Monday, November 7, 2011

21 Skippers Fired - One common thread

The Navy Times has an article about 7 of the 21 skippers who have been fired in 2011.  The common thread among 7 of them was abuse of alcohol.  

The real common thread among the 21 skippers fired is that they didn't live up to the demanding personal and professional standards required of our commanding officers.

The Navy is interviewing the fired skippers to find out if there are some "hard lessons learned" that they can incorporate into training and the selection process.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Considering that the Navy is firing some of these folks for cheating on their wives, does it make sense to send someone to command who is known to have done this previously?

Anonymous said...

Makes no sense at all, but those who put them into the command position don't know that it has happened in all cases.

It is leadership's responsibility to hold their subordinates, peers, and superiors accountable to prevent individuals such as these being placed in such a position. Of course there will be those few who have no history and make a mistake, but in most cases it could have been prevented. Also, there are a lot of CO's out there who don't get in trouble...21 in a year is a small number compared to the total number of COs out there.

The question is...are you a leader?

Anonymous said...

Who is the 'you' that 'you' are posing this question to? Or are 'you' referring to the universal 'you'?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @1:22 PM said..."21 in a year is a small number compared to the total number of COs out there." You can't be serious!? Could you imagine if 21 senator or congressmen were fired? What about 21 CEOs? If the President is impeached he brings same on the whole country...Just 1 CO firing is too many. COs should be the best of the best...So if 21 is a small number in your opinion the USN is in bad shape.

Anonymous said...

Each one of these 21 fired COs makes it that much more difficult for the rest of the high performing COs to do their jobs. The cost to the Navy in $$$, time lost, negative morale and bad press is immeasurable. Shame.

Sean Heritage said...

I believe a combination of three things are happening...

1) COs are choosing to fail -http://seanheritage.blogspot.com/2010/05/command-leadership-school-takeaways.html

2) Teams are Failing Leaders - http://seanheritage.blogspot.com/2010/09/teams-failing-leaders.html

3) Reporting Seniors are choosing not to document character flaws (directly or otherwise) in FITREPs

Anonymous said...

One common thread, they're all officers. CO's come and go, but CPO's will be there to pick up the pieces.

Dave said...

Playing semantics with Sean, I don't think COs consciously choose to fail. My sense is that many of them are so full of self-importance that they make poor choices believing they won't get caught and /or are above the consequences.

IRT Anonymous @ 7:09 yesterday, the Wardroom versus Chief's Mess at fault thing needs to stop. It doesn't do any good.

Anonymous said...

CDR Sean Heritage has got ABSOLUTELY spot on:

3) Reporting Seniors are choosing not to document character flaws (directly or otherwise) in FITREPs

In an article from yesterday's CHINFO Clips, a retired RADM said, "Retired Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, who commanded two ships and the pirate-hunting Task Force 151 during his career, said that's exactly the problem.
"Somebody just doesn't wake up one day and decide, hey, I'm going to rob a bank, right?" said McKnight, now a senior director for government relations with Cobham Management. "So there have to be indications that these people have this behavior.... All the social functions that we have, I just find it hard to believe. Somebody missed a sign somewhere along the way, and we didn't take note of it.''"

A (now retired) 30 year SWO CAPT once told me that "the most important job you will ever have as an officer is the writing of a subordinate's FITREP or EVAL." Reporting Seniors MUST realize and be held to account that the "paper" gets sent to a board WILL have a profound effect on people's careers and the the future direction of the Navy.

It takes one errant FITREP (whether or not it is in favor of the SVCM) to send a potential Chester Nimitz or Bull Halsey to the terminal O-4 trash heap or the guy that should have never been commissioned in the first place in line for senior rank and Command.

The Navy is misdiagnosing the problem. Alcohol is not the root cause, it is the accelerant for continued bad behavior. The real cause should be getting to the bottom of a selection board system that allows the wrong officers to contiue to promote, select for command while committing criminal acts unchecked along the way.

Anonymous said...

"...select for command while committing criminal acts unchecked..."?

stephen said...

Concur with the remarks here. Based on my experience with bad Charlie Oscars, probably all these guys exhibited their particular behavior over a period of time and everyone did nothing. Take the CO of the MOMSON-want to make a bet that what he pled guilty to had happened before?

Curtis said...

What one may not realize is that it appears that what fitrep was written and signed by both parties is sometimes not the one that the yeoman mails in. We started to get around that by doing it electronically but oddly enough, sometimes the fitrep the boards receive and show up in the service record are not the ones the CO signed since oddly, the marks are changed.
This happened more than a couple of times to me since I wrote ugly fitreps on people who later got promoted. There is no way the board would even consider them for promotion if they had the fitrep I signed in front of them

Anonymous said...

Not buying your FITREP substitution conspiracy theory, Curtis.

Anonymous said...

I had an interesting conversation with my morning workout group, which includes the CMC from our ship. He had a frank discussion with the MCPON at a waterfront symposium regarding the SWO and Aviation communities' "fleet up" program and how it's probably contributing to a good portion of these firings. I won't try to articulate his major points, but the MCPON took notes. This might not directly translate to our community, as we don't usually fleet up, but then again our community hasn't had the same rate of firings as our URL brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

I have been in a command that has been run by the Chiefs Mess. There were constant witch hunts to get rid of the fat, but productive sailors with little to no mentorship for up and coming sailors. there were sailors that were productive but out of standard that were lost to their commands due to a lack of someone beating them into shap to ensure that they met standards. These commands are not the panacea that our Navy needs, there needs to be a synthesis of command with strong officer LEADERSHIP that holds the CPOs accountable for their junior sailors and there needs to be true deck plate leadership that works with the OFFICERS to fix these problems. As an enlisted sailor I dreamed of sailing under real leaders not just compotent managers. When I left I felt that there were plenty of good managers that were running my command but no real leaders, nobody that I would follow into a combat zone with no hesitation. That is what is missing from this current Navy. LEADERSHIP, not management.

Anonymous said...

Managers do things right; leaders do the right thing.