Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Science shows writing is beneficial

No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference. 

Rachel Grate

Monday, September 29, 2014

A bit of self promotion, if I may

This is a bit of self promotion but it is really more of a call for my writer friends to put their work out there in the public domain for consumption - free and otherwise.

Today, I received my first royalty check from Amazon Digital Services for my short piece about VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award Winners HERE.  It is not a large check, but it is a significant return for the time and effort I invested.  I tried to get United States Naval Institute PROCEEDINGS to publish it several years ago. It was the first thing that I sent them that they rejected.  My 5 previous articles were purchased and published - one after another.  This is a bit of redemption for me with this piece.  If PROCEEDINGS had published it, I would have lost money and the experience of self-publishing on Kindle.

Virtues of a leader

The humble leader asks:
  • Does my experience really qualify me to work this issue? Am I quick to admit when I’’m in domains beyond my expertise? 
  • To what extent do my prejudices, attitudes or experiences bias my judgment? 
  • Am I open to consider novel approaches to this problem, and willing to learn and study where warranted? 
The empathetic leader asks:
  • To what extent have I analyzed the beliefs I hold which may impede my ability to think critically? 
  • Do I demonstrate a willingness to yield my positions when sufficient evidence is presented against them? 
  • To what extent am I willing to stand my ground against the majority (despite ridicule)? 
The intellectually courageous leader asks:
  • Do I listen and seek to understand others’ reasoning? 
  • Do I accurately represent viewpoints with which I disagree? Do I accurately represent their views? 
  • Do I appreciate insights in the technical views of others and prejudices in my own? 
The leader with intellectual integrity asks:
  • To what extent do I expect of myself what I expect of others? 
  • Do what extent are there contradictions or inconsistencies in the way I deal with technical issues? 
  • To what extent do I strive to recognize and eliminate self-deception or self-interest when reasoning through challenging issues? 
The persevering leader asks:
  • Am I willing to work my way through complexities in an issue or do I tend to give up when challenged? 
  • Can I think of a difficult similar problem in which I have demonstrated patience and tenacity? 
Leaders with confidence in reason ask:
  • Am I willing to change my position when the evidence leads to a more reasonable position? 
  • Do I adhere to technical principles and evidence when persuading others of my position or do I distort matters to support my position? 
  • Do I encourage others to come to their own technical conclusions or do I try to coerce agreement? 
Leaders with intellectual autonomy ask:
  • Do I think through technical issues on my own or do I merely accept others’ conclusions or judgments? 
  • Am I willing to stand alone against irrational criticism? 
The fair-minded leader asks:
  • Am I giving dissenting opinions adequate consideration? 
  • Has self-interest or bias clouded my judgment?  

R. J. Niewoehner
United States Naval Academy
Applied Disciplines: A Critical Thinking Model

Sunday, September 28, 2014


"This idea of standing up a type commander is really important for the Information Dominance Force, but it's also very important for the rest of the fleet to understand who you are and what you're doing," Greenert said to the NAVCYBERFOR audience, which will soon be part of the new NAVIDFOR TYCOM.

"We, the fleet, have to understand the tremendous value of information dominance," he said. "Those who control information will certainly define the pace of any future conflict and probably the outcome of the conflict itself."

NAVIDFOR TYCOM will stand up Oct. 1 and be fully operational Dec. 31. The new TYCOM mission will be to provide commanders ashore and afloat, forward deployable, combat-ready information dominance forces capable of conducting prompt and sustained naval, joint and combined operations in support of U.S. national interests.

Friday, September 26, 2014

From NavyNews

FORT MEADE, Md. (September 26, 2014) Adm. Michelle Howard, vice chief of naval operations (VCNO), greets Vice. Adm. Jan E. Tighe, commander U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/ U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F), during a visit to FCC/C10F headquarters. VCNO received an update on FCC/C10F operations and plans, met with Sailors and civilian staff, and participated in a roundtable discussion with Tighe and her leadership team. The visit was also a remarkable moment for gender integration, with the two leaders having each made history in 2014. On July 1 of this year, Howard made U.S. Navy history as first female ever promoted to the rank of four-star admiral. Earlier, on April 2, Tighe became the first female commander of a numbered fleet in U.S. Navy history when she took the helm of FCC/C10F. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David R. Finley Jr./Released) 140926-N-VE701-005

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Captain Maureen Fox to relieve Captain Susan K. Cerovsky as CO Center for Information Dominance Corry Station

Captain Maureen Fox (USNA 1991) relieves Captain Susan K. Cerovsky on Friday, 26 September 2014 as Commanding Officer of CID Corry Station.  Captain Fox is reporting from Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command.  Captain Cerovsky is retiring.  Captain Fox is a career Navy intelligence officer (1830).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

USS COWPENS - more trouble

Commander Armando Ramirez, Executive Officer of USS COWPENS (CG-63) was relieved of his duties on September 18 by the Commanding Officer, Captain Scott Sciretta, due to an alcohol-related incident.  He was found guilty at Admiral's Mast of Article 111, drunken or reckless operation of a vehicle, and Article 133, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

Commander. Justin Harts has assumed duties as Executive Officer. Commander Ramirez has departed the ship and is on shore duty.

According to Navy Times, when the XO returned to the ship, the CMC suspected the XO was drunk and a breathalyzer was administered. Things went downhill from there.

Having versus making

Friday, September 19, 2014

Introverts make better leaders because...they write more

7. They write more. 

It's an old-fashioned skill that's easy to let atrophy in our tech-mad world, but strong writing skills usually lead to clear thinking and communication, according to Jennifer Kahnweiler, so introverts' skill behind the keyboard offers them an advantage.

"Introverted leaders usually prefer writing to talking. This comfort with the written word often helps them better articulate their positions and document their actions. It also helps them leverage online social networking tools such as Twitter, creating new opportunities to be out there with employees, customers and other stakeholders," she writes.

You can read all about it HERE.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Importance of THE MESS in Command Excellence

"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.

It goes without saying (Well, why am I saying it then?), that the Senior Enlisted Leader/Command Master Chief can easily make or break the proper functioning of THE MESS.  That individual must have the respect of the crew, THE MESS and the wardroom to be effective.  Excessive absences from the command for 'other' activities is a problem.  Lack of warfare qualification is a problem.   A poor relationship with THE MESS is a problem.  Poor communication with the CO/XO is a problem.  Lack of interaction with the crew is a problem.  Add all that up and you have enough problems as the SEL/CMC to not only force THE MESS to fail but to point the command toward failure.  

Yesterday, the Navy advanced its latest group of newly minted Chief Petty Officers.  They have great expectations upon being welcomed into THE MESS.  Let's give them the best chance to become the great CPOs the Navy needs.  Let's not encumber them with the dysfunction of a poorly led  mess.  Master Chief / SEL, if you're not up to the job, step aside and let one of your very capable brothers or sisters in the mess lead the group.  There are plenty of them ready to step up and lead if you can not or will not.

Congratulations to these fine IWOs selected for command and milestone tours

A look at command opportunities from a few decades ago.
NSG had 30 command opportunities.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Commander Christopher Slattery assumes command of Center for Information Dominance Unit Monterey, California

At a traditional Navy change of command ceremony officiated by Captain Susan K. Cerovsky, CO, Center for Information Dominance Corry Station, Pensacola Florida, Commander Sean Cooney was relieved by Commander Christopher Slattery.


Monday, September 15, 2014

From the NSGA Yokosuka TSUNAMI PRESS - January 2000

Note to our Sailors:

The things that I discuss with each Sailor who reports aboard the command are very straight-forward.  We've done all we can to eliminate guessing from the success equation.  The leaders in this command are here to direct the accomplishment of the command's mission. People (our Sailors and their families) are a priority - that hasn't changed; but we have to accomplish the mission.  We will do all we can as leaders of this activity to ensure that every Sailors has an equal opportunity to succeed in his/her naval career.  We recognize that, for some, that a career will only be a single enlistment and for others 20-30 years.  In either case, you've got to make the most of it.  Come to work on time, do your job correctly, do an honest day's work, treat your Shipmates with dignity and respect, add value to the things you do, pay your bills on time, be faithful to your spouse and family, and live the Navy's Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.  Do all that and I can virtually guarantee you will be a success - in the Navy and in life.  Anything less is unacceptable.  R/CO

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sailor power

How great is it that every Sailor has the power to change the direction of the Navy?

Check out the Chief of Naval Operations' Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) on FaceBook HERE.

Friday, September 12, 2014


"All of the Sailors we encounter have tremendous talents. 
And, for some reason, we squander those talents rather ruthlessly."

Word to the wise - don't squander your Sailors' talents.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering my Shipmate Commander Dan Shanower, USN - 9 | 11 | 2001

CDR Dan F. Shanower was born on February 7, 1961 in Naperville, Illinois. He was a member of Naperville Central High School’s varsity soccer team and graduated in 1979. He attended Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, graduating in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While a student at Carroll, he participated in the Washington Semester at American University, interning in the office of Illinois Senator Charles Percy, then Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. 

CDR Shanower attended Aviation Officer School in Pensacola, Florida and received his commission as an Ensign, U.S. Navy in June 1985. After attending the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Course at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, he reported to VAQ-136 onboard U.S.S. Midway in March 1986 as Squadron Intelligence Officer. In September 1988, he was assigned as Officer-in-Charge of the Pacific Fleet Area Support Team Detachment, Subic Bay, Philippines. Following this tour, he transitioned to the Naval Reserve, serving from August 1990 to October 1994 as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department in the Philippines. 

CDR Shanower was recalled to active duty in November 1994 and reported to the Navy & Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center as a student. He was assigned to the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Detachment Japan in December 1994 as Operations Support Department Head. He served aboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19) which was the Flagship for the Commander, SEVENTH Fleet. In May 1997, he received orders to the staff of the Commander, U.S. Third Fleet in San Diego, California aboard the USS CORONADO as the Assistant Intelligence Officer. 

In June 1999, CDR Shanower reported to the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, DC as Fleet Support Department Head. He began graduate work in the Naval War College. In August 2000, he was selected as the Officer-in-Charge of the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot. There he was responsible for the provision of current intelligence support to the Navy Secretariat, Chief of Naval Operations staff, and the Director of Naval Intelligence. In December 2000, he was promoted to his final rank of Commander. 

CDR Shanower’s personal and professional commendations include the Defense Meritorious Service Award, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Purple Heart, and numerous campaign and service awards. Carroll College awarded him its first Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to Country in February 2002. Naperville Central High School recognized his contributions to his country by presenting him an Outstanding Alumni Award in May 2002. 

Dan was known for his ready smile, terrific sense of humor, love of conversation, ability to tell a story, love of politics, and his intellectual and cultural curiosity about the world. He loved the sea, sailing, scuba diving, water skiing, and above all else, his family, friends and the Navy. He enjoyed writing both fiction and non-fiction, and many of his opinion essays and articles were published in the United States Naval Institute Proceedings, including the poignant May 1997 one entitled, “Freedom Isn’t Free.” His article reflected on the loss of his shipmates in 1987, and he wrote: 

“Those of us in the military are expected to make the ultimate sacrifice when called. The military loses scores of personnel each year. Each one risked and lost his or her life in something they believed in, leaving behind family and shipmates to bear the burden and celebrate their devotion to our country… They knew the risks they were taking and gave their lives for something bigger than themselves.” 

CDR Shanower’s survivors include his parents, Dr. Donald, WWII veteran and college professor, and Patricia, retired public school teacher; brothers, Thomas and Jonathan; sisters, Victoria and Paula; and eight nephews and nieces. 

He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on October 1, 2001.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

VADM James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award Winners Announced

The Commanding Officers of a destroyer and a fighter squadron are this year’s recipients of the Navy’s top leadership prize.

Commander Gavin Duff, former commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 14 and Commander Thomas J. Dickinson, former CO of USS BARRY, have been named winners of the prestigious Vice Admiral James Stockdale Award. The two winners were selected from a pool of eight nominees.

These COs were nominated by fellow COs, O-5 and below from unrestricted line commands. Nominees are screened by how well they embody the leadership ethos of the late-Vice Admiral Stockdale, a Vietnam POW who earned a Medal of Honor for leading a resistance campaign against his North Vietnamese captors. 

The other finalists, selected for “inspirational leadership” according to the release, are: 

  • Commander Martin Muckian, CO, USS Greenville 
  • Commander David Ray, former CO, USS New Orleans
  • Commander Andrew Thomson, CO, USS John Paul Jones 
  • Commander Brian Weiss, former CO, VP-9 
  • Commander Greg Zettler, CO, USS Norfolk 
  • Commander Daryle Cardone, former CO, VAQ-121 

Rear Admiral Babette Bolivar is the only woman to ever be nominated for the award.  She was a 2006 PACFLT finalist.

Thought and reflection

"Most people expect learning to just happen without their taking the time for thought and reflection, which true learning requires. In the past, with slower com- munication systems, we often had a few weeks to ponder and rethink a decision. Today we’re accustomed to e-mails, faxes, overnight letters, and cell phones, and have come to believe that an immediate response is more important than a thoughtful one."

— Steven Robbins
Harvard Business School 
Working Knowledge 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

12 September 2014 Change of Command at Center for Information Dominance Unit (CIDU) Monterey, California

Commander Sean Cooney will be relieved as Commanding Officer, CIDU Monterey on Friday, 12 September 2014 by Commander Christopher Slattery.  BZ gentlemen.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sometimes I am just clueless about what's happening - Mark D. Neighbors has moved from the OPNAV Staff

Senior Advisor
 to the 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance
 has left the OPNAV Staff.

Mr. Mark Neighbors enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1974 and trained in Chinese Mandarin at Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California. After serving in various assignments as an enlisted voice analyst in Korea, Maryland and Hawaii, he was commissioned an Ensign in 1983. He subsequently performed duties in operational and staff assignments ashore and afloat in California, Japan, Maryland and Washington, DC. 

He was the Commander, Task Force 70/Striking Force SEVENTH Fleet cryptologist in the 1990s and was a powerhouse on the Yokosuka waterfront for a number of years, having served as the Officer in Charge, U.S. Naval Security Group Detachment Yokosuka, Japan.

To our great dismay, Mark retired as Commander in 2001. He entered the U.S. Civil Service and served in several staff intelligence assignments at the U.S. Navy Headquarters (OPNAV).

He was selected as a Defense Intelligence Senior Level (DISL) in 2007 during a three year assignment as the Navy’s Deputy Senior Language Authority.

In September 2008 he reported to the staff of the Director, Naval Intelligence where he facilitated the OPNAV Headquarters reorganization in 2009 and became Chief of Staff to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance. In January 2010 he executed a Joint Duty Assignment with the Defense Intelligence Agency where he developed the Civilian Foreign Area Specialist (CIVFAS) Program for the Defense Intelligence Enterprise. He returned to OPNAV in February 2011 and serves as the Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6).

Mr. Neighbors holds a bachelors of general studies in political science from Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii and a masters of science in national resource strategy from National Defense University in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SEMINAR XXI Program, and a recipient of the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award. His highest military decoration was the Legion of Merit. 

On the horizon - crown jewel of the former Naval Security Group to decommission on 30 September; closure ceremony to be held on 10 October 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Some in leadership positions don't grasp this truth

Mark Miller and Ken Blanchard explain this in the 10th Anniversary Edition of their book - The Secret.  Available from all the usual book sellers.  All 10 copies that I had have been claimed.  Check back in 2024 for the 20th Anniversary Edition.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A serious question to ask yourself today and periodically thereafter

Each of us has served with Navy leaders of both types and we know which one we prefer.  Knowing how effective and energizing a serving leader can be, who would choose to be self-serving?  It really is that simple - will you serve your Sailors or yourself?  

Mark Miller and Ken Blanchard's book - THE SECRET helps you understand the 'secret' of leadership.  Give it a read.  You can read a chapter HERE for free.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I was surprised by these comments by Dr. Martin Cook at Naval War College

From a Navy News article:

"Professionals from all fields must maintain their level of knowledge and development to preserve their social trust", said Cook.

"When you go to a doctor, you expect them to be reading medical journals; when you go to a lawyer, you expect them to be keeping current on the state of their profession," said Cook.

"The same is expected from military leaders."

"For most Navy people this is a relatively new concept, they don't really think of themselves in these terms. They use the term professional, but that usually means that they are competent," he added.

During her remarks, RADM Peg Klein underscored Cook's point.
Dr. Cook must be thinking about some other Navy.  I don't believe the Sailors I served with thought that "professional" meant you were merely competent.  I must be missing his context. I don't know many in the Navy who believe that they don't have to keep current on the state of their profession. Dr. Cook may need to get back out to the Fleet.

Learning and leading are inextricable

Mark Miller and Ken Blanchard are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the release of their book THE SECRET.  If you missed the lessons the first time, this is your opportunity to catch up.  If you've read it before, this is an ideal opportunity to refresh those lessons.  You can find the book at all of the usual book sellers.  Free copies are available for the first ten (10) people who send me a handwritten request via snail mail.  Your 48 cent investment gets you a $22.95 value.  That's a nice return.  E-mail me at therealnavy@gmail.com and I'll send you my mailing address.  If you already have my address, you are all set.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

10th Anniversary Edition of "The Secret" by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller

Assess, Affirm and Make Adjustments. These are three things good Navy leaders do every day. This works especially well with Navy evolutions. Most commonly used at sea, this same evolution debriefing process has solid application within our shore establishment in the Information Dominance Corps at our Navy Information Operations Commands.  It's simple and easy to apply to our many processes.  While we protect many secrets, this one is no leadership secret and should be shared with all.

Monday, September 1, 2014


“What is honored in a country is cultivated there.” 

How do you honor the people in your organization? A couple of years ago, I was making a focused effort to improve in this arena. I knew intuitively different people place different value on various types of recognition. However, to truly honor people, I needed to know specifically what was of value to them individually.

My next step was to set a meeting with all the staff members in my department, temporary and part-time employees too. I asked each of them just one question? What was the best recognition they had ever received? The result – I confirmed my hunch regarding the diversity of approaches to effective recognition. Here’s some of what they told me…
Public recognition – Some people love to be recognized in front of other people. You may be one of those individuals. Unless other people can hear the kind words and see the appreciation, it doesn’t count. When you work with these people, be on the lookout for the appropriate forum to showcase the behaviors you’re trying to reinforce.
Private recognition – I don’t know the percentages, but I do know a significant portion of the population will not feel honored if you single them out publically. I’ve worked with many people who feel public recognition is more punishment than praise. If you miss assess this, your good intentions could actually dissuade the behaviors you’re trying to cultivate.
A hand-written note – This simple, seemingly outdated means of communications is still one of the most powerful, and universally appreciated forms of recognition. Throughout my career, I’ve been amazed at the reception I get from writing short notes of appreciation. I don’t write enough of these! P.S. An email is not the same as a personal note.

A plaque or trophy – Some people want the tangible evidence of their accomplishment. These do not have to be elaborate or expensive… they can even be homemade. A few years ago we were trying to inculcate our core values and we made awards for people who went above and beyond in modeling these behaviors.
Cash – I would assume everyone on your team appreciates a paycheck. However, for some of them, to be recognized with cash (or a gift card) is the ultimate. You may be surprised how little money is needed to make a big impact. If you can’t get this through on your expense report, you may want to do it out of your own pocket. A Starbucks card or two may produce exponential returns.
Time off – I hope you’ve been struck by the diversity of methods for recognizing and rewarding people. The list could go on and on, but I don’t want you to miss this one. Many people will feel honored and appreciated if you say, “You did an outstanding  job completing that project on time and on budget! Why don’t you take tomorrow off?”
If you want to drive change in your organization, recognize the behavior you want to see repeated; and recognize it in ways that speak to people individually.
Writing this post has been a good reminder for me. I need to schedule some meetings and ask just one question…
How about you?
Mark Miller, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Chick-fil-A, believes that leadership is not something that’s exclusive; within the grasp of an elite few, but beyond the reach of everyone else.  In the tenth anniversary edition of The Secret, Miller reminds readers of a seemingly contradictory concept: to lead is to serve. With more than 600,000 books in print, Mark has been surprised by the response and delighted to serve leaders through his writing.

The 10th anniversary edition of The Secret will be released September 2, 2014