Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Google's Director of Staffing Progam says that even in her digital world, a handwritten "Thank You" note is best

In today's world, e-mail has replaced snail mail as the preferred mode for much communication. But etiquette expert Ms. Post and Judy Gilbert, Google's Director of Staffing Programs, both agree that a handwritten note is still the best way to say "thank you." 

A real-world business anecdote:
The President and CEO of a small but thriving business didn't hire a high six figure salary candidate because that person didn't take the time to say "thank you" for the $150.00 business lunch, the hour of the President's time, or the introduction to his company's most important clients. 

In such cases, Judy Gilbert says "thank you for the meeting" or "thank you for the conversation" is both appropriate and necessary.

And this from the Jessica Liebman, Managing Editor of Business Insider:
I'm the Managing Editor of Business Insider, which means I'm responsible for all of the editorial hiring here. So I'm constantly meeting people of all different levels, from interns to senior editors.

Lately, the majority of people I interview have one mistake in common.
They're all messing up on something that I think is very important when trying to get a job: the "Thank You Email."
Whether we spent thirty minutes meeting in the offices; we Skyped because you're abroad for your Junior spring semester; or we did a quick first-round phone interview, too many people are forgetting to follow up later that day or the next day with a quick email.
It doesn't have to be anything too involved. Truthfully, the shorter the better.

The "Thank You Email" should say a few simple things:
-Thank you for meeting (or talking) with me.
-I really want this job.
-Quick plug about why I'm perfect for it.

If I DON'T get a "Thank You Email", here's what happens:
-I assume you don't want the job
-I think you're disorganized and forgot about following up
-There is a much higher shot I'll forget about you


The best way to complain about something that is broken in the Navy 
is to fix it.    Give it a try.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"I'll call for pen and ink,
and write my mind."

Henry VI, Part 1

Monday, February 27, 2012

Failure - Getting Over It

I fail to influence people to the degree that I would like.  But I keep on trying.  I keep on communicating the message.  Hugh MacLeod has it just right in saying that "We've all failed at some point or another in our lives."  The Question is "What do you come away with?"  I have always used failure to inspire me to do better. Like my Father has said on more than one occasion, "Sometimes 'good enough' just isn't good enough."  So, failure is my muse - also.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

unWritten Rule 14 - Strive for brevity and clarity

It takes longer to write cleanly and crisply.  It shows respect for the time of others when you do (write cleanly).

As you grow in position and assume roles of increasing responsibility and complexity, you truly appreciate those who communicate with brevity and clarity.  Their e-mails, notes and reports will get read!  Conversely, and sadly, good ideas in hard-to-open packages wrapped with complicated bows may be overlooked.

William H. Swanson

Friday, February 24, 2012

Navy SEALS look to diversify... I mean Diversity

The Navy is re-purposing its old push to recruit more minorities into Navy SEAL teams.  

Back in 1999, Congress directed a study by the RAND Institute to look at Black representation in the SEALs and Special Operations units.  The study affirmed what the Navy already knew - SEALs are widely perceived as an all white organization.  Back in 2002, RADM Eric Olson said the problem has never been that Blacks could not qualify for SEALS (less than 30% of applicants of any race make it).  Blacks were (and continue) succeeding in the same percentages as whites.  RADM Olson said the problem was that the Navy couldn't attract Blacks in large enough numbers to make a difference in the overall representation of minorities in the SEALs.

Fast forward to today and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Mark Thompson of TIME Magazine provides a thoughtful update to the Navy's ongoing efforts to increase minority representation among its most elite fighting force.  Obviously some will see this as an effort to undermine the strength of our elite fighting forces.  SEALs and Marines are known for being uncompromising when maintaining standards.  As long as those standards are maintained, the SEALs will welcome all who meet them.  Few can.

You can read Mark's excellent piece HERE.  And don't miss ACT OF VALOR!!

Food for thought

There are 631,914 people (active, Reserve, civilian) serving in the Navy.

Why would you possibly let just 1 of them stand in the way of your success?

Information Dominance Industry Day

Key IDC leaders are briefing industry on a variety of Information Dominance topics on 7 March 2012.

VADM Kendall Card, USN
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance

Focus Questions:
  1. How will the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6) achieve information dominance into the 21st Century?
  2. What are the top five challenges to achieving Information Dominance?
  3. How does the IDC learn what is occurring in the private sector?

The current fiscal environment poses many new challenges to the continuing development of Navy Information Dominance.  The Fiscal Year 13 President’s Budget will incorporate deficit reduction measures and will provide an outlook on future budgets for the next five to ten years.  With major cuts already made to the Department of Defense, additional reductions could result in a strategic shift of the Nation’s military capabilities.  This PB FY-13 overview provides context for Information Dominance Day, identifies cuts, and conveys our priorities.

Focus Questions:
  1. What adjustments to the Information Dominance Strategy are being made as a result of the fiscal environment?
  2. Which IDC programs are Navy focusing on?
  3. How can Industry partners help the Navy Information Dominance meet these fiscal challenges?
  4. What Industry opportunities will develop as part of these potential budget cuts?
Mr. Mark Andress, SES
Director of Warfare Integration Directorate


To operate and fight effectively in future maritime environments, the Navy is undertaking a number of initiatives to minimize the risk of losing a competitive informational advantage over potential adversaries.  Operations in high-threat scenarios require robust over-the-horizon communications, secure networks and data links, and assured access to essential segments of the electro-magnetic spectrum.  Our worldwide networks, data storage, transport mechanisms, and the related infrastructure and personnel are vital for achievement of Information Dominance and key to delivering a robust Tasking, Collection, Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (TCPED) process.

Focus Questions:
  1. What impact will the new fiscal environment have on Navy networks?
  2. How does the Navy address the vast amounts of data collected by increasingly capable ISR platforms?
  3. What role does Industry have in the development and protection of the Navy’s Information backbone?
RDML Jerry Burroughs, USN
Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence


The ability to master the human and physical operating environment includes an in-depth understanding of the status, location, and intent of all forces to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, and execute assigned missions.  Programs that support this effort include Maritime Domain Awareness, integrating unmanned systems into the Navy’s Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, and understanding and exploiting the physical operation environment.  The Navy is pursuing an initiative to develop and acquire new unmanned systems and sensors which will provide new and unique sources of information to support both combat and combat-support missions. 

Focus Questions:
  1. What is the future of the Navy’s ISR family of systems?
  2. How can Industry help achieve Maritime Domain Awareness goals?
  3. How is climate change affecting our ability to understand the physical operating environment?
RADM David Titley, USN
Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy Director, Maritime Domain Awareness and Space


VADM W. Mark Skinner, USN
Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition)


Execution of maritime operations in complex information environments requires knowledgeable, empowered, innovative and decisive leaders, capable of leading a networked maritime force to success in fluid and perhaps chaotic operating environments.  We must recruit, develop and retain a team of world class information professionals that will develop, manage, and employ our information-based capabilities.  To fully realize the Navy’s vision for the future, Navy’s warfighters must fully understand the importance and fragility of its sea-based networks and information-based systems in future warfare. 

Focus Questions:
  1. What are the next steps in the development of the Information Dominance Corps?
  2. How can industry partner with the Navy to develop and train information professionals?
  3. To meet current fiscal challenges, how can Industry augment the Navy’s capabilities and workforce?
RADM William Leigher, USN
Director of Program Integration for Information Dominance


The Navy is strengthening its role as a leader and innovator in the use of information to support all missions outlined in the Naval Operations Concept.  A primary emphasis is on maximizing the value of all available information currently being collected in support of maritime operations in the air, surface, and subsurface domains while ensuring sufficient flexibility exists to fully exploit future Navy, joint, national and coalition sensors currently under development.  The application of combat and operational sensor data, intelligence, oceanography and targeting information is required to execute the full range of maritime missions.

Focus Questions:
  1. What are the next steps in the Navy’s efforts to integrate information from numerous sources for dynamic targeting?
  2. How does the Navy take advantage of commercial technology for delivering assured command and control?
  3. How can automatic baselining help “make-sense” of the vast amounts of data collected in 21st Century warfare?
  4. How can the Navy capitalize on industry technology advancements while minimizing operational impacts and investment costs?
RDML Jan Tighe, USN
Director, Decision Superiority, OPNAV N2N6F4


In addition to using information to maximize support to traditional maritime missions, Navy is moving to employ information itself as a weapon.  Information as warfare is expected to deliver expanded maneuver space for our forces, provide expanded operational and strategic options, and amplify Navy current kinetic combat capabilities.  This includes the direct employment of advanced electronic warfare and cyber capabilities for achieving specific operational effects within the battlespace.

Focus Questions:
  1. How will Navy cyber operations complement existing war fighting capabilities?
  2. What role will non-kinetic cyber warfare have in future operations?
  3. How can industry help the Navy modernize the navy’s electronic warfare capability?
  4. In the current fiscal environment, how is the Navy pursing rapidly developing technological capabilities in electronic warfare and cyber operations?
VADM Michael Rogers, USN
Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/Commander, U.S. 10th Fleet

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

unWritten Rule 32 - situational value systems

Watch out for people who have situational value systems - who can turn the charm on and off depending on the status of the person they are interacting with.

Be especially wary of those who are rude to people perceived to be in subordinate roles.  This kind of behavior is not the mark of a leader.

William H. Swanson
Chairman and CEO

Navy League Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Award Winner

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Leadership Influence

"Furthermore, leadership is less about control and all about influence. Truth is we control very little, but WE can influence just about anything we choose to (and everything is a choice). Personally, I wish we would spend more time influencing the things that matter most, vice attempting to control the things we fool ourselves into believing we can."

More thoughtful posting here at CONNECTING THE DOTS.

Knowing that one person can change the world - certainly a group of thoughtful, purposeful Naval officers can change the Navy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Entrusted with national treasure no longer

"I am humbled beyond words to suddenly find myself entrusted with this national treasure that is our incredibly talented crew and the remarkable ship that they maintain and take to sea.  The challenges before us are formidable…yet, the talent and level of commitment I have seen from this crew leaves no doubt in my mind that Wyoming will exceed expectations and always remain a ready strategic asset."
Commander Diego Hernandez
Upon assumption of command of USS WYOMING

On 4 February 2012, Commander Diego Hernandez, commanding officer of USS WYOMING was fired for mishandling classified materials, just three weeks before his scheduled relief.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Short Issues To Ground

If you sense that your organization is spending more time on the bureaucracy of solving a problem than on the actual solution, you need to simplify the problem-solving process.

"Shorting issues to ground" means finding the quickest path - from problem to solution - avoiding the non-value-adds procedures and delays.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't need to be a 4 star to understand this

"We must never lose sight of the fact that it is our Sailors who carry the burdens of our bad decisions." 

Admiral John Harvey
Commander, Fleet Forces Command

Friday, February 17, 2012

For all my fellow idealist Shipmates out there

"Go back to the time when you were the idealist, when you stood for something, when your dreams were clearer than the reality that told you that you were crazy. Go back to that. Be that person again…the one we used to love."  The one your Sailors loved.

Simon Sinek
"Will We Cry When You Die?"
Author of "START WITH WHY"

Simon Sinek answers Commander Sean Heritage's question in a video interview with Scott Dinsmore at the 24:00 mark in this video HERE.  Commander Heritage is the Commanding Officer of Navy Information Operations Command Pensacola, Florida.  NIOC Pensacola is Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet's PURPLE COW.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Duck and cover - or announce some great ship names quickly

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced on 15 February 2012 the next five Navy ships; three Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers, the USS John Finn, the USS Ralph Johnson, and the USS Rafael Peralta, and two littoral combat ships (LCS), the USS Sioux City and the USS Omaha.

Secretary Mabus named the three destroyers after Navy and Marine Corps heroes whose actions occurred during different conflicts which spanned several decades, but were united in their uncommon valor.  The littoral combat ships were named after two American communities.

This is viewed by many skeptics as damage control efforts and will go a long way in deflecting criticism of Secretary Mabus' naming of the USS John Murtha and USS Gabrielle Giffords.

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report on ship naming is HERE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not happy with your Flag/General officer? General Petraeus explains...

"You know the deal. When you reach this position in the military, you’re only as good as the material your subordinates give you."

General David Petraeus
2007 TIME magazine "Person of the Year Runner Up"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One of my truly awesome Shipmates reports the following dilemma

Many thanks to Scott Adams.  More of his brilliance HERE.

For my Shipmate, stay awesome.  Your Shipmates may not catch on but they'll never be able to attach that anchor chain if you keep moving forward.  Some folks will refuse to follow you, even when you are one of the few who actually knows the way.

Monday, February 13, 2012

10 Tips From "My Old Man" - The Chief (CMSGT)

1.  Sometimes 'good' is not good enough.
2.  In the beginning - keep your hair cut, your shoes shined and you mouth shut.
3.  Hard work never killed anyone.  Not any Sailors, anyway. 
4.  Keep at it until you get it right.  If it's not right, you're not done.
5.  Always tell the truth.  That way you never have to remember what you said.
6.  The only way to know what's going on on the mid-watch is to be on the mid-watch.  Visit your people on the mid-watch.  Day ladies, that means you.
7.  Always write it down.  Take my word for it.  You'll wish you had written it down.
8.  Take care of your people.  Toughen them up for the long haul.  20-30 years in the service can wear a person down.  No professional compromises.  You'll regret them.
9.  A good Fitness Report writes itself.  Do the hard work required to do a great job.
10.  Never ask one of your people to write their own award or Fitness Report.  It's not right.  And if it's not right, you're not done.  Go back and write their award and Fitness Report.  They deserve the recognition.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What is WRONG with this picture?

That's better.  The ship is right side up now.

Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus unveils his decision to name LCS-10 USS Gabrielle Giffords.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Rear Admiral John Haley, Commander GEORGE WASHINGTON STRIKE GROUP, fired Captain Robert Marin as commanding officer of the Yokosuka, Japan-based cruiser USS COWPENS on Friday "while Navy officials conduct an investigation into inappropriate personal behavior."

Captain Marin relieved Captain Holly Ann Graf as commanding officer of USS COWPENS on 13 January 2010 following her relief for cause as the result of NJP where she was found to have violated Articles 93 and 133 of the UCMJ.  Captain Graf was the first woman to command an Arleigh Burke destroyer and a cruiser in the Navy.

CAPT Robert Marin
United States Navy
COWPENS' Eleventh Commanding Officer

Captain Rob Marin was born in Los Angeles, California. He started his Naval career in June 1983 as a Constructionman Recruit. After being selected for an ROTC Scholarship, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1987 and was commissioned as an Ensign.

His sea duty assignments include tours of duty in USS JOSEPH STRAUSS (DDG-16) as the First Lieutenant, USS JOHN YOUNG (DD-973) as the Combat Information Center Officer, USS CROMMELIN (FFG-37) as the Combat Systems Officer, Commander Destroyer Squadron ONE as the Combat Systems Officer, Executive Officer, USS VANDEGRIFT (FFG-48) and Commanding Officer, USS GARY (FFG-51).

His shore assignments include Flag Lieutenant for Commander, Naval Surface Reserve Force; Appropriations Congressional Liaison in Washington DC; student at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval War College.

In November 2006 Captain Marin returned to Washington to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Surface Warfare Directorate (OPNAV N86) and assumed duties as the Financial Branch Head.

Captain Marin has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with 1 gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 3 gold stars, and Navy Achievement Medal with 1 gold star.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Challenge Of Command

"It is sometimes frustrating to try and explain to anyone—military or civilian—what “being a Navy commanding officer” is all about simply because they cannot possibly grasp the depth, complexity, hours and personal commitment involved.    Nor could you.    I am a teacher, counselor, rescuer, parent, mentor, priest, confessor, judge and jury, executioner, cheerleader, coach, nudger, butt-kicker, hugger, social worker, lawyer, shrink, doctor, analyst, budgeteer, allowance giver, career planner, assignment getter, inspector, critiquer, scheduler, planner, event planner, task master, and absolutely as often as necessary — sacrificial lamb and arrow catcher. I am my Sailor's commanding officer, and will only do this job one way while I’m in it . 

I will do whatever it takes to serve them."

The Skipper

For more on the Skipper's responsibilities, Chapter 8 U.S. Navy Regulations

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sustaining Relationships

In Leo Tolstoy's retelling of the Russian proverb "The Three Questions," the final question is the most critical:

What is the most important thing to do?

Of all the things I've done in my life to sustain relationships with colleagues, students, and schools, I think the routine of handwritten notes sent to others may be the most important. This may strike you as absurd, or make you wonder if I've ever done anything that matters in my professional life. But time and again, when it comes to innovation and collaboration that endures, nothing forges more of a connection or an impression than taking the time to write a short, kind note on stationary at a time when it isn't expected or required.

Brenda Power
Choice Literacy

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wisdom from Captain Howie Ehret - "On Getting Things Done"

Making things happen in the Navy...

"I'll send you a message, you send me a message, then we'll get a bunch of guys together and make things happen."

From the best-selling paperback - "The Wit and Witticism of Chairman How" - Captain Howie Ehret, Old School Publishing Company

Back in the day, it wasn't any more complicated than that.  Have a great idea?  Let's make it happen - 'Chairman How' style.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hard to believe seven years have passed since the 10th month of my "30 day" temporary assignment as the Secretary of Defense's Staff Director of the Detainee Task Force.  30 days turned into 6 months, which turned into 2 years.  

My Admin Chief was YNC(SW) John Krauss, one of the Pentagon heroes from the 9-11 attack.  Our Geren-Maples group did some important work over those two years. 

In the end, I was literally the last man standing and closed up the office in March 2006.  More than 40,000 documents of every conceivable classification were turned over to the National Archives.  

Having been very close to this personally for over two years, I believe historians and the public will look back favorably on the level of integrity that Secretary Rumsfeld brought to the processes.  One formal investigation led to more than 16 other formal investigations.  His direction to us was to "follow the truth, wherever it may lead us." 

Monday, February 6, 2012

The more a man writes,
the more he can write.

William Hazlitt

Sunday, February 5, 2012


"Turbulence is inevitable, but misery is optional. Make turbulence work for you."

"If you say your people are important, you better mean it."

Howard Putnam
Former CEO Southwest Airlines @ the USNA Leadership Conference

Saturday, February 4, 2012

On "Creating Time"

Last summer witnessed the release of the Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles. The document’s self-described purpose is to “unify the efforts of the Cryptologic Community,” and it outlines the community’s beliefs, mission, and values. The document boldly states: “Time is our most precious resource. We will make time for what is most important and we will create time for Operational Commanders.” The community’s mission statement echoes this theme of creating time, declaring that we will “apply our core skills of SIGINT, CNO, and EW to create time and effects for and as operational commanders...”

The idea of creating time in warfare is not new. Employing operational art, a Western concept dating back to the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, commanders have sought to balance the operational factors of time, space, and force to their advantage. Of these three operational factors, time is unique in that lost time can never be regained. Time, however, can be created by successfully balancing it with another operational factor, such as force. In this case, the application of the cryptologic community’s core skills represents the operational factor of force. Today, while technology has evolved, the essence of applying the core skills of SIGINT, CNO, and EW is the same and the goal has not changed. In the information age, applying our core skills has never been more important. And in the rapid-fire environment of modern warfare, time is of the essence. Whether operating ashore or afloat, in the air or under the sea, Cryptologic Technicians follow in the footsteps of those who preceded them. In the spirit of Station Hypo, the efforts of the cryptologic community continue to focus, first and foremost, on creating time for the operational commander.

Lieutenant Commander Chuck Hall
Brief excerpt from upcoming article in INFODOMAIN magazine 
You can read his full article HERE.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Certain Aspects of Our Profession Are Fundamental - They Should Never Change

Rear Admiral James S. McFarland and I carried on a regular correspondence for almost 20 years. He was a great mentor and a conscientious note/letter writer. This last response was just before his death in February 2003. We had been exchanging ideas about the future of cryptology in our Naval profession. He was committed to the idea that some aspects of our profession were fundamental and should never change.

He was deeply proud of the 10,000 or so Sailors that comprised the Cryptologic Community. He, more than most, understood the value of those Sailors to the Navy and its mission. He believed in taking care of his Sailors and his Sailors knew it.
 Rest in peace Admiral.  Rest in peace.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our Community's Foundational Principles

Lots of good stuff HERE.  Some thoughtful, enthusiastic, well-meaning IWs, CTs and other members of the Cryptologic Community put this together.  And, it is endorsed by our community's Flag officers and senior civilian leadership.  Give it a read.  Send some feedback to Commander Sean Heritage, if you have time.  These principles were meant to be shared.  Spread the word.

Morals and Ethics

There  is  abundant   evidence around  us for one to conclude that morals and ethics are becoming less prevalent in people's lives. The standards of conduct  which lay deeply buried in accepted thought  for centuries are no longer absolute. People seem unable to  differentiate  between physical relief and moral satisfaction. Many confuse material success in life with virtue.

Admiral H. Rickover

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Excellence in Action

Commander Matt Bonner, Commanding Officer of USS CONSTITUTION in Charlestown, Massachusetts is an awesome example of the model commanding officer described in Navigating A New Course to Command Excellence.

Superior commanding officers focus on the big picture. They set priorities, establish policy, and develop long-range plans. They target only a few key issues at a time. In explaining his priorities, one CO says: "I regularly have captain's call with all paygrades so I can reinforce any points that I want to emphasize. I always talk about combat readiness, safety, and cleanliness. And whenever I ask them what my priorities are, they always tell me, "Readiness, safety, and cleanliness." Once they identify the critical needs of the command and chart a direction, these COs accomplish the command's mission by inspiring others and working through them.

This means that superior COs recognize the importance of their relationships with other people, and they concentrate on developing those relationships within and outside the command.  In dealing with the executive officer, superior COs are concerned not only with immediate issues but with overall progress: they look upon the XO as an assistant, but they know that this assistant is a future CO. Together, they discuss plans and review courses of action, and the CO is especially careful to keep the XO informed of command decisions. Whenever possible, the CO delegates, leaving room for the XO to function independently.

In the same way, the best COs develop their department heads and division officers, delegating work and meeting frequently for planning and review. They monitor morale and try to create a climate of mutual support.

They take an interest in the well-being of their officers and express a willingness to talk about significant personal problems. They pay special attention to first-year officers, making sure they start out on a strong career footing.

With more experienced officers, they provide opportunities for professional development and encouragement to move up through the chain of command.