Friday, November 15, 2013

Two Legitimate Questions

Two legitimate questions to ask in any command are: "What does the Chiefs' Mess assure in this ship? And, what do they provide that requires little or no officer involvement?"
The captain should be able to ask the Chiefs' Mess to take care of something important, and in an idealized world, that would be the end of it. Actually, the captain shouldn't even have to ask.
The chiefs would know what needed to be done, without signal, simply through their collective breadth of knowledge and experience. This is not what happens.
The sum is no longer greater than its parts, and that collective engine of expertise and experience is faltering. Indeed, to guarantee success it has become necessary to find some new engine to bind and drive forward motion. Short of that synergistic Chiefs' Mess, the disconnected nodes and fragments and individuals of a ship are now, we hope, driven in the right direction by a few individuals who vary ship to ship or unit to unit.
Certainly, some of these driving individuals may be chiefs, but the idea of the Mess being the engine that organizes and informs all activity is not generally the case.
Reviving the Chiefs' Mess HERE
Captain Kevin S. Eyer
He commanded the USS Thomas S. Gates (CG-51), USS Shiloh (CG-67), and USS Chancellorsville (CG-62). 
The issue of: "What is the Chiefs' Mess responsible for?" came up during my discussion with one of the senior officers in our community.  He said, "Your thoughts on this are really appreciated.  We have it pretty easy at our command. We just do things the Navy way."  Then, he pointed me to the NAVY NEWS article about some excellent training required for CPO, SCPO and MCPO.  
Or is this just more training that you don't have time to do?
Some excerpts are below:

New Chief's Mess Training Course Released

Story Number: NNS130528-09Release Date: 5/28/2013 1:23:00 PM
By Susan Henson, Center for Personal and Professional Development Public Affairs
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) has released the revised Chief's Mess Training (CMT) course, CPPD leadership said May 28.

The CMT course is year-round training with lessons that provide additional leadership topics for the Chief Petty Officer (CPO) mess. The course took six months to revise and was piloted in the Hampton Roads area in December.

CMT provides CPOs with the tools to lead with courage, respect and trust, as well as the tools to mentor our junior Sailors to become the next generation of strong Navy leaders.

The new CMT is a library of 22 current, relevant topics that include scenarios designed to facilitate deep discussion. Each session can be taught at any time and in any sequence throughout the year, according to Hazley. "The previous CMT consisted of 10 topics designed to be delivered every month from October to July each year," he said. "The new course provides flexibility to CPO messes to cover topics in a sequence that best fits a command's schedule."

CMT is designed to provide leadership sustainment training for chief petty officers through communication, teamwork and mentoring.

(CMT) is intended to enable the mess as a whole to learn from each other's experiences and develop the problem-solving skills chiefs must have to succeed. Topics include command unity, ethics, operational stress control, maintaining standards, mentoring, conflict resolution, character and integrity, professionalism, suicide awareness, bystander intervention, and prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment and hazing. 

Chief of Naval Operations Instruction (OPNAVINST) 5351.2A governs CMT, which is required for all active duty and reserve chiefs, senior chiefs and master chiefs. The revised CMT course will be documentable in Fleet Training Management and Planning System (FLTMPS).

Commands can access the new course material by logging on to Navy Knowledge Online, selecting the Leadership tab, selecting Chief Petty Officer Selectee Leadership Course (CPOSLC) /CMT and following the instructions on the screen. Commands experiencing problems accessing the material should contact the course manager at CPPD for assistance.



Anonymous said...

I love the second to last paragraph. Old navy: It must be documented or it didn't happen. Curt's corollary: If it's documented, it happened.

Gun-decking just never goes out of style.

Anonymous said...

I read the captain's article and I agree with him on just about everything. Over the last 15 years it struck me that more and more the Chief's mess was like a permanent I-DIV with nothing much going on there but more instruction for chiefs. That's just my perception though.

I saw the divide between directed and responsible/accountable at C5F where the directed Force Master Chief did nothing and the Admiral leaned heavily on his Master Chief for the things that needed doing.

I don't know about the second of the two questions. I knew my attitude back before this all really took off into the ridiculous place it is now was, I'm leading the division or the department or the command and I'm not going to tolerate for one second anybody second guessing me on what needs to be done. We can discuss how it be done.

Anonymous said...

Chiefs don't need more training. Let them get to work.

Anonymous said...

November 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

I, after reading your rather disconnected diatribe still have no idea what you are trying to present to this blog. I was a Chief Petty Officer for nearly 15 years and always felt that that the leadership that I provided to my Division, Department and Command was a necessary part of Navy leadership and I continued that effort for 24 years. I am unaware of the Navy that folks such as yourself describe without really saying a great deal with the exception of putting down the Chiefs mess and the Chief’s in general.