Sunday, March 27, 2022

Better than a medal

 I served on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) staff as the Branch Chief for Information Assurance (J6K) and on the Secretary of Defense's staff as Staff Director for the Detainee Task Force from 2003 to 2006.  I am fairly certain I am the least decorated O6 during that time but I am proud to have this letter instead


.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Is 10,000 hours enough?

 

 

I think this can be applied equally to leadership. Becoming truly great at anything -- (leadership included) -- requires ten years of experience and 1,000 hours of practice per year. 

"Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness," he argues.

Becoming a leader requires "deliberate practice." 

What are the elements of 'deliberate practice'? 

It's designed explicitly to improve performance -- the little adjustments that make a big difference. 

It's repetitive, which means that when it's time to perform for real, you don't feel the pressure. 

It's informed by continuous feedback; practicing leadership only works if you can see how you're improving. 

Bits and pieces paraphrased (and others cut and pasted) from HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW.

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Mustang

 


The Mustang, aka Methuselah

Task & Purpose

The Mustang has more Good Cookies (Good Conduct Medals) than a box of Chips Ahoy, and he’s an officer. He has campaign medals that no one even recognizes. Where the hell is Kosovo, or for that matter “Southwest Asia,” anyway?

The junior enlisted troops love the Mustang. They think it’s cool as hell that someone went from enlisted to officer. The senior enlisted troops are not nearly as enamored, because the Mustang doesn’t fall for their bullshit. “It doesn’t take all day to do that, gunny. If you need time off, how about you just freakin’ say it?”

The Mustang is not, objectively speaking, that much older than his contemporaries. But whatever happened during those seven or eight extra years of enlisted service, it sure looks like it got to him. As they say, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” Apparently the Mustang hasn’t just been around the block, he’s been around the planet. Twice.

Stolen from: https://taskandpurpose.com/humor/6-types-majors-meet-military/

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Ethical Challenges


 There is no getting around the fact that every promotion and new position brings with it a new host of challenges, demands, relationships, problems, opportunities, and even new, and maybe previously unseen ethical challenges. ...It is only a smart thing to be ready and prepared to address all of these issues.

               - U.S. Army War College student observation

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Smartest person in the room? Not by a long shot.

 


I met with a small group of IDC officers some years back and one of my fellow Captains wanted to make sure all of us understood he was the smartest guy in the room.  It wasn't a declarative verbal statement. But, you readily understood his intent. He professed his sincere apologies for arriving late to our meeting.  It wasn't long before he made it known that his schedule was way overbooked and he really didn't even have time for the meeting we were currently involved in and he would have to depart early.  Thank goodness one of his Sailors brought him his coffee and he had time to take a few sips before he jaunted off for his next meeting for which he was already late.  Good thing he was a Captain and those 40 Sailors didn't mind waiting.  Quite the busy man.

He wasn't the smartest person in the room, nor was he even the smartest man in the room.  Self importance is not a virtue in most environments requiring servant leadership.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

One of the 5 characteristics of a leader

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale - One of the five characteristics of a leader

Must Be a Moralist

First, in order to lead under duress, one must be a moralist. By that, I don’t mean being a poseur, one who sententiously exhorts his comrades to be good. I mean he must be a thinker. He must have the wisdom, the courage, indeed the audacity to make clear just what, under the circumstances, the good is. This requires a clear perception of right and wrong and the integrity to stand behind one’s assessment. The surest way for a leader to wind up in the ash can of history is to have a reputation for indirectness or deceit. A disciplined life will encourage commitment to a personal code of conduct.

My short brochure about the VADM Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award is here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Timeless advice from Joe


Many professionals do not want to write because they feel by doing so they are telling people how to think or that no one will even care what the author, regardless of rank, thinks about a subject. What I have learned over the years is that published ideas, both good and bad, serve as a fuel for workplace conversations. And these conversations, which are a form of professional development, can have positive second and third order effects that the author never intended. 

For example, an article about improving performance counseling could lead to leaders reassessing and eventually changing their counseling programs in a unit on the other side of the globe. The changes may not be exactly in line with the article, but it was the article that got that commander or first sergeant thinking and talking about counseling in the first place.

Much more is available HERE.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

A Letter To My Junior Officers - Circa 2000 - 21 years ago seems like a lifetime

 

In August of 1982, after OCS and SERE/DWEST school and some leave, I reported to NSGD Atsugi to face my first division in the Navy and the Naval Security Group as a brand new Ensign. Damn, I was excited and nervous, eager and unsure. Looking back on those early days of my Navy life as a commissioned officer, I have asked myself, from my perspective as your outgoing Commanding Officer, what might be of interest to each of you – my first junior officers.

The word “purposeful” kept coming back to me, and it occurred to me that you, as naval officers (first, and cryptologists second) for the next generation, are more important now than perhaps at any other time in our brief Naval Security Group history.
  The United States Navy is the only true over-the-horizon worldwide deployable force in the world, and RADM Whiton has re-invented cryptology for a Navy-Marine Corps Team which has the most visible forward presence on the world stage and certainly here in Yokosuka, Japan - forward deployed with the Navy's SEVENTH Fleet.

My former friend and boss, CDR Jack Dempsey used to keep a flight journal back in the 80’s while we were flying with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1) - The World Watchers -  in which he started each page with a borrowed
  quote from Charles Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES. Each page started with - “These are the best of times, these are the worst of times…” Can we have it both ways?  You are fortunate at the command to have some of the very best and brightest Sailors in the Naval Security Group.  You have a chance to lead the entire claimancy in all areas of cryptology if you choose to do it.  It won’t happen by accident.  You have to make it happen.  That’s your job.

You guys (and gals – with LTjg Kim and ENS Sabedra here) will lead our Sailors at this turning point in our claimancy’s history.
  And so I want to you to know just how “purposeful” and important I believe you are, and second, what I believe each of you has got to do at a very personal level to seize what could be the best of times in our community’s history and then you can start your own journal with…”these are the best of times….”

From day one, you are not only division officers and sometimes Department Heads, but you are ambassadors for the Navy’s Core Values, the CNO’s 4 Stars of Equal Magnitude and the cryptologic community’s Strategic Plan (Maritime Cryptologic Architecture, the Maritime Concept, etc). PASS THE WORD. I genuinely believe your involvement is critical to RADM Whiton’s and RADM Burns’ plans that will carry the community through most of your careers (if you choose to have one in the Navy). The Sailors and Chiefs you will help lead will be more “purposeful” - and far more challenged - than ever before. As a result, your genuine leadership will be more “purposeful” and more valuable than ever before. You are the ones who will have to deliver U.S. Naval Security Group Yokosuka’s promise of “Quality Cryptologic Integration For The Fleet” on a daily basis.

If you do not think you are more “purposeful” and important than at any other time in our community’s history…  think again.  SECGRU’s vital leadership today is reflected by the leadership positions cryptologists hold throughout the Department of Defense – Captain Rich Wilhelm (a former 1610) served in the Vice President’s office as recently as 5 years ago, many are serving on the Staff of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff in key positions while others are serving the SECNAV directly.  We live in a world of global communications, connected economies, and instantaneous video coverage of world and local events.  The result often means that a decision made by you - while running a SSES on BLUE RIDGE, leading a team on JOHN S. MCCAIN or CURTIS WILBUR , or simply running your division here at the command  - could have immediate and substantial impact on the Sailors under your charge and …perhaps…even world events.  Your leadership must be “purposeful”, and you bear a tremendous responsibility.  You have to CHOOSE to make a difference.  It is a choice.  It is your choice.Do something or do nothing – you decide.  Don’t let things happen by accident – MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.

A famous Admiral whose name escapes me at the moment said “there is… no career in the world that encompasses the daily physical and mental demands of that of one in a nation’s Navy.”  I would argue further that only unrelenting loyalty, as demonstrated by many in the Navy provides the necessary foundation to lead effectively.  There are some officers, Chiefs and Sailors that would have us believe the opposite… that loyalty is a dying characteristic in this Navy.  I say that the loyalty we value so much is more “purposeful” than ever, as an asset for and example to the American public we are sworn to protect.

As the value of your loyalty and leadership is being debated around you, I urge you to pay attention to and join in the debate.  Retired CDR Mike Loescher wrote in a PROCEEDINGS magazine article that the Naval Security Group was broken.  RADM Whiton responded that, “ NSG isn’t broken and that this an exciting time to be a cryptologist”.  I share the Admiral’s view.  I’m excited.  Certainly, we all have to guard against mediocrity and against attacks on our time-tested core values and against other charges that diminish our effectiveness.  I sought to bring positive changes for this command.  You’ve all been helpful in that respect.  I thank you for that.Our team effort earned the command recognition through the award of a meritorious unit commendation.  That doesn’t happen every day.

As I emphasize that your leadership is more “purposeful” than ever.  Let me turn now to what I believe you must do, individually, to bring effectiveness to your leadership skills, as you chart a new course for the command with CDR Filipowski in the new millennium and one of the few great turning points in our claimancy’s history.  Because you will be so “purposeful” to our community’s future, I believe you must go beyond the bedrock fundamentals of leadership.

Some of you have heard me drone on and on about Traits of Leadership which date back two thousand years…  ((They are in every book on Naval Leadership – this is not new stuff.)) I’ve given each of you the basic library of Naval leadership books.  Take the time to read them.  There’s good stuff in there.

A leader is trusted, a leader takes the initiative, a leader uses good judgment, a leader speaks with authority, a leader strengthens others, is optimistic and enthusiastic, never compromises absolutes, and leads by example.  Lots of great Covey “Seven Habits” in there.  We’ve covered all that before, haven’t we?  You HAVE to take that stuff onboard and make it a part of your daily life.

I believe you should adhere to these timeless traits of leadership.  But today, I believe you must also apply something more… you must apply adapted traits of leadership… that is, techniques appropriate to your particular style and situation.  You can achieve it only one way… by staying connected to the Sailors and Chiefs you are entrusted to lead.

It is time for each of you to do a tactical and strategic level re-focus to adapt and apply your own leadership styles appropriate to the times.  In short, you will have to build upon the bedrock fundamentals of leadership.  You must have a solid foundation if you plan to put anything on top of it.  I tried to give you the tools to establish a solid foundation.

The best leaders in our Navy have always found ways to build upon the basic foundations of their leadership skills.  Because each of you is so important to the future of our community, I also urge you to invest some time and effort in looking for answers within yourselves, to a question that is being asked more frequently today.  “Are we losing the Navy spirit?”  Some believe that because our Sailors so rarely actually go into harm’s way… that because technology is removing them from the actual battlefield, on a physical level we will lose the guts to fight effectively when the time comes.  Some have suggested that we don’t have the strength of character we once had.  I don’t believe that.

The Navy spirit is not only physical courage at sea…courage that must be present in the face of physical danger.  That is important, and that deserves our full attention.  But the Navy spirit is also the ability to cope with the stresses involved with day-to-day leadership of our Sailors and Chiefs.

Hardship, stress and fear…exist for a Sailor whose ship, while far at sea on seemingly calm waters, can face an incoming missile attack during a long-range engagement.Technology will not change that fact much.  We must address how we can develop the Navy spirit within our people in all scenarios.

When I worked for Admiral Whiton in the Comptroller’s office (he was a Captain then), he kept a placard on his wall with the mission of the Navy as defined in Navy Regulations, Chapter Two.  It said simply: “The Navy… shall be organized, trained and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea.”  Every one of us needs to understand the mission of the Navy in its most basic form.

How can you instill the Navy spirit and genuine understanding of the Navy’s mission in the Sailors and Chiefs you are charged to lead?  The Navy has invested a great deal of time and money preparing you.  They will invest a great deal more.  It is time to do your part, for it is how you return the Navy’s investment that will bring it value; that value is limitless, but it depends on you.  GET BUSY!

I challenge each of you to search within yourselves for ways now, to build upon the framework of leadership you are learning … and develop a strong support structure that will serve you and those you lead when you are asked to go do the Navy’s business – however mundane it might seem at any given moment.  I am talking about a very personal structure of character that is most appropriately developed through experience.  25 years of experience takes nearly 25 years to get.  Make the most of every experience you have. When character is involved – promise me this – you will always go the long way and never take shortcuts. There aren’t any. Trust me, I would have found them in my exhausting search for them over the past 25 years.  Where character is concerned, I have always gone the long way. It’s a much better trip. Take my word for it.

The real challenge for each of you, however, is that the Navy may not give you the luxury of time and experience to build your foundation.  When you walk across your own ship’s brow PCS for the first time (Paul Lashmet on ESSEX; Andy Reeves on FIFEso far), you may be called upon to lead decisively that very day.  Your skills as a Naval officer will be put to the test from the very start – your skills as a cryptologist on that ship may never be tested.  BE A NAVAL OFFICER FIRST AND FOREMOST – that’s what you are!  The cryptologic stuff is secondary and it will remain so.  Remember Admiral Whiton’s brief – "we do cryptology because we have a Navy – not we have a Navy to do cryptology.”

Truly great leaders in history did not sit idly by and wait for experience to find them. They aggressively sought to build their own personal foundations of character, on a daily basis. Colonel Teddy Roosevelt , General Colin Powell and LT John F. Kennedy knew that their chosen military and political lives would present them with immediate and unrelenting challenges – all certainly more daunting than anything we have yet faced.  They knew their “crowded hour,” could arrive at any moment.  That is one reason they all worked to build their physical abilities to match their intellectual capabilities.Somehow, I knew that the Navy’s PRT program had some relevance in here somewhere.  Physical fitness is important also.  But it’s only part of the overall picture of a Naval Officer.

The leadership, the spirit and the strength of character displayed by Colonel Roosevelt, General Powell and President Kennedy were more products of their own pursuits, above and beyond the framework they had been given.  As a result, they were “purposeful” to their time and are revered in history.  Who can say today what your legacy will be?  I will just tell you that you are working on it now.  DON’T MESS IT UP.

All of them led their Sailors and soldiers  from the heart, and had something more, crafted from the environment around them… the character of a man like Admiral Arleigh Albert Burke… the strategic vision of  Admiral Chester Nimitz in the heat of a tactical nightmare… the innovation of  Admiral Elmo Zumwalt with his phenomenal understanding of race relations and Admiral Hyman Rickover’s creation of the submarine force… the dynamic leadership of  great Marines like General Lejeune and more recently General Krulak and a personal hero of mine from USS Blue Ridge – Colonel Bill Wesley.  What will you do, not just to be “purposeful”, but to be enthusiastically followed during the personal  challenges that will surely come for each of you, in these, the best of times in the history of our claimancy?

When I faced my first division at NSGD Atsugi in 1982 and in every assignment since including U.S. NSGA Yokosuka, I found, as you will, the Sailors and Chiefs returned the same level of loyalty and dedication to me that I devoted to them.  More important, it is abundantly clear and readily apparent to the most casual observer that Sailors and Chiefs will quickly look past the veneer of your lineage (some of them went to better colleges than we all did and all of you went to a better college than I did) and the gold or silver (and blue) bars (and oak leafs) on your collar.  Our Sailors and Chiefs have a unique ability to see past all that, and perceive the foundation you are building. They will know when you are on rocky ground.  They will sense the weakness in you.  They will perceive your character and all its inherent defects.  Some great man once said, “The true character of a Naval officer cannot be hidden from his/her Sailors.”  There is no place to hide.  Lead, follow or GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY.Again – you get to decide.

If they find your character to be strong and true, they will go the extra mile for you.  If they find you to be weak, prepare for the worst – it is bound to come.  We’ve all seen it in its ugliest forms.  At this period in our claimancy’s history, when our Sailors and Chiefs are so essential to our mission, there is no greater test of your mettle as a Naval officer, than leading Sailors and Chiefs who can count on your loyalty and your character.  Be true to them.  They will be true to you.

I am confident you will seize these days, whether or not they personally are for you …”the best of times or the worst of times”, to carry-on what we have started together at U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka and develop your own personal foundations of character that will serve you well during the challenges each of you can surely expect in your own future.

Thanks for helping me get the command to where it is today.  You all played a big part in that.  You have been part of something very important and special to our community.You built a command from the ground up.  That’s something you can really be proud of.I certainly am.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Born this day in 1900 - Father of the nuclear Navy


27 January 1900 – Hyman Rickover, American admiral the “Father of the Nuclear Navy” was born in Makow, Russia (now Poland). He emigrated to the United States with his family in 1906. He served on active duty with the United States Navy for more than 63 years, receiving exemptions from the mandatory retirement age due to his critical service in the building of the United States Navy’s nuclear surface and submarine force.

He died at home in Arlington, Virginia, on July 8, 1986 and was buried in Section 5 at Arlington National Cemetery. His first wife, Ruth Masters Rickover (1903-1972) is buried with him and the name of his second wife, Eleanore A. Bednowicz Rickover, whom he met while she was serving as a Commander in the Navy Nurse Corps, is inscribed on his gravestone.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Correspondence is history kept alive



While in command of U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka Japan, my Executive Officer (LT Bob Duncan) and I would meet at the command at 0630 or so each morning to spend 30-45 minutes hand writing letters to a different set of parents or relatives of our Sailors to let them know what 'their' Sailor was up to. One in 20 or so letters generated a response from a grateful parent or relative. The letter above is one such letter. The XO and I cared deeply about each of the 200 or so Sailors under our charge. Some of them understood and some didn't. Some came to that understanding later as they transferred to 'less caring' commands. Some still don't understand.

One of the most heart warming examples of the meaning of all this correspondence came on two separate occasions for my Command Master Chief - CTMCM(SW) Ronald N. Schwartz. In 2003 when he retired, his Mother and Father (Ron and Sandra) brought a notebook to his retirement ceremony (over which I presided) at Corry Station, Pensacola Florida (where he started his cryptologic career as a student). The notebook was filled with the letters I sent them regarding the Master Chief's many accomplishments helping me lead our Sailors. There were many letters and news articles sent as he accomplished a great deal. I was gratified to see his parents had kept every letter. In 2007, I saw those same letters in the same notebook in plastic liners at a far less joyous occasion when the Master Chief passed away tragically in an accident. Those letters meant so much to his parents because they reflected a detailed accounting of his very successful career history. His parents and I still exchange letters as I keep them informed of our efforts to keep his name and memory alive in the Navy.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Someone worth following


Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield is a native of Garden Grove, California, and a 1987 graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and French Language and Literature. She received her commission through Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) in 1988 and earned her wings of gold in 1989. Chatfield was awarded the Navy's Political/Military (Pol-Mil) Scholarship and attended the Kennedy School of Government, receiving a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University in 1997. 

In 2009, the University of San Diego conferred upon her a doctorate of education. She was assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadrons (HC), serving in HC-1, HC-3, HC-5 and twice in HC-11 before making the move to the Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) community. Operationally, she flew the SH-3, CH-46D and MH-60S and deployed in helicopter detachments to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf supporting carrier strike group and amphibious ready group operations. 

Ashore, she participated in the Joint Staff/OSD Internship Program, augmenting the Joint Staff, Plans and Policy (J-5) Directorate, Central; Eastern European Branch; was assigned as deputy executive assistant to the chief of naval operations; was senior military assistant to the supreme allied commander Europe; and was the United States deputy military representative to the NATO Military Committee. 

She served as assistant professor of political science at the United States Air Force Academy from 2001-2004. 

Chatfield was the 20th commanding officer of HC-5 and, upon its disestablishment, the first commanding officer of HSC-25, the Island Knights. 

She subsequently commanded a joint provincial reconstruction team in Farah Province, Afghanistan, in 2008 and was type wing commander of HSC Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet from 2011-2013. 

Most recently, Chatfield commanded Joint Region Marianas from January 2017 to August 2019. 

 Her personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and various unit awards.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

My dear Admiral...

 

In the 1940's, the Navy used a form letter to reduce the Flag Officer Ranks. It let "My dear Admiral" down with a gentler bump. Sent in November 1945 to all of the 369 flag officers still on active duty, the Navy's letter simply asked that if (for guidance in future planning) , the admiral wanted to retire— please reply.

Of those who had replied by December 10, 1945, only 16 said they wanted to get out. Among them were Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey; 62-year-old Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll, commander of the Atlantic Fleet throughout most of the war; hardboiled Admiral Emory S. Land, for seven years head of the Maritime Commission. The Navy sent nearly 150 Admirals home who did not request retirement.

Nevertheless, the Navy's stars were rapidly thinned out. Scheduled to go by the end of 1945 were 51 admirals who were recalled to duty after they had already been retired. The Navy hopes by June 1946 to reduce its flag roster from the peak of 400 to 228.

From TIME MAGAZINE, 17 December 1945

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

I am a United States Sailor

 

I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.

I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.

I proudly serve my country’s Navy Combat Team with HONOR, COURAGE and COMMITMENT.

I am committed to excellence and fair treatment of all.