Tuesday, January 31, 2012

“Visionary Leadership: Navigating Through Uncharted Waters”

In the complex and dynamic nature of society in the twenty-first century, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the imminent issues and urgent problems of the moment. In these constantly changing times, simply utilizing temporary or conventional solutions can cause detrimental repercussions to an organization’s employee and customer loyalty, efficiency, and long term goal accomplishment. Visionary leaders, however, focus on the future of an organization and provide a unique vision that reinforces the why of what they do. Through their vision, they instill purpose, meaning and focus, empower and motivate followers, allow for growth and establishment of new ideas, and create organizations that are more adaptable and resilient.
Guy Kawasaki, former Apple Chief Evangelist, opened the Naval Academy Leadership Conference yesterday with a discussion of Steve Jobs' impact on the world.  Kawasaki said, "The world is not as interesting a place without Steve Jobs. We were on a mission from Steve to change the world."

Kawasaki went on to say, "For you young people wanting to be leaders ... you need to discover for yourself. You need to investigate. You should have a very skeptical attitude. Do not default to people who claim they are experts." 

"The biggest challenges beget the best work."

Monday, January 30, 2012


Art by David Levine
"Intelligence, the central virtue of moral life, is being able to judge the limitations of knowledge. Though there is no substitute for intelligence, it is not enough. People may be intelligent but lack the courage to act. To find a purpose in life, one must be willing to act, to put excellence in one's work and concern for what is right before personal interest."

Admiral H. Rickover

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet - SECOND Anniversary

Can't let this day pass without notice. U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet was established on 29 January 2010. Much progress has been made over the past two years. There is much more work to be done. BZ!

As VADM Barry McCullough said a year ago today, "To remain a global maritime force, our Navy must advance its capability and capacity to plan and execute cyberspace operations. Our way forward will address the talent, capabilities, processes, and partnerships necessary to achieve our vision of cyberspace superiority for dominant seapower."

The folks at U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet are making it happen.

No More Autographed Copies Available - right now

Are you a genius or a genius maker?

As Sailors, we’ve all had experience with two dramatically different types of leaders - whether on the deckplates, in the Goatlocker or in the Wardroom. The first type of leader drains intelligence, energy, and capability from the Sailor around them and always needs to be the smartest person in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment. 

On the other side of the spectrum are those Navy leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the Sailors around them. When these Navy leaders walk into a room, light bulbs go off over Sailors’s heads; ideas flow and problems get solved. These are the Navy leaders who inspire Sailors to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. 

These are the Multipliers. And the Navy needs more of them, especially now when leaders are expected to do more with less. 

In Liz Wiseman's book, multiplers - HOW THE BEST LEADERS MAKE EVERYONE SMARTER, she and Greg McKeown studied intelligence and how Multipliers can have a resoundingly positive and profitable effect on organizations—getting more done with fewer resources, developing and attracting talent, and cultivating new ideas and energy to drive organizational change and innovation.

I have 10 (zero) autographed copies available.  If you are a Sailor who would like to have a copy, send me  an e-mail and I will get you a copy of your own.  By the end of the day, all 10 copies have been claimed.  I will get some more and we can do this again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Captain Howie Ehret - Make room

An iconic figure of the former Naval Security Group, Captain Howie Ehret passed away recently and his Shipmate Rusty Smith shared some thoughts about this significant individual.

"...Which leads me to a “Howie-ism” I’d like to pass along.  Howie had many “…isms” that he’d dredge up to describe an event or condition while making a point.  For instance, if confronted with a calamitous set issues, as his friend Captain John Mitchell recently recalled, Howie would say “when dealing with a bucket of worms, you gotta deal with one worm at a time.”  

But the Howie-ism that I want to pass along is, “we make room for what’s important.”  We make room for what’s important.  I commend that little thought to you whenever you’re debating priorities in life.  We make room for what’s important to us.  Be they our personal priorities or in the everyday observation of others, room is made for what’s important.  So simple in its obviousness yet far more telling when applied to our personal choices or in witnessing what other people or organizations do.  For example, all of us here today, Howie’s loving family, the great community of Sonoma, its dignitaries, Howie’s good friends, those who knew Howie well or those who knew him just in passing, we’re all making room here today for something important, for some-one important. "

Make some room.  There is more to come about this iconic figure in our cryptologic heritage.  You can read about the celebration of his life HERE.

Littoral combat ship program manager fired due to allegations of inappropriate behavior

The program manager for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program was fired Thursday due to allegations of inappropriate behavior, according to Naval Sea Systems Command.

Captain Jeffrey Riedel was reassigned by LCS Program Executive Officer Rear Admiral James Murdoch, pending an investigation into the allegations.  Captain Riedel is presumed innocent of the allegations.  There has been no timeline published as to how long the investigation is expected to take.

“He will not be reporting back to this command,” NAVSEA spokesman Chris Johnson said Friday.
While not a Commanding Officer, Captain Jeffrey Riedel becomes the first senior Navy official fired in 2012; there were 22 commanding officers fired in 2011.

Captain Riedel's biography follows:

Captain Riedel is a native of Plymouth, MA. He attended Maine Maritime Academy, graduating in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering and a U.S.C.G. 3rd Assistant Engineer license. He graduated from the Naval Engineering Program at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in 1993, earning a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, and the advanced degree of Mechanical Engineer. He was a member of the first group of students to complete the Total Ship System Engineering (TSSE) Curriculum. In 1996, he returned to NPS to participate in the Navy Doctoral Studies Program. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a specialty in Autonomous Underwater Vehicle control in 1999.

Captain Riedel served at sea in USS WAINWRIGHT (CG 28) as Auxiliaries Officer, Main Machinery Officer and Damage Control Assistant where he qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer and Engineering Officer of the Watch. As an Engineering Duty Option he transferred to the ED Community upon detachment from WAINWRIGHT.

As an Engineering Duty Officer, Captain Riedel served as a student at the Naval Postgraduate School, as Assistant Production Officer at SUPSHIP Bath, as DDG 51 Class Chief Engineer in PEO TSC, as DDG 51 Class Post Delivery Manager, as the LPD 17 Class Production/Test/Technical Director and as the Amphibious Warfare Programs Manager in PEO SHIPS. He presently serves as Major Program Manager, Littoral Combat Ship (PMS 501).
Captain Riedel is a member of the Acquisition Professional Community and is certified in Program Management, Production, Quality and Manufacturing, and Systems Planning, Research, Development, and Engineering He has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon and various service ribbons.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Word to the wise

It is dangerous to be right in matters where well-established senior Naval officers are wrong.

Ensign Voltaire

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hire The Better Writer

If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer. It doesn't matter if that person is a marketer, salesperson, designer, programmer or whatever; their writing skills will pay off.

That's because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else's shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any candidate.

Writing is making a comeback all over our society. Look at how much people e-mail and text-message now rather than talk on the phone. Look at how much communication happens via instant messaging and blogging.

Writing is today's currency for good ideas.

From REWORK by Jason Fried

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

As usual, a day late

John Hancock's birthday was yesterday.  In honor of that day, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) sponsors National Handwriting Day.

The lost art of handwriting is one of the few ways we can uniquely express ourselves. There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words. So, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) suggests you take advantage of National Handwriting Day on January 23 and use a pen or a pencil to rekindle that creative feeling through a handwritten note, poem, letter or journal entry.

Handwriting allows us to be artists and individuals during a time when we often use computers, faxes and e-mail to communicate. Fonts are the same no matter what computer you use or how you use it. Fonts lack a personal touch. Handwriting can add intimacy to a letter and reveal details about the writer’s personality. Throughout history, handwritten documents have sparked love affairs, started wars, established peace, freed slaves, created movements and declared independence.

"Though computers and e-mail play an important role in our lives, nothing will ever replace the sincerity and individualism expressed through the handwritten word." 

David H. Baker
WIMA Executive Director.

For A Particular Navy Buddy - Once Retired; Now Rehired

The Navy culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic. We hear about people burning the midnight oil. They pull all-nighters and sleep at the office. It's considered a badge of honor to kill yourself over a project. No amount of work is too much work.

Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it's stupid. Working more doesn't mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more.

Workaholics wind up creating more problems than they solve. First off, working like that just isn't sustainable over time. When the burnout crash comes--and it will--it'll hit that much harder.  Workaholics miss the point, too. They try to fix problems by throwing sheer hours at them. They try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force. This results in inelegant solutions. They even create crises. They don't look for ways to be more efficient because they actually like working overtime. They enjoy feeling like heroes. They create problems (often unwittingly) just so they can get off on working more.

Workaholics make the people who don't stay late feel inadequate for "merely" working reasonable hours. That leads to guilt and poor morale all around. Plus, it leads to an ass-in-seat mentality--people stay late out of obligation, even if they aren't really being productive.

If all you do is work, you're unlikely to have sound judgments. Your values and decision making wind up skewed. You stop being able to decide what's worth extra effort and what's not. And you wind up just plain tired. No one makes sharp decisions when tired.

In the end, workaholics don't actually accomplish more than non workaholics. They may claim to be perfectionists, but that just means they're wasting time fixating on inconsequential details instead of moving on to the next task.

Workaholics aren't heroes. They don't save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.

From Jason Fried's excellent e-book REWORK.

I acknowledge my own guilt here.  If you see yourself in this post, there is still time to change.  Someone you love is waiting for you at home.  Leave now.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Admiral John Harvey asks...

Who is responsible for what?
Who is accountable to whom?
Who owns it?
Who is the single, accountable Flag Officer?

My experience, over my career is that if you put one person in charge, give that person the appropriate authority, make that person accountable for the results and that is what you get -- RESULTS.

You can watch Admiral Harvey's SNA presentation HERE.  It is worth your time.

This is genuine leadership training and should be watched by every wardroom in the Navy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Preparing Your Sailors For Leadership

The best time to prepare your Sailors for leadership today was yesterday.
The best time to prepare your Sailors for leadership tomorrow is today.
You've wasted enough yesterdays; don't waste today. 
Your Sailors are counting on you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Heart and Soul

“My heart and soul belonged to God, country and family long before the Navy got ahold of me.”

Commander Jeremiah Denton
Prisoner of War - Vietnam

Friday, January 20, 2012

Adjust Your Sails

The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
The realist adjusts the sails.

William A. Ward

Stop complaining and adjust your sails.  You can get the print HERE.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

FY13 Information Warfare Officer Captain Selection Board

RDML Sean R. Filipowski, Captain Steve L. Parode and Captain Tim White represented the IW community as members on the recent FY13 IWO Captain Selection Board.

Key experiences in the Competitive Category: Information Warfare (181X)
1. Cyber Operations and Planning
2. Joint Experience

Information Warfare Community Considerations:  Demonstrated expertise in one or more of the core missions of electronic warfare, computer network operations and signals intelligence is the foundation of Navy Information Warfare.  Information Warfare officers should have balanced professional experience, to include demonstrated leadership, Navy and Joint operational proficiency and qualifications, and technical expertise.  Proven and sustained superior performance in documented positions of leadership and in  difficult, challenging and arduous operational assignments is the ultimate test of readiness for promotion.

Small Plans

"Make no small plans for they have no power to stir the soul." 

Niccolo Machiavelli

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Over a 30 year Navy career one collects a number of meaningful momentos. I suspect that hundreds of Sailors have CNO, MCPON, and assorted other command coins. 

Less than 20 Sailors have a "Sutton". I only know one Sailor who has more than one "Sutton". I was fortunate to get my own "Sutton" in 2003 when I completed my assignment as Director of Training at the Center for Naval Cryptology at Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida. Dick Sutton did this commemorative cartoon for me and it's a real treasure. 

If you have a "Sutton", let me know.

Overmanaged - Under Led.

The problem with many commands, particularly the ones that are failing, is that they tend to be overmanaged and underled.  They may excel in the ability to handle the daily routine, yet never question whether the routine should be done at all. There is a profound difference between leadership and management, and both are important. Good leadership is what makes the difference between a command that just “gets by,” and one that excels.

Even the definitions speak volumes—to manage means to “bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct.” Leading is “influencing, guiding in direction, course, action, opinion.” The distinction is crucial. Leadership is what gives an organization its vision, its focus, and its ability to translate that vision into reality.

As the commanding officer, you stand at the helm of the leadership agenda.

Slightly reworded extract from Lt Col. Jeffrey F. Smith's excellent book on command.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do The Right Thing

Mike Mullen in GQ Mag
"Can you be courteous in the face of an insult? Will you be harsh when your own treatment’s, unkind? Can you be compassionate when cruelty finds you? And will you be upright, when you or those you love are victimized? That is when you have to reach deep and take full measure of the content of your character. That is when you have to rely on your honor, your courage, your commitment, – core values that guide us in the Navy – and resolutely, persistently do the right thing."

Admiral Mike Mullen
while Chief of Naval Operations in 2007

Monday, January 16, 2012

They Want To Be Us

"The United States Navy is the envy of every other navy in the world. They don't want to be like us - they want to be us."

Admiral Leighton Smith

Sunday, January 15, 2012

For Ensign Justin Rogers and Master Chief Hughes

My boat back in 1978 - Black Panther of the Fleet

"In each submarine there are men who, in the hour of emergency or peril at sea, can turn to each other. These men are ultimately responsible to themselves and each other for all aspects of operation of their submarine. They are the crew. They are the ship."

The Submariner's Creed (Excerpt)

Ensign Rogers 
May you become the kind of submariner that MCPO Hughes was.  Our Navy always needs such men.  I salute you both for your service and for your dialog on this blog.  We are all still learning.  Admiral Vern Clark used to tell us that when we stop learning, we stop living.  Keep learning.

Never wrong

We all know the Navy is never wrong, but it is sometimes a little weak on being right.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Being effective in the world

To be effective in the world, it is not sufficient to be well-read. One must also write clearly and succinctly. It is not easy to write well. It means studying to gain a good vocabulary, and practicing to learn how to use it. Joseph Conrad compared writing to carrying heavy bails under a low rope on a hot day. It has been said that good writing is inherently subversive; I agree. Good writing can last for years, stimulating, and inspiring those who read it, and causing them to reassess their views of the world and its institutions. But then, of course, we have gone full circle to the importance of reading books.

Admiral H. Rickover

Thursday, January 12, 2012

You must be willing to speak out.

The deepest joy in life is to be creative. To find an undeveloped situation, to see the possibilities, to decide upon a course of action, and then devote the whole of one's resources to carrying it out, even if it means battling against the stream of contemporary opinion, is a satisfaction in comparison with which superficial pleasures are trivial. But to create, you must care. 

You must be willing to speak out.

Admiral H. Rickover

And I would add, you must be willing to write.  You must be willing to own your opinion, to state it and to claim it as your own.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Noise versus difference

Given a choice, I prefer making a difference to making noise. Time for some of you to stop talking (noise making) and to start making a difference.

Get busy. People are waiting.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


There is something very comfortable in having plenty of stationery.

Charles Dickens

Monday, January 9, 2012

Navy Values

"If the Navy holds a different value system than the society as a whole, then what is that value system, and how do we inculcate it into our Sailors, young and old, in order that we may be an effective institution?
We cannot be effective as a military force if we simply accept, and so adopt, the liberal trends in society as a whole. 
Our problem is we can’t even articulate the necessary Navy value system for ourselves, let alone lay it out in a convincing coherent way for the Sailors, Chiefs, and officers of our Navy. This we must do."
Smart Flag officer ~ circa 1979. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Shout Out for One of the Best 1810 Cryptologic Leaders I Know

One of the guys that I feel truly honored to be associated with has some critical leadership traits that more of our cryptologists need to embrace.  Here are the traits that he has which have made him more significant in our Navy:

  • He is always looking for ways to make a difference.
    He sees his own job description as the bare minimum. Throughout his Navy career he has created opportunities. I think that’s a big part of what leaders do. He identifies opportunities and applies himself and his team, frequently without invitation to do so.  And he takes a large part of their crew right along with them - sometimes kicking and screaming (with delight).
  • He follows that overwhelming desire to take action and leads his crew to more action.
    He uses the regular hours of his day job as a commanding officer to teach his Sailors that there is no known limit to their capabilities.  He and his crew seem to have a voracious appetite for learning and teaching. They thrive on multiple tasks or projects, which lead to increased productivity.  He and his team are always talking about "excess command capacity for more work."  Then they go into action to use that excess capacity to the Navy's advantage.
  • He exerts his influence as much as possible.
    He resigned from the Navy at one point in frustration over major differences in direction.  As a leader  he's been in the trenches long enough to stand above it all and provide his crew with a big picture view where the whole team can assess cause and effect.
  • He always helps other would-be leaders. 
Thanks Shipmate.  You know who you are.  And, so does most everyone else.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


"Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."
George Bernard Shaw.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Multiplying Ideas

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple... But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."
- George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stockdale Leadership Award Winners

“Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and most tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers.”

– VADM James Bond Stockdale, 
Military Ethics. “Machiavelli, Management, and Moral Leadership.” 1987

The 2011 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award winners are Commander Robb Chadwick (CO, USS ROOSEVELT) and Commander Gerald Miranda (USS ASHEVILLE).  These two fine leaders were recognized by the Chief of Naval Operations - Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert on Thursday, 5 January 2012 in the Pentagon's "HALL OF HEROES".

You can read my article about this award and prior year's winners HERE.

Information Warfare Officers - What We Look For In Lateral Transfers To OUR Community

Information Warfare (IW) - (1810). Applicants within this community will be considered from any designator. Primary consideration should be given to sustained superior performers with the skills, education, and background to contribute to the IW core competencies of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Electronic Warfare (EW), and Computer Network Operations (CNO).

The IW community has technical leadership opportunities for officers with undergraduate and graduate degrees in the following preferred fields of study: electrical engineering, systems engineering, computer engineering, physics, mathematics, or computer science. Experience and certifications gained outside traditional academic venues should also be recognized and considered by the Board.

From the Lateral Transfer Board Precepts.