Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Little Bit of 'Thank You' Help - For those of you who are "thank you" impaired.

Sailors always remember a thank-you note, long after they forget what exactly they did to deserve it. Of course, there are the usual occasions to write thank you notes, but what are often more interesting are the unexpected ones.

A thank-you note is a gift in and of itself. Thank those Sailors for the great job they did on the Quarterdeck during the Admiral's visit, for the great job they did at Colors this morning, Thank them for the super job they did on the engineering inspection. Thank them for keeping the Command's 5 year safety record intact.

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to writing thank-you notes. Most would prefer that you follow this rough guideline.
1. Write the thank-you note.
2. Affix stamp.
3. Mail it. I have been using this formula for 30 years or so and have yet to have one "thank you" note returned.
If you are the succinct type, a correspondence card works perfectly, as does a small foldover note. Punctuality counts – and it certainly appears more sincere. Generally speaking, the message is brief and usually consists of four parts.

1. The greeting. Dear Petty Officer Smith/Lieutenant Jones.2. An appreciation of the item or favor."Thank you for the the great job on the IG inspection last week."3. Mention how important it was."We couldn't have passed without your great work."4. Sign off with an appreciation of their service."Thank you for your service in our great Navy." That’s it. That is all there is to it.
Good intentions don’t get the job done, and while everyone intends to express a thank you, not everyone does. If your thank-you note is tardy, don’t apologize for being late. You know you are late, and the person you are writing knows it. Just get on with it.

Adapted from Crane's Guidance on Correspondence

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Managing your officer career

A key part of managing your officer career will be the counseling you receive. However, the quality of the counseling you receive is only as good as its source. No matter what the advice or the source, the career decisions you make affect your career.

In general, the most reliable sources for career information are your Commanding Officer, Executive Officer and your detailer. COs and XOs are knowledgeable and experienced counselors, able to address both general and specific requirements for your career path. Other, similarly experienced senior officers can help with the detailed requirements of your technical specialty. There are many career considerations which do not change, such as the importance of sustained superior performance. For guidance on specific billet choices in a changing career path, you will need to contact your detailer. Your detailers 
should know your qualifications, career needs, personal preferences and which billets are available.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Story

Another story about Captain's Mast from U.S. NSGA Yokosuka circa 1997-2000.

Muster aboard ship is taken very seriously aboard ship.  It should be taken equally seriously ashore.

We had a young female Sailor who was troubled.  From my previous post about Captain's Mast (Redemption through remediation), readers understand my sensitivity to being on time for work.

This young Sailor was late for work one particular morning and was reported as Unauthorized Absence (U/A) from morning muster.  That was as far as the Leading Petty Officer (LPO) went: he reported her as U/A.  Nothing more was done by her division, even though the barracks was about a 1/2 mile away..

Understand that our Sailors were just becoming accustomed to a Commanding Officer (me) who actually required a daily muster report.  

I inquired about the whereabouts of the Sailor.  The XO, division officer, division Chief and LPO reported that her whereabouts were unknown.  I asked if anyone had checked for her in her barracks room.  They had not.  The Command Duty Officer (CDO), a Senior Chief, was dispatched to the barracks to try to locate her.

As it turned out, she had over-medicated herself and the Senior Chief found her semi-conscious in her rack (bed).  What might have happened to her if we had not checked on her?  An ambulance was called and she was transported to the base hospital a few blocks away.  This was apparently a suicide attempt/ideation.  Lots of baggage here that I won't go into but a Captain's Mast was pending for previous offenses.  Of course, she was administratively debriefed and lost her clearance.  Bottom line:  she was fortunate to have someone concerned enough about her whereabouts to physically check on her and verify she was okay.  The Senior Chief may have saved her life that day. I think that he did. Some would call this 'intrusive leadership'; I call it servant leadership and caring about your Shipmates.

((NOTE: A HOTLINE call was made by a command member to the Commander, Naval Security Group Inspector General (IG) about the Commanding Officer (me) concealing this episode and failing to properly report a suicide attempt.  Of course the complaining Sailor was not aware of our various messages and phone calls to our Immediate Superior In Command (ISIC) and other links in the chain of command within 30 minutes of our learning of the suicide attempt from the hospital.))  For your edification, the previous CO was removed from command by the CNSG IG after failing two successive IG inspections.  I fielded more than my share of IG Hotline Complaints, Article 38 Grievances and Congressional Inquiries early in my command tour.  Sailors (at all paygrades through E-8) had become accustomed to trying to solve their problems through anonymous complaints to various IG and Congressional offices.  It took nearly two years to regain their trust and confidence - the previous CO had crushed their trust and confidence and was relieved for cause.  We worked hard and got there together.  It was a painful process.  Not for the faint of heart.

I was in the habit of being in contact with the loved ones and parents of our Sailors.  This Sailor was no different. I'd written her mother on several occasions so she knew who I was and we at least had that connection. I called her mother and let her know what was happening and that her daughter was safe and sound.  This was right before Thanksgiving and her mother had already purchased a plane ticket to Japan at considerable expense.  She feared she would not be able to make the trip to see her daughter due to the pending Captain's Mast and the restrictive punishment that was sure to be imposed.  I assured her that I would postpone the Captain's Mast until after her trip to Japan.  She came to Japan, had a wonderful time with her daughter and provided the soothing guidance that only a mother can provide.  Following Captain's Mast, the Sailor was separated from the Navy for reasons that should be clear to everyone.  Not everyone is meant to spend a career in the Navy.

Like other Sailors who went to Mast, she made a complete recovery.  It seemed to get her to pay attention to the problems she needed to face and modify the behaviors she needed to correct.  I am happy to say that she served our country again in Iraq in a different capacity and served with pride and distinction under hostile conditions.  She'd grown up.  The Navy helped her do that.

Some may think this is airing dirty laundry.  It's not.  It's  matter of record, if you know how to check the record.  There are so many lessons in this one experience with this one Sailor that I could write a short book on the many leadership lessons learned.

Zero defects Navy?  I don't think so.  This Sailor had MANY chances to correct her behavior before being separated from the Navy.  She made many choices not too.  No doubt she'd make different choices today. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

VADM Train to replace VADM Branch as N2N6

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has nominated RADM Liz Train for a third star and she should replace VADM Ted Branch as the N2N6.

Lots of details to follow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

U.S. Navy Information Operations Command Yokosuka, Japan - Recent Exploits

  1. NIOC Yokosuka's team consisting of 88 Sailors and civilians who provide and deploy trained Information Warfare (IW) officers and cryptologic enlisted personnel, expertise, and equipment to support Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Information Operations (IO), Fleet Electronic Support (FES) functions, Global Signals Analysis Lab (GSAL) functions for naval surface, sub-surface, air, and Coalition forces assigned to Commander, SEVENTH Fleet in the Western Pacific theater. NIOC YOKO's Sailors have:
    •   Worked on behalf of Commander, Seventh Fleet (C7F) staff to deliver technical cryptologic operational analytics, contributing to a 150% performance increase for cryptologic operations in the Western Pacific.
    •   Dispatched one Direct Support Officer for 133 days to the USSOUTHCOM AOR to test experimental intelligence collection equipment and develop new tactics for intelligence support to Counter-Narcotics Operations. In addition, NIOC YOKO deployed one Information Technician First Class Petty Officer for a 6 month deployment onboard the USS COLE in support of Sixth Fleet Cryptologic Operations, providing I&W and valuable intelligence collection to Naval and Joint commanders. Of note, nine Sailors Deployed to six ships in the Seventh Fleet AOR to provide I&W and valuable intelligence collection. 

On the way out . . .

In his interview with Charlie Rose, before announcing his resignation as Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel went on to note that a good leader prepares their institution for future success, saying that “the main responsibility of any leader is to prepare your institution for the future. If you don’t do that, you’ve failed. I don’t care how good you are, how smart you are, any part of your job. If you don’t prepare your institution, you’ve failed.”

This is really sound advice for our NIOC Commanding Officers, also.  Think about how you prepare your command for future success.  We typically do CRI/IGs on commands and the new CO has the burden of cleaning up the last mess.  How do we really assess 'success' in command?  FITREPs state how an ISIC feels about the CO but where is the actual objective evaluation of performance of the command - promotion/advancement rates, PRT scores, retention rates, command awards/recognition, language proficiency?  In many cases, success = completing the tour.  How many times have you seen a CO leave with an MSM/LOM and the ISIC tells the new CO - fix command morale and its other problems? We need to break the cycle.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Do things worth the writing

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” 

B. Franklin

Sunday, November 23, 2014


1. The purpose of this message is to solicit nominations for the Captain Joseph Rochefort Information Warfare (IW) Officer Distinguished Leadership Award.
2. Captain Joseph John Rochefort was a major figure in the U.S. Navy's cryptologic and intelligence development from 1925 to 1947. He headed the Navy's fledgling cryptanalytic organization in the 1920's and provided singularly superb cryptologic support to the fleet during World War II, leading to victory in the war in the pacific.  At the end of his career (1942-1946), Rochefort successfully headed the Pacific Strategic Intelligence Group in Washington. Rochefort died in 1976. In 1986, he posthumously received The President's National Defense Service Medal, the highest military award during peacetime, for his contributions during the Battle of Midway.
3.  The intent of the Captain Rochefort IW Officer Distinguished Leadership Award is to annually recognize the superior career achievement of one IW officer.  In the spirit of Captain Rochefort, specific consideration will be given to leadership, teamwork, operational contributions and adherence to the principle by which he served,  "We can accomplish anything provided no one cares who gets the credit."
4.  IW officers (181x, 644x and 744x) ranging from CWO2 to Commander are eligible for the award with consideration given to contributions while serving as both IW officers and cryptologic technicians.
5.  Nomination procedures:
A.  Peer nominations will be the only source of nominations. Only commissioned officers who are themselves eligible to be selected in the selection year may nominate one peer. The nomination will be made on a two page, signed letter containing the full name and unit of the peer nominated with typed justification (which will be held in confidence) based on the criteria.  The nomination letter will be forwarded directly to COMFLTCYBERCOM awards via email at: fcc_c10f_nsah_awards(at) NLT 6 Feb 2015.
B.  Nominations will be reviewed by a selection board of Captains designated by COMFLTCYBERCOM. Final selection will be made by the commander.
6.  Award selection will be announced via naval message. Presentation venue of the award will be accomplished at the U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association annual convention to be held in mid May 2015.  Individual commands are responsible for funding travel if selectees intend to participate in awards presentation.//

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Captain Clyde Lopez

Captain Clyde Lopex, Athens, 1989

Captain Clyde C. Lopez, United States Navy - retired, celebrates his 77th birthday today.  This great American enlisted in the Navy in October 1955 and served for 40 years, retiring in 1995.  And yet, he's still HARD at work for his beloved U.S. Navy.

His illustrious Navy career would fill volumes.  It is sufficient to say that he was a Sailor worthy of being called a Shipmate by all who know him.

He was born on this day in 1937 in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Sir, Happy Birthday SHIPMATE !!

He is still serving our great Navy and Nation today - in a civilian capacity.  Talk about Service!

Friday, November 21, 2014


VADM Jan E. Tighe's staff was working on a tight timeline to deliver a new strategy by 21 November according to an e-mail to her Commanding Officers, Assistant Chiefs of Staff and Special Assistants. 

Strategic Plan Development Timeline:
- 21 Nov:  FCC/C10F Strategic Plan released

Did Executive Leadership Group (ELG) deliver?

From my former XO, LCDR Steve Ritz, NSGA Kunia Hawaii

"Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do."

 -- Voltaire

Don't find yourself being TOO guilty.  Do as much good as humanly possible.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How unethical behavior starts...from Harvard Business Review

“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,” wrote C. S. Lewis. Our research backs up both Lewis’s intuition and the anecdotal evidence: People often start their misconduct with small transgressions and then slide down a slippery slope.

The rest is here

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


“Always stand on principle….even if you stand alone.”

 John Adams

Monday, November 17, 2014

Loss of one of our legendary Cryptologic Technicians

LAKEWOOD, NJ - Alexander Myroslav Motruk died peacefully Sunday, November 9, 2014 at home. He was 71. Born in Long Island City, Queens, NY, he resided in Annapolis, MD for 36 years before settling in Lakewood earlier this year, and prior to that on Naval bases around the globe, serving his country that he so loved and dedicated his work and life to defending.

Alexander was a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran, active in military service from 1961-1980, where he served as an enlisted sailor, serving on aircraft carriers and on submarines through the Vietnam War, with stations around the globe from the French Riviera to Egypt and the Middle East, to Germany, Turkey, and to the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean. With his family, he traveled to stations in Shirley, Massachusetts, Winter Harbor Maine, Rota, Spain, and to his final active post in Fort Meade, MD. He achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer prior to his first retirement in 1980, and continued on to serve his country working for the U.S. Navy as a Cryptoanalyst and Naval Intelligence Officer for another 33 years, until his final retirement in April 2013 from Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group in Suitland, Maryland. During his service he received numerous accolades and awards, he went on international special assignments, he debriefed Vice Presidents, worked tirelessly to support the efforts of our military and the Naval Intelligence Agency, and into death, he held true to his oath to defend and protect the United States, never revealing the details of his work.

Interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA at a later date.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Go Make A Ruckus

We owe it to our community to be incredibly generous and connected and to do the hard work.

Seth Godin video is HERE

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Leaders and ethical behavior

Leaders receive much of the credit for success and also shoulder most of the blame for ethical failures in organizations. Given their visible positions of authority, responsibility for shaping formal organizational policies, ongoing interactions with employees, and control over important rewards and punishments, leaders should play an important role in influencing employees’ ethical and unethical conduct. In this chapter, we have proposed that leaders influence such conduct primarily by way of social learning and social exchange processes. Through modeling, leaders influence followers by demonstrating high ethical standards in their own conduct and by using the reward system to teach employees vicariously about the outcomes of ethical and unethical behavior in the organization. Furthermore, admired lead- ers who are seen as trustworthy, and who treat employees fairly and considerately, will develop social exchange relationships that result in employees reciprocating in positive ways.

More on the topic HERE.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Masters or Jacks? – VADM Branch Response

Proceedings Magazine - November 2014… by Vice Admiral Ted N. Branch, U.S. Navy, Director of Naval Intelligence/Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance
(See Masters or Jacks? by H. Stephenson, pp. 58–63, October 2014 Proceedings) 

I want to thank Commander Stephenson for his recent article, which outlined his views on aspects of the Navy’s approach to developing information dominance (ID) as a fourth warfighting pillar, alongside air, surface, and undersea warfare. I welcome the continued dialogue in Proceedings on these issues that I think are important to the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) and to the Navy as a whole.

Commander Stephenson is concerned that cross-detailing officers in the IDC might somehow diminish the specialized skills and abilities these officers possess and currently provide. I see cross-detailing as quite the opposite—an opportunity to capitalize on their specialized knowledge while at the same time broadening their portfolio by exposing them to the full range of ID capabilities and perspectives in order to maximize operational advantages and warfighting efforts. My intent in cross-detailing officers (i.e., detailing them to billets traditionally filled by officers from other IDC disciplines) is to more deeply professionalize the IDC by developing an acute awareness of all IDC capabilities among professionals who are already master practitioners of their respective disciplines.

This approach is not unique to the IDC; it is used by other communities to develop a similarly broadened perspective in their officers. Strengthening the interdisciplinary nature of the IDC is vital to adapting successfully to the evolving complexity of the future warfighting environment. Our Navy would be ill-served by perpetuating single-discipline solutions to increasingly complex information dominance/warfare problem sets. This approach is supported by years of academic research that points to the value of interdisciplinary education and research.

With respect to the role of ID within the existing Composite Warfare Commander construct, it is still a moving target. While we are working with the Fleet to help define the optimum organizational construct for ID afloat, that structure will ultimately be determined by the Fleet, not the Chief of Naval Operations staff in the Pentagon. It will evolve over time, through trial and error and operational stress, much as the current construct has evolved and continues to evolve today.

Commander Stephenson’s concern that the maturing role of ID afloat will distance intelligence officers from their commanders is unfounded. Having served as a warfighting commander, I’m confident that no commander will allow any organizational construct, particularly one under his or her direct control, to keep them from the intelligence (or any other discipline’s information) they might need to make critical warfighting decisions. Commanders are hungry for interdisciplinary perspectives that shape and deliver a wide range of kinetic and non-kinetic options.

One additional point: Commander Stephenson unduly constrains the impact of ID capabilities by asserting that their effects are limited to the non-kinetic realm. In fact, they contribute to or directly provide effects that go far beyond the electromagnetic spectrum. Navy Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) is a prime example.

The Navy needs its IDC leaders to possess both a great depth of expertise in a specific discipline and a wide breadth of experience across ID and the other warfighting disciplines. This is all about warfighting. The complexity of today’s threats demands us to be both masters and jacks, and that is what we in the IDC will deliver to the Navy.

(Note: The Masters or Jacks article was reproduced in the Monday, 10 November 2014 Information Dominance News Clips)

Monday, November 10, 2014

A. J. HAWK on Character - at work and at home

"I think what a guy does on the field and what he does off the field are inseparable.  You have to be able to trust a guy to do his job on the field and he has to take care of his family off the field."

And this from Jake Plummer, "To me beauty is living life to higher standards, stronger morals and ethics and believing in them, whether people tell you you’re right or wrong.”

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The good must associate

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

Edmund Burke

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hugh MacLeod gets this right
There's nothing you can do to make people trust you.

Except saying only what you mean.

Except doing exactly what you say you're going to do.

Except standing up for what you know is right.

Except fixing what you know is wrong.

Except never betraying a confidence.

Except never falling back on status and titles.

Except admitting it when you make a mistake.

Except forgiving others when they make their own.

This is the way - the only way - that trust becomes a part of your culture.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Does Character Matter?

I was asked by a concerned spouse if our community values character in our Naval officers, particularly among those officers in command who serve as role models for those they command.

I believe that we do.

What do you think?

Note to self...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Commander Henry Stephenson is generating some buzz in the IDC

In his recent USNI Proceeding Article "MASTERS OR JACKS", his thesis is that 'Treating the Information Dominance Corps as a general warfare competency risks weakening the skill sets of its specialists.'  You can read his entire article HERE for free.  

You should also consider joining USNI. 

What do you think?

Know something? Share it with your Shipmates

“If wisdom were offered me on the one condition that I should keep it shut away and not divulge it to anyone,” said Roman philosopher Seneca, “I should reject it. There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with.”

From 99U.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Meetings are killing us

Time is an organization’s scarcest – and most often squandered – resource. To demonstrate how poorly most organizations manage this precious commodity, we used data-mining tools to analyze the Outlook schedules of everyone in a large company. What follows is real data from that company and how its weekly excom meeting rippled throughout the organization in a profoundly disturbing way.

1 weekly excom meeting accounts for 7,000 hours a year. At the excom meeting senior-level staff provide updates on all phases of the business. It uses 7,000 person hours of executives’ times annually. To prepare for this meeting, individual excom members need to meet with unit chiefs….people [at the company] spent 300,000 hours a year just supporting the weekly executive committee meeting.

From 99U.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Where are we headed?

NAVIDFOR will have their Commanders' Conference is a couple of weeks.  Things will be more clear then.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Being busy

"Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of mental laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action."

– Tim Ferriss

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I Am Military History

My Shipmate and friend, Master Chief Tim Moon has a new venture to capture our military history. On 5 November, the site will go live.  Check it out.  I think you'll like it.