Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

16 Navy Leader Competencies

Jeff Bacon on www.broadside.net
1. Sets goals and performance standards.  Set goals to improve task performance and use them to assess the ongoing performance of a task, as well as the task's results.

2. Takes initiative. When a problem is encountered, take initiative in defining it, accept the responsibility of acting on it, and move immediately to solve it.

3. Plans and organizes.  Plan and organize tasks, people and resources in their order of importance and schedule the tasks for achievement of their goal.
4. Optimizes use of resources. Match individuals' capabilities with job requirements to maximize tasks accomplishment.
5. Delegates.  Use the chain of command to assign tasks by methods other than a direct order, to get subordinates to accept task responsibility.
6. Monitors results.  Systematically check progress on task accomplishment.

7. Rewards.  Recognize and reward for effective performance on a specific task.

8. Disciplines. In holding subordinates accountable for work goals and Navy standards, appropriately discipline subordinates, in order to increase the likelihood of the subordinates' improved performance.

9. Self-control.  Hold back on impulse and instead weigh the facts, keep a balanced perspective, and act appropriately.

10. Influences.  Persuade people skillfully -- up, across and down the chain of command -- to accomplish tasks and maintain the organization.
11. Builds Teams.  Promote team-work within their work group and with other work groups.

12. Develops subordinates. Spend time working with their subordinates, coaching them toward improved performance and helping them to be skillful and responsible in getting the job done at a high standard.
13. Positive expectations.  Trust in people's basic worth and ability to perform.  They approach subordinates with a desire for the subordinates' development.

14. Realistic expectations.  Believe that most subordinates want to and can do a good job, they take care not to set a subordinate up for failure by expecting too much.  Concern about a subordinate's shortcomings is expressed honestly.
15. Understands.  Identify subordinates' problems and help them to understand these problems.  Such leaders appropriately aid others in solving their problems.
16. Conceptualizes.  Dig out the relevant facts in a complex situation and organize those facts to gain a clear understanding of the situation before acting.

And, from Rubber Ducky...

17. Writes well. Navy leaders know their way around the written word and avoid non-parallel constructions: avoid comma splices; employ the Oxford comma: avoid awkward constructions; eschew patronizing language; maintain consistent style; avoid mixing singular and plural voice.

From:  P.A. Foley, From Classroom to Wardroom, Masters Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, December 1983

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Integrity = Peace of Mind

Personal integrity leads to peace of mind, personal worth, and intrinsic security. The leader must always work from an ethical base; the art of leadership depends on value judgments. The leader’s personal ability to discriminate between right and wrong may be the only resource at his disposal. Time may not permit him to consult with others. He must stand up for his beliefs, even if he stands alone.

The expedient and the right courses of action may coincide; if not, the leader must choose and we must prepare him for his choice by reinforcing, throughout his career, the ethical base as the source of his decisions.

Admiral C.A.H. Trost

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Henry Miller - On writing

Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become the path himself.

Friday, December 27, 2013

In it for the long haul

When I was a young Ensign, I believed my Navy career was a sprint and we could make a difference in the Cryptologic Community in a few years. As I continued to serve, as a Lieutenant Commander, I realized it was a marathon and I had to pace myself to be in it for the long haul  And 30 years later, when I was a Captain approaching early retirement, I realized it is a relay race and I would have to hand off the baton to another group of junior officers to continue the run. Nice to see my former Shipmates carrying the baton so purposefully.  Thank you.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Archer A. Vandegrift - Moral Courage

Moral courage involves both the fortitude to do what is right in the face of not just failure, but disgrace, and the willingness to set aside profound personal considerations. Military education emphasizes and rewards "boldness"; taking calculated risks to win. But that same education inculcates limits on acceptable risks.
Junior officers at the beginning of service typically envision physical courage as at or near the pinnacle of martial virtues and are apt to overlook or diminish moral courage. Those who go on to extended careers discover that physical courage is commonplace in American armed forces, but that a depth of moral courage is an indispensable quality for higher command and that it is rarer than physical courage - or boldness.


Monday, December 23, 2013

On this day in 1923, a hero was born

On 9 September 1965, Commander James Stockdale flew his 202nd and final combat mission over North Vietnam in an A-4 Skyhawk. What should have been a straightforward attack against a group of railroad cars south of Thanh Hoa turned into a seven-year odyssey that transformed this 40-year-old commander of Air Wing 16 into one of the U.S. Navy's most inspirational heroes.

Stockdale was born on 23 December 1923 in Abingdon, Ill., and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1946. Initially a surface officer on fast minesweepers, he transferred to aviation in 1949, earning his wings in 1950. Stockdale immediately proved to be a standout aviator.

The superb bust of Admiral Stockdale was carved by American patriot Master Chief Larry Nowell.   You can see more of his excellent work HERE.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Correspondence is history kept alive

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

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

Saturday, December 21, 2013


"The professional learns to recognize envy-driven criticism and to take it for what it is: the supreme compliment.  The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had the guts."

The War of Art
Steven Pressfield

Friday, December 20, 2013

VADM Ted Branch has returned to leadership of OPNAV N2N6

Back in November I reported the unpleasant news that VADM Branch was placed on temporary leave.  

I am very happy to report that VADM Branch has returned to his duties as OPNAV N2/N6 with some restrictions while the Navy's due process continues.  Lots of important Navy work to get done and it is nice to have our N2N6 leadership back in place to get the work done.  I believe it is safe to say that the N2N6 enjoys the full faith and confidence of the CNO but everyone involved understands that the investigation process must continue to its lawful conclusion.


From the NDU Press -
The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer: Backbone of the Armed Forces has been converted to an e-book format. This new format makes the book readable not only on desktop and laptop computers, but also on Apple's iPad, Sony's Reader, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and Android-based phones.
A first of its kind, this book—of, by, and for the noncommissioned officer and petty officer—is a comprehensive explanation of the enlisted leader across the U.S. Armed Services. It complements The Armed Forces Officer, the latest edition of which was published by NDU Press in 2007, as well as the Services’ NCO/PO manuals and handbooks. Written by a team of Active, Reserve, and retired senior enlisted leaders from all Service branches, this book defines and describes how NCOs/POs fit into an organization, centers them in the Profession of Arms, explains their dual roles of complementing the officer and enabling the force, and exposes their international engagement. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey writes in his foreword to the book, “We know noncommissioned officers and petty officers to have exceptional competence, professional character, and soldierly grit—they are exemplars of our Profession of Arms.”

Aspirational and fulfilling, this book helps prepare young men and women who strive to become NCOs/POs, re-inspires serving enlisted leaders, and stimulates reflection by those who have retired from or left active service. It also gives those who have never worn the uniform a better understanding of who these exceptional men and women are, and why they are properly known as the “Backbone of the Armed Forces.”

You can download the entire book free HERE.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Makes A Good Petty Officer? - For the Sailors of CIDU Monterey California

"Good Petty Officers know what their uniform, their Navy, and their flag stands for. They are proud members of the best fighting organization in the world. The United States Navy.

Good Petty Officers are concerned with their Sailors' individual welfare and their future. They pat their Sailors on the back when they do well, and give them hell when they need it. That way they make better Sailors and make progress. They teach their trade. They encourage. They inspire. They are consistent. They are competitive. Their outfit is the best. They assume responsibility. They give their Sailors responsibility. They pass the word. They create team spirit.

Good Petty Officers put their hearts and souls into their work. They radiate enthusiasm and spark. They know the Navy. They know their rates, and they genuinely appreciate what they know.

Good Petty Officers recognize that success comes from the effort of a larger number of people, not just one or two. The whole organization has to function well, not just a few members."

ADM Arleigh A. Burke

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Honorable mention !!

Our Shipmate LT Ryan Haag won Honorable Mention in the 2013 USNI leadership essay contest.

You can read it HERE.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Crown Jewel of the Navy Information Operations Commands

During my career, the Naval Security Group had commands that over time had become known as the crown jewels of the NSG.  U.S. NSGA Edzell, U.S. NSGA Misawa and G80/GX/NIWA immediately come to mind.  What would you consider to be the crown jewels among the commands of Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet today?

Edzell no longer exists, Misawa is on its way out and G80/GX/NIWA is the last of the group but transformed into Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group (NCWDG - Nick Wedge). NIOC Georgia and NIOC Ft Meade are gaining prominence.  But, are they the crown jewels?  You call it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Opposite ends of the spectrum

Over the past month I had two very different conversations with two very different COs in our Information Dominance Corps.  The subject of my blog came up and I swear I didn't bring it up.  In one circumstance, the XO brought it up and in the other, the CO brought it up himself.

One CO said he was simply too busy to read my blog or any others.

The other CO said he was too busy not to read my blog and others.

This reminds me of the survey a few years ago on the blog about readership.

People who read this blog can be divided into four groups.
  • 25% like it for the right reasons.
  • 25% hate it for the wrong reasons.
  • 25% like it for the wrong reasons.
  • 25% hate it for the right reasons.
I'm not sure which group concerns me more.

And, there is another group out there that lurks through the blog and is afraid to admit that they check the blog just to make sure they haven't missed something important about the community.  In any case, I welcome all reader and comments - please limit the profanity.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What Makes A Good CO?

Recently, submarine command course instructors from the United States, Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Norway, as well as senior submarine training officers from Australia and Canada (who have submarine forces but currently have no independent submarine command course) met for three days in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While there has been a lot of beneficial engagement between the courses’ students and teachers in the past, this landmark opportunity brought all the teachers together to compare and contrast their courses, and to discuss the benefits and nature of future collaboration. The following questions were discussed:

Based on the accumulated assessment of the students you taught during your assignments, what are the common threads and characteristics that distinguish the best prospective commanding officers from the worst? What is different about those who ‘get it’ from those who don’t?

Submarine command courses prepare officers for submarine command through a process of both teaching and assessment. The price of failure can be high, and while success allows assignment to command, it does not guarantee a successful command. The Submarine Command Course is neither a warfare course nor an academic exercise. It tests leadership, professional knowledge, the desire for excellence, aggressiveness, and a hunger for submarine command. The central focus of the Submarine Command Course is to teach future commanding officers to make good command decisions. Generally there are two types of decisions: analytical and intuitive.

To make analytical decisions one weighs options, balancing risk and gain. This type of decision-making is well understood, and is used often by submarine commanding officers. While this is a necessary strength for command, it is neither sufficient, nor a good predictor of tactical or leadership performance.

Intuitive decisions are made after one detects cues and patterns that emerge from complex situations, and then chooses a course of action that likely will be successful. The action chosen is based on experience-the person has seen similar situations and draws on a “library” of responses (mental models). Based on recognizing the situation that faces him, the decider quickly converges on a course of action and runs a mental simulation of the action. If the simulation ends with success, he executes that option. If the simulation is not successful, he quickly makes adjustments to correct the difficulty or tries another model, running through the process again, until he finds a successful course of action to take. It is important to realize intuitive decisions are made quickly compared to analytical decisions, and the decider is not comparing options. If the first projected course of action works, he executes.
Chart further explained in articleKnowledge of intuitive decision-making is not well understood, but has applications in most tactical and seamanship scenarios. As a simple example, a CO may recognize the patterns emerging from a crossing situation. (“That contact has a zero bearing rate and port angle on the bow, and will collide with me if nothing is done.”) He then projects a mental simulation of his action based on
the “mental models” he has developed through his experience. (“I should turn to starboard now.”) If the projection results in a satisfactory result (“I will get off his track by 2,000 yds, and he will pass safely down my port side”), he executes his decision. If the projection does not have a happy ending (“I will run aground”), he chooses another option to consider (“I should slow and let the contact pass ahead.”). Even in this simple example, one can see that there are several correct courses of action. The CO, by virtue of his experience, quickly can converge on a mental model that will work. We have borrowed this model for intuitive decisions from Dr. Gary Klein1, which serves to provide a useful structure in enhancing intuitive decision-making.

Using the situation facing the student in the Submarine Command Course, we can identify some elements of success:

1Good COs can process a lot of data, prioritize important cues, and recognize patterns-they have good situational awareness.
  • They can sift the valuable and pertinent cues from the chaff, and maintain their focus.
  • They can then recognize patterns emerging from those important cues. This applies to concrete and abstract situations.
    • The arrival angle is getting lower; the noise-to-sound ratio is going up; I can hear him on the underwater telephone. This is a closing contact.
    • There is nobody giving clear orders, the officer of the deck and junior officer of the deck are not agreeing on contact solutions; the fire control technician of the watch keeps asking for more observations; and the sonar supervisor is reassigning trackers to all contacts. My control room party is not certain of the contact situation.
    • For the last six months, I have had to intervene personally during the execution of too many evolutions throughout the ship. My teams are not properly preparing themselves for the tasks at hand.
  • The combination of prioritizing the cues and recognizing the patterns is situational awareness.

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

  • They can quickly converge on a successful response – a course of action that will work.
  • Their mental simulation process is robust-anticipating the complexity of the scenario-they do not oversimplify and miss important aspects of the problem.
  • Their mental models, and hence their decisions, are based on technical expertise and experience. Their “gut” is actually a finely tuned pattern-recognition instrument; they “sense” things are wrong based on very subtle cues. (This is another idea that Klein discusses well.)

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

  • They make the most of every situation and are not content to sit on the sidelines. Thus, their pattern-recognition ability and library of mental models grow at faster rates than more passive officers.
  • In clutch situations, they want the ball. They want to be leading, making decisions, learning, and advancing. This applies to personal development and team leadership.
  • This enthusiasm is infectious, and this spirit spreads to their entire crew.
  • Many prospective commanding officers who struggle with the course, on the face of it, have had very “rich” career histories-i.e., good commands and good operations. Our conclusion is that they struggle because they did not make the most of their tours and did not seek out experience. Things ran relatively well under good leadership, and thus it was possible to avoid making decisions. These officers have little “actual experience” and are not well suited for command.

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

  • They must be brutally honest about acknowledging their own limitations and capabilities.
  • They are able to take criticism-of themselves and their ship. This ability is founded on a solid self-image and a confidence that they can overcome any situation, once they honestly face the truth. They are secure and confident, not arrogant.
  • They are fully aware of the limitations of the process-incomplete information, uncertainty, perceptual differences, and personal and team weaknesses.
  • They look for any input for improvement, but pride themselves on being the most aggressive hunter of good observations. They want to improve.
  • They are passionate about collaboration inside and outside the lifelines. They look to share best practices and achieve synergies of effort. Going beyond compromise, they collaborate to find the optimum position. Once the “best solution” is found, it is quickly captured and fed back into the process to eliminate bad practices and to formalize good ones.
  • They focus on actual performance not personalities.

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

  • They pass on their knowledge and experience to their operational teams in terms that the team will understand.
  • Their “briefs” are to the point and enhance decisions and effective, efficient execution. These briefs are “to” their team, not “at” their subordinates.
  • This ability to communicate, in combination with the situational awareness, honesty, and confidence mentioned above, forms command presence.

6Good COs possess endurance and fortitude.

  • They know the most important changes require tremendous investments of personal time and energy and can take months or years. Short- and long-term fatigue are anticipated and accommodated.
  • They know that even in this environment, there will be times when things go wrong-even badly wrong. Only an eternal optimist believes that everything always will run smoothly. Good COs know that a plan is complete only if it recognizes it may go all wrong.
  • They must bounce back when things go wrong. It is in these situations that
    commanding officers’ assessment skills and fortitude will be most brutally tested. These qualities are absolutely non-negotiable if the commanding officers are to retain their positions because if they fail to inspire their crews in the aftermath of a disaster, they will lose their sailors’ trust immediately and irrevocably.
    Many of those who struggle in the Submarine Command Course demonstrate a clear pattern of characteristics. They include the following:
  • They cannot see the way ahead in complex situations. They do not prioritize cues, recognize patterns, or develop responses. They appear to be overwhelmed.
  • They are intolerant of uncertainty and are unable to act without “all” the information. These officers are often solid analytical decision-makers, because there is perceived “certainty” with methodology. These officers tend to look for “checklists” even in situations in which checklists do not cover all the bases.
  • They are unable to apply past experiences to new situations. This is a form of low pattern recognition, because they cannot see the similarities with past situations and have a small “library” of mental models from which to draw.
  • They have weak assessment abilities. We have found the insecure prospective commanding officers are defensive and resistant to inputs. Thus, a downward spiral emerges: the individual is weak, therefore insecure, therefore resistant to input, therefore becomes weaker. . . .
  • They tend to go it alone when challenged to produce answers. Collaboration is unnatural to them.
  • They have no passion for command. We have asked students who are struggling: “Do you want to command?” Even at this late juncture, many answered “no.” Clearly in these officers there is no drive to get the experience required to command.
Only an eternal optimist believes that everything always will run smoothly. Good COs know that a plan is complete only if it recognizes it may go all wrong.
This is an incomplete list of some qualities of successful commanding officers. These qualities are inherent in some more than in others. It is possible, by having a structured understanding of intuitive decision-making, to detect natural command potential and to foster it in all junior officers (even those without strong natural abilities). We believe professional development and training that focus on building confident decision-makers can grow these qualities where they are weak, more quickly identify those officers who may not have what it takes to command, and help the naturally gifted officers to soar.

Editor’s Note: All these officers are submarine officers involved in the training of prospective submarine commanding officers and executive officers.

Reprinted from Proceedings with permission; Copyright (c) April 2005 U.S. Naval Institute/www.navalinstitute.org.
1.) Klein, Gary. The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work. New York: Currency, Doubleday. 2003.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I like this from Seth Godin


On the hook

Mentorship works for two reasons. Certainly, the person being mentored gains from advice and counsel and even access to others via introductions, etc.

But mostly, it works because the person with a mentor has a responsibility to stand up and actually get moving. The only way to repay your mentor is by showing the guts it takes to grow and to matter.

Interesting to note, then, that the primary driver of mentor benefit has nothing to do with the mentor herself, nothing beyond the feeling of obligation the student feels to the teacher. Whether or not the mentor does anything, this obligation delivers benefits.

Check out what Seth Godin has to say HERE.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Good Advice over at JO RULES

Faced with inevitable change, those who accept the change have the most power to shape the details. It’s not about self-interested conformity or passively accepting defeat; it’s about making decisions based on how things are rather than how we would wish them to be. It’s about seizing the initiative.
When you have legitimate concerns about an order or a policy, you have the right and the obligation to make those concerns known. Be tactful, as the surest way to have your opinion arbitrarily rejected is to frame it as a complaint. Once you’ve voiced your concerns, your duty is to make it work. Fighting it will just cause chaos, but even some of the most harebrained schemes can be saved by determined chiefs and JOs. Think of it as a challenge– if there’s only one person on Earth that could make this plan work, is it you? Who knows, you might even find out that you’re not always right.

Lots more HERE.

Change is much easier to digest if you become a part of the change.  There's always this - from General Eric Shinseki:

"If you don't like change, you are going to like irrelevance even less."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

LT Jon Paris is a 2005 graduate of The Citadel and a Surface Warfare Officer.

The CNO’s Rapid Innovation Cell is a group of junior leaders tasked with being innovative and coming up with disruptive solutions." 
He has done some serious thinking about innovation and shares his thoughts HERE.  It's worth your time to read what he has to say.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Smartest person in the room

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

I have a NEWS FLASH for you Captain (or anyone else for that matter).  Think you're the smartest person in the room?  More than likely you are not.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Success versus significance

John Maxwell makes a good point about success versus significance.  The successful officer is adding value to his own career and the significant officer is adding value to the careers of others.  I was exchanging ideas with a fellow former CO a few days ago and we discussed "command tours" and measuring the success of our commanding officers.  Virtually every O5 command tour ends with the award of a Meritorious Service Medal and O6 command tours typically end with the award of the Legion of Merit.  

What evaluation has really gone into the decision to award these significant medals?  Are all of these COs successful and equally so?  What is being rewarded?  Time in command?  Achievement?  Does it matter?  Is it our business?  Is it your business?

Apparently not too much, especially if every departing CO is earning one.  A recent award tightened my jaw a bit as the departing CO left behind a command in shambles.  The new CO would never admit to it, but he inherited a command in near total disarray.  The former CO left behind a dismal retention record, no record of mission achievement, >15% command PRT failure, no CPO selectees in the past three cycles and not one single accomplishment that his Sailors could point to with pride and say - "We did that!"

A journey from success to significance takes time.  It requires patience and commitment.  It doesn't happen by accident. You must be purposeful in adding value to the careers of your Sailors.  You are there as CO to accomplish the mission and to see to it that Sailors perform up to their potential.  If you have a bunch of Sailors with "unlimited potential", you're leaving a lot of potential on the deck-plates unrealized.  Strive for significance.  Your Sailors deserve your best effort.

Commander Sean Heritage has written about SUCCESS versus SIGNIFICANCE HERE.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Silence of my Shipmates

"What has hurt the most are not the actions of my seniors but the silence of my Shipmates in the face of those actions."

Note from afar.

Friday, December 6, 2013

More on handwritten notes from John Coleman at Harvard Business Review

It may seem nostalgic, but I still believe there’s room for the handwritten note in personal and professional communication. They cost something, mean something, and have permanence in a way emails and text messages don’t. They let the people in our lives know we appreciate them enough to do something as archaic as pausing for 15 minutes to put pen to paper in an attempt to connect and sustain a relationship with them. I still remember that note — and many others I’ve received over the years — and perhaps in writing personal notes to our friends and colleagues, we can reach out to others in a way that creates a lasting, positive connection.
Try it, you may like it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

CNO Presents 2013 Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale Leadership Awards

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The annual Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award ceremony was held in the Pentagon Hall of Heroes Dec. 4.

Cmdr. Richard N. Massie and Cmdr. Leif E. Mollo received the award which recognizes two commissioned officers in the grade of commander or below who contribute to the improvement of leadership in the Navy.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert was the guest speaker at the ceremony and presented the awards.

"It's about people; people who are willing to lead and people who are willing to step forward and say 'I want to write about somebody who is my peer who I think is extraordinary'," said Greenert. "Taking time to do that in this busy world is remarkable in its own sense."

Massie, commanding officer of the USS Maine (SSBN 741) Gold Crew was the Pacific Fleet winner. Massie was highly successful with the integration of women onto submarines.

"I was overwhelmed and truly proud of my crew. This was another success and another testament to the great things that that crew has done," said Massie.

Mollo, commanding officer of SEAL Team 4, was the Fleet Forces Command winner.

Mollo led SEAL Team 8 as its mission changed from Afghanistan to Africa before being hand-selected to command SEAL Team 4.

"The recognition all should go to the warriors and support personnel that I served with at SEAL Team Eight and SEAL Team Four. They inspire me every day by their courage, their perseverance and their dedication," said Mollo.

Both officers were nominated by their peers and selected from nine finalists.

You can read about the prior years' winners HERE.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Boxing the Compass - Finding our True North and staying true to it

Most of us have come to understand that leadership is about character, not characteristics.  We know what our values are and sometimes struggle to stay true to those values when we see that our seniors continue to progress while not demonstrating that same strict adherence to our Navy core values.  

Some in our community have found strength in maintaining their 'true North' by creating something they have called their personal "Board of Directors" (BoD).  Entrepreneur Bill George has a decent book out called TRUE NORTH GROUPS.  He knows that, with the challenges we face these days, we require additional help to stay on track.  We cannot rely on just ourselves or our commands to help us stay on track.  We need Shipmates in 'our circle of trust'  with whom we can have in-depth discussions and share intimately about the most cherished things in our lives and careers while we serve our country around the world.  

Whatever you choose to call it, you need to have Shipmates you can count on in the toughest of times - the people who will follow-through on things 'because they said they would.'

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The truth

I see man’s mind cannot be satisfied unless it be illumined by that truth beyond which there exists no other truth. 
Dante - Paradiso IV.124-126.

That is what motivates me.  The search for the truth of the truth - truth absolutely.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Role of the Chief Petty Officer in the Modern Navy

There have been a great many questions, examinations, re-examinations, and discussions of the role of the chief petty officer in the modern Navy. Commanding officers, junior officers, petty officers, and enlisted men are saying that chiefs just aren't what they used to be. The "used-to-be" status referred to is that fabulous position occupied by the chief petty officers in the pre-war Navy wherein the chief's word was law to subordinates and his ability to get things done a trade-mark to his superiors.

Proceedings Magazine
April 1957

You can read the entire text HERE.  Some things do not change - much.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Because I said I would

THIS is powerful.  A really meaningful post by my Shipmate CDR Sean Heritage..  Pleased to be in his circle of trust.

And the website for "because I said I would" is HERE.