Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gone Five Years Now - Naval Security Group Command - A Transformational Phoenix

Montage of the Naval Security Group Command presented to RADM Ike Cole at his change of command
BT
UNCLAS
QQQQ
MSGID/GENADMIN/COMNAVNETWARCOM/N00/SEP//
SUBJ/DISESTABLISHMENT OF THE NAVAL SECURITY GROUP COMMAND - WELL/DONE
// POC/Jan E. Tighe/CAPT/Deputy Director IOD/240-373-3011/CNSG/JETIGHE@NSA.GOV//
RMKS/1. ON 30 SEP 05, NAVAL SECURITY GROUP COMMAND (NSG) WILL BE DISESTABLISHED AS AN ECHELON II SHORE ACTIVITY AFTER MORE THAN 70 YEARS OF EXEMPLARY CRYPTOLOGIC SERVICE TO THE NATION AND THE NAVY. WITH A FINAL ENTRY IN THE NSG LOG BOOK AND THE LOWERING OF THE COMMAND FLAG, RADM ANDREW M. SINGER WILL BE RELIEVED OF COMMAND RESPONSIBILITIES AND NSG WILL TRANSITION TO THE INFORMATION OPERATIONS DIRECTORATE (IOD) OF NAVAL NETWORK WARFARE COMMAND. THE RECORD WILL SHOW NSG ON WATCH FROM 11 MARCH 1935 TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2005.
2. BEGINNING 1 OCT 05, IOD WILL SYNCHRONIZE THE INFORMATION OPERATIONS AND SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE MISSIONS WITHIN NETWARCOM. THE ALIGNMENT INTO NETWARCOM PROVIDES FOR THE COMBINED POWER OF FULL-SPECTRUM INFORMATION OPERATIONS, NAVY NETWORKS, AND SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE IN A COHERENT OPERATIONAL STRUCTURE. BRINGING TOGETHER THE WORKFORCES OF THE NSG AND NETWARCOM WILL DELIVER AN UNPRECEDENTED LEVEL OF EXPERTISE AND RESPONSIVENESS -- PROFESSIONALS WHO UNDERSTAND AND CAN SHAPE THE INFORMATION WARFARE DOMAIN TO MEET PEACETIME, CRISIS, SURGE, AND WARTIME OBJECTIVES FOR JFMCCS AND OTHER JOINT COMMANDERS.
3. THE ORIGINS OF THE NSG DATE BACK TO 1924 WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A RESEARCH DESK IN THE CODE AND SIGNAL SECTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS. REDESIGNATED OP-20-G IN 1928 AND SERVING THE DIRECTOR OF NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS, IT BECAME KNOWN AS THE "ON THE ROOF GANG" BECAUSE ITS FOUNDING MEMBERS WERE TRAINED IN THE ART OF CODED COMMUNICATIONS IN A SECURE FACILITY ON THE ROOF OF THE OLD DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY BUILDING. OP-20-G CONTINUED TO GROW, CULMINATING IN THE FORMATION OF THE NAVAL SECURITY GROUP ON 11 MARCH 1935. ALTHOUGH THE NAME OP-20-G WAS RETAINED UNTIL AFTER WORLD WAR II, 11 MARCH 1935 MARKED THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE WORD "GROUP" IN THE TITLE OF THE NAVAL CRYPTOLOGIC ORGANIZATION AND IS OBSERVED AS THE BIRTH OF THE NAVAL SECURITY GROUP. THE LEADERSHIP OF JOSEPH WENGER, THE FIRST CRYPTOLOGIC ADMIRAL, LED TO THE CREATION OF NSG, OR SECGRU, AS AN INDEPENDENT COMMAND IN 1950. IN 1956, THE NSG HEADQUARTERS ACTIVITY WAS ESTABLISHED, RETAINING THE NAME UNTIL 1961 WHEN IT WAS REDESIGNATED THE NSG HEADQUARTERS UNDER THE DIRECTOR, NAVAL SECURITY GROUP. FINALLY ON 1 JULY 1968, OPNAV NOTICE 5450 ESTABLISHED THE NSG COMMAND HEADQUARTERS UNDER A FLAG OFFICER.
4. FOR 70 YEARS, SECGRU CRYPTOLOGISTS PROVED THEIR VALUE IN CONFLICTS, PLAYING KEY ROLES IN WWII, KOREA, VIETNAM, THE COLD WAR AND MOST RECENTLY AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ. WHILE SECGRU EXPERIENCED MANY SUCCESSES, THEY WERE NOT WITHOUT SACRIFICE. IN 1967 THE USS LIBERTY WAS ATTACKED DURING THE SIX DAY WAR. TWO-THIRDS OF THE LIBERTY'S CREW WERE CASUALTIES WITH 34 KILLED, 23 OF THEM CRYPTOLOGISTS. THE LIST DOES NOT STOP THERE. THE USS PUEBLO, THE EC-121 SHOOT-DOWN, AND THE FIRE AT KAMISEYA, JAPAN ALL RESULTED IN SECGRU CASUALTIES WHILE ON WATCH.
5. OUR NAVY'S INFORMATION WARRIORS HAVE GONE BY DIFFERENT NAMES IN DIFFERENT ERAS, BUT THE ESSENTIALS OF THE MISSION, AND THE SENSE OF DUTY, HAVE REMAINED THE SAME. AS NSG BEGINS A NEW CHAPTER, ITS FOCUS NOW TURNS TO A NEW LOGBOOK WITH ITS FIRST PAGE DATED 1 OCT 2005. SECGRU SAILORS CAN TAKE PRIDE IN NSG'S LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE TO THE NATION AND NAVY. THROUGH STEADFAST COMMITMENT AND SUSTAINED SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE, NSG CONSISTENTLY PROVIDED THE INFORMATION DOMINANCE THE FLEET NEEDED AND HAS BEEN THE BENCHMARK FOR CRYPTOLOGIC OPERATIONS BY WHICH OTHERS ARE JUDGED. THIS EXCELLENCE WILL CONTINUE UNDER NETWARCOM.
6. TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE NAVAL SECURITY GROUP COMMAND, I EXTEND THE APPRECIATION AND THE RESPECT OF THE NAVY COMMUNITY. THE HERITAGE OF THE NAVAL SECURITY GROUP COMMAND IS ILLUSTRATED BY THE SPIRIT, ENTHUSIASM AND GENIUS OF ITS PEOPLE, QUALITIES WHICH WILL SERVE US WELL IN MEETING THE NEW AND DEMANDING CHALLENGES OF THE FUTURE. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE, ALL YOU ARE GOING TO DO, AND ABOVE ALL FOR SERVING WITH THE DISTINCTION YOU HAVE SO RICHLY EARNED.
7. WELL DONE AND WELCOME ABOARD! VADM MCARTHUR SENDS.//
BT
#1410

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another valiant Cryptologic Technician has given his life in the service of his country

CTRCS (SW/FMF) David B. McLendon was a Navy cryptologic technician assigned to an east coast Naval Special Warfare unit. He entered the Navy in 1998 and reported to Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois. In September of 1998, McLendon attended “CTR” A school at Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida. During his 12-year Navy career, McLendon served at various Navy commands in Norfolk, Va., Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Brunswick, Maine. His fellow service members said they remember McLendon as a consummate Navy professional. CTRCS McLendon is survived by his loving wife and parents.

From RADM Ned Deets, Commander, Naval Network Warfare Command:

-----Original Message-----
From: Deets, Ned RADM NETWARCOM
 Subject: Update on CTRCS McLendon Services

All, Request widest dissemination please:

Senior McLendon's interment will take place this Friday (1 October 2010) in Thomasville, GA, about 75 mins north of Tallahassee, FL.  Tim (Bovill) will send the time and lift info (if avail) as soon as he gets it from Group 2.  There will be a memorial service between 5 and 8 Oct on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek/Fort Story.  Date and time sepcor.  A tragic loss of a courageous warrior and his shipmates in the middle of tactical infiltration.

KIA CTRCS David B. McLendon, USN, Active Duty.  While conducting operations in the vicinity of Ayattala Village in order to disrupt insurgent safe havens in Deh Chopan District and degrade insurgent freedom of movement within Zabul Province, the helicopter (UH-60 Black Hawk) the service member was aboard crashed on infiltration.  NOK notification complete.  CMD:  CNSWG 2 SUPPORT ACTIVITY TWO.

Best and v/r, Ned

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Information Dominance - A METOC guy's take

Check out more of Captain Jeff Bacon (USN, retired) over at BROADSIDE.

You may not know it, but there is a battle going on within the Navy. At stake is nothing less than cerebral dominance.

Back in the old days, like about a year ago, the Navy was comprised of a lot of specialized communities. Intelligence, Cryptology, Oceanography, Space, and Information Warfare communities all enjoyed their own empires and their own hierarchies. They coexisted and tolerated the other groups with similar “information intensive skills” (CNO-speak for “people with big brains”), as long as they stayed in their own lanes and didn’t challenge the respective communities’ unique skills. But in October of last year the Navy – if for no other reason than to enjoy the spectacle – combined them all into the Information Dominance Corps.

They even got their own warfare pin.

Imagine if you were Valedictorian of your high school class, and then found out that four other schools were joining yours just before graduation – each bringing its own Valedictorian. Who would give the speech? Who would be declared smartest of the smart?

Awkward.

It’s not like the wrestling teams would have that problem. They would just have an all out brawl to see which wrestler would be number one.

But the thinkers don’t work like that. I know what makes them tick because I was once one of them (I got in on a technicality).

The new InfoDoms will be more cunning. More coy.

They’ll wait for the right moment to pounce, and when that moment comes they will strike with polite but brutal efficiency. Most likely this will happen in one of the scientific conferences they attend – the preferred arenas for hand-to-hand (or cerebrum-to-cerebrum) battle. (“Excuse me, but your premise is incorrect. One might suspect that you either don’t understand the principles supporting my argument, or you simply failed to do your homework. Didn’t I see you hanging out with some aviators last night…in a bar?” (audible gasp from the audience).) This is the Information Dominance Corps equivalent of a right cross to the chin.
To make matters more complicated, each community has to grit its teeth and learn a little something about the others. Weather guys have to learn what cryptologists do (good luck with that). Intel guys have to learn about Information Warfare, and so on. It’s like the scene out of “Remember the Titans” when everyone had to learn something about each of the other players.

It will be mayhem.

Oh sure, on the surface they will put on a brave face and do their best to work together. But inside, their guts will be shredding. They will all know – KNOW – that theirs is the dominant community. E Pluribus Unum means “Out of many, one.” The Information Dominance Corps’ slogan would roughly translate to, “Out of many, one is better than the others.”

The good news is that these people are smart, and I imagine they’ll work it all out in the end. And who knows? Maybe the new corps will emerge stronger and more capable because they all speak the same language. Maybe the pecking order will naturally just work itself out.

And if it doesn’t?

There is always the all out brawl. 

Jeff Bacon

Letter Writing

His courtesy was somewhat extravagant. When he encountered anyone as punctilious as himself their correspondence ended only with death.

I would have answered your letter sooner, but you didn't send one.

Or don't you like to write letters? I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something.
 ~Ernest Hemingway

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, September 27, 2010

Serve the large purposes of free men

There is a tradition in the sea-going profession, a tradition of the sea that is older than the traditions of our great country. . . . This is the philosophy of the Navy. It is the time-honored tradition of men who must meet the challenge of the sea. It is the philosophy inherited by the United States from those who have braved the seas to find freedom and fulfillment, and it must be your philosophy as Americans if you are to serve the large purposes of free men on earth.

—Admiral Arleigh Burke, U.S. Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, 1959

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cybersecurity - Overhyped??

"We surely need to improve our cybersecurity. But words have meaning, and metaphors matter. There's a power struggle going on for control of our nation's cybersecurity strategy, and the NSA and DoD are winning. If we frame the debate in terms of war, if we accept the military's expansive cyberspace definition of "war," we feed our fears.


We reinforce the notion that we're helpless -- what person or organization can defend itself in a war? -- and others need to protect us. We invite the military to take over security, and to ignore the limits on power that often get jettisoned during wartime.
If, on the other hand, we use the more measured language of cybercrime, we change the debate. Crime fighting requires both resolve and resources, but it's done within the context of normal life. We willingly give our police extraordinary powers of investigation and arrest, but we temper these powers with a judicial system and legal protections for citizens.


We need to be prepared for war, and a Cyber Command is just as vital as an Army or a Strategic Air Command. And because kid hackers and cyber-warriors use the same tactics, the defenses we build against crime and espionage will also protect us from more concerted attacks. But we're not fighting a cyberwar now, and the risks of a cyberwar are no greater than the risks of a ground invasion. We need peacetime cyber-security, administered within the myriad structure of public and private security institutions we already have."


Read Bruce Schneier's OPED here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The man of the future on whom we shall depend

Admiral Rickover summarized his position by stating, “the man of the future on whom we shall depend more and more is the technical expert.

Today he is still subservient to non-technical leaders in government and industry, and his work is hampered and sometimes destroyed by men in whom is vested great power but who cannot understand the realities of the new, artificial, technological age.

But the ‘verbal’ men are on the way out… We have taken cognizance of this demand for a different kind of man…”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Penalties for untrained personnel



“In no other professions are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so appalling or irrevocable as in the military.”


General Douglas MacArthur

Thursday, September 23, 2010

231 years ago today - reminder from Chris Murch USNA - 83


On September 23, 1779, 231 years ago to the day...

"I have not yet begun to fight!" shouted John Paul Jones when the captain of the British ship Serapis asked him to surrender.

Their ships were so close their cannons hit each other and their masts entangled, yet the American ship Bonhomme Richard, named for Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac, refused to give up.

When his ship began sinking, instead of striking the colors, John Paul Jones lashed his ship to enemy's to keep it afloat. After 3 more hours of fighting, the British surrendered.

Called the "Father of the American Navy," John Paul Jones commanded the Continental Navy's first ship, Providence, in 1775.

With 12 guns, it was the most victorious American vessel in the Revolution, capturing or sinking 40 British ships.

In 1778, sailing the Ranger, Jones raided the coasts of Scotland and England.

After the Revolution, in 1788, Jefferson arranged for John Paul Jones to join Russia's Catherine the Great in repulsing the Muslim Ottoman Turks from the Black Sea, sailing the Vladimir.

On February 13, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote:

"The remains of Admiral John Paul Jones were interred in a certain piece of ground in the city of Paris...used...as a burial place for foreign Protestants...

The great service done by him toward the achievement of independence...lead me to...do proper honor to the memory of John Paul Jones."

His remains were placed in the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis.

Mixed Gender Submarine Crews - No problem


With the introduction of the new VICTORIA-class submarines into naval service in the late 1990’s – and with them living conditions more conducive to mixed gender crews – Canada joined several other allied nations in fully integrating women into service in the submarine environment. Although only a handful of women currently serve aboard Canada’s operational submarines, they have been seamlessly integrated into the environment with few problems.

No attempts have been made to segregate the genders, and no special provision has been made for bunking or shower facilities.

Reproductive issues have been addressed, including potential risks to the mother and fetus should a female submariner become pregnant, as well as other gynecological concerns. In addition, the psychological impact of mixed gender crewing has been explored using space-analogous operations. Advantages and disadvantages of mixed gender crews have been identified, and recommendations made to mitigate any potential negative impact on operations.

The full report is HERE.

Today there are four female submariners serving aboard VICTORIA-class submarines and others undergoing training; all are non-commissioned members (NCMs). Although one female Maritime Officer did complete the Basic Submarine Qualification course, she did not complete the sea phase of training in order to receive her dolphins.

Interviews with female submariners about their experience serving in submarines reveals common themes: all are mature, experienced sailors who simply wish to be considered one of the crew, and do not want to be singled out because they are women. They are very professional and dedicated to their careers, and work hard to gain the respect of their male peers for their skills as submariners, not specifically as female submariners.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FY 11 Information Warfare Officer Command And Leadership Screen Board

The FY11 IDC Information Warfare Officer (IWO) O5 and O6 Command and Leadership Screen Board completed its important work last week. From 122 eligible officers, 9 target selections were to have been made for Information Warfare CO/XO positions in the Information Dominance Corps.

Members of the Information Warfare CO/XO screening board included:

RADM Titley (President)
RDML Filipowski
RDML Herbert
Captain Kohler
Captain Haws
Captain Helms
Captain Ashworth
Captain Darnell

The board PRECEPTS are HERE.

Results to follow. Soon, we hope.

Hostile Intent


The determination of hostile intent is the single most difficult decision that a commander has to make in peacetime.

— Admiral Frank Kelso

There is no better provider of information about hostile intent than a cryptologic technician interpretive (CTI).

— CTIC(NAC) Robert E. Maguire

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

INFORMATION DOMINANCE WARFARE OFFICER QUALIFICATION PROGRAM


The long-awaited OPNAVINST 1412.13 is available HERE.

Formal designation as an Information Dominance Warfare Officer signifies that eligible Navy officers have acquired specific knowledge, skills and experience, and have demonstrated proficiency at the professional level of competence required for satisfactory performance of assigned duties. The IDWO designation can only be obtained through the formal qualification program set forth in this instruction. This instruction shall be executed at all commands with Information Dominance Corps (IDC) officers assigned.

General Amos' Confirmation Testimony on DADT before the Senate Armed Services Committee - 21 September 2010

The Senate Armed Services Committee held confirmation hearings today, 21 September 2010, for General James F. Amos as the next Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.

In his prepared response to standard confirmation hearing questions, he provided the following information about his view of DADT as his response to advance policy questions.

What is your view of the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, and its impact on the Marine Corps?

General Amos: In my view, the current law (and associated policy) has been a reasonable compromise between the unique requirements of military service and the aspirations of qualified citizens who are interested in military service. I would characterize its impact on the Corps as being minor; about two tenths of one percent (.2%) of the roughly 626,000 Marines discharged since 1993 were released for reasons of homosexuality.

In your personal view, should the current policy be repealed? Why or why not?

General Amos: In my personal view, the current law and associated policy have supported the unique requirements of the Marine Corps, and thus I do not recommend its repeal. My primary concern with proposed repeal is the potential disruption to cohesion that may be caused by significant change during a period of extended combat operations. Furthermore, I’m concerned that a change now will serve as a distraction to Marines who are tightly focused at this point on combat operations in Afghanistan.

The Secretary of Defense has instituted a comprehensive review of the law and policy, and that review should tell us a lot about whether such a change will be disruptive to unit cohesion. The review will also provide insights into how, if the Congress approves of a change in law and the President signs it, the DoD should develop policy for its implementation.

The full text of his response to advance policy questions is HERE.

Care for their men

“Officers must be made to care for their men. That is the Sole Duty of All Officers."

General George Patton

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rest your oars Shipmate - We will not forget your service to our great Navy and nation

Matthew O'Bryant graduated from Theodore High School in 2004 as a full cadet colonel in the Army Junior ROTC. In 2007, he joined the Navy and became a Cryptologic Technician Maintenance (CTM).

Petty Officer Matthew O’Bryant and his wife of two years, Bridgette, whom he met at a youth revival in high school, moved to Fort Meade, Md., where he was stationed.

In 2008, he was in Islamabad, Pakistan, where there had been a bombing at the Marriott Hotel on September 20, 2008. Barbara and Tommy O’Bryant were notified the next morning that their 22-year-old son was killed in the bombing. His funeral service was September 29, 2008 at Calvary Assembly of God in Mobile where he attended church growing up and worked with the children’s church. He is buried at Serenity Memorial Gardens in Theodore, Alabama.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fifteenth Navy Commanding Officer Fired

On Friday, Navy Captain Ronald Murray Gero was fired after an investigation into “improper personal behavior” which eroded morale and discipline. He was Commanding Officer of USS OHIO (Blue Crew) subordinate to Submarine Group 9 (SUBGRU9).

Gero was fired following Admiral's Mast with Rear Admiral James F. Caldwell, who commands Submarine Group 9 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Washington. He was fired following a "loss of confidence" investigation. In November, Captain Gero would have completed his command tour. He had been in command since November 2008.

USS OHIO, based at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, was the Navy’s first trident ballistic-missile to convert to SSGN, which created space to house Navy Seals and other special operations forces and provided capacity to carry 150 tomahawk tactical land-attack cruise missiles.

Great post over at ANCHOR WATCH about "bearded-lady accountability".

Trained and developed mind

It is only by the possession of a trained and developed mind that the fullest capacity can, as a general rule, be obtained. There are, of course, exceptional individuals with rare natural gifts which make up for deficiencies. But such gifts are indeed rare. We are coming more and more to recognise that the best specialist can be produced only after a long training in general learning. The grasp of principle which makes detail easy can only come when innate capacity has been evoked and moulded by high training.

Lord Haldane

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rough day for Navy leadership on Friday

1. Theodore Roosevelt CMC fired

Command Master Chief David Stitt was relieved by Capt. William Hart, the TR’s commanding officer, as the result of false statements Stitt made to an investigating officer and Hart during the course of an investigation, AIRLANT said in a statement. Hart decided that Stitt could no longer serve as Command Master Chief. ((In standard Navy practice, his biography has been removed from the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) website,))

2. CO USS OHIO (BLUE) reportedly fired for "inappropriate behavior" ** (full report not yet available). Fifteenth Commanding Officer to be fired in 2010. On Friday, Navy Captain Ronald Murray Gero was fired from command of the guided missile submarine Ohio, after an investigation into “improper personal behavior,” Navy Submarine Group 9 said. ((In standard Navy practice, his biography has been removed from the USS OHIO website,))

3. Executive officer of destroyer Mahan relieved

The executive officer of USS Mahan was relieved late Friday afternoon for striking a subordinate officer while the ship was underway. Commander Charles Mansfield, was due to take command of the Mahan following his tour as executive officer.

Mansfield was relieved by the commander of Destroyer Squadron 22, Captain Jeffrey Wolstenholme, during a captain’s mast administrative hearing in Norfolk on charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman, and assault. Urban said Mansfield was also awarded a punitive letter of reprimand, a certain career-ender. ((In standard Navy practice, his biography has been removed from the USS Mahan website,))

Vietnam POW CDR Paul Galanti's view of changes at USNA

Our old “Jack of all trades master of none” USNA B.S. degree was the best “major” in existence then (1966). When USNA decided to do the “Major” thing and join the academic standards rules of the majority of colleges and universities, the experience went downhill in my opinion.

Why? Our degree was 160 semester hours almost equally divided between Hard Sciences and Humanities. We all had classes on Saturdays and the curriculum was identical. We were engineers who could write. The degree was good for grad school in nearly any discipline. We all took two years of a language which, more than anything else, improved our English.

I am, frankly, appalled by the inability of many midshipmen and USNA graduate officers to express themselves beyond a vocabulary of only a few hundred words. In informal conversations with mids when I visit the yard, many seemed barely literate.

His advice for JOs and Midshipmen:

Press on. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Keep your chin up and always do the absolute best you can on any assigned task – and seek out every opportunity you can find to excel. Hey, it’ll work. I promise.

Read his story at the USNI Proceedings BLOG.

NIOC Sugar Grove Change of Command

Commander Chris Chrislip is being relieved by Commander Doug Schelb on Friday, 17 September 2010 at 10:00 a.m. as Commanding Officer of Navy Information Operations Command Sugar Grove, West Virginia.
Commander Chrislip's next assignment is at the Pentagon. He has been selected for Captain.
Bravo Zulu to these two fine Navy leaders !!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Navy's Fourteenth Commanding Officer Fired in 2010 - inappropriate personal behavior

The commanding officer of the Trident Training Facility in Bangor, Washington, Captain David A. Solms (picture at left was taken while he was CO of USS HAWAII), was fired by Capt. Kenneth Swan, commanding officer of Submarine Learning Center in Groton, Connecticut. Captain Solms had been in command for 1 year.

The Navy said the firing was based on “inappropriate personal behavior” that led to a loss of confidence in Captain Solms’ ability to command. The Navy would not characterize the nature of the behavior other than to state that it was "inappropriate".

ACCORDING TO THE NAVY PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE, THE NAVY HAS MORE THAN 1500 COMMANDING OFFICERS WHO SERVE WITH HONOR, COURAGE AND COMMITMENT THROUGHOUT THEIR TOURS AS COMMANDING OFFICER. THESE FEW COs WHO ARE FIRED REPRESENT A VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE CO POPULATION. THE CNO HAS SAID THAT THESE "BEHAVIOR" FIRINGS ARE PARTICULARLY TROUBLING.

From CNN: "Though 14 may seem a high number of commanders to be fired within a nine-month period", Lieutenant Justin Cole (Navy spokesman) said, "the Navy dismisses an average of 15 commanders each year."

Captain David A. Solms USN
Commanding Officer

Captain Solms is a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated from the University of Colorado in May 1985, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and was commissioned through the NROTC program.

After completing nuclear power and basic submarine training in October 1986, Captain Solms reported to Pre-commissioning Unit Helena (SSN 725) undergoing construction at Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. During this tour, he served in a variety of division officer assignments, completed a homeport shift and a Northern Pacific deployment and earned his submarine gold dolphins.

In July 1989, he was assigned to Marquette University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science.

Following submarine officer advanced training, Captain Solms reported in June 1992 as Engineer Officer of the USS West Virginia (SSBN 736)(Gold) in Kings Bay, Georgia. From November 1994 to November 1996, he served as the Submarine Liaison Officer for COMCRUDESGRU ONE in San Diego, California. In December 1996, Captain Solms was assigned to the COMSUBPAC Representative at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. He then served as Executive Officer aboard USS Ohio (SSBN 726)(Blue), based in Bangor, Washington from May 1998 to August 2000.

After completing Prospective Commanding Officer training in March 2001, Captain Solms reported to Submarine Squadron Seventeen for assignment as Deputy Commander for Engineering Readiness. In February 2002, he relieved as the Commanding Officer, USS Alaska (SSBN 732)(Gold). Under his command, the ship was certified as the first Trident II D5 Backfit strategic platform, completed three deterrent patrols, and was awarded the Battle Efficiency “E” for 2004 from COMSUBRON 19.

Captain Solms assumed command of USS Hawaii (SSN 776) in May 2005. During his tour, the ship was christened, delivered to the Navy, commissioned, and completed significant test, evaluation and certification events. In August 2007, Captain Solms reported to the Commander Submarine Forces in Norfolk, where he served as the Director of Strategic Operations until August 2009.

Captain Solms has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (4 awards), the Navy Achievement Medal (2 awards) and various campaign and unit awards.

Taking responsibility - I hope it continues


“I take sole responsibility for the occurrences here today,” U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Ricky Dobbs said. “I didn’t get the job done.”

There's a lesson in there; I know there is. I hope others can learn from him.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A profession that values integrity and moral courage

A few excerpts from a thought-provoking article in Joint Forces Quarterly.

Breaking Ranks: Dissent and the Military Professional

By Lt Col Andrew R. Milburn, USMC, is assigned to Special Operations Command, Europe, Future Operations (J3).

...
a profession that values integrity and moral courage cannot at the same time justify a deceptive approach to dissent. By taking an open stand, the military professional displays the courage of his convictions but also implicitly accepts personal consequences, whether he is right or wrong. His stand may persuade the issuer of the order to reconsider or it may draw the attention of the legislature to the issue.

On the other hand, it may be purely symbolic—and have no effect on the decision. Regardless, he has exercised his moral autonomy and taken the consequences. He may, after all, have been wrong in his predictions, and this point is key because the military professional, however well placed and intelligent, is always fallible. Allowing him moral autonomy to dissent benefits the process of policy execution overall; sanctioning the practice of "slow-rolling" orders deemed to be immoral ultimately sabotages this process.

The truth of this statement becomes more apparent when, rather than looking to past examples of bad orders that were slow-rolled to good effect, one looks at a potential policy decision whose consequences could be highly controversial but are by no means predictable.

...The question of how to dissent is not an easy one. Nevertheless, the military professional must exercise his moral autonomy when confronted by a dilemma. He cannot morally justify his subsequent decision on the basis that he was simply obeying orders, that he put up token resistance prior to obeying, or that he dragged his feet in execution.

The topic of military dissent raises issues of fundamental importance to the profession of arms. When faced with a moral dilemma, the military officer not only has grounds for dissent, but also, if his code of ethics and oath of office so guide, has a duty to disobey. He is obligated to exercise moral autonomy, and in so doing must use his professional ethics to guide him down a path that is by no means clearly defined...

A tip of the hat to www.navaleadership.blogspot.com for bringing the article to our attention.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Leadership Manifesto



  1. Leaders shape the future. Leaders bring change and leaders challenge the status quo. If there is no need for change, there is no need for leadership.
  2. Leadership is a choice. Leadership does not just happen. Leadership is a choice we make to live our lives with a vision and purpose daily.
  3. Leaders are made and not born. Leaders know who they are, understand their unique purpose, strengths and skills. They use 'who they are' to bring their vision into the present.
  4. Leaders live their vision. They become the change that they want to see in the world. They set the example and show the way.
  5. Leaders incite conversation. Leadership is about making a difference and driving change which stimulates conversation and debate. The ideas that get talked about are the ones worth talking about.
  6. Leaders understand that character matters. Character establishes the foundation for trust. Without trust you cannot lead.
  7. Leaders invest in themselves. Leaders take care of their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical needs.
  8. Leaders are results focused. Leaders initiate and make things happen.
  9. Leaders inspire. Leaders cannot achieve their visions alone. They inspire others to come alongside and participate in the journey.
  10. Leaders leave a legacy. Success is what we do for ourselves whilst legacy is what we do for other. A leaders legacy is what they do for others and how they have invested in and developed others.
Special thanks to ANCHOR WATCH.

United States Cyber Command - CYBERCOM

Formal Command Name: U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM or CYBERCOM).

Commander: General Keith Alexander, U. S. Army.

Mission Statement: USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.

Focus: USCYBERCOM will fuse the Department’s full spectrum of cyberspace operations and will plan, coordinate, integrate, synchronize, and conduct activities to: lead day-to-day defense and protection of DoD information networks; coordinate DoD operations providing support to military missions; direct the operations and defense of specified DoD information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations. The command is charged with pulling together existing cyberspace resources, creating synergy that does not currently exist and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the information security environment.

USCYBERCOM will centralize command of cyberspace operations, strengthen DoD cyberspace capabilities, and integrate and bolster DoD’s cyber expertise. Consequently, USCYBERCOM will improve DoD’s capabilities to ensure resilient, reliable information and communication networks, counter cyberspace threats, and assure access to cyberspace. USCYBERCOM’s efforts will also support the Armed Services’ ability to confidently conduct high-tempo, effective operations as well as protect command and control systems and the cyberspace infrastructure supporting weapons system platforms from disruptions, intrusions and attacks.

Organization: USCYBERCOM is a sub-unified command subordinate to U. S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). Service Elements include Army Forces Cyber Command (ARFORCYBER); 24th USAF; Fleet Cyber Command (FLTCYBERCOM); and Marine Forces Cyber Command (MARFORCYBER).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Did he really say this? Did he mean it?

Let me start by saying that I believe that it is good to speak out. It is essential for us as leaders that our people feel free to speak out on these matters—and they do, trust me. Many of our people out there have seen combat and been deployed two, three, even four and five times. They have earned the right to express their opinions.

In fact, senior officers need to spend even more time listening to them and considering what they have to say.

When I put on my first star, I received a congratulations letter telling me that I would now
“always eat well and never hear the truth again.”

Admiral Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Saturday, September 11, 2010

2010 VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award Winners













R 101645Z SEP 10
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N00//
TO NAVADMIN UNCLAS//N01650// NAVADMIN 304/10
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N00/AUG//
SUBJ/2010 VADM JAMES STOCKDALE LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS//

RMKS/1. I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE
CDR MICHAEL A. MCCARTNEY (left), FROM THE PACIFIC FLEET, AND CDR JEFFREY M. GRIMES (right), FROM FLEET FORCES COMMAND, ARE THE 2010 RECIPIENTS OF THE VADM JAMES BOND STOCKDALE AWARD FOR INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP. CDR MCCARTNEY WAS SELECTED FOR HIS PERFORMANCE AS COMMANDING OFFICER, USS CHUNG-HOON (DDG 93) AND CDR GRIMES FOR HIS PERFORMANCE AS COMMANDING OFFICER, USS MARYLAND (SSBN 738) (GOLD).

2. THIS FLEET AWARD WAS ESTABLISHED IN HONOR OF VADM JAMES BOND STOCKDALE WHOSE DISTINGUISHED NAVAL CAREER SYMBOLIZED THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE IN BOTH PERSONAL EXAMPLE AND LEADERSHIP. THE AWARD IS PRESENTED ANNUALLY TO TWO COMMISSIONED OFFICERS ON ACTIVE DUTY BELOW THE GRADE OF CAPTAIN WHO ARE IN COMMAND OF A SINGLE SHIP, SUBMARINE, OR AVIATION SQUADRON, SEAL TEAM (OR NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE SQUADRON) OR SEAL DELIVERY VEHICLE TEAM, SPECIAL BOAT TEAM, EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL MOBILE UNIT, MOBILE DIVING AND SALVAGE UNIT, OR NAVY SPECIAL CLEARANCE TEAM DURING THE NOMINATION CYCLE. CANDIDATES ARE NOMINATED BY PEERS WHO THEMSELVES MUST BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE AWARD.

3. THE 2010 WINNERS WERE CHOSEN FROM AMONG NINE OUTSTANDING FINALISTS IN A REVIEW PROCESS THAT INCLUDED SCREENING AT THE FLEET COMMANDER LEVEL AND FINAL SELECTION BY A BOARD OF SENIOR OFFICERS.

4. THE FOLLOWING FINALISTS DESERVE WELL-EARNED CONGRATULATIONS:

A. PACIFIC FLEET FINALISTS:
- CDR DAVID J. BRYSON, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER, ELECTRONIC ATTACK SQUADRON ONE FOUR ONE (VAQ-141)
- CDR GERARD A. SOMLAI, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS NEBRASKA (SSBN 739) (BLUE)
- CDR MARVIN E. THOMPSON, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER, USS HARPERS FERRY (LSD 49)
B. FLEET FORCES COMMAND FINALISTS:
- CDR TIMOTHY F. MURPHY, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER, ELECTRONIC ATTACK SQUADRON ONE FOUR ZERO (VAQ 140)
- CDR ERIC H. VER HAGE, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS CARR (FFG 52)
- CDR ROBERT E. POLING III, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER, MARITIME EXPEDITIONARY SECURITY SQUADRON TWO (MSRON TWO)
- CDR JOHN RUDELLA, COMMANDING OFFICER, NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TACTICAL DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION SQUADRON THREE (NSWTACDEVRON THREE)
5. CDR MCCARTNEY AND CDR GRIMES, AS WELL AS ALL NOMINEES, SHOULD BE JUSTIFIABLY PROUD OF THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS.

6. AWARDS WILL BE PRESENTED IN NOVEMBER 2010.
7. RELEASED BY ADMIRAL G. ROUGHEAD, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.//

BT #0001
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My story about the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award Winners is HERE. I was very pleased to be able to add the names of these two fine leaders to my list of winners.

9-11-2001 - no words...

Friday, September 10, 2010

The value of a letter - never doubt it

(WGCL CBS ATLANTA 08 SEP 10)

ROSWELL, Ga. -- The letter to Tommy Neal stands front and center in his living room.

It reads in part, "A note to tell you that your son is a true hero."

His son, Shane Neal serves aboard the U.S.S. Louisville submarine. Chief Petty Officer Shane Neal has 20 years in uniform. His dad becomes emotional when he reads the letter from Louisville's commanding officer.

Neal said, "It took me about 10 to 12 times to not choke up while I read it."

The letter commends Shane Neal for risking his life to save two fellow sailors. It describes how the sub was preparing to leave port in Japan and a tropical storm came through. The waves knocked two men into the water.

It reads, "A Sailor was about to be dragged under water by some very heavy cable" and another Sailor was "about to be thrown into some metal beams under the pier."

The commanding officer writes how Neal jumped in freeing the first man, so he could make it to the sub and then saving the second.

Tommy Neal said, "I go over it all the time. I can just like I was there and I am just totally proud."

He said those serving in subs are often looked. "I do think they do not get the recognition that they should because they're underwater and nobody knows about it, " said Neal.

Neal said the letter is recognition enough.

"I still read it about everyday," said Neal.