Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cyber slowness

In a moment of absolute candor, Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh III said he has to admit his own lack of knowledge about cyber and he said that he isn't really sure what an IP address is.

Welsh went on to say that more than 85 percent of the Airmen who are classified under cyber typically work on infrastructure, not operations, which is not the true definition of a "cyberwarrior".

"The Air Force doesn’t know what is expected from the joint partners in the cyber realm, and the rest of the Air Force doesn’t know what is happening inside its own service. I am just not sure we know exactly what we’re doing in it yet. And until we do, I’m concerned it’s a black hole".

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What is your reputation worth?

Viewed a thoughtful TED presentation by Rachel Botsman recently and she was discussing the value of an individual's reputation.  She presented a 20 minute summary of several years of her research into reputation capital and the value of trust - which is the 'coin of the realm' in the naval officer community.  Rachel Botsman's ideas have been included in "10 Ideas That Will Change The World".  That's a pretty heavy endorsement - even for a recognized thought leader on the power of collaboration and the power of sharing.

She defined Reputation Capital as the worth of your reputation - intentions, capabilities and values across communities and marketplaces.

She examined the question of who trusts you and why they trust you in specific communities and marketplaces.  She talked about contextual reputation and why that is important. Her research has taken her far enough to allow her to develop a reputation dashboard.  Imagine how your performance might change (IMPROVE) if you knew and understood that your subordinates, peers and seniors had input to and could view your reputation dashboard.

I can see some real value in her work as it might relate to what the Navy is trying to accomplish with 360 degree feedback.  I like the idea of contextual reputation and our ability to put an officer's/Sailor's reputation into context (i.e., He's a great ship handler but he's a womanizer.  She's an awesome linguist but a lousy supervisor.  He does great with the Sailors but he cheats on his wife.  He's the best cyber network operator but he's an alcoholic.)  I'm more of a whole Sailor/person advocate but there are plenty of folks in our business who are completely satisfied with looking at things from a compartmented, single dimension (e.g., 'gets the job done') perspective.  I just can't get there from here. 

Some really decent thinking HERE from The Navy's Grade 36 Bureaucrat.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Navy fires number 18 - then Admirals exonerate him of charges

CAPTAIN COBELL WAS EXONERATED.  At the end of an all-day hearing, the board decided that CoBell should stay in the service. Further, the admirals unanimously agreed that he hadn't committed any of the misconduct for which he had already been punished.

Captain James CoBell III was officially fired by Admiral Cindy L. Jaynes, on 27 September from his assignment as commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic in Virginia Beach.  Admiral Jaynes is Commander Fleet Readiness Centers & NAVAIR Assistant Commander for Logistics and Industrial Operations. He had been relieved of his command on 10 September pending the results of an official Navy investigation into his "leadership practices."

Captain CoBell III was fired due to Admiral Jayne's "loss of confidence in his ability to command." 

Captain CoBell's offenses included failure to account for personal leave, use of abusive language toward personnel and use of subordinates for personal favors.

Pending administrative action, Captain James CoBell III has been assigned to the staff of Naval Air Force Atlantic.

  According to the Navy Times, Captain CoBell said that the charges were found to be unsubstantiated by the investigating officer and that Captain CoBell has not been told why he was reassigned.  STAY TUNED.

Challenge question

I was speaking with a Navy colleague this past week and naturally the discussion turns to how much of our lives were devoted to the Navy and our experiences aboard various ships, submarines and aircraft.  Between us had 67 years of experience in the Navy.  We were feeling pretty good about that and one of the active duty Lieutenant Commanders (a wise ass through and through) says -

"Do you guys really have 67 years of combined experience or just one year of experience repeated 67 times."  

And I got to thinking about how much of my Navy career was devoted to new experiences and how much was repeating old experiences over and over again.  Well, I'm still thinking....damn that Lieutenant Commander.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Popular belief...

Contrary to popular belief, people do not learn from experience. Rather, they respond to a particular stimulus in a deliberate way and thus predictably.

—Evan S. Connell
Son of the Morningstar
Custer and The Little Big Horn

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

For the forgetful...

"All commanding officers and others in authority in the naval service are required to show in themselves a good example of virtue, honor, patriotism and' subordination; to be vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all persons who are placed under their command; to guard against and suppress all dissolute and immoral practices, and to correct, according to the laws and regulations of the Navy, all persons who are guilty of them; and to take all necessary and proper measures, under the laws, regulations and customs of the naval service, to promote and safeguard the morale, the physical well-being and the general welfare of the officers and enlisted persons under their command or charge."

U.S. Navy Regulations, 1990.

Monday, September 24, 2012

17th Navy Commanding Officer Fired

Captain Tony Cardoso, CO Training Support Center San Diego, was fired by Rear Admiral Donald Quinn, commander of Naval Education and Training Command.  The reason?  Loss of confidence in Captain Cardoso’s ability to command.

Admiral Quinn fired Captain Cardoso on 21 September after a hazing investigation.

The Navy's investigation centered on Marines being required to wear seabags on their backs for extended periods of time. This was confirmed as violations of the Navy’s policy on hazing.  Marines were made to stand with loaded sea bags while waiting for non-judicial punishment. Cardoso had been in command of TSC San Diego since February 2011.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

2012 VADM James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award Winners

Brian Sittlow
Chase Patrick
On 17 September 2012, the Navy announced the 2012 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award winners.  

Commander Chase Patrick, the Pacific Fleet winner, was chosen for his time in 2011 commanding the destroyer USS CHAFEE, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A 1994 graduate of the University of Virginia, Patrick commanded Chafee until October, 2011. During his 18-year career, Commander Patrick has served aboard cruisers USS LAKE ERIE and USS PORT ROYAL, frigate USS CROMMELIN, destroyer USS PAUL HAMILTON and was the executive officer on destroyer USS CHUNG-HOON.  Commander Patrick holds master’s degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Marine Corps University, Command and Staff College.

Commander Brian Sittlow, CO of Norfolk, Virginia-based attack sub USS BOISE, is the Fleet Forces Command winner. Commander Sittlow is a 1993 Naval Academy graduate who has served aboard attack subs USS ARCHERFISH and USS VIRGINIA, deep submergence vessel NR-1 and ballistic missile sub USS HENRY M. JACKSON.  Commander Sittlow holds a master’s degree from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode, Island.

Friday, September 21, 2012

How to acquire virtuous values

Some may say that my views of officers and Commanders are outdated. I assure you-- while ships and weapons and circumstances may change, the concepts of honor and virtue are timeless. What was important and valued three hundred years before my service was valued when I was in uniform, is valued now, and will be valued three hundred years after your day.

I said before: virtue and honor requires two things. The understanding of what virtue and honor is, and the moral conviction to be virtuous. Of the two, the latter is most important, because with that conviction, you can attain understanding. But understanding without conviction is worthless.

That conviction is not in-borne; it is acquired. If you do not feel it, it can be grown within. How? By absorbing into your heart and soul the messages from the past. By talking to those who have served before you, and who embodied honor and virtue. And by reading. I assure you: if you read books, you will know. Read, and through those words, listen to the lives of Navy leaders like Preble, Decatur, Farragut, Dewey, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, O’Kane, Peary, Rickover, Stockdale, and Michael Murphy. Those lives, those stories, will paint for you the picture of Navy honor and virtue. If you don’t feel it after reading those stories, you never will.

You are an American naval officer. You have a terrible responsibility and a wonderful opportunity. We need you to be up to the task, in all respects. You must be above reproach. You must fulfill your duties. You must carry on the torch that I once held, and now pass to you. Our job never ends. 

What my friend Thomas Paine once wrote in 1776, still stands today, in many different ways:

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value."

JPJ (as written by RADM Wray, Director of the Navy's INSURV)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2008 - Fallen Crypologic Community Shipmate - CTM3 Matthew J. O'Bryant

Cryptologic Technician Maintenance (CTM) Third Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O'Bryant, 22, of Duluth, Georgia, left this earth on September 20, 2008 in the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan. Matthew was a valued member of the Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Maryland, Fort Meade, Maryland.

Rear Admiral William Leigher (OPNAV N3IO) had the sad but proud responsibility to meet this young man's remains in Dover, Delaware as he returned to American soil.

Our deepest sympathies and debt of unbounded gratitude go out to this patriot's family. This Sailor now 'rests his oars'. He has given this great Navy and our country the gift of his unselfish service and his life.  

We are forever in your debt Shipmate.

Rest easy, your Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Maryland Shipmates have the watch.

Four years have passed.  We will not forget our duty to remember you and your service.

You can read more about Matt HERE on the National Security Agency tribute page on the Cryptologic Memorial Wall.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We never hear from the leadership

Oh, how many times I have heard that tired refrain - "We never hear from the leadership."  Well, here you go.  Here is the leadership.  He is speaking to YOU.  Nearly a full hour of unscripted, unedited, unabridged and understandable "leader speak" from the senior leader of the Information Warfare/Cryptologic community.  Spend an hour with VADM Michael S. Rogers, Commander U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet as he discusses the challenges of protecting the cyber components of U.S. Naval assets, offensive and defensive cyber-capabilities, and much more, in this fascinating lunch hour talk at the Stockdale Center's 2012 McCain Conference, "Warfare in a New Domain: The Ethics of Military Cyber Operations".  The full video is HERE.

IWOs who would like a DVD of this session, send me an e-mail and I will shoot one out to you.  Only the first 840 IWOs who respond will be eligible for this free offer ;-)   While supplies last.  The usual legal disclaimers apply.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Remembering Pat Feeks - Warrior

Pat Feeks and his wife Emily

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
― Thucydides

Our thoughts and prayers are with you always.  You both have honored the Navy and the Nation with your service.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Captain George Whitbred, Commander, Navy Region Midwest Reserve Component Command fired Commander Sheryl Tannahill (USNA '90) due to a loss of confidence in her ability to command.  Commander Tannahill was CO of Navy Operational Support Center Nashville, Tennessee.  She was fired on 14 September.  She was selected for Captain and had orders to the Navy Inspector General's office in Washington D.C.  The promotion and assignment are on hold.

A Navy press release said: 

"The responsibility of officers in command, for their units, sailors and mission, is absolute; we take their performance very seriously. Standards of conduct and performance for commanding officers are extremely high."

John Paul Jones - a good commander

Below is a fictional letter from Captain John Paul Jones, written to his Commanding Officers.   RADM Rob Wray, President, Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) prepared this and he has been handing out to his staff as part of an ethics training package.

My expectations for Commanding Officers:

As a fathom is to a foot, so must your standards of behavior be many times higher than the already high standards of an officer. As Commander, you are now not only an example for your crew; you are an example to your officers. A Commander who drinks too much, swears too much, doesn’t know his or her profession, who doesn’t place the welfare of his people far above his own—that Commander will create officers who behave that way, for lack of proper example.

A good Commander will, immediately upon taking command, publish in writing to his command his expectations, his desires, his standards.

A good Commander will write himself a private letter, describing the Commander he resolves to be. He will set standards for himself. He will re-read that letter at least monthly during his time in command.

A good Commander will sit with his senior officers and instruct them: “Help me to be better. Help me to avoid temptation. Help me to avoid breaking any rules, however slight, either through ignorance or neglect or lack of attention.” 

A good Commander knows he is human, and seeks the counsel of his support team to keep him on the straight and true.

A good Commander will have read all the guidance provided by the service concerning the ethics and behavior required of commanders. He will keep those papers in a packet at his desk, for frequent reference. As even the godly among us go to church often, and re-read from the Bible often, so too must even the virtuous Commander frequently review, and re-read, the guidance on ethics and behavior. Actions form habits, which in turn form character, which leads to destiny.

A good Commander is transparent; he does not hide facts; he provides knowledge. He imbues his crew with confidence, because they know where the ship is, they know where it is going, and why. They know their mission, and that they have a good Commander to lead them there.

A good Commander teaches. She understands that her ship is only as strong as the skills of her officers and crew, and that she must teach, daily, the ethics, the professionalism, the dedication, on which our service relies. And she understands that the greatest teacher is simply in her setting the example.

A good Commander shows up at social events on time, and leaves early, leaving the crew time to socialize without his presence.

A good Commander never, ever, has more than two drinks at a time, or has a drop of alcohol in his veins when in a duty status.

A good Commander never profits by a single penny from any involvement with his ship or service.

A good Commander leads a clean life, both on the ship, and off. Even when unobserved, he behaves in virtuous ways that, if observed, would cast credit upon him and the service.

A good Commander takes care that his personal staff does only what is allowed and required by naval traditions and regulations. Staff members are not considered vassals or servants; they are not butlers or maids; they are used only for official business as prescribed by service rules.

A good Commander never demands loyalty from his subordinates. Loyalty is earned, not demanded. It is unasked for. I have found that Commanders who demand “loyalty” from their officers generally want the officers to choose the commander over the service. They want “loyalty” to cover up, or forgive, some shortcoming on the part of the commander. Loyalty to the country is first—then loyalty to the service—then loyalty to the ship. “Loyalty” to a transgressing commander is disloyalty to country and service. A good Commander would never ask his subordinates for that.

Finally, a good Commander puts his crew first. If the ship is sinking, he is the last to step off. If a space is on fire, he is the first to step in. He leads through subordination-- subordinating his personal welfare to that of his unit and his crew.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

More from ...The Old Salt

Our CNO’s accountability letter, the charge of command, is a very good first step in reminding our commanding officers and all in command that we are necessarily held to a far higher standard than what society and our popular culture deem acceptable – and the expectation to meet this higher standard is explicit in Navy Regulations.

We’re not suggesting here – it is a must do. And those who won’t, or can’t, meet this standard will be held accountable for their failure.

However, we need more than simply episodic engagement with our leaders. We need a continuum that starts early and teaches our JOs and our petty officers about the essentials of leadership – about the importance of professional competence, intelligent good sense, and respect for the dignity of those they are privileged to lead throughout their careers.

We can’t have JOs learn about leadership at USNA/ROTC/OCS and the next time they really hear about it in an organized manner is at the PCO course. At the end of the day, it is all about re-instilling and reinforcing trust in the chain-of-command. And you build trust through principled leadership. And we need to help our leaders learn what principled leadership really means as they advance up the chain-of-command.

This trust is established through internalizing the standard, living the same standard, and communicating the standard through direct, human contact with meaningful engagement at every level of the chain of command at every opportunity. Quite simply, this trust is the glue that holds it all together and that trust must be built steadily and consistently, every day at every level of the chain-of-command.

The most important demand on any of our officers and senior enlisted is that they understand exactly what it means to provide leadership to the Sailors we place in their charge. We must provide that understanding in a continuum of professional development training at every significant step in their career.

This fundamental responsibility, leading sailors, transcends all others – it is the single most important thing we do, bar none and so we must give the same level of attention and concern to developing our officer and enlisted leaders as we do to anything else we do.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Steering one's true course

Captain Mark Light, Profession U.S. Army War College
As standards of behavior for COs have been raised, so has the likelihood of violators being caught. In years past, allegations of wrongdoing often remained mere allegations, because words alone are generally not sufficient to indict anyone, let alone a commanding officer. However, e-mails, security cameras, cellphone cameras, electronic records of calls and texts, and “smart phones” with web access have changed the landscape dramatically. As Eyer points out, subordinates have a plethora of means to document and report perceived offenses of their skippers.

Furthermore, that same technology has made it increasingly difficult to deal with such transgressions quietly and privately; it is just as easy to post incriminating evidence on YouTube as to send it to the officer’s superior. Commanding officers who violate the trust bestowed on them can expect technology to allow them to be caught and held accountable, often in the public eye.

So why do some take the risk?
Read the rest of Captain Mark Light's paper THE NAVY'S MORAL COMPASS available from the U.S. Navy War College website HERE.

Friday, September 14, 2012

ADMIRAL John Harvey retires

Admiral Greenert and Admiral John C. Harvey
Commander, Fleet Forces Command, Admiral John Harvey turns over command to Admiral William Gortney today.  Admiral Harvey is a Flag officer who BELIEVES in COMMUNICATING and I have a couple of personal letters to prove it.  He sent his parting message to the SWO leadership HERE.

For me, Admiral Harvey's career in the Navy boils down to this - 

"We're not going to give way on our standards.  We're going to hold to them", he says. Maintaining those standards, he said, involves educating Sailors on those standards. "Holding the trust of the people and the trust of the force – why should I trust my boss if my boss isn't going to deal with the tough things that have to happen?"

Standards - hold on to them.
Standards - keep them high.
Standards - help keep your Sailors trust.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Commanding Officer in the SPOTLIGHT - Navy Information Operations Command Sugar Grove, West Virginia

Commander Bill Kramer, Jr. a native of Halethorpe, Maryland, enlisted in the Navy in 1982 as a Nuclear Trained Machinist’s Mate. His enlisted tours include serving in USS ENTERPRISE and as an instructor at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Unit, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Through the Navy’s Enlisted Commissioning Program, he graduated from University of Idaho in 1992 and received his commission as an Ensign. 

His first assignment as a Navy Cryptologist was in Naval Security Group Command Misawa, Japan where he was the Electronic Materiel Officer and Operations Watch Officer. CDR Kramer’s subsequent tours include USS NIMITZ; Naval Communications Telecommunications Station, Diego Garcia; Naval Security Group Command, Fort Meade; Navy Personnel Command, Millington; Multi-National Forces-West, Fallujah, Iraq; and Navy Information Operations Command, Georgia. He recently graduated from Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama with a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies. 

He holds various decorations and awards including four awards of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and a Iraq Service Medal with Eagle, Globe and Anchor device for service with I Marine Expeditionary Forces. 

Commander Kramer assumed command of Navy Information Operations Command Sugar Grove on 24 August 2012, relieving Commander Doug Schelb.

The Navy Information Operations Command Sugar Grove website is HERE.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back in the day

Back in 2000, when Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) was just being birthed, the Chief of Naval Education and Training was looking for content to populate some of their leadership pages.  I am proud to say that I was one of the "leading" contributors to those pages.  Among my contributions was a book summary essay of John Maxwell's The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

The First Law that John addresses is the law of the lid.  He postulates that there is a lid on a person’s leadership ability and this lid determines his level of effectiveness. The lower a person’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his leadership ability, and the lower his effectiveness. On the contrary, the higher the leadership ability, the greater the effectiveness. These same principles apply to organizations.  

The conflict between THE LID of an organization and THE LID of its leader can provide incredible levels of tension - within the organization itself and across its domain.

My Shipmate, Commander Sean Heritage, addresses his concerns about THE LID on his blog HERE.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pace yourself

Former VADM Dave Oliver
"A good leader does not routinely operate at anywhere near his physical or emotional capacity. The good leader is always pacing his efforts so that he has enough reserve to sustain his concentration as long as necessary when unexpected events require.

It is possible to produce extraordinary professional efforts over a sustained period—years in some cases. Sometimes—war, for example, or the merger of your company, or when a family member is threatened—such an effort may be justified.

However, the problem with operating at maximum capability is that the individual then cannot accept, or has difficulty accepting, emergent or emergency taskings.

Not only will his interpersonal relationships suffer, he is not reliable, for he will stumble over the most elementary additional tasks and he will choose not to take on a job he should. Because that performance will be out of character, his boss will be unable to count on him.

A person operating near one hundred percent capacity is a person operating at the edge of his envelope of reliability. He will not have the ability to take a bullet—of any caliber."

So, PACE yourself.

RADM Dave Oliver in his book LEAD ON.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Read, Think, Write and Publish

My occasional mentor and correspondence friend, Admiral James Stavridis continually admonishes us all to Read, Think, Write and Publish. Each is worthy of doing and doing well.

The connection between these activities involves appreciating how reading, thinking and writing all work together as tools for information storage and retrieval, discovery and logical thought, as well as communication.

There is considerable benefit to be derived from connecting reading, thinking and writing - which should lead to publishing.  Recent research has validated that:
  • depending upon the measures employed to assess overall reading, thinking and writing achievement and attitude, the general correlation between reading and writing is moderate and fluctuates by age, education history, and other environmental factors; 
  • selected thinking and reading experiences definitely contributed to writing performance, just as selected writing experiences contribute to thinking and reading performance; 
  • writers acquire certain values and behaviors from thinking reading, while readers acquire certain values and behaviors from writing; and 
  • successful writers integrate thinking and reading into their regular writing activities, and successful readers integrate writing into their thinking and reading experiences.
 So, follow the Admiral's lead - Read, Think, Write and Publish - persistently.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Remembering Kirk Harness

Kirk as a Midshipman
Kirk Nakashima Harness, Captain (1610), USN, Retired of Gambrills, MD, passed away a year ago on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 in Baltimore, MD, at the age of 52. Kirk was born on August 6, 1959 in Lynwood, California to Glenell (Robinson) Harness of Jacksonville, Florida and the late David Harness.

Kirk attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated in May 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and was commissioned an Ensign. After a distinguished and significant career, he retired as a Captain in December 2005. Following retirement from the Navy, he was employed as a Director of Network Systems with BAE Systems.

In addition to his mother Kirk is survived by his wife, Brigitte Harness; four children, Kirsten Harness, Kathryn Harness, Helena Harness and David James Alexander "D.J.A." Harness; brother, Johnny Harness of Jacksonville, Florida and his grandmother, Helen Mae Robinson of Summit, Mississippi. He is also survived by four nieces, one nephew, numerous aunts and uncles and a host of other relatives, friends and Shipmates.

"Fair winds and following Seas"

Command Qualification Exam

"The establishment of the command qualification examination is part of the Chief of Naval Operation's new Navy Command Qualification requirement, which set the standards for qualifying and screening Navy commanding officers. This exam will ensure that the officers going to command will have the requisite knowledge to successfully lead their commands."
Any word out there on progress with the IDC or IW command qualification process?
How will we deal with command screened O5/O6 candidates who fail the command qualification exam?  If everyone passes, do we need a command qualification exam?  Early reports are that the first 9 of 10 test takers failed the SWO exam.  Those who fail must wait 90 days to take the next proctored exam.  No word on how many times you can take the exam.

CNO's COMMAND QUALIFICATION PROGRAM Instruction 1412.14 is HERE.   Feel free to discuss among yourselves.  Be kind!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What I am working on today - unlearning

I consider myself to be a lifelong learner.  I can never read enough or write enough to suit myself.  I love learning new things.  But I've had some difficulty with unlearning.  One of the most profound and commonly overlooked aspects of my quest for new learning has been my recognizing the need to  unlearn some things. Over 30 years in the Navy, I acquired knowledge, beliefs or positions that but for the protection of my own ego, I would have to admit are outdated and "old school".
Sometimes, the hardest thing for me to change has been my own mind.  I know that smart Navy leaders recognize it’s much more valuable to step across mental rhumblines on a chart than to draw them. Here’s the deal: None of us has all the answers, so why even attempt to pretend that we do? Show me a Navy leader that never changes their mind, and I’ll show you a static thinker who has confined his mind to the correctional custody unit (CCU) of mediocrity and thoroughly wasted potential.
Some of the smartest Sailors I know are the most willing to change their minds. They don’t have to be right every time, they just want the right outcome — they want to learn, grow, develop, and mature - and take as many other Sailors on the journey with them. Exposing yourself to alternate opinions allows you to refine your good ideas, weed out the bad ideas and acquire new ideas.
A Navy leader's ability to change their mind demonstrates humility, confidence and maturity. It makes them approachable, and it makes them human. Our Sailors are looking for authentic, leaders who are willing to sacrifice their ego (collar devices) in favor of right thinking.
Hang on, I think I just changed my mind.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CSAF - General Mark Welsh

Mark Welsh - All around good guy!!
The new Chief of Staff of the Air Force is a leadership force to be reckoned with.  He is a great speaker and really connects with his audience.  HERE is an hour long speech his gave at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Here are a few key points:
  • You better be willing to make decisions. Sometimes without all the information you want. Get ready.
  • You better be good. ‘Your job is to lead them… are you ready?”
  • You must make a difference.
  •  We are a team. All the people are important. (Though not equally important.)
  •  Attention to detail is it important. You better have it.
  •  Leadership is a gift given by those who follow.  (Don't abuse the gift or take it for granted.)
  •  Are you ready to lead? If not, rededicate yourself to the effort. (Still not ready to lead, get out of the way.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Responsibility of the Commanding Officer - Chapter 8 - U.S. Navy Regulations 1990

0802. Responsibility.

1. The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is absolute, except when, and to the extent to which, he or she has been relieved therefrom by competent authority, or as provided otherwise in these regulations. The authority of the commanding officer is commensurate with his or her responsibility. While the commanding oflicer may, at his or her discretion, and when not contrary to law or regulations, delegate authority to subordinates for the execution of details, such delegation or authority shall in no way relieve the commanding officer of continued responsibility for the safety, well-being and efficiency of the entire command.

2. A commanding officer who departs from orders or instructions, or takes official action which is not in accordance with such orders or instructions, does so upon his or her own responsibility and shall report immediately the circumstances to the officer from whom the prior orders or instructions were received. Of particular importance is the commanding officer’s duty to take all necessary and appropriate action in self-defense of the command.

3. The commanding officer shall be responsible for economy within his or her command. To this end the commanding officer shall require from his or her subordinates a rigid compliance with the regulations governing the receipt, accounting and expenditure of public money and materials, and the implementation of improved management techniques and procedures.

4. The commanding officer and his or her subordinates shall exercise leadership through personal example, moral responsibility and judicious attention to the welfare or persons under their control or supervision. Such leadership shall be exercised in order to achieve a positive, dominant influence on the performance of persons in the Department of the Navy.

Naval Regulations Chapter 8 - The Commanding Officer

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sixteenth Navy Commanding Officer fired

The commanding officer and command master chief of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron FIFTEEN were fired on 1 September after two accidents in the Middle East, including one that killed two squadron Sailors.

Commander Sara Santoski was fired for a “loss of confidence” in her ability to command.

She was fired by Captain Paul Esposito, commander of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic. She has been reassigned to AIRLANT’s staff.

HM-15's Command Master Chief, Bobby Anderson, also was fired because of “unsatisfactory performance.” He was the 11th senior enlisted leader fired this year.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Admiral Ernest J. King advocated for more communication and sound leadership

When people are aware and understand where the organization is going, and why; when they understand their role, and why their contribution is vitally important; when they have the assets, resources, training and direction they need; when they are truly empowered, then they will do the right things for the right reasons and the right times. And, you can follow your people to achieve your vision.

The challenge for leadership is to see where the organization needs to go, and why. Leadership needs to communicate that vision to the employees with sound and rational reasoning, and communicate it so that the employees will ardently want to move the organization, transform it if need be, from where it is today to what it needs to be to serve the customers best. Then, we won’t need to tell people what to do. They’ll know. They’ll believe it. And they’ll do it without being pushed because they believe it’s the right thing to do.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Leader - lead thyself

Put it on paper! Write out your personal and professional goals with clear targets. Read them once a week. Are your day-to-day actions aligned with your values, your standards, your philosophy of leading? (Have you expressly stated your values, standards and philosophy??)What are your boundaries? (Not everything is black and white. Be careful as you venture into the gray areas. Plan for the gray.) Do you take measures to protect them? If your answers to these questions are negative, what is causing this? What insight does this give you? Use this information as a means to spur yourself to action rather than complacency and inaction.  Develop that bias for action you know you need to succeed.

"It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, 
for which we are accountable." 
Jean Baptiste de Poquelin

What is it that you are avoiding doing that really must be done? For example, are you putting off that difficult conversation with your Skipper about his womanizing and his excessive use of alcohol? Are you delaying that important decision about your Sailors' nomination for Limited Duty Officer? Are you delegating away uncomfortable responsibilities that really belong in your court?  You are as responsible for the things that you don't do in exactly the same way that you are accountable for the things you do.  Take action now while you have a chance to change things for the better.  Tomorrow may be too late.  Next week certainly will be.  And don't even think about waiting until next month.  DO IT NOW.

Leader, lead thyself.