Monday, November 21, 2011

2005 Navy Inspector General Recommendations for Improving Commanding Officer Performance

Implementation of the following recommendations for improving commanding officer performance may potentially reduce future CO reliefs:

1. Incorporate a form of the “360° review” performance assessment tool, as championed throughout industry, into the PXO training track of all communities. Among other things, the “360° review” provides true performance feedback from non-traditional sources—an officer’s subordinates, as well as peers. While the SWO community is currently piloting such an assessment tool for a portion of its junior officers, a “360° review” for PXOs of all communities would be affordable, yet provide an exceptional performance-counseling tool for officers likely destined for command.  (NOT IMPLEMENTED)

2. Establish a short refresher course for all major command PCOs. Training should include assessing and mentoring subordinate COs, writing CO FITREPs, the DFC process, assessing subordinate units, civilian personnel matters, and pertinent issues from a major command perspective. (PARTIALLY IMPLEMENTED)

3. Incorporate into the surface warfare PCO pipeline a course on Operational Risk Management (ORM). The module should emphasize planning using a methodical, risk-based decision making process, with an increased emphasis on practical application. Include a rigorous exercise to demonstrate proper use of ORM principles during complex operational evolutions. (PARTIALLY IMPLEMENTED)

4. Institute formalized, command self-assessment process training beginning with the DH/PXO tour, to include a command self-assessment process review in all PCO pipelines. PCOs going to platforms or commands other than the type they spent their career in would especially benefit from this training. (NOT IMPLEMENTED)

From: Naval Inspector General Report on Commanding Officers Detached for Cause (2005)


MCPO said...

With all that said...You cannot instill ethics and morals into morally and ethically corrupt individuals no matter how many performance assessment tools, refresher courses, ORM training, and self-assessments you provide. The problems the Navy is having with COs getting fired (i.e. picking up prostitutes, alcohol problems, rape, sexual assaults, fraternization, etc. etc.) is that COs/XOs/PCOs did not instantly become ethically and morally challenged when they donned the Command pin…They just didn’t get caught before or it was swept under the rug by their prior Reporting Seniors.

These fired COs were ethically and morally bankrupt long before they were selected for command. And “we” think an assessment tool or weeklong refresher course will fix this problem?

Captain, it will take much bolder initiatives than these proposals to fix our leadership problems.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...


I agree with you. At the point of "Selection for Command" is too late to try to prepare people for the responsibilities of command. The COs fired for behavioral issues were ethically/morally deficient long before selection. I would venture that some seniors were aware of their shortcomings and did little to bring them to light or correct them.

I was caught off guard by the CNO's comment that he thought the COs needed "sea buddies".

Anonymous said...

"The COs fired for behavioral issues were ethically/morally deficient long before selection."

"They just didn’t get caught before or it was swept under the rug by their prior Reporting Seniors."

I never will agree with these generalizations.

It's hard to predict how a person will act when put into a position of authority. The majority perform without incident. However, there are those who are superior performers and neither have an inclination nor give an indication of potentially succumbing to temptation. They have the confidence of their leaders and their communities.

Yet, something happens and they fall. It doesn't mean they were bad all their years in service before assuming command. People change.

Doesn't make it right. Does't mean they should be excused. Also doesn't make these people completely void of ethics/morals.

Anonymous said...

All who post here:

Remember, that good men will disagree.

Hold onto your convictions but do it graciously.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

The Navy is interviewing these fired COs to see if there are lessons to be learned. I think in almost every case of ethics/moral issues, there were clues/behaviors beforehand which would have signaled potential problems which if acted upon would have resulted in a different outcome.

Anonymous said...

From the CFAY Yokosuka Chaplain...
Any person may have all the outward appearances of healthiness, success, and honesty, but on the inside may be hurting, struggling, or even deceitful. How can you tell if a person has integrity? Well, eventually, who they are in the inside will show up on the outside. The true person will eventually come out under stress.

Anonymous said...

From Captain Kevin Eyer's article in PROCEEDINGS:

"It is the 1980s. A commanding officer strikes his operation officer in the head with a phone handset that he has torn from the bulkhead. In another ship, one mandates that officers who displease him will wear bags over their heads until the captain is satisfied that they have been sufficiently chastened. Another is arrested multiple times for driving while intoxicated, and he is regularly drunk on duty. Those are not apocryphal cases. None was relieved. The metric for success at that time was “mission accomplishment.” We were in a Cold War that could go hot at any time. For better or worse, command was largely about substance rather than style."

blunoz said...

Mike - I tried sending you an email at the last email address I had for you, but it got rejected.

WRT Point #1: This is being done now at the Command Leadership School (CLS) in Newport. They weren't doing it when I was a PXO, but as a PCO they did. They have some civilian company that does the 360 reviews for the corporate world do it for all the PXOs and PCOs going to CLS. I thought it was a worthwhile experience and provided me some valuable feedback.

WRT Point #2: There IS a major commander course now at CLS, but I can't attest to the content or curriculum.

Anonymous said...

How about "Base selection of commanding officers on proven performance rather than gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or nepotism"?