Archive for October, 2009

Up late working on homework, but came across the Navy’s new slogan: “America’s Navy- A Global Force for Good.” Seems a little too international to me; good is so bland.

What do you think? Also, if you are in the Navy or former Navy post which slogan you joined under if you remember.
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From DoD today:

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The Navy announced today the decision to deploy the USS Freedom (LCS 1) in early 2010 to the Southern Command and Pacific Command areas ahead of her originally scheduled 2012 maiden deployment. According to Navy leaders, Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are needed now to close urgent warfighting gaps.

“Deploying LCS now is a big step forward in getting this ship where it needs to be – operating in the increasingly important littoral regions,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. “We must deliver this critical capability to the warfighter now.”

The USS Freedom will have an immediate impact on fleet readiness and global reach as an asset with unique combat capabilities and the ability to meet littoral tasking not previously seen in the modern cruiser or destroyer fleet.

USA/

“The Navy plans to build a considerable number of littoral combat ships which will form the backbone of our future fleet,” said Adm J. C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, charged with executing the early deployment. “The sooner we integrate them into our fleet, the sooner we can incorporate them in the order of battle. This deployment offers a golden opportunity to learn by doing. Employing the USS Freedom in theater two years ahead of a normal timeline allows us to incorporate lessons that can only be learned in a deployment setting more quickly and effectively in the LCS fleet integration process.”

In evaluating options for deploying the USS Freedom earlier than originally scheduled, the Navy took into consideration several key factors including combat systems testing, shakedown of the ship systems, and overseas sustainment with a new concept of operations and crew training. To facilitate the early deployment, the Navy adjusted the USS Freedom testing schedule, prioritized testing events needed for deployment and deferred others not required for the missions envisioned during this deployment. The USS Freedom recently completed Industrial Post Delivery Availability 2, which also supported an early deployment.

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Let’s hope the early deployment into the ORBAT carries with it an honest analysis of LCS shortcomings as a warfighter, the true usefulness of the very high speed requirement, and perhaps a flexibility for a less avant garde design that is more survivable and hard-hitting, with an equally appropriate crew size, before being built in those future “considerable numbers” which will become the “backbone of the fleet”. Say, 35 knots, steel hull, built to Level II specs, and perhaps a 5″-62 in place of that itty-bitty 57mm?

Might even be able to save a few bucks.



Happy Birthday to the United States Navy.

On this date in 1775, Continental Congress authorized the procurement, manning, and arming of two vessels to interdict munitions supplies to the British Army in the Colonies.

For much more, visit: http://www.history.navy.mil/birthday.htm (Don’t tell them a Marine sent you there)

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Richard Strandlof epitomized American heroism. Strandlof graduated from the Naval Academy, was at the Pentagon on 9/11, deployed to Iraq with the Marines, and survived an IED attack. Except, he didn’t do any of those things, and on Friday the FBI arrested him for claiming that he had.

In a rare charge of “stolen valor”, the fake veteran was arrested for falsely claiming “military decorations or medals”. The charge can lead to up to one year of jail and a $100,000 fine.

“Doing good does not take away from the bad that he did,” he said. “Because of Rick Strandlof, the next global war on terrorism veteran that speaks in a school or talks to the media or gets involved in politics is going to be questioned.”

Ryan Gallucci, a spokesman for AMVETS, agreed.

“Strandlof’s actions dishonor the actual sacrifices of veterans,” he told CNN Monday.

“Second, by commissioning his own advocacy group, Strandlof diverted philanthropy dollars for legitimate causes within the veterans community,” Gallucci said.

“Personally, it just sickens me,” Gallucci added. “As a veteran of the war in Iraq, it’s unfathomable that someone would propagate such a lie at a time when American men and women are actually putting their lives on the line, and American families are coping with the loss of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Damn straight.



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On its face, it was innocuous enough – simple administrative traffic providing notification of an inspection by a senior officer of some outposts:

ON APRIL 18 CINC COMBINED FLEET WILL VISIT RXZ,R–, AND RXP IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE:

1. DEPART RR AT 0600 IN A MEDIUM ATTACK PLANE ESCORTED BY 6 FIGHTERS. ARRIVE RXZ AT 0800. IMMEDIATELY DEPART FOR R- ON BOARD SUBCHASER (1ST BASE FORCE TO READY ONE BOAT), ARRIVING AT 0840. DEPART R- 0945 ABOARD SIAD SUBCHASER, ARRIVING RXZ AT 1030. (FOR TRANSPORTATION PURPOSES, HAVE READY AN ASSAULT BOAT AT R- AND A MOTOR LAUNCH AT RXZ.) 1100 DEPARTRXZ ON BOARD MEDIUM ATTACK PLANE, ARRIVING RXP AT 1110. LUNCH AT 1 BASE FORCE HEADQUARTERS (SENIOR STAFF OFFICER OF AIR FLOTILLA 26 TO BE PRESENT). 1400 DEPART RXP ABOARD MEDIUM ATTACK PLANE; ARRIVE RR AT 1540.

Further details on uniforms, places to be inspected and the like were provided. To the recipients in the war zone, it undoubtedly was met with mixtures of resignation and anticipation. Across the broad Pacific, however, it was met with a sharp intake of breath by CDR Ed Layton, CINCPAC’s chief intelligence officer. For some time now, since before Midway, the US Navy had been able to read Japanese message traffic with increasing veracity, translating gathered intelligence into degrees of operational success. The implications of this message, however were far reaching – for it literally delivered the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor into the hands of the Americans. How so? This was the itinerary of an upcoming inspection in the Solomon’s area by none other than the commander of the Combined Fleet himself.

The question, two actually, was whether to act upon it and if so, how to carry it out? Because, without question, this was the death warrant of Admiral Isoruko Yamamoto.

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“Special Missions” commands – oft times one hears the title and catches the slight eyeroll, or smile with a hint of a sneer about it . . . you know, the outfits that are “almost” a combat unit, but, well, you know, only “special” people go there – usually those in a career cul-de sac. The photo community was one such – usually tolerated (at best) by CAG, his staff and the ship, the photo det received its scraps and pressed on nonetheless performing their necessary, but oft taken for granted, services. Funny thing is, those special mission outfits often find themselves in the thick of crises when their “special” services are suddenly in demand. Such was the case in 1962 when a young President found himself looking full at the beast – and needed more information. VFP-62, fortunately, was there to answer the call. . .
- SJS

RF-8a VFP-62

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15 Oct 1962. Imagery from U-2 flights begun on the 14th continue to roll in for imagery analysts at NPIC (National Photographic Interpretation Center), located in Washington, DC, from high altitude flights over Cuba. Of interest is the Soviet build-up of forces on the island which apparently include nuclear-armed medium range ballistic missiles. While detailed, the imagery isn’t granular enough to accurately determine operational status and equipment details. To do so would require high-speed, low altitude runs…and the new RF-8A Crusaders of Light Photo Sixty Two were the perfect platforms to execute the mission…

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Departing USNA grounds at 0600 this past Tuesday, I interviewed for nuclear submarine duty at Naval Reactors (NR) in Washington DC. The process consists of 2 technical interviews, which tested my skills in calculus, physics, and electrical engineering among other subjects. Following the round of technical interviews, I had a ~5 minute interview with ADM Donald, Director, Naval Reactors.

Arriving at NR at 0700, my group of 20 fellow midshipmen, interviewing for either submarines or surface warfare nuclear option, shuffled into a conference room where we were briefed on the plan of the day. We then had a quick breakfast where I ran into USNI blog reader “BWalthrop” who wished me luck…it’s a small world!

Around 0800 the first round of technical interviews started. “Come on in, Mr. Withington. Imagine you and a friend were doing a science experiment…”and I was asked how the velocity of my friend’s plane in terms of my car’s velocity. Something I don’t do too regularly with my friends or as a history major! I was peppered with other questions for the rest of the hour and walked out a little shell-shocked. The second interview went a little better and I was dismissed for lunch.

Then it was time for the interview with the “ADMIRAL” (all caps according to our instructions for the interview). My last name landed me the last interview with the ADMIRAL for the day. We moved to another holding room and one by one we were called out. By the time 3 of us were left, we anxiously paced the room and awaiting the interview and decision.

Then I was called to wait outside his office door; I was getting pretty nervous by this point. An officer opened the door and beckoned me in the room. As soon as I passed the doorframe into the room I began my scripted introduction, “Good afternoon Admiral, I’m MIDN 1/c Jeff Withington from West Chester, Pennsylvania. In high school I participated in debate and cross country,” I was sitting in “The Seat” by this point, “while at the Academy I have participated in Masqueraders and Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference. I am currently company honor adviser. I am interviewing for submarines.” My wait for the first question lasted about .001 sec after I completed my intro: “Tell me about what you do as company honor adviser.”

OK, this is good, I thought; I didn’t receive the expected and more confrontational “How are you majoring in history and are interested to do nuclear power?” As soon as I finished my answer, he probed for more details about what I exactly did. He then began to ask how I would punish those found to violate our honor concept. More whys followed. “OK, well thank you.” And that was it.

I waited outside and a commander in service dress blues came up to me, offered his hand, and said MIDN Withington, welcome to the program.”



The Founding

MIds aboard USS Severn 1905The Institute, said to have been conceived by Civil War veteran and future Naval Academy Superintendent Commodore Foxhall Parker, convened its first meeting on Thursday, 9 October 1873, more than 11 years after novel steam-powered ironclads rendered wooden sailing ships obsolete. A group of 15 naval officers assembled by Lieutenant Charles Belknap met that evening in the Academy’s Department of Physics and Chemistry building, literally on the banks of the Severn River on the outskirts of Annapolis, within sight of Maryland’s wooden Capitol dome.

Who we Are, What we Do, and Why we Matter



Posted by admin in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

210050Yesterday, Commander Matt Ovios of the USS Ingraham talked about the ship’s role in the relief and assistance effort on American Samoa. The USS Ingraham arrived 36 hours after the island was struck by an earthquake and tsunami.

According to Commander Ovios, Ingraham’s most useful resources were its SH-60 and manpower. American Samoa has no local helicopters, so, combined with a Coast Guard C-130, the Ingraham offered valuable aerial surveillance. Furthermore, the Ingraham deployed around of its 120 sailors for three days to clear debris. One hundreds and twenty sailors is a serious number, the ship’s typical crew compliment is approximately 200.

How did the crew feel about the mission? “As soon as we pulled alongside the pier, I had sailors chomping at the bit to … help out American citizens in need”.

Edit: Commenter Pat is correct about Marine component, post edited to reflect that.



Posted by Christopher Albon in Navy | 7 Comments

080318-N-2735T-290Quoted are some of the relevant details of Captain John Cordle’s lessons learned report from the recent INSURV of USS San Jacinto (CG 56), as discussed in the news recently over at Navy Times. A lot of very good information here to learn from, indeed, I think an extended Q&A with Captain Cordle would reveal several inefficiencies that should be looked at for improvement. I read this report as the process a CO went through, including the hurdles, hoops, and much appreciated help to do what was required to “Get it done!” BZ Captain Cordle.

RMKS/1. THE BOARD OF INSPECTION AND SURVEY CONDUCTED A MATERIAL INSPECTION (MI) OF USS SAN JACINTO (CG 56) 3-7 AUG 2009. THE FOLLOWING OBSERVATIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED ARE PROVIDED.

2. OVERVIEW:
A. MINDSET.
THE PURPOSE OF THE MI IS TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THE SHIP IS FIT FOR COMBAT OPERATIONS. WHILE IT IS A NECESSARY PREREQUISITE THAT MATERIAL DISCREPANCIES BE PROPERLY DOCUMENTED AND THE SHIPBOARD CHAIN OF COMMAND IS AWARE OF THEIR MISSION IMPACT, THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THE SHIP COULD ACCURATELY SELF-ASSESS IS NOW MERELY A FOOTNOTE. BOTTOM LINE: EQUIPMENT MUST WORK IN ORDER TO BE FOUND FIT FOR COMBAT OPERATIONS. SJA USED USS PINCKNEY’S EXCELLENT LESSONS LEARNED MESSAGE AS A STARTING POINT. RECOMMEND CLASSRONS USE THE PINCKNEY MESSAGE AS THE FOUNDATION FOR A PERMANENT INSURV BEST PRACTICES FILE.

B. LIAISON.
EARLY LIAISON AT ALL LEVELS WITH INSURV BOARD MEMBERS IS CRUCIAL. WHILE THEIR CHARTER IS TO INSPECT THE QUOTE AS FOUND UNQUOTE CONDITION OF THE SHIP THEY WANT THE SHIP TO SUCCEED. EARLY LIAISON WITH THE SENIOR INSPECTOR AND THE BOARD MEMBERS INSPECTING THE SHIP YIELDED SJA GREAT DIVIDENDS. RECOMMEND HOSTING THE QUOTE HERE WE COME UNQUOTE MEETING ON THE SHIP VICE AT INSURV BUILDING FOLLOWED BY A WALK AROUND THE SHIP. BOARD MEMBERS POINTED OUT NUMEROUS PITFALLS AND PROBLEM AREAS WHICH SJA WAS ABLE TO CORRECT PRIOR TO THE MI. EARLY COORDINATION WITH THE BOARD AND FEEDBACK FROM ISIC AND CGRON ALLOWED SJA TO REFINE THE MI TIMELINE ENSURING ALL INSPECTION CRITERIA WERE MET IN AN ORGANIZED MANNER. DESPITE STARTING WITH PREVIOUS UMI SOE AS A TEMPLATE, THIS WAS A HUGE ENDEAVOR WITH MANY ITERATIONS.

C. RESOURCES.
INSURV MI IS A TREMENDOUS CONSUMER OF MANPOWER, FUNDING, AND TIME. SJA INITIAL ASSESSMENT WAS THAT INSUFFICIENT MANPOWER, FUNDING AND UNDERWAY TIME WERE DEDICATED TO SJA IN ORDER TO SUCCESSFULLY PREPARE FOR THE MI. SPECIFICALLY, A SHORTFALL OF $1.5M, 30 PEOPLE, AND 6 U/W DAYS WAS IDENTIFIED AT D-90.

(1) ADDITIONAL MANPOWER WAS PROVIDED FROM A NUMBER OF SOURCES:
UNIT*******************RESOURCES PROVIDED
CCSG-12****************N4, ENCS, GSMC, BM1 – APPROX 90 DAYS
USS ENTERPRISE*********LT (30 DAYS), 3XBM2 APPROX 90 DAYS
USS LEYTE GULF*********BMC – APPROX 90 DAYS
USS MONTEREY***********GM1 – APPROX 60 DAYS
USS VELLA GULF*********TWO BM’S – APPROX 30 DAYS
USS RAMAGE*************EN3 – APPROX 30 DAYS
USS CARTER HALL********TWO GM’S – APPROX 30 DAYS*
USS NASSAU*************EN2 – APPROX 30 DAYS
USS ROOSEVELT**********EM1 – APPROX 30 DAYS
USS BULKELEY***********DC3 – APPROX 30 DAYS CGRON******************DCCS, GMCS, GSMC – APPROX 30 DAYS DDGRON*****************AVG 10 PERS/DAY + 1 GSMC FOR 90 DAYS
PCU GRAVELY************AVG 10 PERS/DAY FOR 90 DAYS
PCD JASON DUNHAM*******AVG 10 PERS/DAYS FOR TWO WEEKS
TPU NORFOLK************AVG 10 PERS/DAY FOR 90 DAYS
NAVY RESERVE***********26 SAILORS; 511 MAN DAYS

THE SIGNIFICANT LABOR POOL WHICH RALLIED IN SUPPORT OF SJA CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO PREPARATIONS FOR THE MI. WITHOUT THIS ADDITIONAL MANPOWER SJA WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN READY FOR THE MI. ROUGHLY SPEAKING, A DAILY AVERAGE OF 30 EXTRA PERSONNEL WORKED ON SJA FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS LEADING UP TO THE MI. (IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT CRUISERS WERE MANNED WITH APPROX 44 MORE SAILORS PRIOR TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OPTIMAL MANNING.) FOR HER PART, SJA ADDED A 2 HOUR FOCUSED REPAIR PERIOD 1530-1730 AT I-90 AND WENT TO 3 SECTION DUTY AT I-30 IN A PHASED PLAN TO RAMP UP LEVEL OF EFFORT LEADING UP TO THE INSPECTION WITHOUT BREAKING THE CREW. SPECIFIC TRAINING SUCH AS ATFP/VBSS WAS HELD ON SATURDAYS BUT SHIPBOARD TACTICAL TRAINING WAS DEFERRED UNTIL AFTER THE INSURV, RESULTING IN A STEEP RAMP SOON AFTER THE INSPECTION TO C2X.

(2) ADDITIONAL EMRM AND OTHER FUNDING WAS PROVIDED BY CGRON AS REQUESTED. CGRON RESPONDED TO ALL REQUESTS FOR FUNDING AND EXPEDITIOUSLY ASSISTED SJA. LCDR TAMAYO N41, CGRON , DESERVES PRAISE FOR HER WORK IN MEETING THE FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS. TOTAL ADDITIONAL RESOURCES REQUESTED DURING 90 DAY RUN-UP TO INSURV MI $973,000 EMRM AND $387,680 OTHER.

CM FUNDING WAS PROVIDED AS REQUESTED ALSO, BUT THE PROCESS NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. SHIPS MOVE INTO PRIORITY STATUS FOR CM FUNDING 90 DAYS PRIOR TO MI. THIS PRACTICE HAS RESULTED IN A FORM OF INSTITUTIONALIZED CRISIS MANAGEMENT. AN EXCEPTIONAL AMOUNT OF ENERGY HAD TO BE EXPENDED IN ORDER TO OVERCOME THE INERTIA OF A HUGE MAINTENANCE BACKLOG IN ONLY 90 DAYS SJA AUTHORED 149 INITIAL CASREPS FROM 31 MAR09 TO 05 AUG 09.

SJA ENTERED INSURV WITH 25 ACTIVE DEPARTURES FROM SPEC WITH AN AVERAGE AGE OF 90 DAYS. AVERAGE TIME TO CORRECT A C2 CASREP WAS 60 DAYS. AVERAGE TIME TO CORRECT A C3 CASREP WAS 30 DAYS WITH 6 OUTSTANDING AT MI. IN GENERAL ONLY CASREP’D ITEMS WERE FUNDED AND FIXED. BOTTOM LINE: THE MAINTENANCE COMMUNITY IS NOT CURRENTLY STRUCTURED AND THE BUSINESS PRACTICES DO NOT CURRENTLY SUPPORT THE LARGE VOLUME OF WORK WHICH INEVITABLY MUST TAKE PLACE TO PREPARE A SHIP FOR INSURV. THE CONSTRAINT OF A QUOTE 90 DAY INSURV WINDOW UNQUOTE FOR CM FUNDING REQUIRES ADDRESSING. IN THE END SJA RECEIVED A GREAT DEAL OF THE NECESSARY SUPPORT, BUT THIS REQUIRED CONSTANT ENGAGEMENT AT THE O-6 AND ABOVE LEVEL. SJA CO ATTENDED WEEKLY CRO AND MARMC MEETINGS FOR 90 DAYS PRIOR TO THE MI.

SJA HAD A CMAV DURING THE QUARTER PRIOR TO INSURV, AS WELL AS A C5RA AND SISCAL VISIT. IN ADDITION, NUMEROUS ICMP ASSESSMENTS WERE PULLED FORWARD AT SHIP’S REQUEST. UNFORTUNATELY, FUNDING RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE ALLOWED CM FUNDING TO BE PUT IN PLACE ONLY AT THE I-90 DAY POINT. AS A RESULT, OF THE 135 JOBS SUBMITTED BY THE SHIP FOR THE 9A2 AVAIL, NONE WERE PLANNED OR FUNDED ON DAY ONE OF THE AVAIL. MOST JOBS TOOK BETWEEN 30 AND 60 DAYS TO WORK THROUGH THE MSMO FUNDING AND PLANNING PROCESS. ONLY 35 JOBS WERE STARTED DURING THE AVAIL, THE REST WERE TURNED INTO CASREPS AND WORKED RIGHT UP UNTIL THE DAY BEFORE INSURV.

(3) FOLLOWING A PERSONAL REQUEST BY THE CO TO CRO, FOUR ADDITIONAL UNDERWAY DAYS WERE ALLOTTED TO SJA IN ORDER TO ALLOW SUFFICIENT REHEARSAL OF UNDERWAY DEMONSTRATIONS. THE VALUE OF THIS TIME AT SEA CANNOT BE OVERSTATED. THESE EXTRA DAYS ALLOWED SJA PERSONNEL TO CONDUCT AT SEA CHECKS AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY AND THEIR EQUIPMENT WERE READY. WITHOUT BEING GIVEN THIS ADDITIONAL PRACTICE TIME, SJA WOULD NOT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PERFORMED THE UNDERWAY PORTION OF THE MI. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PERFORMING THE CHECKS AT SEA. ADDITIONAL UNDERWAY DAYS MUST BE BUDGETED FOR SHIPS TO GET UNDERWAY AND CONDUCT INSURV PREPS. SHIPS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO JUSTIFY THE NEED TO GET UNDERWAY TO PRACTICE FOR INSURV, THIS SHOULD BE A RECOGNIZED COST OF PREPARING A SHIP FOR THIS RIGOROUS INSPECTION AND RECEIVE C2F PRIORITY FOR SCHEDULING. UNDERWAY INSURV PREP DAYS SHOULD ALSO BE KEPT CLEAR OF OTHER TASKING (DLQ’S, ETC.) IN ORDER TO ALLOW THE SHIP TO FOCUS ON EXECUTING THE DEMONSTRATIONS.

I am going to use a football analogy. What we have is an example where the playbook was written before the season, but as the season went on, a bunch of players in the starting lineup were injured. The coach continues calling plays from the same playbook, having made no adjustments to the playbook to account for the different roster on the field, but expecting results as if the starting lineup was still in the game.

I see this lessons learned report as a recommendation to examine the playbook, because the playbook is not flexible enough to manage the conditions of a team with a different starting lineup. In general, I believe this analogy can be applied at a much broader level in the Navy, indeed all the military services.

In business, the fastest way to stifle creativity and innovation within an organization is for management to be inflexible when it comes to the playbook of processes that manage the daily routine of the business. Innovations only occur when leaders can write new plays for the playbook, or adapt when it is necessary to throw the playbook out. This involves a certain degree of risk, and creative, innovative businesses accept a certain degree of risk as part of developing talent internally.

As I read this report several questions come to my mind. It looks to me like the CO, officers, and crew of the USS San Jacinto (CG 56) were being asked to give 110% effort to “Get it done” for the MI, but the playbook does not ask the same of everyone else in the process. Read the section that I highlighted above in the report, and ask yourself: How much time was probably wasted by everybody because the playbook was inflexible to the needs and demands of the task at hand?

Whenever I see an inflexible playbook, I see a system that actively discourages innovation and creativity within an organization. The coach who calls the plays from the inflexible playbook is doing so because it is all the coach knows how to do, all the coach is allowed to do, or all the coach is willing to do due to risk factors (protecting ones career path by avoiding risk can be a major risk factor in the military). When any of the three exist an organization will waste time and resources. When all of the three exist, an organization is institutionally preventing creativity and innovation among its people.

On teams with rigid playbooks, the players are asked to give 110% effort, but the coach is just putting checks on the clipboard as the rigid set of plays are called, and this leaves an impression the coach is not giving the 110% they are asking for from the players. The pattern in business when this happens is that the talented employees leave to go work for other companies that do promote creativity and innovation. Organizations that know how to be dynamic and responsible with the playbook at the same time will be innovative and creative, and organizations that follow rigid playbooks stifle creativity and innovation. Sticking with the football analogy, I bet Captain Cordle and the SJA crew would have appreciated it had the coaches called a few audibles along the way during this INSURV, it would have probably saved time and allowed greater efficiency in use of resources. Flexibility typically has that kind of impact in business.



Posted by galrahn in Uncategorized | 35 Comments
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