Friday, May 31, 2013

Keep learning

 “He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

A couple of things about caring for Sailors that I learned at my first command - 1977-1979

Learning is a lifelong process.   "Stop learning - stop living" someone wise once told me.  First commands offer an incredible and long-lasting learning experience if you really pay attention.  I like to think that I did pay attention.

Some of the leadership best practices I picked up from then Captain James S. McFarland (a career long mentor and later-in-life friend):

- When Sailors reported to the command, he wrote letters to the parents letting them know that their son/daughter had arrived safely in a very distant Misawa, Japan and that his Chiefs would take care of them.  Commands which make this time are remembered long after the Sailor departs.  Some commands have the Department Head or Executive Officer do this.

- Most Sailors were sent to the Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa photo lab for their "official Navy photo".  Little did the Sailors know that the CO actually sent these photos back to the parents.  Captain McFarland also sent a copy of my Sailor of the Quarter (SOQ) photo to my parents, as well - along with a copy of "The Misawan" newspaper's SOQ announcement.  Sent in 1979, my family still has these.  Getting a photo of their Sailor means a lot to parents.  If you doubt it, ask a parent!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Old Ideas for the IW Community - from 2010

More than 3 years ago, I posted this "empty" gauge for ideas for the IW community. As a result, here are some of the ideas that I received. While all were good ideas, none were fully implemented. For me, this is the difference between thinking and doing. Many strong thinkers, not enough strong doers.

1. IW Commanding Officers (COs) should self organize, set their own agenda and have their own IW Commanding Officer's conference via VTC/teleconference to discuss IW community issues. ((A work in progress))

2. Like-minded IW officers could meet in cyberspace (GOTOMEETING.COM) and chat (brain storm) once a month (on a specific topic) at a designated time with a moderator (IWOCM?).

3. IW COs could set up a best practices blog (similar to the Army's Company Commander's site) to share ideas and practices that have worked for them. ((VADM Rogers has done this with a blog under BETA testing now))  ((2013 Update:  CRYPTOCORE is dead.))

4. Re-evaluate where we are as a community. Can we 'bring back' cryptology? ((Underway)

5. IWOs could become insurgents (ala Seth Godin) and self-market to the warfighter. We used to 'sell' our SIGINT capability to the warfighter and had Flag officers champion our capabilities. How do we regain that?

6. Information Warfare Commanders self-organize and set their own agenda and have their own IW Commander conference via VTC/teleconference to discuss IW Commander issues. Built a story for their reliefs. What are the respective IW Commanders doing? What are they not doing that they should?

7. Build a repository of IW officer and enlisted lessons learned from the IA/GSA experience on SIPRNET. What are we doing right; what have we done wrong?

8. Review our progress on the IW officer survey. Where do we stand on the actions recommended in the survey? Are we done? What did we accomplish with the survey? ((Ideas died on the vine))

9. Get the IW blog back into the open. (Note: I think this is done now with some visibility on FaceBook). If it's good enough for Admiral Chad Allen (USCG) and Admiral Jim Stavridis (SOUTHCOM), then it's good enough for us. Hey, do our Flags tweet? ((VADM Rogers working this personally))  ((2013 Update: CRYPTOCORE is dead.; actually, very much alive and well!)

10. Change our detailing process. (Not much help with this one since no other specifics were provided. What do you want to change about it? What paygrades are we talking about? Is it detailing in general or slating/command screening? More specifics, please. Not enough to go on here).

Addition from a few years ago: (6/8/10)

11. Provide more transparency on the command slating process. Republish the O5/O6 slate and distribute widely. ((A work in progress))

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Character of a Naval officer

By Rear Admiral Harley F. Cope
July, 1951

Assuming that there are three officers each of whom respects, and is respected, by a group of men, what qualities will one possess that will inspire the men to look upon him as their leader? They will lean toward the one officer possessing the strongest character. By character is meant integrity, courage, morality, humility, and unswerving determination. Character is a spiritual force. It is a reflection of a man's grip upon himself, the degree to which he is able to dominate the baser instincts that beset us all.

Because men know that the conquest of one's own weaknesses is a far, far more difficult task than any other, they tend to believe that he who can conquer himself, can also conquer whatever problem is at hand. 

Your first job, then, is to learn to know your own weaknesses and conquer them
. Our fears are a key to our weakness, because we fear only the things which we feel we cannot do well. We all have fears. Force yourself to conquer and to face squarely every situation you are afraid to meet. It is not being afraid but running away that weakens character. When you have accomplished this, you will have developed character.

The Naval Officers Manual
A Ready Reference to Helpful Information and Counsel for
All Officers of the United States Navy and the Marine Corp

Sunday, May 26, 2013

For my "responsively challenged" friends in the islands

"To acknowledge the receipt of letters is always proper, to remove doubts of their miscarriage."
~George Washington

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Significant Role of the Navy Chief Petty Officer (CPO) In Superior Commands

"The backbone of the Navy" is how one old adage sums up the importance of the chiefs quarters. Superior commands are especially quick to acknowledge the chief petty officer's special role and contribution. The uniqueness of that role is a function both of the position the chief occupies in the organizational structure and of the job qualifications that must be satisfied before the position is attained. Chiefs have considerable managerial and technical expertise and are the linchpin between officers and enlisted.

For there to be a strong chiefs quarters, the chiefs must feel that they are valued and that they have the authority and responsibility to do the job the way they think it ought to be done. In superior commands, the chiefs feel that their special leadership role is sanctioned and appreciated by the rest of the command, especially the CO. In these commands, the chiefs are included in all major activities, particularly planning. Their input is sought and readily given. If they believe that something won't work or that there is a better way to do it, they speak up.

Chiefs in superior commands lead by taking responsibility for their division. They motivate their subordinates, counsel them, defend them when unjustly criticized, monitor and enforce standards, give positive and negative feedback, communicate essential information, solicit input, monitor morale, and take initiative to propose new solutions and to do things before being told. The chiefs play a key role in the enforcement of standards. Because they are out and about, they see for themselves whether job performance and military bearing meet the Navy's and the command's requirements.

When work is done well, they offer recognition and rewards; when it is done poorly, they act to correct it. They also know the importance of modeling the kind of behavior they expect their people to display. If they expect their personnel to work long hours to get something done, they work the same hours right along with them. Their concerns extend beyond their immediate areas, however.

Chiefs in superior commands act for command-wide effectiveness, promoting the success of the unit as a whole. Although they have a strong sense of ownership and take responsibility for their division's activities, they are able to look beyond the job at hand: when other departments or divisions need assistance, chiefs in superior commands are willing to help.

The superior chiefs quarters usually has a strong leader who plays the role of standard-bearer for the command, creates enthusiasm, offers encouragement, and drives others to excel. It is usually someone whom the other chiefs perceive as fair, who stands up for their interests and those of the crew, who listens with an open mind, and who has demonstrated a high degree of technical proficiency.

In superior commands, the chiefs quarters functions as a tight-knit team. The chiefs coordinate well, seek inputs from each other, help with personal problems, identify with the command's philosophy and goals, and treat each other with professional respect.

Finally, this ability to perceive larger goals and to work toward them as a team extends to their relationships with division officers. Chiefs in superior commands are sensitive to the difficulties that arise for division officers, who lack experience and technical know-how but must nevertheless take their place as leaders within the chain of command. A superior chiefs quarters supports and advises these new officers fully and tactfully.

Want to have a superior command?  It's ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to get there without a superior CPO mess.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Naval officers should be good writers

Jeff Bacon's awesome Broadside Cartoons
How does one become a good writer?

a. Anyone who has the brains to gain a commission has the brains to become a good writer. It requires work. It doesn’t come easily or quickly. It demands time and effort to master the language. It demands practice, practice and more practice. Lastly, the writer must have something to say. The task is to deliver the message of substance in the clearest possible way. Almost always this means the shortest way.
b. A person who reads a lot soon finds that writing is almost as easy as reading. Most effective officers read a lot, and not just instruction manuals.
c. The only way to become a writer is to write. There are reasons why the services are so free with dictionaries and run so many courses on fundamental writing skills. There are reasons why the services have either published or adopted a manual style and format. The services want to provide opportunities for mastery of the language. Just as a condition of the profession demands that an officer master a particular weapon, learning the language of the profession is similarly essential. Poor spelling, poor grammar and lack of specific vocabulary are excuses, not the result of effort. Even great athletes, whose stock in trade is essentially muscular coordination, understand the need for practice.
d. In the same way, good writing comes from practice and practice and more practice. Only after the process of making words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into chapters becomes a natural rhythmic process does the stamp of individuality and personality shine through the writing to the reader.
e. Extensive practice creates the ability to look at a problem, define its important parts and discover the possible solutions. Before one can write, one has to think. What an officer thinks will be reflected in the structure, the choice of words and the logic of the writing. This does not mean that the task will ever become easy. Good writing always will require more perspiration than inspiration.
f. While this may sound formidable, it is one key to professional progress and is worth the effort.
From:  The Armed Forces Officer, Chapter 12

More humor from Jeff Bacon HERE.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

In case you need a reminder

Honest, Open and Robust Dialogue


From Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers', Commander, Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet "Assumption of Command" message.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I thought the Chiefs were already doing this

With reports of sexual harassment and assault on the rise in the military, Master Chief Petty Officer of the (AW/NAC) Navy Mike Stevens is calling on all chief’s to take action.

“This is a call to arms and I’m going to issue every chief petty officer in the Navy a compass and tell them to get to work,” Stevens told Navy Times. “I’m not creating anything new here, but acting within the limits of of my authority as MCPON as I knew I could go to my chiefs and call them to action in wiping this from our ranks.” 

“I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on what the president and other leaders discussed during the meeting and what we as chief petty officers might be able to do to get to the left of this terrible issue,” he said in the message.

“This isn’t a high profile program and doesn’t cost a bunch of money,” he said. “This is good old fashioned Chief Petty Officer leadership. We are in this together. It is our duty." 

MCPON Mike Stevens

You can read the full NAVY Times article HERE.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Powerful Conversations

Our strongest Navy Commanding Officers develop and cultivate a distinct voice of servant leadership.  They strive to bring about top performance within their commands to realize the power of strategic, command-wide alignment. These men and women crystallize their organization’s vision for their Sailors. They effectively forge a coordinated effort and make the daily routine within their commands seem effortless.  These amazing leaders seek new ways to express the "WHY" behind their mission, vision and values. 

The effective CO's message provides a framework for thought and a conduit for action throughout their commands.  They use every means possible to communicate with as many Sailors in the organization as possible in as many different ways as possible.  Their message permeate their commands.  They get the right things done, the right way at the right time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

FY2013 Copernicus Award Winner - LT Ryan Haag - Information Warfare Officer

Our Shipmate, LT Ryan N. Haag, USN serving at Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia is an FY2013 Copernicus Award winner.


Lieutenant Haag, as Air Operations Officer, leads a 53-person division that provides Special Evaluators, Special Signals Operators, and Special Operators for the Africa Command (AFRICOM), European Command (EUCOM), and Central Command (CENTCOM) areas of responsibility (AORs). He also manages Navy Information Operations Command - Georgia's Information Warfare Officer/Information Dominance Warfare Officer (IWO/IDWO) training program, where he tracks the qualifications of 34 officers. 

From February through June 2012, LT Haag was in charge of two EP-3E aircraft crews. While deployed, he streamlined time-sensitive mission information flow, which resulted in a 400% increase in time-sensitive reports. He taught his crews to use collaboration tools on the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System network to better share and store signals intelligence information for customers. 

These efforts were praised by collection managers at 6th FLEET, AFRICOM, and various national-level divisions. In addition, despite the absence of a budget and cryptologic maintenance personnel, LT Haag led his Sailors in 40 ground hours and countless in-flight hours troubleshooting and repairing specialized geo-location equipment and SIGINT reporting circuits on board his EP-3Es. 

LT Haag also re-wrote the Navy's communication requirements for the Consolidated Reconnaissance Operating Facility at Souda Bay, Greece. Working with national end-user support divisions, LT Haag directed the installation of more than $50,000 in computer and server equipment, as well as the installation of new fiber lines. He coordinated efforts of various contractors to fix connectivity and geolocation equipment issues on board his EP-3Es, saving more than $10,000 in maintenance funds. Upon returning to NIOC Georgia in June, taking charge of the Air Operations Division, LT Haag worked with subject matter experts to build seven new Joint Qualification Requirements for the AFRICOM, CENTCOM and EUCOM AORs. 

He simplified the data flow path from his deployed crews so that the newly created CTF-1050 Battle Watch could easily integrate EP-3E operations into the daily brief to the NIOC Georgia Commanding Officer. His previous efforts of storing SIGINT data allowed the SIGINT community to quickly respond to the assassination of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in September 2012. 

He volunteered to manage the command's IWO and Information Dominance Warfare Officer (IDWO) training program, and revitalized the program by building a collaborative web page, instituting office hours, and holding weekly O-3 "Murder Boards" to ensure that officers meet the full requirements for IWO and IDWO qualification. In addition, he telecast weekly training sessions, which allows officers at NIOC Georgia's eight reservist units to make progress on their IWO and IDWO qualifications.

More about the COMTENTHFLT awardees HERE.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lose your Sailors, lose our future

A mentor explained his steadfast approach to reaching every single Sailor in his command on a personal and professional level.  As he explained it, "Our young Sailors (JOs, whitehats and even CPOs) represent our Navy's future, and if you lose the confidence of these Sailors, you giving away our Navy's future success."  "Mike, we  just can't afford that."

I can't find any fault in that.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Money is TIGHT !!!!!!!!!!!!

R 161134Z MAY 13
RMKS/1. In the current fiscal environment, we have significantly reduced our rate of expenditure of appropriated funds to preserve mission essential operations. The following guidance is provided to ensure Commanders are diligent with our limited resources as we work through these budgetary challenges.
2. The authority to use appropriated funds to purchase command coins or other items for presentation such as plaques, ball caps, etc. is suspended until further notice. Previously purchased items may be distributed in accordance with existing policy.
3. This restriction does not apply to items purchased with personal funds or to the purchase of items with the use of official representation funds following appropriate review and approval.
4. I appreciate your continued support and will provide updated guidance as the situation warrants.
5. Vice Chief sends.//

Captain Forbes Owen MacVane Retires

Many years ago, a woman asked Forbes' father (Dr. William MacVane) what kind of doctor he was.  Forbes' father replied - "A good one".  The same will be said of Forbes when the question arises - What kind of Captain was Forbes? - "A good one".

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Never Forgotten. A remarkable Sailor was born on this date -- Rest in Peace Steven -- 16 May 79 - 6 Jul 07

CTT1 (SW) Steven Daugherty was born today (my birthday) in 1979 in Apple Valley. No one thought he would leave this earth before he was 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years old. But, the young man is gone. Gone, but not forgotten. No. Not by a long shot.

He was from Barstow, California and really never intended to join the Navy. He was a student in my schoolhouse at the Naval Center for Cryptology at Corry Station, Pensacola. We had about 8000 students graduate in a year. So, I can't say that I even recall who he was. That won't keep me from remembering him.

After his time at Corry, he served in the typical billets of our young Petty Officers. He went to sea and advanced reasonably quickly. While at Navy Information Operations Command Norfolk he became interested in the SEALs and qualified to deploy to a U.S. Navy SEAL team operating in Iraq. He advanced to Petty Officer First Class (E-6) at a pretty good pace.

On 6 July 2007 (my daughter's birthday) he was killed in Iraq by an improvised explosive device (IED).

We can argue about whether Steven Daugherty was a hero or not. We can't argue about his patriotism. There is no doubting that.

Obituary: CTT1 (SW) Steven Phillip Daugherty, USN, 28, passed away July 6, 2007, on duty in Baghdad, Iraq. He was born May 16, 1979, in Apple Valley. Besides his love for the Navy, he enjoyed playing his guitar and spending time with family and friends. He is survived by his parents, Thomas and Lydia Daugherty of Barstow; a son, Steven P. Daugherty Jr. of Tacoma, Washington; two brothers, Robert Daugherty of Omaha, Nebraska, and Richard Daugherty of Colorado Springs, Colorado; a sister, Kristine Daugherty of Killeen, Texas; and his grandmother, Pearl Watkins of Yermo. A graveside service with full military honors was conducted in Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, July 24, 2007, at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Up and coming Information Warfare Officer rock star?

LTJG Stamm and Mario Vulcano
There is no shortage of bright, well-educated, highly motivated, athletic, forward-thinking, energetic, and young talent in the Information Dominance Corps.  We are fortunate to get our new talent from a variety of commissioning sources and from the other warfare communities.  LTJG Stephanie Stamm is one such officer.  A former Surface Warfare Officer (SWO), LTJG Stamm recently completed the Information Warfare Basic Course (IWBC) with perfect scores across the board.  She is the first officer to do this in recent memory.  (If you know someone else has done this, please let Mario Vulcano know).  In my three years as Director of Training for the Navy's cryptologic schoolhouse from 2000 - 2003, no one achieved this significant milestone.  

Congratulations LTJG Stamm.  Great job.  I am sure you will make a difference for your Shipmates at Navy Information Operations Command Maryland.  BZ!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Are you making any difference at all?

Summer is usually the time for some turnover at a several of our Navy Information Operations Commands at home and abroad.  This is a good time to go back and review what your command, your Sailors and you have achieved over these past few years.  

How have you helped your Sailors get to the next level in their careers?  What significant improvements have you made in mission accomplishment?  Did you behave as if Sailors were our Navy's most important asset?  What specific actions did you take to improve the Quality of Life for them and their families? What genuine legacy do you leave behind?  What bridges have you built to the command's future?  How many Sailors have you helped achieve their personal/professional goals?  In the end, what difference have you made?   

I hope you can answer these questions to your own satisfaction when one of our Flag officers pins on a Meritorious Service Medal or Legion of Merit on your chest and tells "All Hands assembled" what a great man/woman you are.  Be the great man/woman that you are said to be.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Navy Promotion System & Selection Boards

Officers must have confidence in the promotion system or discipline will be jeopardized. Unless the best officers are promoted, faith of other officers and enlisted men in the integrity of the system will be shaken. It is essential that officers be promoted who will be best qualified to lead in battle.

They must have other qualifications, such as good administrative and technical ability and a wide array of knowledge also, but the rest of the Navy must have absolute confidence in those selected. Should the less qualified personnel be selected, there will come a time in battle in which the Navy will fail because of its leadership. Like begets like (e.g., ducks pick ducks), and inadequate personnel, once they have moved up sufficiently to be on a selection board, will themselves be apt to select other inadequate personnel.

Admiral Arleigh A. Burke
Chief of Naval Operations

Interesting article/post from CDR Michael Junge (former CO USS Whidbey Island) on Flag Officer Selection - WHAT DOES A DUCK LOOK LIKE? - Naval Flag Officers In 2002.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Navigating Life - Steering One's True Course

This short piece of mine won the 2010 LESSONS IN MANLINESS contest sponsored by THE ART OF MANLINESS blog. 
Happy 86th Birthday
CWO4 Exum !!

Today, at 86 years young, Wallace Louis Exum remains the embodiment of true Navy leadership.
He is a man who lives his life richly in our Navy’s history, has performed bravely in battle, written lovingly about our Navy’s past and has prepared so many young men and women to lead our Navy’s future.

The Navy brought onto its rolls an improbable leader and a truly remarkable individual in an underaged 16 year old Seaman Recruit named Wallace Louis Exum in September 1943. Born in Akron, Ohio and raised mostly in the Los Angeles, California area by his two very loving parents, “Wally” Exum knew he had to perform his patriotic duty and join his young friends fighting the war in the Pacific.

Seaman Exum had not been in the Navy long before he strayed from his true course. More than once, he ran afoul of the Navy’s rules and regulations. Somewhere early-on he earned the nickname “Bigtime” for his easy-going manner, his extra thick Navy mattress and his home-of-record -- Los Angeles. More than once he had some difficulty in finding his way back to his ship on time. But, he never did anything seriously wrong and NEVER ONCE did he ever do anything with malice against anyone.

17 February 1945 marked one of the many milestones in his life when he was wounded in battle as his Landing Craft Infantry (LCI-457) came under fire during the battle for Iwo Jima. On 17 February 1945, Landing Craft Infantry vessels supported underwater demolition teams (UDT), which conducted beach and surf condition surveillance and neutralized underwater obstacles. Japanese coastal batteries heavily damaged 12 of the vessels, resulting in 38 killed and 132 wounded. At 18 years old, Wally was among those many young men wounded who earned the Purple Heart Medal. The skipper of his LCI, a LT, won the Navy Cross.

Having won the war on both sides of the world, the military released many young men from the service. Wally Exum was among those men. But, somehow, he always found his way back to the Navy. He served in the Navy during the Korean War and Vietnam.

Over his career he found himself at sea for 18 years and gave the Navy and the nation 42 years of selfless service. His service took him around the world. He continues to serve the Navy in retirement today as a “Goodwill Ambassador”; his wonderful books tell the Navy’s story – and a wonderful story it is.

In 1981 at 55 years old, he was the first (and only) Chief Warrant Officer assigned as an instructor to the Navy’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island. Somehow, the Chief of Naval Personnel, VADM Lando Zech had a personal hand in assigning CWO3 Exum to OCS. As a Celestial Navigation instructor, he would prepare hundreds of young men and women for successful careers as Naval officers – showing them all how to “navigate life – steering one’s true course”.

VADM Zech was certain that CWO3 Exum was the right man to develop these young men and women into professional Naval officers. VADM Zech sent exactly the right man. By all reports CWO3 Exum was an excellent navigation instructor.

With few (if any) exceptions, the officer candidates loved their instructor. Frequently he would spend many extra hours in the evenings with the officer candidates, teaching them the finer points of using a sextant to “shoot the stars” – absolutely essential to celestial navigation.

His evening lectures always ended with the same admonition to the young people trusted to his care. “Remember, ladies and gentlemen”, he would always say, “you can shoot the stars but we never shoot the moon.” The groans from the officer candidates would follow him all the way back to the parking lot where he parked a beautiful convertible Cadillac that his “even more beautiful” Joyce (one of the two loves in his life – the other being his daughter Marilyn) had given to him.

Without their realizing it at the time, Warrant Officer Exum was teaching these young people how to navigate their lives – not just celestial navigation. He taught them good manners, courtesy, honesty, patience, teamwork, integrity and so much more. He taught hundreds of young men and women to be good Naval officers. Those officers went on to lead thousands of Chief Petty Officers and Sailors in our great Navy. It is reasonable to say that CWO Exum impacted the lives of tens of thousands of Sailors through his good work and leadership in Newport, Rhode Island. He helped produce countless Navy Captains and certainly a few Admirals for the Navy. Not too bad for a 55 year old Chief Warrant Officer who was originally uncertain about his ability to get the job done for his friend and mentor Vice Admiral Zech.

Following duty as an instructor and Company Officer at Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, CWO4 Exum was assigned as the Security Officer at the Fleet Activity Sasebo, Japan. Once again, he was challenged to put Sailors on their true course. He had no idea that he would be providing course corrections for his Commanding Officer. But, it didn’t matter. The CO was off course and it was CWO4 Exum’s duty to bring him back to the right course. Turns out the CO was violating Navy Regulations by allowing bulk sales of alcohol to Sailors during all hours of the day and was not attentive to many security issues confronting Fleet Activities Sasebo. Besides being against Navy Regulations, these bulk alcohol sales were creating all kinds of discipline problems among the Sailors in Sasebo – a lot of Sailors and a lot of alcohol are not a good mix. CWO4 Exum tactfully and discretely let the CO know that the bulk alcohol sales were prohibited by Navy Regs and were causing some discipline problems among the Sailors, as well as some black- market issues with the Japanese. CWO4 Exum also informed the CO about a number of security issues the base faced. The CO wouldn’t hear any of it. CWO4 Exum knew he had to get the CO on course to protect the CO from himself and to protect the Sailors. He told the CO he would take it up the chain of command. Anyone who knows anything about the Navy understands this put CWO4 Exum in a really tough spot. No one enjoys telling their CO that he’s wrong. And the CO sure doesn’t enjoying hearing it. But CWO4 Exum had long ago committed himself to “steering a true course”. CWO4 Exum filed his report and the CO promptly sent the Chief Warrant Officer to the psychiatric ward at the Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan. It was readily apparent to the doctors examining CWO4 Exum exactly what the CO had in mind. They kept CWO4 Exum aboard for a short period and released him back to Sasebo “fit for full duty.” Somehow the bulk alcohol sales ended soon thereafter and CWO4 Exum got the attention of the right people in the chain of command the correct the many security deficiencies aboard Sasebo. Once again, this part of the Navy was back on its “one true course.”

And that is what his life is all about. You’ll find him teaching celestial navigation in the middle and high schools in Washington State from time to time. I am sure those students haven’t figured it out yet but ‘ol mister Exum is teaching them how to navigate life. Those kids are still getting lessons in courtesy, teamwork, honesty and so much more. Count on CWO4 Exum to make sure all the charts are current, we’re steering by the stars, we’re taking the whole crew and everyone is steering “one true course”.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a lesson in manliness.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The 2013 Information Dominance Corps - Battle of Midway Commemoration Dinner

The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for 
Information Dominance/Director of Naval Intelligence


The Commander U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/Commander U.S. TENTH Fleet

 request the pleasure of your company

 at the Battle of Midway Commemoration Dinner

on Saturday, the eighth of June

two thousand and thirteen at six o'clock in the evening

at the United States Naval Academy Stadium, N* Room

511 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland

R.S.V.P. by 24 May 2013

Military:  Dinner Dress White Jacket  or Service Equivalent

Civilian:  Black Tie Equivalent

 All IDC Officers, E-7 and above, GS/GG-06 and above and spouses/significant others are invited to attend

Please click on the link to purchase tickets :

Navy fires its NINTH Commanding Officer in 2013

Captain Timothy Rudderow, Commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group TWO, relieved Commander Michael Runkle as Commanding Officer, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit TWO.

Captain Rudderow cited his "loss of confidence in Commander Runkle's ability to command" as the reason for firing him.

From Navy News:

"EODGRU 2 learned of MDSU 2 command climate concerns in January 2013 after discussions with MDSU 2 members. As a result of those discussions, a command climate survey was ordered in January. The MDSU 2 command climate survey confirmed morale issues and a lack of leadership involvement. Based on those results, EODGRU 2 took administrative actions to correct the identified deficiencies.

As a result of a diving accident in February in which two Sailors drowned, EODGRU 2 convened a command investigation. That investigation brought to light continued command climate weaknesses. Additionally, the investigation revealed safety concerns that were not previously known. The safety issues identified in the EODGRU 2 command investigation were contributing factors in the decision to relieve Runkle."

How Does Your Skipper Measure Up?

From The Navy Leadership Development Outcomes Wheelbook

These Navy leader development outcomes are the baseline character attributes, behaviors, and skills expected of you as a Navy leader as the scope of your responsibility grows throughout your career. The outcomes build over time and are designed to be both inspirational and aspirational as you advance in the Navy.
Your commitment to attaining these outcomes will strengthen you as a leader of character and will enhance the mission effectiveness of our great Navy.  Now turn to.

The attributes the Navy expects from its O5/O6 Inspirational Leaders:
  • Is a gifted communicator who inspires a shared vision within the command, by providing purpose, direction, and motivation.
  • Embraces the authority, responsibility, and accountability of command with enthusiasm, selfless devotion, and total commitment to mission readiness and accomplishment.
  • Instills in his/her Sailors the warrior’s spirit and will to win.
  • Develops a positive command climate based on mutual trust, loyalty, and respect, resulting in unity of purpose and unparalleled esprit de corps.
  • Exercises discernment and acts boldly yet prudently in making sound decisions with due consideration of attendant risks.
  • Virtuous in habit, infusing Navy Core Values into the command culture; the moral arbiter for the command.
  • Is a self-aware, innovative critical thinker, and skilled joint warfighter.
  • Is effective in leading up tactfully, confidently, and with cooperative abilities.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hang Your "whispers on a wall" Out There For Others To See

Admiral Jim Stavridis suffers from something his wife calls his "gentle madness". He has an endless supply of books around his home that impatiently await his reading - and even more books await his writing. He carefully manages the small bits of his available time to "read, think, write and publish. 

Fortunately for all of us, technology has advanced sufficiently for all of us to carry all those books and writing tools with us - wherever the Navy takes us. You can use those small bits of available time to record your thoughts on you PDA, phone, iPad or other mobile device. Before long you've captured enough of your own "whispers on a wall" to articulate a meaningful idea in print. As Admiral Stavridis says, "the bottom line is that your ideas will not go anywhere unless you have the courage to 'hang them out there' for others to see."

He's headed back to his alma mater Tufts University as Dean of the Fletcher School . 

"Admiral Stavridis has the rare combination of intellectual curiosity, social intelligence, humility, leadership skills and respect from others that has made him one of the great military and political leaders of his generation," according to David Harris Tufts Provost and Senior Vice President.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Need In Our Navy For Factual Information

There is great need in our own Navy now for factual information. Information must be fed continuously to be effective; it must be given by every medium available; and it must be given by each senior to his subordinates.

It is the job of all officers in top billets in the Navy to explain the plans and the future of the Navy to their service. Later, when the situation permits, it would be desirable if the senior officers were assisted in this duty by a very few qualified personnel, but there is danger in establishing an officer for this purpose too soon.

For the dissemination of such information can be effective only if it is accomplished by many people. As an example, every issue of every Navy publication should have some article in it about the future of the Navy as a whole organization. Many do now. They should be encouraged.

There is a converse to this lack of information being passed down. Unless there is dope coming down, little goes up. Information must be exchanged.

If seniors do not inform their juniors of items of interest, juniors will not feel a strong compulsion to inform their seniors of items of possible interest. No commander can command even a division well unless he is informed of what is going on within his command.

Admiral Arleigh A. Burke

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I can not stress this enough

"Therefore, if you want to be part of the same forum for debate that led young officers like Lieutenant Ernest King to write, if you have a new idea or perspective, if you think you can make the case for that perspective, then I encourage you to write and submit to Proceedings.  Your idea might challenge or support conventional wisdom.  It might be something that no one has thought of – or has taken the time to pen.  It might be an idea on how the sea services improve processes, support people, or modify platforms.  Don’t be satisfied with what “might be.”   Write. Engage. Be part of the debate.  Start the debate."

LCDR Claude Berube
USNA History Professor
Chair of the Editorial Board of Naval Institute Proceedings. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

There is no higher priority than to develop effective Navy leaders

The Chief of Naval Operations' promise to you on what you may expect from your leadership:

Our people are our most valuable and important strategic asset.

Furthering our advantage as the world’s finest Navy requires developing leaders who personify their moral obligation to the naval profession by upholding Navy Core Values and Navy Ethos; fulfill their obligations as leaders of character and integrity; and confidently exercise their authority and responsibility with a strong and abiding sense of accountability for their actions throughout a career of selfless service.

This is a tall order.  Are your leaders delivering on the CNO's promise?  If not, let him know.

The brochure is available HERE.

Friday, May 3, 2013

How a letter reconnected Naval officers - 38 years later

Read about how a letter reconnects the former XO of USS BARBOUR COUNTY (LST 1195) and the former CO of USS LASSEN (DDG 82) many years later.

Commander Hung Ba Le was the commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS LASSEN (DDG 82) from April 2009 to December 2010. One of seven destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, Lassen's namesake is Commander Clyde E. Lassen, who received the Medal of Honor for his courageous rescue of two downed aviators while commander of a search and rescue helicopter in Vietnam. Commander Le is currently serving as a fellow at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs in Cambridge, MA.

Read  Thomas E. Ricks column HERE

Hat tip to LCDR Christopher Nelson for pointing me to this article. He has a excellent blog HERE.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

From The Navy Leader Transition Notebook

Understanding Subordinate Personnel Leadership  
Always find time to talk to your subordinates. Listen to them. Find ways to communicate with them early, not to conduct reconnaissance on their area of responsibilities, but to get a feel for what is on their minds, their concerns and how they assess situations. Understanding their strengths, weaknesses, competence, developmental needs, motivation and issues can help you understand how to improve their effectiveness thus improving the organization.
Formal Assessments
Review the following sources for background on personnel.
  • DH records, service records, DIVOFF notebooks, Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) records on key people.
  • Operational / Training Performance Records.
  • Operational /Deployment/Training Event After Action Reports
Informal Assessments
Take the opportunity to observe leaders and subordinates in informal settings.
  • Contact higher staff and leadership to gather their impressions of your organization and personnel.
  • Continue to be visible around your organization. Get out and walk around.
  • Spend time in the galley, at training sites and in the field talking to Sailors, civilians and leaders doing their jobs. Never be too busy to stop and ask for thoughts and ideas from your subordinates.
  • Visit your BEQs during duty hours, at night and on weekends. Talk to staff duty officers and Petty Officers and visit with Sailors. 
  • Observe subordinates every chance you get to determine their state of discipline, standards and morale. Being seen early also pays dividends by building confidence and gaining the respect of your subordinates.
  • Assess the initial level of experience between yourself and subordinate leaders. For example, leading at the command level is different than the Department Head level. At the command, your DH, Division and other leaders may have five to eight years experience and you will have 17 to 20 years. The gap is significant. Therefore, the Commanding Officer provides more precise guidance, direction, mentoring and direct leadership for his officers.
Initial Counseling
  • Conduct initial counseling of your immediate subordinates. Be committed to getting their counseling input forms and conducting initial counseling within required time-frames (within first 30 days). NEVER, NEVER, NEVER submit evaluations or FITREPS late. There is simply – NO EXCUSE – none whatsoever – ever!
  • Consider providing separate letters outlining your expectations for everyone you rate. Use the letter as the basis for their initial counseling sessions during which you discuss philosophy and goals.
  • Set-up follow-on quarterly performance counseling sessions to provide ample preparation time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cadet Katie Watts wins 2012 RADM James S. McFarland NJROTC Scholarship Award

Cadet Katie Watts of the Bloomfield Indiana NJROTC unit has been selected by a group of active duty and retired cryptologists as the 2012 winner of the RADM James S. McFarland NJROTC Scholarship. Her numerous achievements in school and her handwritten essay led to her selection as this year's winner. 

This scholarship, in RADM James S. McFarland's name, was established in 2005 by Captain Mike Lambert while he was serving as Staff Director for the Detainee Task Force for the Secretary of Defense, Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld. 

This scholarship is supported through the generosity of many of 
RADM J.S. McFarland's friends, Shipmates, colleagues and followers.

The scholarship was originally intended for Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) students at Butler County High School in Morgantown, Kentucky. The scholarship came about from a visit to the school by Captain Mike Lambert at the invitation of retired cryptologist LCDR William Frank Starr. Captain Lambert was so inspired by the good works of LCDR Starr and his Chief that he worked to establish the scholarship.

Bloomfield Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp

Bloomfield Jr.-Sr. High School is one of six schools in the state of Indiana to offer a Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp program.  Bloomfield NJROTC was established in 1994.  In 2011 the Cadet Corps was comprised of approximately 21 % - one fifth of the Bloomfield student body, freshmen thru seniors.  The NJROTC unit is a four year elective program.  Students who participate are not obligated to any military service upon graduation.  If Cadets are interested in the Armed Forces upon graduation from high school then by participating in this program for two years qualify for accelerated advancement and pay upon completion of basic training as well as additional consideration for college scholarship opportunities if seeking a commission to serve as an officer in the military. 

LCDR Frank Starr is the Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI) at Bloomfield High School in Indiana. This scholarship followed him from Kentucky to Alabama and now to Indiana.
Thank you Frank for your unselfish service to our Nation's youth!