Friday, August 17, 2012
Playing the numbers game
I posted a few days ago about Commander Mike Ward's firing as CO of USS PITTSBURGH and pointed readers to a good article written by Captain Mark Light HERE. Various Navy spokesmen have cited that there are over 1500 Navy COs at any given time and only the smallest percentage (cited as between 1% to 3%) are fired in any given year. The Navy has fired 13 Commanding Officers so far this year and a lessor number of executive officers and senior enlisted leaders. Some, including Galrahn over at Information Dissemination express their satisfaction that this percentage is acceptable and it reflects the Navy's 'pretty good job of evaluating people' for command. I think social media and information technology are helping the Navy do a better job of identifying misfit COs because Sailors have so many avenues now to report abhorrent behavior by their seniors to the proper authorities for action.
What we see in the CO firings is really a much smaller cross-section of the commanding officer domain than the reported "1500 individuals in command at any one time". The population we are really talking about are the COs in command of ships, submarines, aviation squadrons and significant shore commands. That number is much smaller than 1500 and is certainly closer to 400 than 1500 and effectively triples the percentage of COs being fired annually.
So, while some in the Navy are reportedly content with the percentage of CO and other senior leader firings, I promise you that the Chief of Naval Operations is not content and feels the pain in a personal way when each Commanding Officer is relieved for cause (any cause). Our CNO is a former VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award winner. He knows what leadership is all about. He expects more from his COs - and the majority are meeting his expectations. But, is that enough? It may not be.