Friday, February 28, 2014

Admiral Chester Nimitz - hat tip CDR Salamander

"... the process of decision making ... must be open, must have interchange. You must be able to subordinate your own personal ego to the issues that are under consideration. ... The characteristics that Nimitz brought to the decision making process ... If all leaders in uniform and civilian clothes, can keep in mind Chester Nimitz as a model for decision making process, I think we would all be better off."

- Professor Craig L. Symonds, PhD

Nimitz's Graybook is HERE.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Command Failure = Commanding Officer Failure

When things go wrong at your command, start searching for the reason(s) in increasingly larger concentric circles around your own desk.  Being in the middle of that circle, you'll find that most problems begin and end with the command tone established by the guy/gal with who wears this pin on his/her chest - the Skipper.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Admiral Hyman Rickover on Responsibility

This quote of Admiral Rickover's is borrowed from RDML Sean R. Filipowski.

"Responsibility is a unique concept. 
It can only reside and inhere in a single individual. 
You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished. 
You may delegate it, but it is still with you. 
You may disclaim it, but you cannot divest yourself of it. 
Even if you do not recognize it or admit its presence, you cannot escape it. 
If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion or ignorance or passing the blame can pass the burden to someone else. 

Unless you can point your finger at the man responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Importance Of Letter Writing - Captain Laurance Safford: Father of Naval Cryptology

Navy Captain Laurance Safford is often referred to as the “father of U.S. naval cryptology”. His contributions during WW II were numerous and significant.

Much of what we know about Captain Safford's contributions to naval cryptology come from his own writing. 
A number of his personal letters provide insight into events surrounding the congressional investigation into the attack on Pearl Harbor. One letter refers specifically to the “Winds Message” reportedly intercepted by the U.S. days before the 7 December surprise attack. This infamous message reportedly gave clear indications of the planned Japanese surprise attack.
Unfortunately the actual intercept mysteriously disappeared shortly after the surprise attack and the "Winds Message's" very existence is only supported by the testimony of Safford and perhaps one or two others who reportedly also were aware of the intercept.

His personal papers also included a four page letter to Vice Admiral C.E. Rosendahl responding to two pages of questions from Rosendahl about the number, distribution, disposition and construction of PURPLE machines prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Other documents included a petition to the Congress and supporting testimony to award Capt. Safford remuneration for his many secret cryptologic inventions, some of which were cited as among the most important and secure communication systems used by the U.S. during WW II.

As Admiral Stavridis is so fond of saying: "Think, read, write and publish." If you don't tell your story - who will know it?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mark Miller - The Heart of Leadership

As we close out February, I find that I have one copy of Mark Miller's insightful book left.  If you'd like this copy, shoot me an e-mail and I will get it to you. First come, first served.

Mark Miller is the Vice President for Organizational Effectiveness at Chick-fil-a.  His blog "Great Leaders Serve" is HERE

If you've wondered about 'servant leadership', this book will answer some of your questions.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Write to be read

I am a big proponent of writing in a journal to capture ideas and thoughts. There is certainly great value in writing for yourself. I continue to find that my brain is greatly stimulated by writing to be read. The greatest benefit of writing is what it does to expand your brain’s capacity. Find ways to write to be read – by writing things for your friends to read, by capturing the stories of your childhood, starting your own blog or whatever – just write to be read.  21 other ways to overclock your brain from The RIRIAN Project HERE.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Take responsibility
When life does not go our way or we inadvertently make a mistake, it is so easy to make excuses, place blame on others, or argue that circumstances were against us. But we only progress in life to the extent that we take responsibility for our actions and attitudes, and put forth the initiative necessary to create our own circumstances.

-Stephen Covey

Friday, February 21, 2014

Command Culture

"Ask yourself, "What do I like best about my Navy?" Then, "What would it look like if it were perfect; ideal in every way?" If you are honest with yourself, you will begin to see possibilities you haven't seen before. Carry this into your department, division, or command practices. Appreciate what is there, and then aggressively dream as you inquire (with your people) about what would make it even better. Talk about it, design it, and make it so. It really is that simple."

MMCS(SS) Brad Green - From his excellent article in PROCEEDINGS Magazine.  Available HERE

Some people just have absolutely ZERO interest in improving in any way.  Hard to believe, but it is true. In many cases, commands go into decline from benign neglect. Small things are overlooked because they are small. A command's sense of purpose/mission may get lost in the day to day business of fighting fires. One or two small things neglected becomes 5 or 10 things, then 10 or 20.  People show up late for meetings, late for work, submit late awards, late FITREPS/Evals, and so forth.  All hands calls are delayed for days or put off until next month.  Personnel inspections never happen.  Zone inspections are non-existent.  The list goes on.  Finally the command hits rock bottom and we think it can't get worse. And then, people start digging the hole deeper. Stop digging!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Cooperative Leadership Model

Commander Sean Heritage just finished writing "The Cooperative Leadership Model", Book Three in the Commanding Cooperatively series. It builds upon the Command Philosophy articulated in "Leading Upon  Arrival".  Some of you left reviews on Amazon for the other books.  Consider leaving a review on one, two, or all three of the links below. If you think Sean missed the mark, please let him know that as well. Meanwhile, he is working to finish out the remaining two books in the leadership series.

Kindle Version of Book One  Leading Prior to Arrival

Kindle Version of Book Two Leading Upon Arrival

Kindle Version of Book Three  The Cooperative Leadership Model

I own all three books and look forward to the final two.  It's rare that we have a Commanding Officer in our community so willing to expose his thinking and his leadership style for public scrutiny.  In this information age, we still have senior leaders who are afraid to share their opinions or even the opinions of others with their wardrooms and goat lockers, much less their Sailors.  Sean has put it all out there for our consumption.  We can all learn something from his example.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lessons learned riding fast attack submarines in the late 70s

While I never reached Malcolm Gladwell's magical 10,000 hours of experience to master my skills as a sub-rider, I did learn a few things during my time aboard submarines.  Here is a short list of a few things I learned (not listed in any particular order):

1.  You are eating someone's chow; they are not happy about it.
2.  You are breathing someone's air; they are not happy about it.
3.  You are drinking someone's coffee; they are not happy about it.
4.  You are sleeping in someone's rack; they are not happy about it.
5.  You are using someone's water; they are not happy about it.
6.  Screw the mission, clean the position is not my favorite slogan.
7.  The Auxiliaryman of the watch is not your buddy.
8.  Open/closed valve signage is really important.
9.  You can never have enough amine.
10.  Fires underwater terrify just about everyone.
11.  Underwater, SWO pins aren't impressing anyone.
12.  Same for Naval Aircrewman pins!
13.  If you're not a qualified submariner, why are you breathing?
14.  This life is not for everyone.
15.  Some believe this life is not for anyone.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Navy messaging on cryptology continues...

I don't think it's an accident that the news keeps reporting on VADM Rogers and RADM Tighe as CRYPTOLOGISTS.
Tighe Tapped to Lead 10th Fleet

USNI News, 14 February 2014

The current deputy commander of the Navy’s cyberwarfare arm — 10th fleet — will be promoted to commander of the services cyber enterprise, the Pentagon announced on Friday.

Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe has been appointed to take over 10th Fleet and be promoted to vice admiral for the command based in Ft George G. Meade, Md. Her predecessor — Vice Adm. Michael Rogers — was selected to run the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.

Prior to being 10th Fleet’s number two, Tighe was the interim president of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

Tighe is a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a career cryptologist.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Naval Officer

As the Officer Fact Book, NAVPERS 15898, states, the naval officer is above all a leader--responsible for directing the human effort of an organization and for property and lives.  The naval officer is a planner, responsible for large scale mobilization and world-wide logistic programs and operations.  He is an administrator concerned with thousands of people, millions of dollars worth of material, and extensive facilities.  He is an industrialist, a comptroller, a diplomat; a good manager of men and equipment, an exemplary ambassador of democracy in all parts of the world.  He is always a student.  His opportunties for experience are varied, and for education they are limitless.  As he improves in his job, he improves the naval service and contributes to the welfare of the nation and the world.

Above all, the naval officer is a leader, in all the moral, psychological, and managerial meanings of the term.  His leadership is expressed by precept and example, by planning, and by action within the greatest Navy of all time -- a Navy that numbers its officers, enlisted personnel, and civilians in the hundreds of thousands, its operations in the complexities of tens of thousands of organizations and activities.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

From the MCPON

As Chief Petty Officers, we embrace increased responsibility and authority while accepting the highest obligation to embody the confidence, employ the expertise of our Sailors and earn the trust from both our superiors and subordinates. As I've said in the past, we MUST ensure that we are providing the leadership our Sailors expected the day they joined the Navy. If we don't, how can we expect others to? We can't afford to foster or be part of an environment that fails to uphold the expected standards of integrity. Our fundamental standard is to work hard, stay out of trouble and be good and decent people.

His full article regarding the Navy Nuclear Power School Cheating Scandal is HERE.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A national asset

Christine Fox was the inspiration for the TOP GUN character portrayed by Kelly McGillis.

Commander Salamander says you should keep an eye on Christine Fox.  I agree.

Friday, February 14, 2014

RADM Jan E. Tighe nominated for assignment as Commander, Fleet Cyber Command/Commander, TENTH Fleet

Flag Officer Announcement
02/14/2014 12:33 PM CST
February 14, 2014
Flag Officer Announcement

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced today that the president has made the following nomination:

Navy Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and for assignment as commander, Fleet Cyber Command/commander, Tenth Fleet, Fort George G. Meade, Md.  Tighe is currently serving as deputy commander, Fleet Cyber Command/deputy commander, TENTH Fleet, Fort George G. Meade, Md.

RADM Jan E. Tighe nominated for Vice Admiral by the President

113th Congress (2013 - 2014)

Record 1 of 33
Nomination: PN1469-113
Date Received: February 12, 2014 (113th Congress)
Nominee: One nomination, beginning with Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe , and ending with Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe
Referred to: Senate Armed Services

Legislative Actions
Floor Action: February 12, 2014 - Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
Organization: Navy

List of Nominees:
The following named officer for appointment in the United States Navy to the grade indicated while assigned to a position of importance and responsibility under title 10, U.S.C., section 601:

To be Vice Admiral
Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe

Control Number: 113PN0146900

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Operating in the New Cyber Norm

Rear Admiral Jan E. Tighe
Deputy Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet

Why does the Navy keep enhancing the security of its networks, taking actions that at times have made things challenging for users? The answer is that we as a Navy, and as a society, are now operating in an age of constantly evolving cyber threats and network intrusion capabilities. We are operating in a new “cyber norm.”

The full article is HERE.

I love it when our leaders share their thoughts with us.  Rear Admiral Tighe will become the IW community manager when VADM Rogers is confirmed as DIRNSA/USCYBERCOM.  She is also our community's senior engineer (CHENG).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Information Domination Essay Contest

The Challenge

Operation of the Joint Information Environment within the Defense Information Systems Agency is evolving at light speed as the pace of technology advances faster than operators can migrate to upgraded and new systems.  The military services are directed by United States Code Title 10 as being "responsible to organize and equip their services to perform all functions pertaining to their department".  Title 10 also provides that "Whenever the Secretary of Defense determines such action would be more effective, economical, or efficient, the Secretary may provide for the performance of a supply or service activity that is common to more than one military department by a single agency of the Department of Defense."  With these directives and related factors in mind, what are the appropriate roles for the military services and the Defense Information Systems Agency to establish, sustain, and operate the Joint Information Environment?

Contest Highlights

- Call for Papers -The U.S. Naval Institute is calling for papers on the subject of the Joint Information Environment as described above under "The Challenge."  Call for papers to appear in the February Proceedings, and online February 1.

- Eligibility - Open to all currently or formerly serving, and civilians engaged in work or strategy associated with the joint information environment.

- Deadline for Submission of Essays - March 31, 2014

- Length of Essays - Not to exceed 3,000 words

- Submission Process - Email essays by March 31, 2014 to: [1]

- Review Process - A joint panel composed of the Proceedings editorial staff and editorial board shall judge essays and choose winners

- Announcement of Winners - By email to winners no later than April 30, 2014 and online announcement shortly thereafter

- Publication of Winning Essay - June issue of Proceedings and online June 1, 2014


1st Prize $5,000 + One year membership in the USNI
2st Prize $2,500 + One year membership in the USNI
3rd Prize $1,500 + One year membership in the USNI

Award Ceremony

Prize winners are honored as part of USNI's Recognition ceremony during the Naval Institute's Annual Meeting, or at some other event to be determined by the Institute and HP.  We will also invite representatives of HP to be present to assist in the award presentation.

About Naval Institute Essay Contests

Essay contests have been central to the work of the Naval Institute for well over one hundred years. They directly fulfill the Institute's educational mission by encouraging writing on issues of concern to the Sea Services. They provide thought-provoking articles that spur ongoing discussion of these same issues, not only in Naval Institute media, print and digital, but also in other leading defense and national security forums.

Courtesy...It never gets old.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Burn the boats

Hugh MacLeod's great work available at

Naval Postgraduate School
Article By: Amanda D. Stein

Clouds of smoke billowed from the beaches of Veracruz as hundreds of men faced the uncertainty of their fate. Outnumbered 300 to one and facing a long, difficult battle with the Aztecs, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés ordered his men to burn their ships. Eliminating any chance they had of retreat, Cortés had left his crew with only two options – succeed or die.

The year was 1518, and the battle to secure the territories of what is now Mexico waged vehemently. With a courageous, resolute leader and almost certain death if they were defeated, Cortés’ men accepted his challenge, and conquered the Aztecs against immeasurable odds.

Today, the U.S., if not the world, is facing a different kind of adversary – one that has no single identity and outnumbers us at equally staggering odds. It is the war over information and it requires bold leadership and an unwavering approach. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) has referenced Cortés’ brave mentality, even echoed it in his battle to secure and obtain information – a field that has come to be known as Information Dominance.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Navy Believes. . .

"in putting a man in a position with a job to do, and let him do it – [and] give him hell if he does not perform . . . We . . . capitalize on the capabilities of our individual people rather than . . . make automatons [out] of them. This builds the essential pride of service and sense of accomplishment. [And] if it results in a certain amount of cockiness, I am [all] for it.”

Admiral Arleigh Burke

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Leadership Tip # 471 in the series

Consider this:  Next time you present a medal to a Sailor, write short personal note to your Sailor on your CO stationary and include it in the awards folder.  Write another note to the Sailor's parents//spouse and let them know you appreciate their Sailor's hard work.  Too busy?  I don't think so.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Change of command today in Hawaii

Captain Bill "Huggie" Dodge (Information Warfare Officer/1810) relieves Captain John MacMichael (Information Professional/1820) as Commanding Officer of NCTAMS Pacific in Hawaii.  Captain MacMichael is retiring.  CAPT John MacMichael, the son and grandson of Naval Officers, entered the Navy after graduating from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1988 with a degree in Economics.

Congratulations Captain Dodge.  Fair winds and following seas Captain MacMichael.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What are you made of?

"Lord knows Navy staff work can be a grindstone.  Whether it grinds you down or polishes you up depends upon what you are made of."
 With apologies to James S. Hewett for hacking up this quote.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Captain James Mills to relieve Captain Justin F. Kershaw as Commanding Officer, Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii in July 2014


 Mission Statement
                    1. Provide qualified personnel to work the NSA Hawaii national mission.
                    2. Provide quality Information Warfare support to the fleet.
                    3. Develop and train all personnel to be the best Sailors in the Fleet.

Captain James Mills, an Information Professional (IP) Officer, is the prospective commanding officer of NIOC Hawaii (CTF 1070). He will be relieving Captain Justin F. Kershaw, an Information Warfare (IW) officer. Captain Mills’ IP background, however, is ideally suited to the command’s operations relative to the development of DoD’s Cyber Mission Force, the Navy’s pivot to the Pacific theater, and the rapid advances in information technology that are changing the dynamics of Naval warfare. His unique operational and technical experience includes several tours in the Pacific Fleet and extensive education in electrical engineering and computer science. He was one of CNO’s first Cyber Fellows, with significant experience in cyber defense and operations dating back to 1997’s Eligible Receiver – DoD’s first large scale evaluation of the impacts of cyber warfare on DoD and national infrastructure. Given the Information Dominance Corps' cross-detailing approach, NIOC Hawaii stands to benefit heavily from his professional experience and knowledge.

Captain Mills points out, “Cross-detailing allows us to tackle the complex problems faced by IDC commands from a multi-discipline approach. Through cross-detailing, the IDC will create a cadre of leaders able to build strategies and plans with the benefit of the ‘whole of the IDC’ as opposed to just relying on a single specialty.”
Commander Rob Damsky (an Information Warfare officer) is slated to become the command's Executive Officer after completing training this Spring.

Compiled from IDC News Clips and various news sources.  More about NIOC Hawaii HERE on their website.

Lessons learned from 3000 hours in the air with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE and another unit

While I never reached Malcolm Gladwell's magical 10,000 hours of experience to master my skills as a COMEVAL, I did learn a few things in my years flying with VQ-1 and some other guys.  Here is a short list of a few things I learned (not listed in any particular order):

1.  Never break the code.

2.  Always pre-flight your parachute.

3.  Every Sailor has a job to do. Let him/her do it.

4.  Make sure your mission bags have all the tech manuals that you'll need.

5.  Where you started may not be where you end up.

6.  Don't ever mess with the Flight Engineer.  Payback can cost you more than you may be able to afford.

7.  Your Petty Officer in Charge doesn't need to be the senior petty officer.  CTI3 Neil Gagnon proved that point about a dozen times.

8.  Not all Lab Ops are created equal.

9.  Malibu Al brought his surfboard along for a reason.

10.  Don't use "Fire Feet" on a particularly cold flight unless you know how to put out the fire.

11.  Sometimes 5km means 50ft.

12.  "10.0 or we don't go" isn't my favorite slogan.

13.  Post mission reporting continues until the EWMC is completely exhausted, regardless of how tired the rest of you may be.

14.  "0200 show for 0400 go" gets old faster than you would imagine.

15.  Empty your flight suit pockets before you get home.  It's a long way back to the base at midnight or 1 a.m.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Medals belong to the boys

"I don't think there is an officer who gets a medal who wouldn't say it really belongs to the boys."
Lieutenant Commander Carter Bennett, WWII

     As you look at your rack 8 rows high, remember "They really belong to the boys."

Monday, February 3, 2014

From the Congressional Record a couple of days ago - the news we were waiting for - all part of the process

In the Senate
In the Committee on Armed Services

Jan 30, 14     PN1386     Navy

The following named officer for appointment in the United States Navy to the grade indicated while assigned to a position of importance and responsibility under title 10, U.S.C., section 601:

Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers, to be Admiral

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A salute to these two Captains

Captain James Hagy and Captain Justin F. Kershaw have announced to friends and colleagues that they will retire in the summer of 2014.  Captain Hagy is on the staff of the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command.  Captain Kershaw is the Commanding Officer, Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii.

Captain Hagy will have his retirement ceremony on 15 August 2014 aboard USS MISSOURI adjacent to Pearl Harbor Memorial.

Captain Kershaw will retire on 21 August at a retirement ceremony held concurrently with his Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii change of command.

Mahalo to both of these Captains.  Thank you for your Service and your leadership in the Information Dominance Corps and the cryptologic community.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Remembering the crew of COLUMBIA and their families

On February 1, 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed in a disaster that claimed the lives of all seven of its crew.

While February 1 was an occasion for mourning, the efforts that ensued can be a source of national pride. NASA publicly and forthrightly informed the nation about the accident and all the associated information that became available. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board was established within two hours of the loss of signal from the returning spacecraft in accordance with procedures established by NASA following the Challenger accident 17 years earlier.

The crew members lost that morning were explorers in the finest tradition, and since then, everyone associated with the Accident Review Board has felt that we were laboring in their legacy.

When itʼs dark, the stars come out … The same is true with people. When the tragedies of life turn a bright day into a frightening night, Godʼs stars come out and these stars are families who say although we grieve deeply as do the families of Apollo 1 and Challenger before us, the bold exploration of space must go on. These stars are the leaders in Government and in NASA who will not let the vision die. These stars are the next generation of astronauts, who like the prophets of old said, “Here am I, send me.”
– Brig. Gen. Charles Baldwin, STS-107 Memorial
Ceremony at the National Cathedral, February 6, 2003