Saturday, September 30, 2017

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 is 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 Commodore'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 40 years or so and have yet to have one 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

Friday, September 29, 2017

9 years ago. Rest your oars Shipmate - We will not forget your service to our great Navy and nation.

Matthew O'Bryant graduated from Theodore High School in 2004 as a full cadet colonel in the Army Junior ROTC. In 2007, he joined the Navy and became a Cryptologic Technician Maintenance (CTM).

Petty Officer Matthew O’Bryant and his wife of two years, Bridgette, whom he met at a youth revival in high school, moved to Fort Meade, Md., where he was stationed.

In 2008, he was in Islamabad, Pakistan, where there had been a bombing at the Marriott Hotel on September 20, 2008. Barbara and Tommy O’Bryant were notified the next morning that their 22-year-old son was killed in the bombing. His funeral service was September 29, 2008 at Calvary Assembly of God in Mobile where he attended church growing up and worked with the children’s church. He is buried at Serenity Memorial Gardens in Theodore, Alabama.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Navy's 2017 Stockdale Award Recipients

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy announced the two 2017 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award recipients Thursday in NAVADMIN 215/17.

Cmdr. Brian M. Drechsler, former commanding officer of Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) Team Five is the Pacific Fleet recipient and Cmdr. Eric M. Sager, former commanding officer of USS California (SSN 781) is the Fleet Forces recipient.

The two recipients were nominated by their peers, who were also eligible for the award, and chosen from among eight finalists to receive the award.

The Stockdale award was established in honor of Vice Adm. Stockdale whose distinguished naval career symbolized the highest standards of excellence in both personal conduct and leadership. It is presented annually to two commissioned officers on active duty in the grade of commander or below who are serving in command of a single ship, submarine, aviation squadron, Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) team, naval special warfare squadron, SEAL delivery vehicle team, special boat team, explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit, mobile diving and salvage unit, or Navy special clearance team and who serve as examples of excellence in leadership and conspicuous contribution to the improvement of leadership in the Navy.

Drechsler was nominated by the former commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Group One, Cmdr. Ryan P. Shann, who wrote the nomination was in recognition of "his high standards, strong example, selfless service and personal commitment to his command members and their families."

Four commanding officers nominated Sager for the award. In his nomination letter, Cmdr. Kenneth R. Franklin, commanding officer of USS Colorado (SSN 788), stated Sager "sets an impeccable example for his peers and subordinates that is a model for all Naval officers to follow." 

Drechsler and Sager are scheduled to receive their awards from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson at a ceremony later this fall.

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale, for whom the Stockdale Award is named, articulated five roles for a leader -- moralist, jurist, teacher, steward and philosopher.

A Naval Academy graduate and pilot, Stockdale ejected from his A-4E Skyhawk over North Vietnam in September 1965 and was held prisoner and frequently tortured until February 1973. He received the Medal of Honor in 1976 and served as president of the Naval War College from October 1977 until August 1979.

He died in 2005 and is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He is survived by his three sons and eight grandchildren.

You can get my short KINDLE book about these amazing men and one woman - Babette Bolivar HERE.   Rear Admiral Babette Bolivar's biography is HERE.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Some thoughts on writing - the wisdom of Joe Byerly

Many professionals do not want to write because they feel by doing so they are telling people how to think or that no one will even care what the author, regardless of rank, thinks about a subject. What I have learned over the years is that published ideas, both good and bad, serve as a fuel for workplace conversations. And these conversations, which are a form of professional development, can have positive second and third order effects that the author never intended. 

For example, an article about improving performance counseling could lead to leaders reassessing and eventually changing their counseling programs in a unit on the other side of the globe. The changes may not be exactly in line with the article, but it was the article that got that commander or first sergeant thinking and talking about counseling in the first place.

Much more is available HERE.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

From the sage Tim Denning

1. Write your thoughts down

Respect is gained when you can demonstrate to others that your mind is under control. People respect you when you treat them well. It’s hard to be nice to people if you are walking around with a head full of negative thoughts.
Through blogging, I’ve learned to write my thoughts down and get them out of my head. This allows me, during work hours, to have a clearer mind that can be focused on treating others well. I am able to remember what’s important to the various people I interact with, and this helps me build rapport. Rapport is the gateway to respect.
It’s hard for someone to respect you if they don’t have a rapport with you. If you aren’t into blogging like me, then try something like doing five minutes of journaling. There’s a great journal called The Five-minute Journal which has a good guide. Get used to expressing yourself through writing.
 2. Tell people you appreciate them
It’s funny how the things that make people respect us are almost too easy not to do. One of those things is to tell people you appreciate them. I don’t mean in a fake kind of way. The best way is to do it only if you mean it, and put lots of passion into your voice.
The approximate time needed to do this is something like sixty seconds a day. The results that come from this habit are off the charts.
“People respect you when you appreciate them first”
Respect starts with you taking action first and then the benefits follow. This point is dear to my heart especially with tragedies like the one I recently witnessed where a madman killed people only meters away from me. What if you never got to tell someone how much they meant to you ever again? Do it.
3. Say sorry when you mess up
This practice is only very new for me. I make mistakes all the time, just like you do. Until recently, I never said sorry or acknowledged them. Now I do it every time. Last week I offended my friend because he thought I didn’t respect his partner. I said sorry.
The week before, I snapped at someone because I had hardly slept the night before. I told them the next day I was sorry. I got off a train and said some silly things to a train conductor because his voice through the PA was interrupting my mobile phone conversation. I said sorry.
You will be the person everyone respects when you can apologize without being asked when you’ve done something wrong.
You can find more here:  Tim Denning

Monday, September 25, 2017

Think about it

If you can't express what you think in writing, how will you express yourself?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Something for the new CPOs to consider

The Chiefs' Mess in Excellent Commands

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

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

Chiefs in superior commands lead by taking responsibility for their division. They motivate their subordinates, counsel them, defend them when unjustly criticized, monitor and enforce standards, give positive and negative feedback, communicate essential information, solicit input, monitor morale, and take initiative to propose new solutions and to do things before being told. The Chiefs play a key role in the enforcement of standards.

From: "Charting a New Course to Command Excellence - Summary"

Prospective Commanding Officer/Executive Officer Course
Newport, Rhode Island

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Timeless advice

Brain-on-brain warfare; you need to read...think.write.

In the end, the quintessential skill of an officer is about bringing order out of chaos. To do that, you have to be calm, and smart, and willing to do the brain work. Because in the end, 21st Century security is about brain-on-brain warfare. We will succeed not because we have more resources, or because our values are the best, or because we have the best demographics or geographic advantages—all of those things matter, of course. But in today’s turbulent 21st Century, we’ll succeed and defeat our enemies by out-thinking them. To do that, and to be successful senior officers, you need to read … think … and write.

Admiral James R. Stavridis 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues for your consideration

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. 
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. 
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. 
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. 
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation. 
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation. 
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Happy News

Navy Capt. Sara A. Joyner has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half).  Joyner is currently serving as director, Navy Senate Liaison, Office of Legislative Affairs, Washington, District of Columbia.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

From 2015 - things Information Warfare Basic Course attendees were interested in discussing with VADM Tighe (C10F)

Below are subjects and questions that IWBC class is interested to discuss with VADM Tighe.  
This will give an idea what's on their minds. 


1. Defense Acquisition of Information Technologies

2. Developments in the IDC over the next ten years

3. Expectations for Junior Officers

4. Retention of enlisted and officer, bonuses/job satisfaction

5. Competitive for O-4

6. EM Warfare

7. Direct Accession for IDC from ROTC/Academy

8. What does the community need to change to succeed?

9. Does the IDC have the resources to complete its mission?


1. Recently, President Obama and the Secretary of Defense have called out - and even indicted - foreign actors for hacking. How do you see us handling the issue of holding those (whether state actors, private actors, or those who fall somewhere between) accountable for hostile cyber actions against us going forward?

2. Do you know if the Navy is developing communications methods outside of EMS such as Quantum entanglement to support assured C2?

3. People in the class are from different backgrounds i.e. prior enlisted, lateral transfer, or right out of college via OCS. Will the expectations be different upon reporting to our first command due to our backgrounds in terms of initial assignments or leadership responsibilities?

4. What are the expectations of the new JO"s reporting to their first command in regards to the IDC, the military, the position?

5. With advancing technology around the world, and the growing realization of the danger in over-reliance on information technology, do we see our adversaries developing methodologies that are less dependent on technology? How are we addressing our own over-reliance on integrated C2?

6. What are the advantages of attending the Naval War College compared to the Naval Postgraduate School?

7. How have the policies and attitudes shifted in regards to offensive cyber operations over the past ten years?

8. Have offensive cyber operations affected the tactics for special operation forces?

9. Cyber research at the NSA and the Navy are often developed independently and not shared. Will there be a greater sharing of resources in the coming years?


Monday, September 18, 2017

From the fine people at Crane

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you write or how much you write. What matters is that you made the effort to write something at all — that you chose paper, found a pen and put something out into the world that can’t be erased with the click of a keyboard. It makes you stand out, creates a real human connection and ultimately it’s that effort that people remember. 

Put something out in the world that can't be erased with a click.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Are Your Lights On?


What is the problem?
Who has a problem?
What is the essence of your problem?
How can we determine "What is wrong?"
What is wrong?
What can be done about it?
A problem is a difference between things as desired and things as perceived.
Phantom problems are real problems.

Don't take their solution method for a problem definition.
If you solve their problem too readily they'll never believe you've solved their real problem.
Don't mistake a solution method for a problem definition - especially if it's your own solution method.
You can never be too sure you have a correct definition, even after the problem is solved.
Don't leap to conclusions, but don't ignore your first impression.


Each solution is the source of the next problem.
The trickiest part of certain problems is just recognizing their existence.
If you can't think of at least three things that might be wrong with your understanding of the problem, you don't understand the problem.
Don't leap to conclusions, but don't ignore your first impression.
Test your definition on a foreigner, someone blind, or a child, or make yourself foreign, blind or childlike.
Each new point of view will produce a new misfit.
How could we change the problem statement to make the solution different?
What am I solving?
Once you have a problem statement in words, play with the words until the statement is in everyone's head.

Whose problem is it?
Don't solve other people's problems when they can solve them perfectly well themselves.
If it's their problem, make it their problem.
Whose problem is it?
If a person is in a position to do something about a problem, but doesn't have the problem, then do something so he does.
Try blaming yourself for a change - even for a moment.
Whose problem is it?
If people really have their lights on, a little reminder may be more effective than your complicated solution.

Where does this problem come from?
Where does this discourtesy come from?
Where does the problem come from?
There's two kinds of people in the world...
Where does the problem come from?
Who sent this problem?
What's he trying to do to me?

In spite of appearances, people seldom know what they want until you give them what they ask for.
Not too many people, in the final analysis, really want their problems solved.

Do we really want a solution?
We never have enough time consider whether we want it, but we always have enough time to regret it.
The fish is always last to see water. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ideas - don't be afraid to share yours

TED (owned by The Sapling Foundation) fosters the spread of great ideas. It aims to provide a platform for the world's smartest thinkers, greatest visionaries and most-inspiring teachers, so that millions of people can gain a better understanding of the biggest issues faced by the world, and a desire to help create a better future. Core to this goal is a belief that there is no greater force for changing the world than a powerful idea. Consider:
  • An idea can be created out of nothing except an inspired imagination. 
  • An idea weighs nothing.
  • It can be transferred across the world at the speed of light for virtually zero cost.
  • And yet an idea, when received by a prepared mind, can have extraordinary impact.
  • It can reshape that mind's view of the world.
  • It can dramatically alter the behavior of the mind's owner.
  • It can cause the mind to pass on the idea to others.

OPNAV N2/N6 is actively seeking your ideas.  SHARE THEM. Create a better future. It's where you'll spend the rest of your career.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sometimes feedback takes awhile

I write MANY letters to a diverse group of people I've met and to people I'd like to meet.  I wrote to this officer seven years ago.  He'd been assigned to a job I had in Hawaii and I had some advice for him.  Turns out, it was useful advice and he took a moment to let me know.  I appreciate that.  It gives me hope that some of the senior officers in our cryptologic community will one day pick up a pen and respond to those long-unanswered letters I sent them.  Like the writer of this letter, they have NO EXCUSE (but may have a reason) for not writing sooner.

One of the things I like to do most is to send letters of CONGRATULATIONS to officers selected for promotion.  I've also sent a number of letters to non-selects advising them not to give up on the Navy and to stick around for another look.  It's worked out for most of them.  Generally speaking, people appreciate an encouraging word.  Pick up a pen and send someone you know (or would like to know) an encouraging word.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

10 Reasons I Have Enjoyed Blogging Here

In no particular order.

1.  It allowed me to engage with a wonderful author and to write the Chapter 1 opening vignette for a New York Times/Wall Street Journal/Amazon best-selling business book.  Dr. Stephen Covey and Bono 'open' for me.  Multipliers by Liz Wiseman is available HERE.
2.  It gave me the opportunity to help a Pulitzer prize winning author with research for his story on The SeaWitch in TIME magazine with a link HERE.
3.  It has allowed me to remain connected to the Navy's cryptologic community, which I love. The community dissolved and was reconstituted.
4.  It earned me an invite to speak at a Women In Defense forum and to contribute ideas to numerous professional publications.
5.  It has allowed others to freely express their frustrations on a variety of topics important to them. 
6.  It allowed me to expand the network of Sailors of all paygrades that I mentor and with whom I share lessons learned.
7.  It allowed me to collaborate with the former CNO on avenues to gain recognition of the Navy as a TOP 50 Employer in the United States.
8.  It allowed me to keep alive the memory of some stellar Sailors.
9.  It has allowed me to write every day, which I love.
10.  It has connected me to some great Navy veterans and many others who proudly serve today.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Show a little courtesy

A courtesy is a form of polite behavior and excellence of manners. You will find that Navy life creates many situations, not found in civilian life, that require special behavior on your part. Customs and courtesies help make life orderly and are a way of showing respect.

Customs are regular, expected actions. They have been repeated again and again and passed from one generation to the next. Courteous actions show your concern and respect for others.  Take some time to show a little courtesy now and then.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

HANDWRITTEN NOTES NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE - Aaron Stearns - Bourbon and Boots


In the South, we love to be social.  It's part of our heritage and culture.  You know, waving at the driver in the car when you pass and speaking to a total stranger in the grocery store parking lot.  Another tradition still alive and well in the South is handwritten thank you notes.  Thank you notes never go out of style and express a personal touch that you took the time and effort to express your gratitude. There is something about a handwritten note that expresses a sincerity that just can't be emoted through a quick email or a text message. Since we are all tethered to our mobile devices it's certainly more convenient to shoot out a quick "thanks" text, but that 's the whole point, its convenient for you, not taking a level of effort on your part to slow down and genuinely gather your thoughts to show the person you cared enough to invest some of your time in them.  You may not like the hassle of sending them, but you know how good it feels to receive them. It's always a joy to see that handwritten note in the mail box.  Why not slow down a bit truly and truly express your feelings with a hand written note.  It is sure to convey your sincerity and will brighten their day.  We've put together some suggestions to ensure your efforts are as genuine and charming as an be.  We hope you enjoy, use this tips, and share with your friends.

  • Buy stationery. Embossed cards with complementary envelopes look much better than folded notebook paper stuffed in a plain envelope. You don't have to splurge on embossed or monogrammed stationery from a specialty store. You can find decent sets at office supply stores and online.
  • Personalize it. Not just in the personalized stationery, but in what you actually say. If you’re going to see the person in the future, refer to the event and say you’re looking forward to it. If the person gave you a silver picture frame, don’t simply thank them for it, but add, “I plan on using the frame for a wedding picture in my living room.”
  • Even if it’s late, send a note. Don’t feel embarrassed. It’s better to send a late thank you than none at all.
  • Take your time. An illegible note won’t do much good and neither will one with scratch marks all over it. Use a nice, fine point pen, so the ink won’t bleed or smudge. Traditionally, thank you notes are written in cursive. Sometimes this can look like a mess if your cursive is not up-to-par, so use your best judgment and do what you think looks best.
  • Send thanks for trivial things. Why not? Whether it’s for a casual get-together or for a neighbor who collected your mail and watered your plants while you were gone, a hand-written note is the best way to show your appreciation. It may also ensure that you’ll get the invite or extra help in the future.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Moral Leadership - perhaps we need to bring back NAVPERS 15890

Today, many are focusing on lessons-learned in the Navy.  One might think about what we have forgotten in the Navy and what we have moved away from.  Progress is great, moving forward is useful - but, what have we forgotten?  We've moved away from some very sound principles in the Navy. Find NAVPERS 15890 and read it.  Moral Leadership is as important as ever.

This is from All Hands in 1958. . .

For your information, the Navy is starting a leadership program. In a sense, it broadens the character program of which you have heard. It applys to handling a ship’s boat, to servicing the guns, to scanning with radar.

It applies to the fighting man (or the man ready, able, willing to fight-if you prefer). It applies to leading and being led. Perhaps it most closely applies to the petty officer, the CPO and junior officer.  

For example, we were briefed on the program by an ex-POW. What he had to say opened our eyes. Inter-reliance; self-leadership; strength of character- these were the terms he used.  He used them to describe the men who had survived in POW camps. It was an object lesson to us.

We’re giving you some of his ideas, together with the principles of senior officers, past and present. A new manual, Moral Leadership (NavPers 15890), tells more about the program. You take it from there.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Remembering...7 short years ago. PO1 Ronny S. Vigilant is the first Sailor to be designated an Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS)

Ann Vigilant accepts a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, posthumously awarded to her son, Petty Officer 1st Class Ronny S. Vigilant, from Capt. Steven J. Ashworth, at Arlington National cemetery August 5, 2010. Petty Officer Vigilant, who died unexpectedly of natural causes on June 8, was instrumental as a subject matter expert during the initial phase of the Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist qualification program. For his critical contributions to the program, Ronny S.Vigilant was the first Sailor Navy-wide designated as an EIDWS.

IT1(SW) Ron Vigilant - "Sailor, rest your key. It's silent now.  Your message is eternal."

Friday, September 1, 2017

Tom Peters says that a great source of innovation is your angry people

Tom Peters has read hundreds of books about innovation and talked with thousands of people about it.  He has concluded that the best source for innovation is PoP: Pissed-off people. These are the people who are tired of the status quo and are determined to make a change. These are the folks who will go to the grave fighting to change things.  (Sound familiar - Sean Heritage, Rebecca Siders, Jason Knudson?)

They are the one who will overcome the inertia of stillness and change thing.  They overcome the resistance of the system. People universally don't like to be changed.  The people pissed off about the status quo are willing to take the heat and fury of the people/system they are trying to change.  (We need more pissed off people apparently - COs would be a good place to start - STOP maintaining the status quo; shake things up.)

Juan Trippe was the founder of PanAm. And somebody wrote about him and said this: “What drove Trippe? A fury that the future was always being hijacked by people with smaller ideas—by his first partners, who didn’t want to expand air mail routes; by nations that protected flag-carriers with subsidies; by elitists who regarded flight, like luxury liners, as a privilege that could only be enjoyed by the few; by the cartel operators who rigged prices. The democratization he affected was as real as Henry Ford’s.”

And I think whether it’s Juan Trippe and an airline or, again, whether it is a 26-year-old who thinks a purchasing process is the stupidest thing that he or she has ever seen in their life, that is the source of innovation. What’s the bottom line? Don’t get rid of your angry and furious people who are annoyed at you by the way you do things now. Sure it can go too far.  If you believe what I’m saying, fury, anger, irritation—pissed-off people—is the only serious source of innovation. Only. Period. One. Singular.