Sunday, January 31, 2010

Understanding the Navy Bureaucracy to Get Things Done

"As CNO, Burke understood that the United States Navy was an immense bureaucracy, and that it was very hard, if not impossible, to communicate his desires, much less make his commands felt. In order to get things accomplished in the Pentagon, he decided it was “not wise to give a direct order” because if he did he would have to check whether it was carried out. Instead, he called the action officers to his office and convinced them of the importance of what he wanted. If the officer was “alert and enthusiastic” he could be counted on to follow through and do the necessary checking. This was "the main reason why" Burke believed that as CNO he could "influence things but I must get things done by persuasion and sometimes things do not get done which I think should be done." One tool Burke invariably employed in convincing his subordinates was good humor. His communications downward to Sailors and with his deputy CNOs and his fleet commanders and upward to the Secretary of Defense and even the President are filled with good-natured, self-effacing humorous comments that did much to get the CNO’s points across."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Navy Must Decide What It Stands For ...

or it will fall for anything.

- Drug use at the academy. Not one of my Leading Petty Officers would have believed Midshipman Curry's explanation for popping positive on his urinalysis test. Can't understand why VADM Fowler did.

- Commanding Officer fraternization. At least the Navy fired Captain John Titus.

- Commanding Officer abusive behavior/cruelty. Thankfully, the Navy finally fired Captain Holly Graf.

- Commanding Officer solicitation of prostitutes. Captain Little was fired in South Carolina.

We're batting .750 when we could easily bat 1.000 on these four cases. It's not over until it's over and with the recent outcry at the United States Navy Academy, I'm not sure that the 'fat lady' has sung in Midshipman Curry's case.


Trust and good counsel

The greatest trust between man and man is the trust of giving counsel.

Sir Francis Bacon

Friday, January 29, 2010

Commander U.S. 10th Fleet Establishment

Today is the official establishment ceremony for Commander, U.S. TENTH Fleet at Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland.

Vice Admiral Bernard J. "Barry" McCullough, III is Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/Commander, U.S. 10th Fleet. Bio is here.

Rear Admiral William E. Leigher is Deputy Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. Bio is here.

I suspect that Admiral Ernest J. King - commander of the original U.S. 10th Fleet would be proud that 'his' Fleet has been re-established.

Official Navy press release is here.

Navy Information Warfare Field

(090317-N-5174T-013 HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (March 17, 2009) Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, thanks Lt. Heather Beal, an information warfare officer assigned to Navy Information Operations Command, Hawaii, during an Individual Augmentee awards luncheon for her service as an individual augmentee in Afghanistan. The event, held at the Hickam Air Force Base Officer's Club, was hosted by the Honolulu Council Navy League and recognized more than 150 Sailors and Marines for their service as Individual Augmentees. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shane Tuck/Released)

As an Information Warfare Officer, you will live and work with information security, contributing to sensitive initiatives through the application of cryptology — specifically cryptography and cryptanalysis.

Navy Information Warfare combines two related skills: cryptography, or disguising communications to protect them, and cryptanalysis, or deciphering the coded communications of others.

Navy Information Warfare Officers specialize in disguising communications to protect them. You'll focus on the art of deciphering the coded communications of others. You'll work with highly sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment and supervise the investigative efforts of others.

As an Information Warfare Officer your duties may include:
  • Deploying as part of a direct support team onboard surface warships or submarines or onboard operational staffs or joint task forces
  • Deploying onboard specially configured aircraft conducting aerial reconnaissance in support of tactical, theater and national missions
  • Qualifying as an Operations Watch Officer, responsible for real-time signal intelligence collection, processing, analysis and reporting
  • Computer network operations
  • Development and acquisition of cutting-edge exploitation and defense systems that directly support our core mission areas

The Information Warfare field is a highly competitive area offering advanced expertise and highly sought-after security clearance. Your mission will be to perform Naval Information Operations functions as directed by the Chief of Naval Operations afloat and ashore, as well as National Signals Intelligence tasks assigned by the National Security Agency. You’ll be trained to operate and maintain specialized electronic equipment, such as radio receivers, antennae, recorders and computers.

Candidates must possess a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from an accredited college in political science, foreign language, mathematics, economics, geography, electronics, physics or history.

Taken from the Navy's "Careers and Jobs" website 20 January 2010.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We Should: Think, Read, Write and Publish - ADM James Stavridis

This is a personal note to me is from several years ago when VADM Stavridis was Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's Senior Military Assistant (SMA).

This particular note came after his reading my article which was later published in the United States Naval Institute PROCEEDINGS entitled, "360 Degree Feedback - Can We Handle The Truth?"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Welcome to the Cryptologic Community

Do letters matter? Do 35 year old letters matter? Why does it matter and who does it matter to?

The letter on the right is a Welcome to the Cryptologic Community letter to a young LT in the diesel submarine community. It was written and delivered 35 years ago. Note the signature - G.P. March (That was not done with a signature pen.) The letter is old and its recipient is approaching middle age. This letter marks a significant milestone in this officer's career. It was a MAJOR transition for that officer. That MAJOR transition was recognized by the leader of the cryptologic community at the time - Rear Admiral G. Pat March who passed away on 18 October 2009. You can read about him elsewhere on this blog.

Critics will argue that it is a form letter and sending the letter was a mere formality - both meaningless, for the most part. The officer receiving this letter had no sense that this was a form letter and the process a mere formality. He competed with some number of other officers who wanted to become a cryptologist and he was selected. Others were not. He got a letter and others did not.

The Information Dominance Corps and the Information Warfare community should reinstate the practice of welcoming lateral transfers and new accessions with a letter recognizing their achievement. Truth be told, many of our community's most senior leaders have come from other warfare communities - RADM Deets was in training to be a Naval Aviator, RADM Singer was a SWO and so was VADM Dorsett.

Years ago (1986) when you had to request augmentation to the regular Navy, I received a letter from the Admiral welcoming me to the "Regular" Navy. I still have that letter as well as a letter from a Commanding Officer who said that he always "thought that I was a Regular guy anyway". Do these letters mean anything? I will let the length of time that they are kept by their recipients answer that. 35 years-24 years. I think that means something.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

John Paul Jones

On this date in 1913, the body of John Paul Jones was laid to rest in the Chapel of the United States Naval Academy.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Captain Babette Bolivar is a 1985 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. In sharp contrast to those traits demonstrated by her classmate Captain Holly A. Graf (former CO of USS COWPENS), Captain Bolivar was recognized in 2006 as the CNO’s Pacific Fleet Finalist for the VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award. To date, she has been the only woman nominee. VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award candidates are peer nominated, meaning her fellow Commanding Officers recognized in her those traits which best represent the five roles of leadership that VADM Stockdale exhibited himself.

Those roles are:

Commitment to a personal code of conduct which emphasizes strong moral ethics, courage, resolve, and humility as demonstrated by personal and professional service to members of the Naval service.

Ability to establish policy, which can be implemented and obeyed, and to make those hard decisions, based on the policy, in those difficult situations, which portend endless complications.


Example of self-discipline, sensitivity to others, and ability to place the major issues in proper prospective while creating the motivational command climate essential for job satisfaction and organizational pride.

Example of competence, proper regard for the rights of others, and personal commitment to the development and maintenance of accepted standards, unit loyalty, and esprit de corps.

Ability to reason, understand and explain the essence of reality and recognize the need for forethought in dealing with uncertainties.

Story about the VADM J.B. Stockdale Award winners here. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen was a winner when he was a Commander.

She is the CO of Naval Weapons Station Yorktown. Her biography is here. She is a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Lesson Learned For Captain Holly A. Graf

"But it is not alone with officers that a commander has to deal. Behind them, and the foundation of all, is the crew. To his men the commanding officer should be prophet, priest, and king. The crew should be impressed with the idea that the Captain can do no wrong. This is the most delicate of all the commanding officer's obligations. No rule can be set for meeting it. It must ever be a question of tact and perception of human nature on the spot, and to wit the occasion. If an officer fails in this he cannot make up for such failure by severity, austerity, or cruelty. Use force, and apply restraint and punishment as he may, he will always have a sullen crew and an unhappy ship. Force must be used sometimes in the interest of discipline. On such occasions the quality of the commander will be most sorely tried.

When a commander has by tact, patience, justice, and firmness, each exercised in its proper turn, produced such an impression upon those under his orders in a ship of war, he has only to await the appearance of his enemy's topsails on the horizon, and he may be sure of victory over an equal or somewhat superior force, or honourable defeat by one greatly superior. Or in rare cases, sometimes justifiable, he may challenge the devotion of his followers to sink with him alongside the more powerful foe, and all go down together with the unstricken flag of their country still waving defiantly over them. No such achievements are possible in an unhappy ship with a sullen crew."

From the Royal Navy Review 1913

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cyber Actions Have A Presence and Reality In the Physical World

(Retired 1610 Captain, USN) Jim Newman of the Navy Information Operations Command (Hawaii) serving with the National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) Hawaii said that ... "all cyber actions have a presence and a reality in the physical world. Accordingly, the United States needs to structure the cyber part in the same way it structures the joint command world."

Quoted at TECHNET 2009 in Hawaii.

Cybersecurity Issues Reach Across Vast Pacific Region
By Robert K. Ackerman
SIGNAL Magazine, January 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010


Royal Navy Air Station, Somewhere in Britain


Dear Phillip,

I am sorry I have been away, so your letter has laid unread for some days; and I am, as usual, very busy on returning to the job.

There are, of course, hundreds of pit-falls into which a new destroyer captain may fall; but they are so many and varied that I cannot possibly think of putting them all down in one letter. Moreover, unlike Jehovah of old, I don't think that a list of "thou shalt nots " can ever be very much help, so I will try and give you a few "thou shalts."

Your first concern in producing a good ship must, of course, be discipline. Never forget that the whole discipline of a ship is vested in the person of its commanding officer. My Lords. in their wisdom have evolved the existing system with a view to keeping it absolutely fair. Summary justice, if sympathetically and intelligently wielded by the captain, can be the fairest form of justice known to men. (Do not imagine that courts martial, etc., are fairer. They are not, because they are so mixed up with legal procedure that the human element is lost.) On the other hand summary justice wielded by one man can be very unfair since we are all subject to prejudices and partialities. So Rule One is : see to it that your summary justice is utterly fair and impartial. On your success in this rests the discipline and morale of your ship.

Next in importance I think I would put your relations with your officers. Having been one of my officers you have probably a pretty fair idea of my ideas on the subject, but I would like to emphasize that you cannot get on without efficient officers; and officers, particularly inexperienced ones, will never be efficient unless they are given a full sense of responsibility. Never let an officer get the impression that you are not prepared to trust his judgment, but try and always give the impression that you assume 100 per cent. zeal and efficiency on the part of your officers and are rather surprised and hurt when you find that standard is not reached. If you get a really bad officer, the only cure is to fling him out; there is no room for a bad officer in a small ship. Do not forget, however, that a mediocre officer can quickly blossom into a good one if properly led, and that if not properly handled he will in all probability become a bad one. Fortunately there are few officers in our Service who are fundamentally bad and incurable. I can think of one, can't you?

Next in order, but of equal importance, is your reputation on the lower deck. Don't imagine for one moment that the lower deck can be "bounced." In a small overcrowded community, cut off from the world, such as the mess deck of a destroyer, one of the main recreations is gossip; and the great subject, which is always ready to hand for the gossiper, is his officers and particularly his commanding officer. The lower deck's judgment of their officers is terrifyingly perceptive, and the slightest foibles or weaknesses of their commanding officer are leapt upon with the pleasure of a gossiping washerwoman. Fortunately, however, the sailor is a generous soul; and when he has made his mind up about you he will overlook many little human frailities and keep his eye firmly on the bright side. But before he does this you must establish yourself in his confidence, and there is only one way to do this. He does not look upon you as a better man than himself because you happen to be wearing gold lace and brass buttons, but he does acknowledge that by your training and experience you are capable of doing a job which he could not hope to do. The way to gain his confidence, and the only way, is the hard way of proving your capabilities. However sympathetic with his domestic difficulties you may be (and it is important that you should be so) you will never gain the sailor's whole-hearted support until you have proved to him that you know your job.

I think perhaps the next subject should be handling the ship. The more detailed aspects of this gentle art I expect you learned from me during our time together, particularly when you were "the pilot." But there are a couple of golden rules which I have always followed and I cannot think of better advice to give you. The first is : "never fight the elements if you can help it." By this I mean that if you can possibly make use of the wind and the tide to get your ship into the desired position those elements will get you there quicker than all the horse-power in the world. In its simplest form this rule is expressed in the time-honoured rule which every coxswain of a boat is taught, namely; "always stem the tide coming alongside." But it has a much wider application if you think about it. Thus you will know that as soon as way is off your ship it will be impossible to get the bows up into wind by manoeuvring the engines. Therefore arrange that you get in such a position that you do not wish to put your bows up into the wind. Similarly you will also know that with the ship stopped in a beam wind the stern will go very easily up into the wind, so plan your approach so as to make use of this phenomenon.

The second golden rule is: "as fast as possible at sea and as slow as possible in harbour." I think you have probably heard me say this before. The slowness in harbour can of course be overdone in boisterious weather conditions, since a destroyer has a nasty habit of going sideways if she is not going ahead very quickly; but on the other hand if you hit something going slow you will not do a great deal of harm, whereas a really decent crash with 1,500 tons behind it is apt to cost the country a great deal in wasted time and manpower. It is often easier to take a destroyer alongside a difficult berth at excessive speed and rely upon the engine-room to provide you with efficient brakes at the right moment. This is not seamanship. In the worst case the engine-room boys may let you down, in which case there is one hell of a hole in your bows; but in all cases you have virtually lost control as soon as your screws are going full speed astern, and there is also a strong likelihood that one engine will either start or stop before the other one which will give you an uncontrollable swing and, to use an expression borrowed from my present trade, "You've had it ! "

Another way not to do it is to approach a place where you are being blown on to the berth by a strong beam wind, by leaving yourself plenty of room and then drifting down on top of it. It is surprising how much damage a destroyer can do to her tender hull by arriving violently on the fenders with a really good drift on. I don't think I can go into any more details; there are so many hundreds of situations with which you will be faced and which you must solve for yourself, but the above two golden rules can be trusted not to let you down really badly. There is only one really good reason for getting your ship smashed and that is in action with the enemy, and even then only if you are achieving something useful by smashing him worse.

If you are going to stick the racket of war very long one of your chief concerns must be the training of your officers of the watch at sea. This is becoming more and more difficult in these days of inexperience amongst the majority, but it is by no means impossible to avoid the necessity for remaining yourself on the bridge for excessively long hours. The only way to make a good officer of the watch is to teach him first your way of going about things and then insist upon him doing it himself without your supervision but with the knowledge that you are ever at his call if he wants you quickly. Excessive super­vision will never make a bad officer of the watch into a good one. The only way is to build up his confidence in himself. This may sometimes turn your hair grey; but it is, as I said, the only way. I have spent many hours on the lower bridge before I was confident that some particular officer was competent to carry on in my absence - on the lower bridge because he did not know that his actions were being supervised. It paid me handsomely and I have never yet been in a ship where I could not get almost all the sleep I wanted (and I can take a good deal). Always be prepared, however, to arrive on the bridge at double-quick time if you are wanted. The responsibility is yours; and it is unfair to a young officer to expect him to hold the baby if he is not confident in himself. Your job is to build up that confidence.

Well, I think that is about enough fatherly advice for one letter. I tried to write you when you were in your prison camp; but the censor kept on sending it back because I had broken some piffling rule, so I eventually chucked my hand in. I wanted to write and tell you how very proud I was of the old ship's last action-she certainly had a Viking's funeral. ­

Give my respects to your wife and tell her that my present station is an excellent one for Wrens. My own family is flourishing, thank you. Unfortunately the brat is now high enough to see over the top of the table and everything comes off it on to the floor ­she needs much more supervision than any officer of the watch.

Best of luck to you with your first command, and do write and tell me how things are going.

Yours very sincerely,


From the U.K. Naval Review

Thursday, January 21, 2010

For Those Who Wish To Limit The Discussion

In his farewell orders to the Manchurian Army, Kuropatkin wrote :

"Men of strong individuality are with us, unfortunately, often passed over instead of receiving accelerated promotion. Because they are a source of anxiety to some officers in peace time, they get suppressed as being headstrong. The result is that they leave the service; whilst others who possess neither force of character nor conviction, but who are subservient and always ready to agree with their superiors, are promoted." After looking back on the vast drama in which he had played so great and melancholy a part, he pronounces the final dictum :

" There is only one thing that matters, and that is the truth."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Memorial Service Support

Worth knowing.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2010, Public Law 111-84, Section 631, Travel and Transportation for Deceased Members of the Uniformed Services to Attend Memorial Services, Washington, D.C., Oct. 30, 2009.

Congress established a new entitlement that authorizes travel and transportation to specific family members to attend a memorial service in honor of a deceased service member. DoD has not yet published implementing guidance regarding installation or unit memorial service entitlements for this new law.

Commanders must understand which family members are entitled to funded travel, the time allowed for travel, and any restrictions that may apply.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

100,000 Visitor Blog Tuneup

It's a milestone I never expected to reach. Thank you to each and every visitor. Special thanks to those who have made constructive comments along the way. Suggestions for improvement are certainly welcome.

Selecting our FY 11 Information Warfare Officer (IWO) Captains

Precepts for the FY11 Captain Selection Board from the Secretary of the Navy on 8 January 2010 offer a 60% opportunity (nominally 12 selections) for IW selection to Captain.

20 Information Warfare Commanders are in the primary (IN ZONE) category for consideration. The board has an opportunity to consider those ABOVE and BELOW the zone, as well. Here are the officers who are IN ZONE for the FY11 Board (in alphabetical order):

** POWERS DOUGLAS A Former CO, NIOC Whidbey Island, WA

** denotes the individual was selected. Chad Acey was also picked. He was above the zone.
The Navy must focus on the skill sets mandated by current needs and on developing the professional competencies required in our future leadership. The Navy and joint force leadership needs to be comprised of a diverse blend of officers that have excelled in both traditional and specialized career paths. Give due consideration to demonstrated performance and expertise in the competency/skill areas listed in order of significance below:

Competitive Category: Information Warfare (161X)

1. Cyber Operations and Planning
2. Joint Experience
3. Learning and Development

NOTE 1: Best of luck to this fine group of Commanders and those above and below the zone who will be considered for our most senior leadership positions in the Information Warfare Officer community and the broader Information Dominance Corps. CAPT SEAN R. FILIPOWSKI, CAPT KATHRYN M. K. HELMS and CAPT DONALD P. DARNELL were the IW Captains who sat this selection board.

NOTE 2: Last year's selectees were notified in late April. So, we can begin the 90 day countdown now.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good Commanding Officers

1. Good COs can process a lot of data, prioritize important cues, and recognize patterns—they have good situational awareness.

2. Good COs have a rich library of mental models from which to choose, evaluate, and then decide.

3. Good COs look for "decision-rich" opportunities. They want to be challenged and to make decisions. They are ambitious and enthusiastic.

4. Good COs are honest about evaluating themselves relative to the situation. They constantly look to improve their position in the scenario. They are natural "assessors" and "learners."

5. Good COs have strong command presence—a quiet self-confidence.

From this list, one might argue that the former CO COWPENS was 0 for 5.

From April 2005 USNA PROCEEDINGS Magazine
What Makes a Good CO?
Captain Emil Casciano, U.S. Navy, Commander Marc Elsensohn, Royal Netherlands Navy, Commander Øistein Jensen, Royal Norwegian Navy, Commander Dermot Mulholland, Royal Canadian Navy, Captain John Richardson, U.S. Navy, Commander Ian Salter, Royal Australian Navy, Captain Ron Steed, U.S. Navy, and Commander Mike Walliker, Royal Navy

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let's Not Forget The Sacrifice This Cryptologic Technican Made

At Walter Reed Hospital in December 2006.

Outside the rehab room, Navy Petty Officer, Cryptologic Technician Second Class Chad Kueser, a 33-year-old Iraq veteran from Garland, Texas, who lost both legs above the knee to a mortar round, is striding up and down a hallway. He is trying out his new C legs -- state-of-the art prostheses with a built-in computer that mimics the action of a human knee.

Today, 17 January 2010, he continues his recovery - which may take a lifetime.

How's he doing today? What are his needs today? Shouldn't we know? Shouldn't we care? Who knows? Who cares? I do. And I hope that you do too.
Here's what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen had to say: (We have a lifelong responsibility) "to make sure we are doing everything we can in the positions of leadership to make sure people understand what those families have sacrificed, and that we reach out to them and in every way possible and meet their needs for the rest of their lives."

Do we leave their care to the Navy's Safe Harbor Program Office or do we maintain our Information Dominance Corps relationship with these wounded Cryptologic Technicians?

Tipping Point - Can you hear me now?

I believe that the clamor over the relief of Captain Holly A. Graf for cruelty aboard USS COWPENS has brought the discussion of abusive senior leadership to a tipping point.

Every one of us who has served in the Navy - whether at sea, ashore, under the sea or in the air - has had that CO, XO, DH, DO, Chief or other senior leader who made our lives and the lives of our Sailors a living hell.

At the same time, we've had people in those same leadership positions who have made our service to the Navy and her Sailors a privilege. We are very fortunate that this type of leadership is far more prevalent than what has been described in the CO of USS COWPENS.

I don't doubt that senior Navy leadership is listening acutely to what is being said and written about this particular CO firing and perhaps it will bring them to a tipping point in their thinking about how we prepare our officers for positions of significant leadership and how we evaluate them.

The damage done by one Commanding Officer extends far beyond the skin of the ship, beyond the fine COWPENS crew, beyond the FDNF and beyond our Navy. We can condemn this one officer very easily - but, keep in mind that many people played a role in the development of this officer and furthering her career. All of them are complicit in this unfortunate page in our Navy's history.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

RIP RADM G. P. March - Born today in 1924

Service Dates

1/16/1924 in CORVALLIS, OR




Friday, January 15, 2010

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Advice from my son's boss, Steve Jobs - the Apple guy.

"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Taking care of our Sailors

In an earlier post, I wrote about the Executive Officer of U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan and I writing to parents of our Sailors to keep them in the loop. The letter on the right (from more than 12 years ago) is but one example of our efforts to let parents know we truly valued their Sailor. We used a combination of modified 'form' letters and hand-written personal letters to maintain the link between our command and our Sailors' families.

By the end of my 3 year command tour we had written more than 1000 letters and built relationships with more than 200 families. I am pleased to say that some of those relationships with individual Sailors and their families continue today. It didn't happen by accident; we made it happen. Thanks again to my XO, LCDR Bob Duncan, USN - retired.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Leadership Summit

“Our Navy needs talented young Americans who want to serve their nation and make a difference. The key words here are serve and make a difference!”

Admiral Clark, Chief of Naval Operations

In December 2001, amidst our determined efforts in Afghanistan, the Leadership Summit was launched as a bold quest to help improve Naval leadership and shape our future culture. The Chief of Naval Operations' championing of this pilot initiative exemplifies both the kind of leader the Navy ought to strive to grow at every level, and the kind of holistic, positive change process that can open the status quo to transformations in collective action. The Summit was the first of its kind in our Navy.

Over 260 people were assembled ranging from seaman to CNO, and all backgrounds (surface, air, sub-surface, staff corps, Marines, civilian, SPECWAR…). Held at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, the Leadership Summit piloted a new approach to change called a Large Group Intervention that utilized Appreciative Inquiry (AI) methods of facilitation. Participants were empowered to generate their own pilot projects aimed at improving leadership and our Navy’s system of leadership development.

Each CNO brings his own priorities to the table and works them during his tenure...what lives on beyond that is his
LEGACY. What will your legacy be?

More on the leadership summit here. More than 30 pilot programs were undertaken. Some actually made it to implementation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Being The First in 2010 is Not Necessarily a Good Thing - Navy Supply Corps School's "Leading Chop", chopped !

The Navy fired its first CO of 2010. It didn't take long. The Navy Times reported that Captain John Titus Jr., CO of the Navy Supply Corps School (and President of the Northeast Georgia Chapter of the Navy Supply Corps Association) in Athens, Georgia was fired on 8 January 2010 for the unusually very specific cause - “lack of confidence in his ability to lead.” The results of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) report were not released.

The last time the CO of the Navy Supply Corps School was fired was in 2002. The school is scheduled to move to Newport, Rhode Island in 2011.

The NSCS's former Executive Officer, Commander R. Paul Wilson has assumed command on an interim basis until the Navy can name Captain Titus' relief. Captain Titus' photo and bio have already been removed from the Navy Supply Corps School website.

Navy Times story is here.

Intrusive Leadership - Part of the Covenant

Intrusive leadership is based on the philosophy that the leader and the Sailor share responsibility for a Sailor’s success or failure. It is more than just telling Sailors what to do. Intrusive leadership reflects the fact that Sailors are people who matter. It indicates an understanding that Sailors' well being (or lack thereof) has an effect on their success or failure. The intrusive leader is actively concerned for the welfare of every Sailor under their charge. This requires responsible, proactive behavior on the part of the leader. Sailors are seen as individuals whose uniqueness and diversity are taken into consideration from the beginning of their Naval career until they retire or transfer to the Fleet Reserve.

Characteristics of Intrusive Leaders:

They must truly know the Navy. There are multiple sources of help for our Sailors. If our leaders have a stake in the Sailor’s successful retention and career progression, they must be familiar with the services available that can prevent potential problems or rescue a struggling Sailor. On any ship or shore station these usually include counseling and referral services, tutoring, career counseling, financial counseling, support services, non-traditional education programs, financial counseling, and a myriad of other programs. It is not enough just to know that programs exist; it is necessary to know what each program does and the Sailors it serves.

Leaders must not only know the resources of the Navy, but know the staff involved in the various programs. It is up to our Navy leaders to become well-acquainted with other Navy professionals who can help. Knowing, specifically, to whom a Sailor can be referred will also increase the Sailor’s chances of success. It is only logical that a Sailor is more likely to follow through with an appointment if he knows who he is looking for rather than just walking into an unfamiliar department. Unfortunately, in some departments there are officers, Chiefs and Leading Petty Officers who are less personable than others. Sending a Sailor to a particular person with, perhaps, a "heads up" call in advance can assure a welcome from a fellow Navy professional of choice rather than a negative experience. This also gives them some background so that he or she is prepared at the first meeting to help the Sailor. Additionally, the call in advance may prevent sending the Sailor to the wrong person or department and, therefore, on a wild goose chase instead of a successful mission.

Intrusive leaders should be trained in all relevant areas that have a direct impact on the Sailor's well being and success. This is not to say that leaders have to know as much as the professional staff in every career field of the Navy, but that they need to be familiar with how things work. One thing we know for sure about being a Sailor is that, if they don't know something, they often don't know who to ask. Leaders must be willing to intervene and to inform the Sailor, thus preventing the failure frequently resulting from "no one told me and I didn't know to ask."

Intrusive leaders should be available so that they can be reached by the Sailor when needed.

Intrusive leaders maintain clear boundaries with their Sailors. They are neither the Sailor’s parent nor their best friend, but a professional whose job it is to foster independence while teaching the Sailor the ways of the Navy. Leaders must show genuine concern for the success of their Sailors. Personal characteristics should include a positive attitude, empathy, openness, and honesty.
“Sailors don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some Forward Progress for the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) PQS Development

This should move things forward a bit.

Information Dominance Corps PQS Workshop

Host: U.S. Navy Information Warfare Officer Community
Type: Meetings - Business Meeting
Network: Global
Start Time: Monday, February 8, 2010 at 8:00am
End Time: Friday, February 12, 2010 at 4:00pm
Location: Corry Station - Center for Information Dominance

Description: SMEs representing the four communities underneath the IDC umbrella will review community specific qualification standards and develop the draft qualification standard that will serve as a pre-requisite for earning the IDC Qualification Pin.

((Posted by the IWOCM on the IW FaceBook page))

The Courage to Fight for A Better Navy - And Their Willingness To Write About It

In the early 1900s, RADM Caspar Goodrich and Commander Holden A. Evans worked tirelessly to reform naval manufacturing using the management techniques of Frederick W. Taylor (a manufacturing thought-leader for that time). These two men failed, initially. The Admiral was forced to retire in 1909. Two years later, Commander Evans resigned after his career was ruined for trying to change Navy organizational policy. However, their extensive writing on the subject led to lengthy deliberations which helped the Navy finally recognize the value of their recommendations prior to World War I.

From 1904-1906, Rear Admiral Goodrich commanded the Pacific Fleet. He was Commandant of the New York Navy Yard in 1907-1909. Rear Admiral Goodrich retired in January 1909.

RADM Goodrich was a prolific writer on professional topics and also helped establish the Naval War College and the U.S. Naval Institute, of which he was President in 1904-1909. Rear Admiral Caspar F. Goodrich died at Princeton, New Jersey, on 26 December 1925.

Commander Evans went on to write "One Man's Fight For A Better Navy", ((New York: Dodd, Mead, 1940)).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Superior to your former self

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men—true nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

Hindu Proverb

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Chiefs' Mess

Inexperienced officers look to their Chiefs to see how they grasp a situation and how they make decisions. That is part of the self-education process a leader cannot get from a classroom or from books. Sometimes young officers believe they know more than the Chief; when they find out they do not, they have contributed to their own self-education.

You may recall seeing a poster displayed in many Chiefs’ quarters, messes, and clubs that says: “WHAT YOU DO, SEE, HEAR, AND SAY HERE, STAYS HERE.”

The Chiefs’ mess is a relaxed, amiable, and popular meeting place. The degree to which the chiefs socialize together often reflects their cohesiveness. The mutual bond and high morale of the Chiefs’ quarters are in part the result of a strong leader. The leader maybe a formal leader, like the command master chief, or an informal leader who leads through charisma or superior know-how. This person’s enthusiastic support and encouragement of others sets high standards for command personnel. Whether in formal or informal situations, the Chiefs respect this person. They know the person is competent and trust him or her to stand up for their interests and those of the crew.

The commanding officer and executive officer often seek this leader’s advice about the morale of the crew and other matters concerning enlisted personnel. The majority of the members of the Chiefs’ mess usually agree on who this person is. The Chiefs’ mess as a group is a solid, disciplined team. The members talk to each other, coordinate well, and solicit input from each other. They treat each other with professional respect. A strong part of this bond results from the collective confidence of being the best and not settling for less.

Great stuff from the Military Requirements for Senior and Master Chief Petty Officer.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Navy As A Top 50 Employer in 2009

The Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Naval Personnel have stated their goal of making the Navy a Top 50 Employer in the U.S. "The Great Place to Work Institute (GPWI)" ranks the top 100 corporations to work for as a service to FORTUNE magazine. The Navy isn't actually eligible for consideration (so you won't find them on the FORTUNE 100 List) but the Navy continues to work toward the CNO and CNP goal.

What Makes a Great Place to Work ®?
GPWI's approach is based on the major findings of 20 years of research - that trust between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristic of the very best workplaces.

At the heart of their definition of a great place to work - a place where employees "trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with" - is the idea that a great workplace is measured by the quality of the three, interconnected relationships that exist there:

  • The relationship between employees and management.
  • The relationship between employees and their jobs/company.
  • The relationship between employees and other employees.
The Navy is certainly in the top 100 based on GPWI's criteria.

The Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, is emphasizing his commitment to making the Navy a top 50” workplace during his tenure. The future Navy must be more technical and complex than ever before, and to enable future success, the best Sailors and Navy civilians must join the force and choose to stay.

“We have everything. We have great people. We have great opportunity; we really have great benefits, and great compensation. We do things around the world that people read about. We’re changing people’s lives through humanitarian assistance. We’re reaching into space from our ships. We’re diving deep into the ocean. We’re at the front end of technology…when I talk about our service in the Navy, even though our work is hard, our work is dangerous, and we make great sacrifices, we really are the fortunate few,” Adm. Roughead said.

Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, CNP, highlighted the Navy's efforts to be recognized as a Top 50 employer.

"We believe that a Top 50 organization is one that has innovative programs for its people, that recognizes people as their most valuable asset and rewards them with an environment that is personally and professionally rewarding and challenging, that promotes a climate of respect and trust, that encourages development and provides the rewarding work of service," said Ferguson.

I am pleased to see that the Navy Chief of Information picked up this blog post for publication in their 12 January 2010 CHINFO clips - EXCERPTS FROM BLOGS AROUND THE WORLD (PUBLISHED 07JAN - 11JAN).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Leadership - a note from 30 years ago


From: Commanding Officer
To: All Officers

Some thoughts:
(1) A junior officer must be most concerned with his or her performance in the job assigned. There is too much discussion in our ranks about the merits of particular jobs as "career enhancing". It's natural to look upon various jobs in different lights - you might like one better than another - but don't get caught up in the "I need this job to get promoted syndrome"...that's bull.

(2) Continue to show our people you care. You must follow my lead and my example. I expect you to - and I watch closely. That ranges the gamut from counseling, to mid-watch visits, to attending command events, to going to basketball games.

(3) DON'T BE PART OF THE PROBLEM. I want to concentrate on important matters and continue to emphasize "dealing with facts" - not rumors and B.S.

(4) Finally, leadership by example is not a buzz phrase. We cannot, as officers and chiefs or petty officers, expect to gain respect and credibility unless we can do it too. Keep that professional curiosity, keep working hard and take pride in making NSGA the best.
Once again, I need and expect the support of each one of you to make Misawa a better place to live and work. We are on a positive tack. With your help, we'll sail smoothly through 1980.

Commanding Officer
U.S. NSGA Misawa, Japan
1 February 1980

Hat Tip to Lieutenant Commander Robert E. Morrison, USN retired, fellow RADM McFarland fan for providing this gem.
I'm not the only one who has kept a leadership file since the day I joined the Navy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

They Are Taking Away the Power of the CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS' MESS - Sound very familiar? From 2009? No, it's from 1973.

"When the CNO sends a direct message to everybody in the field, the chief petty officer community and the middle management officer community have thrown up their hands and said, "He has taken all our power away and we can't do anything."

Obviously, there has not been any removal of the tools to maintain discipline aboard a ship or anywhere else in the Navy, but the attitude toward the use of such tools has changed."

House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Report by the Special Subcommittee on Disciplinary Problems in the US Navy, 2 January 1973

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Hero Worth Learning Much Much More About - LCDR John McCloy

As a prolific letter writer myself, I am very pleased that the U.S. Postal Service will be introducing four stamps to honor Naval heroes in February 2010. I am very familiar with 3 of the 4 men.

The fourth, LCDR John McCloy, was a mystery man to me (and very likely to most others). He is one of only 19 men to have earned two separate Medals of Honor. He earned both of them prior to his commissioning as a Naval officer. The first MOH was earned as a coxswain and the second was earned as a Boatswain Chief.

His tombstone at Arlington National Cemetery bears the simple inscription M.H. (2) and N.C. (for the 2 Medals of Honor and the Navy Cross that he earned). He served in the Navy from 1903 to 1928, retiring in 1928 as a Lieutenant. For reasons that I have yet to determine, he was promoted on 23 February 1942 to Lieutenant Commander and retired again. He passed away in 1945.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Captain John Paul Jones' Leadership: Success mixed with Failure

Most of us in the Navy are familiar with the Captain John Paul Jones who was revered as a hero for exhibiting dauntless courage and unconquerable persistence in the face of overwhelming odds. Such was not always the case. In the 18th and 19th centuries, his professionalism and abilities as a "complete" naval officer were not yet appreciated. He was reviled by many for his criticism of others, inability to credit his subordinates and his relentless self-promotion (all of which sound very familiar).

In the 20th century, his reputation began to flourish as we began:
  • to appreciate his strategic vision of placing the nation's interest over his own personal gain,
  • to see his rise to the top levels of the new American Navy through dint of hard work and application,
  • to acknowledge his skill as a naval architect,
  • to recognize his continued self-study to better himself as an officer and commander,
  • to understand his attempts to reform the Navy and
  • to value his efforts to substitute merit and ability in place of nepotism and influence.
Each of these things marked him as an officer who sought to professionalize the early Navy.

From: E. Gordon Bowen-Hassell, Dennis M. Conrad, and Mark L. Hayes Sea Raiders of the American Revolution: The Continental Navy in European Waters. Washington, DC: Naval Historical Center, 2003.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Navy's TENTH Fleet - Now as then

Broad in scope, sweeping in power, and virtually absolute in influence.

Small and tight.

Represents a daring new concept in naval thinking.

Bring in new blood from the fleet.

Train cyber missionaries to spread the 10th Fleet capabilities to the fleets.

Clockwatchers and goldbrickers have no place in the 10th Fleet.

Service to others is the highest distinction in the 10th Fleet.
Some paraphrasing from THE TENTH FLEET by Ladislas Farago

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fighting for a better Navy - Persistently, Consistently - Admiral William Sowden Sims

Well in advance of the Admiral James Stavridis model of "Think, Read, Write, Publish", Admiral William Sowden Sims did all these things - and he did them extraordinarily well - winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1920 while serving as a Naval officer.

For 30 years the great voice of public self-analysis in the Navy, Admiral William Sowden Sims was highly vocal and knew it. But "never did he discover the difference between rapping for attention and knocking his audience cold." An 1880 United States Naval Academy graduate, Sims spent his first six years at sea quietly, then settled down to improving the Navy. His main theme was a continuous assault on the Navy's uncoordinated bureau system (which it still has), a demand for a general staff (which still did not exist in 1942).

Although Sims never won his main objective, his vocal technique (through persuasive oral and written arguments) did achieve many smaller ones—enough to assure his place in naval history even though he was never under fire. He began by criticizing battleships. In 1900 the U.S. Navy, in Sims's opinion, was far behind European navies, even Japan's ("and, God help our souls," Russia's).

Meanwhile the public thought the Navy was "hot stuff" and the Navy was "inordinately flattered by a boastful press."

The bureaus of the Navy shelved the Sims reports on recommendations for improving the Navy and her ships. Sims fumed that a man who would have to fight a ship could have no say in its design or the functioning of the Navy - not even as a Navy Captain.

He had better luck on his second project, teaching the Navy to shoot. In face of opposition, he introduced a real target instead of an imaginary one, longer practice ranges, continuous aim firing, improved telescopic sights, new methods of fire control. He developed a spirit of competition in a fleet that used to shoot off its year's ammunition as an unpleasant chore. The Navy's marksmanship became legend.

By the time the U.S. entered World War I, he had fought for adoption of all-big-gun ships (dreadnoughts), commanded the newest, finest battleship of all, the Nevada (still in service). Most important, he had commanded a destroyer flotilla and developed doctrines for handling destroyers that proved invaluable.

But outside the Navy Sims was not famous until he was suddenly (March 31, 1917) exported incognito to London as Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces operating in European waters. Again he had to combat the bureaus and a Navy leadership sluggish in action. Though the British Admiralty confessed that if U-boat sinkings kept on at their top rate (nearly 90,000 tons in April 1917) Britain was done for by October, the men in Washington were slow to approve the convoy system. Sims prodded in cable after cable. Once convoys became routine, sub successes dwindled.

Congress refused to restore Sims's rank to full admiral after the war. Sims was disappointed. When Congress ordered blanket restoration of World War I temporary ranks to retired officers in 1930 a Newport lady congratulated the 71-year-old Admiral. Said he: "Admiral, hell!"

In retirement (1922-36) he still fought. Admiral Sims argued saltily for:

  • a better system of promotion in the Navy,
  • for recognition of the powers of aircraft,
  • for Prohibition (though no teetotaler),
  • for adequate bases in the Pacific,
  • for a larger Navy.

Says Author Morison: "He remembered Pearl Harbor before it happened."

Lessons from Admiral Sims:

  • Be vocal (verbally and in writing).
  • Develop a Navy spirit in your subordinates.
  • Be persistent.
  • Keep up your fight - even in your retirement.

From TIME magazine - September 1942

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010 !! Resolution Free...

The years pass much too quickly. 10 years ago today (1 January 2000), I re-enlisted this great Sailor, Nico Figueroa. He was a 2nd Class Petty Officer. In the intervening years, he made First Class, was selected for the Seaman to Admiral 21 Program, graduated successfully from the University of Colorado and earned his commission as an Ensign, refused the commission and continued his service as a First Class Petty Officer, made some incredible drug busts with the USS McInerney (FFG-8), got out of the Navy served in Iraq, finished his time in Iraq and is currently serving in Afghanistan.

Neither of us made New Year's resolutions to get where we needed to be. We set our course and got underway. Each year has seen us grow. What we haven't done is grow apart. Nico and I have stayed in touch over the years and I am deeply appreciative of the Sailor he was in the Navy, the man that he's become and the patriotism he's demonstrated all along the way. As great a guy as he is, I'd say he was typical of the many superb Sailors I had while in command of U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan.