates of their conscience and maintain the courage of their convictions while being respectfully candid with superiors and encouraging candor in others, they will be in good stead to meet the challenges facing them as officers and leaders in the years ahead.

Robert M. Gates

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Valour IT – The Countdown Begins

Raise Money for Wounded Warriors and Beat Army:

What could be better than doing both at the same time?

Valour IT: Organized by the non-profit group Soldiers’ Angels, the program raises funds to provide movement-impaired wounded warriors with voice activated laptop computers.

The Countdown Begins: This year’s project runs October 26th through Veterans Day. Bloggers and site operators break into teams by military service preference. Teams then compete to see who can raise the most money. I’m inviting you to be part of Team Navy. Want to help us? Email us

The funds raised provide:

Voice-controlled Laptops – Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

Wii Video Game Systems – Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).

Personal GPS – Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.

Every penny raised by Valour-IT goes directly to purchasing technology for wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Guardians. There are no overhead costs for the project.


Responsibility to Communicate Effectively

Effective leaders recognize the importance of good communication. Communication problems can cause bottlenecks in the organization. But before you blame subordinates for bottlenecks, stop and examine a bottle. Notice where the neck is. It is not at the bottom.

Responsible leaders communicate effectively. They work hard to prevent bottlenecks and keep channels open up, down, and throughout the organization by (1) establishing an appropriate working climate and adjusting their communication behavior to fit the situation, and (2) practicing techniques to improve communication in their organization

Leaders Communicating Effectively
John A. Kline

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Writing A Letter - Naval Officers May Have Forgotten How To Do This

In the days of cell phones, email, and text messages, letter writing can seem hopelessly outdated. But it’s an art worth bringing back, and not because of some misplaced sense of nostalgia either. The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you’re eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why?

Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest. The paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. The recipient handles the paper that you handled. Letters create a connection that modern, impersonal forms of communication will never approach.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take care of people

Leaders should recognize not just the top performers but also the many others who are doing their jobs well, with good attitudes and a strong commitment to institutional goals.

Leaders should never ask subordinates to write their own personal evaluations or effectiveness reports; leaders should write their effective­ness reports or their personal evaluations and make sure that these are done with care and style.

Leaders should get up in the morning thanking people; at noontime they should thank more people; before going home at night, they should thank still more.

Thanking people is an important part of taking care of them because it's taking care of their psychological health.

Leaders should mentor outstanding subordinates while avoiding the pitfalls of cronyism.

They should follow Pierce Chapron's advice when he helps people: "He who receives a bene­fit should never forget it; he who bestows should never remember it."

Major General Perry M. Smith

Monday, September 21, 2009

Navy Leadership 2.0 - more effort required

"Information-age leadership in the Navy is a daunting challenge. We need to examine how we're going to get this done properly and keep our Sailors (officer and enlisted) motivated at the same time. Sailors have a voracious, almost insatiable, need for information and we don't seem to be getting it to them. It's not a stovepipe issue; it's an effort issue. We have boundless opportunities and the technology to communicate with every one of them on so many levels and we're not getting the job done. More effort on the part of our Flag officers is essential. This has to change soon or we will be fully disconnected from the people we are trying hardest to reach - our followers."

Scuttlebutt from the Admiral in the passageway.
(You know who I'm talking about)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Something you may like even less

"If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less."

General Eric Shinseki
Former Army Chief of Staff

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Commander-Centric Operations

The commander’s role in “command” - applying the “Art of War” - in this complex environment is critical. Without exception, we find that commander-centric organizations out perform staff-centric organizations. Clear commander’s guidance and intent, enriched by the commander’s experience, instinct, and intuition are ingredients always found in high performing units.

Insights for commanders:

• “The more things change, the more they stay the same” in leadership.

• Personal relationships are essential – the foundation for successful joint, interagency, and multinational world. Build these relationships, and foster trust and confidence with your partners. We discuss trust building techniques later.

• Your vision / guidance and intent provide clarity in today’s dynamic, ambiguous environment. Mission type orders remain key to success.

• Rely on your instinct and intuition while recognizing and leveraging the value of the staff to assist in understanding the increasingly complex environment.

• Working with your staffs, receiving benefit of their analysis and recommendations, and then giving guidance and staying with and guiding them, will result in better solutions in a fraction of the time.

• Build a command climate and organizational capability that fosters inclusion with your joint, interagency, and multinational partners in planning and operations.

• Focus on unity of effort, not unity of command. Recognize the reality of different perspectives and goals of your partners. Strive to arrive at a set of common desired outcomes to promote unity of effort.

• Stay at the appropriate level (i.e. the theater-strategic level for GCCs and operational level for JTFs) to set conditions for your subordinates’ success.

• Decentralize where possible to retain agility and speed of action. This will likely entail decentralization – some operational commanders have termed the phrase “become or accept being uncomfortably decentralized” as the only way to be agile enough to take advantage of opportunities in today’s operational environment. Too much structure can be the enemy.

From JFCOM's
Joint Operations - Insights and Best Practices - 2nd Edition

Friday, September 18, 2009

Anchor Up Shipmate

MCPON West shared some time-honored advice with the Navy's newest chief petty officers. "If I had just three words to say to our new (CPOs) as they pin on their anchors, it would be 'anchor up shipmate.' You hear story after story of successful personnel that at one point in their Navy career, had some chief petty officer step up and challenge them to be better every day; adding strength to our Navy. I would not want to see our Navy without chief petty officers. The chiefs are the movers and the shakers. The officers run the Navy. The chiefs make it run."

MCPON and I are on the same page. I take credit for coining this phrase ("ANCHOR UP") several years ago and it was published in my USNI PROCEEDINGS article "Anchor Up, Chiefs. Reset Your Mess".

From: West, Rick MCPON OPNAV, N00D
Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 8:54 PM
To: Mike Lambert
Subject: RE: Anchor Up, Chiefs !

Thanks for sharing. First I've seen of the article
and good to see we are sync'd.



"For Official Use Only - Privacy Sensitive:
Any misuse or unauthorized access
may result in civil and criminal penalties."

Robert P. Burke - 2005 VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award Winner

Robert P. Burke told me that .. "the three main contributors to earning this great honor:

- The ship was not performing or running well when my tour began. We borrowed heavily from our waterfront peers, rebuilt almost every program from the ground up using what we begged, borrowed and shared those 'best of breed' ideas/programs/successes with our waterfront peers.

- As the crew got its rhythm, and partly due to where we were in the operational/deployment cycle, and a little bit out of plain luck, we were able to maintain our readiness to go to sea on short notice. We got ahead in our maintenance at every opportunity, and as a result, when another ship had a readiness issue, I was able to raise my hand and suggest HAMPTON take the mission. We did that over and over again.

- We cross-decked at every opportunity, taking Sailors from other ships to sea with us, sending ours to other ships, inviting them to do the same for us. This allowed us to share our standards, best practices and methods for self-improvement with our waterfront peers, while gaining the same in return from them.

The final and most important element of this though, was setting, articulating and enforcing standards. Making your expectations known, praising those who upheld them, and visibly (not necessarily negatively) holding those who did not uphold the standards accountable - that really helped make the leadership by example a reality."

His Sailors won the Battle E, Tactical T, Engineering E (every year), Comms C and Supply E.

Captain Robert P. Burke is the officer on the right in the photo.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bruce Grooms - 1999 VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award Winner

Bruce Grooms told me that the biggest leadership challenge that he faced in command..."was the same faced throughout my career and continues to date. How to read and understand the motivations of each individual in the command in order to find ways that each member feels empowered to contribute, to the best of their ability to make the command the best it could be. All I ever did was give my Sailors the opportunity to be heard, from the most junior enlisted to senior most officers. Once they figured out they had a golden opportunity to influence the direction of THEIR command and they were convinced they would get credit for accomplishments, top cover for mistakes and ownership of every aspect of their boat, the sky was the limit. Understand the motivations of your people and find ways to direct their energy to common good, that was and always will be my most difficult challenge."

His Sailors won the Battle E, the Golden Anchor Award, the Silver Anchor Award, the Commodore's Cup (twice), and the Engineering Excellence Award (twice). His Sailors were Ney Award and Arleigh A. Burke Award finalists. Captain Grooms' leadership teams's crowning achievement - over a dozen Sailors were picked up for Officer Commissioning Programs.

Rear Admiral Grooms is currently serving on the Joint Staff as Vice Director. He is a United States Naval Academy graduate.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Is A Chief Petty Officer?

A Chief Petty Officer is an American patriot who made the decision to spend the greater part of his life in service to his country.

He started his navy career the same as all of us . . . as a seaman recruit who was just as lost and confused as we were our first day in boot camp.

The rating of Chief did not come easy, only after many years of dedication, work, training . . . and giving of himself. This indicated that he was a teacher and a leader, who could always be depended upon to have the answer to the most complicated question.

The Chief was the person who set the example for the rest of us to follow . . . His conduct, skill, knowledge and general bearing was always displayed as the goals we all should try to achieve.

The Chief was the guy you could go to with a personal problem and who always had the time to listen . . . even if he didn't always say what you wanted to hear. Still, you knew it was good advice.

The Chief was the guy who would stand behind us if we fouled up, making it his mission to see that we were trained not to make the same mistake again . . . And God help us when we did!

The Chief was the first one to shake your hand the day you sewed your first crow onto your left sleeve.

The Chief was the guy who could step on your toes without messing up your shine.

The Chief was the guy who made me proud to be a Sailor and honored to be a part of our great Navy.

Yes, there were times when I didn’t care too much for my Chief, but now I know that it was due to my immaturity and lack of good sense . . . Little did I know at the time that the Chief was actually my best friend and everything he did was for my own good.

The Chief is the backbone of the Navy . . . and without the Chief we would surely founder and sink.

As I grow older I think back to my few short years as a navy man and find that many of my actions and the way I have conducted myself are a direct result of the lessons my Chiefs taught me. Those lessons include... fairness, understanding, firmness, honesty, pride, honor and most importantly, love for my country.

I wish that I would have told all my Chiefs these things when I had the chance to do it in person. So if any of my chiefs should read my thoughts here and would happen to remember this hard headed QM3 . . . I send you all the honors befitting a brave and loyal leader. And you have my sincere thanks for taking this scared young country boy and doing your best to turn him into a Sailor and more importantly a man.

Our country owes you more than it will ever know!

Ron Hovis
United States Navy (1951 to 1957)
Copyright 2005

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Anchor Up, Chiefs! Reset the Mess

There's still time to get this done. Maintain steady strain on all lines.

"The tone of the ship, the tone of the service itself must come more directly from the Chief Petty Officers than from any other group of people in the Navy."
The Blue Jacket's Manual - 1918

"Chief Petty Officers are first and foremost desk plate leaders charged with developing Sailors and enforcing standards."
MCPON Joe Campa

"When a Chiefs' Mess is hitting on all cylinders, there is no better command, and when a Chiefs' Mess is not working well, there is nothing worse."
Admiral Mike Mullen

Anchor Up, Chiefs! Reset the Mess

As MCPON Rick West said when he assumed 'the office'
- "Anchor up, Chiefs - HOOYAH !"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Borderless domains - sea, space, cyberspace

"The Navy will use the borderless domains of the sea, space and cyberspace to make that vision a reality. And we will continue to educate and train our Sailors so they are capable and comfortable in those domains."

Admiral Jay Johnson, 1999, former Chief of Naval Operations

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Commanding a ship is the simplest task in the world

"Commanding a ship is the simplest task in the world, even if at times it seems complicated. A Captain has only to pick good courses of action and to stick to them no matter what. If he is good and generally makes good decisions, his crew will cover for him if he fails occasionally. If he is bad, this fact will soon be known, and he must removed with the speed of light."

Admiral Nimitz - per anonymous

The photo is of our CNO Admiral Gary Roughead and ADM Stavridis. CDR Stavridis relieved CAPT Roughead as CO, USS Barry. These two obviously picked good courses of action and stuck to them.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Professional Expertise, Attitude, Initiative

Any time an O-6 attempts to communicate with a junior officer, there is well-known statistical evidence that documents the tendency of the JO to ignore the "older" generation. The perception is that there is no way that the analog old man can possibly understand the current plight of the digital, high-speed JO. I'm old enough to be your father, and I admit that my eight year old child can consistently kick my butt with a Nintendo, X-box or Wii. In relation to you, I am as old as dirt, but to keep it in perspective, after twenty-four years of dedicating my life to the Navy, the Navy has become as much of a family as my own bloodline, and I offer my "fatherly" advice to you with the same love and admiration that I would offer guidance to my own sons and daughters.

Captain Brian Hinckley in a brief excerpt from CDR Fred Kacher's (CO, USS STOCKDALE) new book, NEWLY COMMISSIONED NAVAL OFFICER'S GUIDE

Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Sailors - true 44 years ago, true today

The rugged seagoing man is still of great importance in the Navy, and the need for officers and enlisted men armed with sophisticated knowledge is growing every day. Inevitably, as both ships and society change, our enlisted men are also changing. Always dependable, always competent, the new enlisted man retains these fine characteristics of his predecessors but, in addition, brings to the Navy an increasing amount of expertise and knowledge.

He is, inevitably, more demanding of his leadership, and never has the challenge to our officers been so great in this area as today. The educational difference between officer and petty officer may be much smaller than it once was, and as a result, both parties to the relationship must bring to bear great understanding and dedicated performance. High moral character, mental alertness, tolerance, and a broad understanding of our nation's position and problems are increasingly characteristic of our enlisted personnel. Working with these young Americans in a leadership position represents an extraordinary challenge in itself.

Rear Admiral James Calvert
The Naval Profession
- 1965

Thursday, September 10, 2009

VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award Winners - 2009 Edition

CNO announced that CDR Robert A. Baughman, from the Pacific Fleet and CDR William J. Parker III, from Fleet Forces Command, are the 2009 recipients of the VADM James Bond Stockdale award for inspirational leadership.

CDR Baughman was selected for his performance as CO, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit FIVE, and is the first recipient of this award from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community. CDR Parker was selected for his performance as CO, USS Donald Cook (DDG 75).

These other men deserve well-earned congratulations:

Pacific Fleet finalists:
- CDR Mark D. Behning, CO, USS Nevada (SSBN 733)
- CDR Terrence A. Hoeft, CO, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 12
- CDR Timothy J. Kott, CO, USS Hopper (DDG 70)
Fleet Forces Command finalists:
- CAPT Michael P. Holland, former CO, USS Providence (SSN 719)
- CDR Richard G. McGrath, CO, Strike Fighter Squadron 87
- CDR Travis C. Schweizer, former CO, Naval Special Warfare Squadron 4

More on previous winners.

**In August 2006, CAPT Babette Bolivar was recognized as the CNO’s Pacific Fleet Finalist for the VADM James Stockdale Leadership Award. To date, she has been the only woman nominee. She is the CO of Naval Weapons Station Yorktown**

Our Man In The Pacific (Now at the Pentagon)

PACOM Director for Intelligence visits U.S. 7th Fleet
By MC2 (AW) Greg Mitchell, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

Posted: July 16, 2009

YOKOSUKA, Japan -- The future intelligence officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) July 10 to get an intelligence update from 7th Fleet and participate in an all-hands videoconference with active duty service members and civilian intelligence professionals around the region.

Currently the U.S. Pacific Command director for intelligence, Rear Adm. Michael S. Rogers (1610 - Information Warfare Officer) visited Commander, 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. John M. Bird, during an office call and used the videoconference to discuss intelligence operations.

Originally a surface warfare officer, Rogers was recently selected to be the intelligence officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen in the Pentagon.

Rogers used the videoconference as a chance to talk career-oriented moves, while also opening the floor to personnel for asking questions concerning intelligence operations within the spectrum of forward-deployed naval forces.

“As an intelligence specialist, it is an honor to be able to be in the presence of such a prestigious senior officer in our field of expertise,” said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Steven Martell, with 7th Fleet's N2 Division. “This was a rare occasion to have the opportunity to meet a difference maker in our field of work.”

Rogers reciprocated Martell’s thoughts, expressing gratitude for the service of those in the intelligence community.

“I just wanted to come forward and thank all of the troops personally for their efforts,” said Rogers. “You should take pride in your part of supporting the area of responsibility (AOR). Your skill set and experience are vital to the decisions made by those senior decision makers.”

In closing, Rogers provided a bit of advice toward continuous success.

Communication is something that I cannot emphasize enough,” said Rogers. “Part of the key to success is to know that the person on the other end of the line is just as capable and just as professional as you are.”

Check in the box training

“If a Sailor, who I consider to be the most perceptive creature on the face of the Earth, sees something that’s just being done just to check a box, that’s exactly how they’re going to treat it, and it really needs to be much more thoughtful than that.”

Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Examining The Leadership Crisis Further

Navy Times examines the "loss of confidence" phenomenon among Navy Commanding Officers. Their editorial picks up on many themes expressed in this blog over the past year. There is no question but that some of these officers should never have "enjoyed" their seniors' confidence in the first place. Not every officer is cut out for command. Many more officers are not deserving in the first place.

As the Navy Times states, "Adultery, drunkenness, sexual harassment and lying aren’t failings that rear their head only late in life; they are more typically habits forged early on, during the rise through the ranks." And, if we're honest with ourselves in the process of selecting these individuals, we know this in advance. These officers should never have been selected for command in the first place. Truth be told, for some officer communities in the Navy, formal command screening boards are a relatively new development.

Recommendations from the Navy Times Editorial includes the suggestion that "The Navy can do three things to try to solve this problem:
Use shame as a deterrent. A 2007 Fleet Forces Command Inspector General report on com­mand firings recom­mended wider pub­lic release of basic facts relating to these cases, so that examples could be made of officers who flouted the rules or made egre­gious errors. The idea was dismissed at the time as “not warranted.” It should be imple­mented today.
Show the total officer to command screening boards. The officers who select future COs get plenty of official information, including fitness reports and assignment histories, on every candidate. What they don’t get to see is how this officer is viewed by his peers and subordinates. Full 360-degree peer reviews would provide a clearer picture than anything else as to how an offi­cer will be viewed by subordi­nates if given the chance to com­mand.
Lengthen command tours. The opportunity to take command is a privilege, reserved for the most capable officers. Longer tours would reduce the number of com­manding officers needed, raising the bar for getting selected, and allowing boards to more thor­oughly scrutinize candidates.

The Navy’s record on com­manding officers isn’t bad. But it could be (much) better. It’s time to reassess and improve the com­manding officer selection process, to ensure only those most worthy get the opportunity."


Admiral Robert Natter says, "You can't make exceptions with people in authority, especially for commanding officers. Occasionally, I could make an exception for young seamen because the ramifications of their actions are totally different. You expect young kids to get in trouble. But not someone responsible for 300 people."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


"Truth is so precious she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

Winston Churchill

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Wisdom of Colonel Eddie Ray - USMC

"Being effectively ruthless and genuinely caring are each manifestations of courage. The ability to effect their integration and foster the bond between leader and led can spell the difference between defeat and victory, because wars -- fought with weapons -- are won by people. Your sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers. We are honored to lead them."

“The best leadership is done by walking around.”


“ Whenever possible, give a clear, cogent endstate and let people achieve the result, their way..”

“On a championship team, everyone gets a trophy.”

“All of us are better than any of us.”

Colonel Eddie S. Ray

Sunday, September 6, 2009

There is a leadership crisis in the Navy

... but it is not at the operational level. The real crisis exists at the tactical level, and it is a consequence of a misaligned, fragmented, and marginalized system of officer professional development. The Navy’s recent attempts to transform officer development from the top down have fallen well short. The Navy should direct its best efforts to institutionalize a leadership and professional development continuum that focuses on the bulk of its officer corps, not only the cohorts well into their careers. If “everything starts and ends with leadership (as Admiral Mullen says),” the Navy’s paradigm of leadership cultivation must start at the beginning.

Commander Christopher D. Hayes

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cyber Warriors All (Some, Any, None)

We must recognize that we are all Cyber Warriors. We are responsible for the information we extract from and add to the networks, which is essential to mission success.

We all must recognize our role in this digital environment. How many of us have one or more USB memory devices? How many of us make copies of information or work on a CD? And how many of us leave the workplace with these items without them being encrypted, making their loss more painful than just the resultant loss of productivity; the potential loss of sensitive information.

How many of us perform official business on our home email systems, which are not as secure as our networks? While we all are required to take privacy and information assurance training, do we actually take it to heart that we are all Cyber Warriors and as such must act accordingly? Whether we engage the network in a classified or unclassified environment, information security and assurance are everyone’s responsibility.

We have training available to us and countless standard operating procedures; but, are we doing enough? Information security cannot be managed by the Naval Network Warfare Command and the Marine Corps Security and Operations Center alone. We all have a role in this Information Age and a responsibility to protect our information.

From the Navy CIO's blog.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Disruptive Leadership - A Great Thing

VADM David "Jack" Dorsett (the Navy's Intelligence Officer) is a disruptive Navy leader. He's shaking things up. Don't believe me? Consider the changes he and the CNO (and their very capable staffs) are bringing about on the OPNAV staff and in the broader information dominance arena. Their merger of N2 (intelligence) and N6 (command, control, communication and computers), as well as their realignment of considerable resources (programs, $$$ and manpower), are excellent examples of his disruptive leadership through the careful integration of "N" codes which will certainly result in positive forward movement for the information dominance corps (intelligence, information warfare, information professions and others) and the Navy.

For the past two days, VADM Dorsett and many of the other OPNAV (NFOSES) Navy Flag officers and Senior Executive Service (SES) civilians have been meeting to sort out many of the details of the reorganization of elements of the OPNAV staff and stand-up activities for Fleet Cyber Command and COMTENTHFLT.

Stay tuned - more disruptive leadership to follow.

15 September 2009 -
VADM Jack Dorsett's NFOSES brief was distributed to all 1610 Captains and many CDRs, LCDRs and LTs via my IW e-mail distro right after Labor Day. If you need to be added (and are an IW officer), shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment.

RDML (Sel) Sean R. Filipowski

RDML (sel) Sean R. Filipowski is a native of New Jersey. He graduated in 1982 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelors Degree in History and was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps College Program. He graduated from the Naval War College in 1994 with a Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He was selected for promotion to Rear Admiral in June 2009.

Originally commissioned as a Submarine S
trategic Weapons System Officer, he served his initial assignment in USS Nathanael Greene as Sonar Officer, Communicator, and Missile Fire Control Officer. This was followed by duty as the Strategic Navigator and Assistant Weapons Officer at Submarine Squadron Eighteen. In 1986 he was selected for redesignation as a Special Duty Officer (Cryptology), now Information Warfare Officer.

His shore assignmen
ts include U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Misawa, Japan as a Division Officer and subsequently as the Executive Officer, the National Security Agency, and Naval Network Warfare Command.

tional assignments include Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet Staff (where he also deployed with Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group Three, embarked in USS Nimitz, in support of Operation Desert Storm); Commander Carrier Group Seven Staff, embarked in USS Nimitz, which deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Southern Watch and Vigilant Sentinel; the Joint Special Operations Command where he deployed to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Aviano, Italy in support of Operation Joint Guard; and Commander Seventh Fleet Staff, embarked in USS Blue Ridge, which deployed throughout the Western Pacific.

He commanded bo
th U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan and Navy Information Operations Command Georgia. Under his leadership, both commands were awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation and received numerous Gold Anchor and Retention Excellence awards.

RDML (sel) Filipowski’s awards include
the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and various campaign, unit, and service awards.


His official biography will be here as soon as he is officially assigned as a Flag officer.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Petty Officers - Admiral Burke's Perspective

What Makes a Good Petty Officer?

Good Petty Officers know what their uniform, their Navy, and their flag stands for. They are proud members of the best fighting organization in the world. The United States Navy.

Good Petty Officers are concerned with their Sailors' individual welfare and their future. They pat their Sailors on the back when they do well, and give them hell when they need it. That way they make better Sailors and make progress. They teach their trade. They encourage. They inspire. They are consistent. They are competitive. Their outfit is the best. They assume responsibility. They give their Sailors responsibility. They pass the word. They create team spirit.

Good Petty Officers put their hearts and souls into their work. They radiate enthusiasm and spark. They know the Navy. They know their rates, and they genuinely appreciate what they know.

Good Petty Officers recognize that success comes from the effort of a larger number of people, not just one or two. The whole organization has to function well, not just a few members.

ADM Arleigh Burke

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Off The Subject - But worth mentioning

1. A personal letter says "You mean something to me and to others". (This can not be expressed properly in e-mail.)
2. A letter invites you entry into someone else's soul.
3. A letter is a form of self expression.
4. A letter allows you the luxury of expressing yourself with a rehearsal before the performance.
5. A letter prompts giving of yourself.
6. A letter had the ability to transform someone's day.
7. A letter can change the course of someone's life.
8. A letter is a chronicle of the present that preserves the past in the future.
9. A letter celebrates connection.
10. The biography of President John Adams' life was recreated almost entirely from his voluminous collection of letters (from/to him). Otherwise, that history might have been lost.

My advice to you. Write a letter. Make a difference.

Better yet - ANSWER YOUR MAIL !!!!

From On Paper