We continue to lose too many leaders for something that is predictable, avoidable, and has nothing to do with the warfighting profession; zipper control.

The taxpayers have invested millions of dollars, in some cases tens of millions of dollars, to “grow” someone to the position of Commander Command or higher. With every Command Pin, there is an institutional hope that this experience and subsequent superior performance will prepare that leader for the next level of service to their nation. Each additional exposure to Command builds on the already exceptional talent our system invites to lead. We lose all of that for a simple lack of personal judgement and self-control. How do you mitigate this problem?

We don’t have a perfect system – no system devised by humans ever is – but it is a good system. We demand a lot, we expect a lot. In an era of broader cultural shoulder-shrugging and acceptance of sub-par performance, the Navy especially continues to hold its leaders accountable for transgressions away from accepted standards both professional and personal. This is good.

Sub-par professional performance will occur regardless of what cohort you select; internal & external imperfections will always exist. Abusive personalities can advance on occasion, the weak will fall to a criminal inclination, lack of at-sea time or inadequate flight hours by strong players deemed to have “other priorities” for their career path than sea-duty can run aground or off a runway, and yes – bad things happen to good people with horrible luck – but this is as it has always been. That isn’t the issue.

There is one area causing explosive bolts on Command Pins to activate that is beyond the pale, one with no excuse or acceptable explanation. Though it impacts female leaders now and then – let’s be honest and speak as adults with each other; this is almost exclusively a male problem. Yes it takes two to tango – but the person in a position of authority has 100% of the responsibility for an inappropriate relationship. Full stop.

It seems like a simple concept to talk clearly on why and how to keep your base nature under control, but it isn’t for reasons partly social, partly socio-political.

In a perfect world, all that would be required in any Leadership 101 course would be an audio loop of Grandmother Salamander’s admonition, “Don’t sleep with the help!”, but obviously that doesn’t work. It doesn’t seem that what we are doing now is working either. I’m not sure what the answer is, but we need to find a better way to talk about these things. We have accountability right – we are failing on prevention.

Perhaps it is that people are just uncomfortable talking about people doing things they should not with their tender vittles. A silly reason for people who spend decades perfecting the art of breaking things and killing people – but the subject does strange things to people.

On a personal level, somewhere the 15-yr old boy short-circuits the middle-aged higher brain functions preventing self-control and focus; on an institutional level we find it verboten to openly discuss a well known sexual dynamic.

There is the problem – to talk honestly about this you have to talk about uncomfortable realities concerning how people interact on a very personal level – and not in a good way. Facts that are not in alignment with some people’s pet theories. I’ve never had much respect for people with PhDs in Sociology or Psychology, but I do have a tremendous amount of respect for women who have been married for decades, successfully to very powerful men. They understand well what is going on. We should listen to them.

The best of that rare breed can speak with the clarity and directness this problem requires. Here is a shot at boiling it down their advice and applying it to the maritime services.

All you need to do is to look at the coupling habits of the very powerful (see any 3x or more married man in his 60s/70s+ as a reference) to see that one of the greatest aphrodisiacs for women towards men is power. It doesn’t have to be great power – just relative power. The greater the difference in relative power – the greater both sides of the problem; the sexual attractiveness of power and the resulting unrealistic ego-driven sense of entitlement (Charlie Sheen, Schwarzenegger, DSK, WJC, etc)

The sexual attractiveness of power is personified – though not exclusively experienced – by a sub-set of usually younger, insecure women who have a very dangerous combination of personality traits; they are sexually attracted to men with power and they have an innate understanding of a man’s ego and the social weaknesses of insecure men. They know how to use one to get close to the other.

This meets a personality trait that almost all men have – a weakness for the fawning sexually-tinged advances of a younger member of the opposite sex, and an ego that craves to think that even at middle age they are as attractive as they were two or more decades earlier – that yes, they are all that and a box of chocolates.

When one side meets the other, the results are predictable.

We have all seen this and know – some more than others – that when this situation happens and the senior man steps through that open door, it is harder and harder for them to step back out of it the longer it goes on.

Almost all male leaders, it doesn’t take a Commanding Officer, will run in to this. As we are all weak and fallen – the key to avoid falling where countless have fallen before is to make sure that you try to prevent that “heart-beat-thump moment” from ever taking place.

Over at NRO, Kathryn Jean Lopez shared some advice that a longtime congressional spouse offered to new Congressmen. Modified slightly by me to fit our profession – I think it offers a sound roadmap.

Ponder with me:

1. Live in the right place for the right reasons. Be sure the decision on where to live — de-camp the family to the new duty station or to be a geographic-bachelor – is based on what is best for the marriage and family, not on your Navy career. It must be a joint decision. Marriages and families need to be the first priority in all decisions.

2. Keep your spouse close to your side. When at all possible, run your non-daily social events by your spouse and include him or her whenever possible. Ensure that evening and weekend events do not interfere with family schedule except for exceptional mission related events.

3. Social events and liberty are a danger zone. Attending social events is important, but very few require for you to be there after 2300. Avoid alcohol use in public, and private conversations with members of the opposite sex – especially when they are married to someone you own paper on or are your subordinate. Do not give out or request private contact info. You have ombudsmen and the Fleet Family Support Center for a reason. If the person you are talking to is intoxicated, walk away. If you find yourself alone with someone, immediately find a crowd. If on overseas liberty you violate the 2300 rule and have had a few drinks, remember your mother’s rule, “Nothing good every happens after midnight.” Remember, your job isn’t to be popular, fun, part of the crew, or to have a good time – your job is to lead.

4. Get over yourself! Give your designated parking space to the Navy Relief auction or other such event on a regular basis. Keep any use of “I” or “me” in public speeches to a minimum. Don’t have subordinate’s spouses address you like their service-member husbands/wives. Invite them to call you by your first name if they do otherwise. Be humble. If you don’t have an XO or CMDCM who walks in and speaks frankly with you – then you may have a problem. If your Dept Heads never challenge you and win – then you may have a problem.

5. Remember, you are there to serve the nation; not to be served. Keep focused on your Sailors and your mission. If your head is nice and spotless but you have no idea what condition the other heads are in, you may have a problem. While deployed, if your uniform is complete and in good condition while those you are speaking with look worn out and are as a whole a mix-matched mess, then you may have a problem.

6. Keep in touch with your spouse and family every day at home and deployed C4I/operations permitting. When on liberty stay away from places junior personnel frequent. If it is 2330 and you are at a mixed table of junior officers, all of a sudden you realize that 4-years-older-than-your-daughter LTJG YogaInstructor is sitting hip-to-hip next to you with your legs in contact down to the toe, and everyone has a beer in front of them with more on the way – then you may have a problem.

7. Treat all people with respect and dignity. Junior enlisted, junior officers, Chiefs, CMDCM, XO, the civilian guard at the front gate, the Commissary bagger, the person you just sent to CCU, the JO who just downed his board – you are known by the words said behind your back.

8. In the end – you are just a government employee. Irreplaceable until you leave – then forgotten. Once you hang up your uniform – 99.8% of the people you meet won’t know or care. Remember that the final vote tally takes place far from your Administrative and Operational Chain of Command – all that matters is the record presented to God. If you don’t believe in God then at least know that every AM you will have to look at that person in the mirror.

9. Heed Micah 6:8 — “What then does God require of you? Seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”

10. Remember the angels … “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” G. K. Chesterton.

11. If religion isn’t your thing – then remember Ben Franklin; “To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.




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  • CDR Lumpy

    I disagree with your defense of a failing command screen system. The fact that a Millington Tour is now necessary to screen for command illustrates how the system has broken down. When BUPERS relocated to Millington, they became their own good old boy network without adequate supervision, which makes them nothing but a self-licking ice cream cone.

    CAPT Richard Genet, my first commanding officer, explained to his charges on the career path and what was necessary to attain command; and a tour in Bupers was not on the list. A DC tour was necessary, and when Bupers was in DC, that was acceptable. I heard the head SWO detailer give nearly same brief last year (24 years later) with the addition of the JPME/Joint Tour in the career path requirement. But, he also added the caveat that a tour in Millington was beneficial.

    So, when did Millington become the self-licking ice cream cone we see today and is there a correlation to the buffoonery we are seeing at the command level?

    So I disagree with your thesis (or two since there appears to be two issues intertwined in your post), the command selection system is broken and relies too much on another good old boy network (since there are more than one) and a system of quotas. And, as we saw with CAPT Holly Graf, her negative performance history was ignored by the Chain of Blame and the Command Screen Board. (But, she was an Academy Grad.) So, the system failed to select the best and the brightest, and still does as evidenced by the number of Commanding Officers being fired.

  • Prof Gene

    Sal –

    Your recommendations cover a lot of good ground, and this is a critical discussion that Navy leadership seems increasingly willing to have. Our penchant for training-based solutions hasn’t gotten any traction on this, so the door is at least cracked open slightly to think about this more deeply and seek some real solutions.

    In recent years the biggest answer has been to have the IG (not the IG’s staff or rep, but the 3-star himself) speak to every Prospective CO and Prospective XO class; that pitch has focused on “stuff that can/will get you fired” since it grew out of Big Navy’s “why didn’t we tell them not to do that?” question. That has elicited a lot of knowing nodding from the assembled PCOs and PXOs, but has not significantly affected the relief rate. The new IG has shifted focus to talking about leadership and focusing on examples of excellence, rather than examples of failure. That may be because the “that could never happen to me” mentality that leads so many of us into trouble seems to be a real barrier to learning from others’ failures.

    More recently, the Major Command Course has added a session on professional military ethics that shows “it can happen to you” and engages a deeper discussion of how to prevent professional ethical failures. (Avert your eyes, this involves a Ph.D. who has never served… but who has taught at colleges operated by three services. He co-leads this with a post-major command CAPT.) And the Naval War College is expanding its professional ethics offerings, with new for-credit online courses coming next year and a broadened resident ethics program in place – this is not standards of conduct stuff, but stewards of the profession content with real-world application.

    I have been test-driving some self-awareness tools (sorry, more Ph.D. stuff) with officers from all the services; I used one last term that successfully identified significant potential points of failure (as self-reported) for upwards of 75% of a small student group. That has potential to flag individual tendencies for foolish risk-taking and other potentially destructive behavior to the individual (not to the Navy) in such away that they can adjust their behaviors to better avoid trouble. And that convinced many of those involved that “maybe it could happen to me” (your underlying point in 3 & 4 above) which is clearly an essential step toward success.

    That sort of development costs money, but more significantly it costs time. If we want to make a difference on this we will need to consider investing more than a week (Major Command) or two weeks (Command, XO) in formal development of our leaders. CO’s don’t get fired because they don’t know the rules, they get fired because they convince themselves they won’t be held to account, and even having the IG himself tell them that’s not true has not changed that attitude. We need to help our leaders see themselves as needing continuing growth over a career, instead of just seeing themselves through the lens of their 5.0/EP fitreps.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Prof. G,

    Thank you for the very thoughtful and substantive comment (even with all that icky PhD stuff … ;) ).

    A comment of yours comes to the front,
    —–
    “If we want to make a difference on this we will need to consider investing more than a week (Major Command) or two weeks (Command, XO) in formal development of our leaders. CO’s don’t get fired because they don’t know the rules, they get fired because they convince themselves they won’t be held to account, … We need to help our leaders see themselves as needing continuing growth over a career, instead of just seeing themselves through the lens of their 5.0/EP fitreps.”
    —–
    In an already time-bloated training track – is the answer more time? On a topic like this, I don’t think you gain any marginal good from simply using up more of the clock. The key is to make sure they are getting quality, not quantity. Less can be more, and on this topic it should be.

    We are talking about men and women in their 40s with TS-SCI clearances. If we have people coming to this point feeling coated with Teflon and actually believing their FITREPS … then more training won’t fix it. It is our professional culture that is broken in a way that it adversely affects certain personality types. Fixing a culture decades in the making is hard to turn around (don’t get me started on our cancerous FITREP-based culture of self-deceptive happy-talk) – identifying personality traits/background that make people susceptible and addressing that should take less time.

    That is where a PhD might be helpful, along with a very good statistician who can give us the right regression analysis. The tough part of that is; to get the right answers, you have to ask the right questions for the stat-guy to work with.

    Then, what do you do with the information? No one wants to go the “Navy Dept of Pre-Crime” route where someone says, “You have the DISC/Jung/Briggs-Meyers personality profile to have an affair with your YN3, so we are deselecting you for Command …”

    Hard problem to fix – but we need to find a way to mitigate it without throwing good time after bad.

    I almost like your comment more than my post. Almost …

  • ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN

    Prof Gene, thanks very much for a very thoughtful reply to a very thoughtful post on an extremely important issue. The door is indeed open to think about this more deeply and seek real solutions. All the best, JCHjr

  • http://fareastcynic.com Skippy-san

    Thank you Reverend Phib.

    First-a little Shakespere: ” Lechery, lechery-still wars and lechery- nothing else holds fashion.”

    To respond to this post in anyway but agreeing with you is courting danger-but you know me-I can’t resist.Your post makes me glad I served with the heathens I served with- rather than the jailed prisoners Admiral Harvey seems to want.

    I am always amazed at those who try to impose a certain morality on a profession that is built on a huge immorality, namely that it is organized around getting people together for the ultimate purpose of the mass murder of one’s fellow human beings. Therefore antiquated attempts to impose a strict sexual morality, by people who didn’t have to deal with the same constrictions themselves. That’s the hypocrisy of our current flag officer corps-and its not changing anytime soon. They are just the guys who didn’t get caught.

    I don’t in the least believe in your constricting vision of morality and find that, in my experience at least, it screws over a lot of people from allowing themselves the pleasure that they have earned and deserve. But sadly that is how it is now.

    The rules should be based on only one criteria-not Phib’s or my vision of what is moral or not, since that is a subjective criteria-but rather the idea of “what gets in the way?”.

    Accordingly, the problem is not with the command screen system, nor is it with people who are “drunk” with power, its also not becaus they don’t know the rules. It is because they are trapped many times in life situations that have left them in a position of compliance at great cost, or try to exercise discretion and satisfy the demands of the ticking life clock.

    Its not the what-its the who. Especially in a Navy where we can now allow homosexuals to be preferred customers in the force, but we deny perfectly normal heterosexuals the opportunity to deal with their needs. Gay or strait-if their choice of partner is outside the boundaries of the base,”not the hired help” what do we care? If the Mrs objects-that’s her probelem and his-but no the services.

    In the Navy I came into and dearly loved-and watched die a terrible death at the hands of the feminazis- some of the best leaders I ever served with were not “moral men” in the 11 steps Phib lays out ( Which are probably as flawed as the 12 steps). Did you ever consider:

    1) That a lot of people who take geo batchelor tours-know exactly what they are doing. They recognize the mistake they may have made earlier in life-and perhaps have reasons that they cannot go through the evil financial hardship that is American divorce. So they find a middle ground. I was an ISIC to two guys who had done three geo batch tours ina row, because they had come to the conclusion they didn’t need to be around the Mrs any longer. Did they screw around-if they did, I never knew about it, and it certainly was not with any Sailors. There are too many ways to find out about that. They ran their units well and took care of their Sailors-that’s all I ever cared about.

    2) We have created the preconditions for misconduct by our insane pursuit of the “Star Trek” military. Having women at sea is a problem and comes with a cost. If you are willing to accept that cost fine-but stop trying to pretend its the same as it ever was. Get over it-our flag leadership failed to stand up for our people after Tailhook and then, rather than make the women pay their dues like the men-we compromised and compromised standards. All to be the first to have: “Fist women (anything).” Guys were not getting fired at this rate when we had all male ships and squadrons. They also were having a heck of a lot more fun.

    3) You have men in their 40’s who are successful professionally, who are having to come to grips with bad personal choices made in their young lives. Many don’t hate their wives-they just need release. Nine times our of 10 the “little mrs” isn’t providing it. The Navy equips them to deal with their professional lives very well-it doesn’t equip them to deal with a misanthrope children, wives who are spendthrifts or do not provide the requisite amount of sexual service. People who say, “just get divorced”-have generally never been through the emotional and finacial pain of having been through one. Especially when their own employer is actively aiding and abetting the other spouse in stealing the Sailor’s assets.

    4) I will submit to you that rate of “lechery” is about the same as it was in the 1980’s. The difference is the Navy has gone overboard caring about it. The worst CO I ever had was a straight laced religious zealot-who was marignal in the aircraft, but hey” hey never did wrong by the Mrs. The best I ever served under was a liberty hound, loved women and booze-but knew how to fly the aircraft far better than anyone else I ever knew. He never lied about his liberty “failings”-becauase back then they were considered a virtue, not a failing. He still knew how to get back to the ship on time and led the squadron on shore and on liberty. Us JO’s except worshipped the ground he walked on and in turn he took care of us. He’d be fired today-and sadly mr Zealot would probably go on to be FFC someday. QED

    I’ll close with a rant from a recent e-mail I received, “a rant from a retired fighter pilot that is worth reading:

    It is rumored that our current Secretary of Defense recently asked the question, “Where are all the dynamic leaders of the past?” I can only assume, if that is true, that he was referring to Robin Olds, Jimmy Doolittle, Patton, Ike, Boyington, Nimitz, etc.? Well, I’ve got the answer:

    They were fired before they made major.

    Our nation doesn’t want those kinds of leaders anymore. Squadron commanders don’t run squadrons and wing commanders don’t run wings. (FFC micromanages) They are managed by higher ranking dildos with other esoteric goals in mind.

    Can you imagine someone today looking for a LEADER to execute that Doolittle Raid and suggesting that it be given to a dare-devil boozer – his only attributes: he had the respect of his men, an awesome ability to fly, and the organizational skills to put it all together? If someone told me there was a chance in hell of selecting that man today, I would tell them they were either a liar or dumber than shit.

    I find it ironic that the Air Force put BG Robin Olds on the cover of the company rag last month. While it made me extremely proud to see his face, he wouldn’t make it across any base in America (or overseas) without ten enlisted folks telling him to zip up his flight suit and shave his mustache off.

    I have a feeling that his response would be predictable and for that crime he would probably get a trip home and an Article 15. We have lost the war on rugged individualism and that, unfortunately, is what fighter pilots want to follow; not because they have to but because they respect leaders of that ilk. We’ve all run across that leader that made us proud to follow him because you wanted to be like him and make a difference. The individual who you would drag your testicles through glass for rather than disappoint him.

    We better wake the hell up! We’re asking our young men and women to go to really shitty places; some with unbearable climates, never have a drink, have little or no contact with the opposite sex, not look at magazines of a suggestive nature of any type, and adhere to ridiculous regs that require you to tuck your shirt into your PT uniform on the way to the porta-shitter at night in a dust storm because it’s a uniform.

    These people we’re sending to combat are some of the brightest I’ve met but they are looking for a little sanity, which they will only find on the outside if we don’t get a friggin’ clue. You can’t continue asking people to live for months or years at a time acting like nuns and priests. Hell, even they get to have a beer.”

    And one final point-reference your point number 4-a lot of our firee’s had that type of relationship with their DH’s and CMC, they just were not Puritans when it came to their own liberty. There used to be a firm dividing line between what was one’s private life and what was one’s professional life. Sadly, the folks who survive and advance to flag rank seem to have forgetten that.

    The world is changing-and we can’t stop that. But we can get back to principle that served us well in years past, “If it doesn’t get in the way, don’t bother with it.”

    “For over two thousand years it has been the custom among earnest moralists to decry happiness as something degraded and unworthy”-Bertrand Russell.

  • http://americanmohist.blogspot.com Jimmy

    Skippy-san,

    If we measure our officers by quantifiable metrics, and if the American people care about our evaluations, then we will get leaders who can produce.

    Sadly, [or not, depending], outside of a full-on war, American ppl do not care enough. And if Sal is right, the US Navy is measuring its leaders by a quantifiable metric [diversity] that is producing the leaders Congress wants.

    And all the “For the Troops” rah rah and the opposing knee-jerk bambi-ism just get in the way of a meaningful debate on national security.

    I guess it is a good thing that, despite the garrison mentality of the lifers, the American military is still doing ok 65 years past our last do-or-die crucible.

  • AT1 Charles H Berlemann Jr

    Some interesting thoughts on command. My thing might not be more schooling on leadership in a school house atmosphere. Rather we should look at taking our PCO/PXO/PCPOS to task at the younger paygrades. I really think the leadership traits are set at the senior O-3 or O-4 level (senior E-5 or E-6), where if we were more honest in evaluation of our folks then we might catch a few danger signs earlier. How many of us at the LPO or even the department head seen folks who really needed more seasoning at the current paygrade? What about that we notice the same folk are “dangerous” while outside of the spousal unit eyesight or can’t say no to doing what seems like even minor dumb things such as being carried back to fleet landing after to much booze? If we noticed these things and keep writing those indiscretions off as “youthful exuberance” then we aren’t being good leaders ourselves.
    There isn’t anything wrong with letting our hair down as a junior who may not know better. Yet, as we rise in our paygrades we should know that as we become that senior PO2/PO1 or LCDR/MAJ all juniors eyes are on us even when we are amongst our peers. We just need to make that mental switch from sixteen year old with our drivers license on over to that sixty year old driving the posted limit in the fast lane on the interstate highway. If we can’t make that shift they we don’t deserve those pins, whether that is a command pin or fouled anchors.

  • JohnByron

    Good posting and comments. Summary: Never Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money!

  • Mike M.

    I’m going to stick my oar in…and probably take fire from both sides.

    I suspect that part of the problem lies in the informality of modern society. A leader needs a certain degree of social separation from those he leads. He may socialize with subordinates, but with the dignity of the office in mind. There’s a reason why senior officers were considered dampers at parties…and why they left early. Traditionally, this was to underline the CO’s authority – but it also keeps him out of trouble.

    Modern society undermines this separation – and I don’t think the “second family” nature of a wardroom or ready room prepares its occupants for the social separation required of senior officers.

    It’s something that needs to be covered in the CO courses, yes, but I’m wondering if it might be worthwhile to reinforce a CO-level social network. Even Zeus liked to party – it was when he partied with mortals that he got into trouble.

    Skippy-san, Sal isn’t looking for saints – even Washington and Lee had explosive tempers. He’s just saying that subordinates and their spouses are Off Limits. If you want to argue that the Navy has strayed from a focus on warfighting to a garrison mindset – well, that’s a whole other argument, and I don’t think you’ll get much debate.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    “If it doesn’t get in the way, don’t bother with it.”

    Yep. But if it gets in the way, get rid of it.

    Which is what happens when COs transgress the rules – whether you agree with those rules or not.

    Losing classified information and lying about it? Gets in the way.

    DUI? Gets in the way.

    Repeatedly belittling or insulting your crew in person or via SITE-TV? Gets in the way.

    Soliciting prostitutes? Gets in the way.

    Unduly familiar relationships with subordinates, sexual or not? Gets in the way.

    It’s not that your advice and thoughts aren’t correct. It’s that the moral compass you have, and the moral compass of today’s Navy, are not the same. And, frankly, all in all, I think the Navy is the better for that.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Prof. G (cont): If you would like some first hand reporting WRT the effectiveness of the Navy’s IG-actual’s presentation – Andy Rowan provided some good information in comments over at my home blog:

    http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2011/06/command-pins-and-zippers.html

    M2: Very good observations and comment. I especially agree with your “CO-level network” concept. Peers can be worth their weight in gold for a successful Command tour as no one else can really provide good sounding boards on touchy issues (assuming you have good, loyal, and reliable peers to sound off of). Often that is in a large measure based upon the ISIC’s Command climate. I have seen ISIC who were so obviously playing favorites that the Brother/Sister CO’s were like hungry sharks in a small tank. On the other hand, I have seen superior ISICs who created a climate of exceptional cooperation among their unit CO’s. When a CO implodes, good forensics should encourage investigation both up and down the chain of command.

  • Prof Gene

    ADM Harvey –

    Many thanks for the kind word. As long as I’m way above my pay grade, I’ll follow the old “don’t bring me a problem without bringing me some solutions” rule and make two recommendations:

    – This topic is worth a couple of days of the PCNO’s attention. And he should engage with Newport about this – CLS and NWC have built up a lot of data and insight on this.

    – Command is what the Navy is about. Command is the goal, command is the reward, command is the opportunity and command is the ultimate determinant of success. We need to invest more in those going to command – that is worth the cost in dollars and days.

  • Prof Gene

    CDR Sal –

    I’m not surprised by Andy’s remarks about the previous IG’s presentation to prospective CO’s. That was grounded in the training-based idea that herding people into a room and telling them what not to do is an effective means of changing behavior. And that came from an IG office that promoted itself as “The conscience of the Navy”. Think about that for a moment – consider what the IG does (investigate wrongs & enforce rules) and then think about what your conscience does (guide toward right and enforce values) – and perhaps you will see why I am so bothered by that slogan. The new IG is apparently taking a very different approach, which emphasizes stewardship of the profession (as per VADM Stockdale) and excellence in leadership.

    I can’t testify about the current track to command, but I’d bet those who have traversed it of late (back to Andy…) could point to some areas that are low in value. CLS is packed out right now, mostly as a result of higher tasking of one sort or another, and I have the sense that there are many programmatic taskers (“promote this program” or “explain these rules”) that they are dropping into reading packets already so they can reserve classroom time for higher priorities. Adding training won’t make any real difference, but adding education and personal development might. Whether there are current points worthy of cutting or not, I would still argue that command is what the Navy is about (it’s career success, the great opportunity to make a difference, the real reward for superior performance, and the ultimate filter in the promotion process) and that it is therefore worthy of any investment that is required to lead to consistently successful outcomes. Would it be worth a week or two in a career and some thousands of dollars to make a significant dent in the relief-for-cause rate?

    I absolutely agree that any use of assessments (from 360 feedback on…) cannot be used for selection, promotion or assignment. That doesn’t take us anywhere we want to go, and there is no basis for believing that any such process would show that we are mostly picking the wrong people. It would be better to assume that we are mostly picking the right people and that we are doing too little to strengthen their weaknesses and develop the skills and behaviors required to succeed at higher levels. Any assessment needs to provide “the unsolicited feedback I’m not getting anywhere else” because such insight “breeds self-correcting behaviors” (I’m quoting one of my students from this morning). That’s far better than any “Dept of Pre-Crime”.

    We have some data on this at hand (the IG has some great data that he won’t share, but we have developed some of our own); it looks like I found some money for the stats guy you suggested and he should be on the job in July…

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Admiral Harvey,

    Might I suggest that if we have a problem as outlined by Prof G., that “the IG has some great data that he won’t share…” then I would offer that the IG be one of the top-5 phone calls next week that should be made in order to get the “solution people” some more traction as opposed to wasting time reinventing the wheel.

    We have a new IG – and therefor perhaps a new attitude that will match the part of the IG’s mission that states it will, “Provide candid, objective, and uninhibited internal analysis and advice.”

    If confidentiality is an issue – I am sure personal identifying information in the data can be taken out. Whatever the reason, I am sure with the right D&G, a workaround can be found.

    If the people we have asked to help fix this need some resources that are available and already bought and paid for – then they should get it.

  • Prof Gene

    Sal –

    I don’t mean to impute any motive to the IG about his data. It may not have been briefed to the CNO yet. But the IG doesn’t usually share, because sanitizing names, etc., does not remove the Privacy Act concerns in many of these cases. Coming up with a way to share for research purposes under some agreed upon FOUO rules could be a big win for Navy… And I suspect VADM Wisecup would like to do that. Perhaps he will find a legal way to do so.

  • http://bowramp.blogspot.com William Powell

    Starting out as a young Enlisted, I had the opportunity of viewing the Chain of Command from the bottom up. I’ve experienced the effect bad leadership has on crew performance. When it became my turn to be the one in charge I knew that you cannot be a good leader if you are willing to bend (or break) the rules for your own benefit. YOU have to be the example. Command is not a reward – command is a burden. How can you expect Joe Seaman to be squared away when you are banging the YN3? We need to find a way to filter out people who put themselves before their subordinates.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    I’m taking side bets that this will be going on in 2051. It’s pretty much a feature of the design, post-Eden.

    The inquisitor wants it stamped out. The rogue(non conformist)points to the contradictions in the emerging dogma and the misplaced zeal of the purists.

    We certainly have advanced since the 1500’s.

    Up and locked is the only safe way.

  • http://fareastcynic.com Skippy-san

    Soliciting prostitutes? Gets in the way

    How so? in many places prostitution is legal, I don’t see how it gets in the way. If anything, it keeps the other things from happening.

  • AT1 Charles H Berlemann Jr

    GBW,

    These things have been going on with command/leadership issues since the earliest days of our Navy. If my faulty memory serves me right some of our earliest senior officers were involved in such things as dueling, convorting with women either already married or women of the night. Others were responsible for starting major feuds with their peers or political leaders. In the end we survived to become a better service.

  • Mittleschmerz

    “How so? in many places prostitution is legal, I don’t see how it gets in the way. If anything, it keeps the other things from happening.”

    Do you even know what incident I am talking about?

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Skippy:

    If retail affection is legal and you do your sinning 4 or more hours drive from the flagpole, you probably are still safe from Mrs/Admiral Grundy. There is a real career risk, though likely small. Less small every day.

    Married? An affair with direct subordinate is high risk. A young subordinate higher. A young married subordinate much higher. (Any)Enlisted very high. Propositioning a married young idealistic commissioned subordinate insanely high.

    If any of the above comes to the attention of a flag, AMF.

    Up and locked, check. Checklist complete, ready to start day.

    The only safe procedure.

    AT1: True, but not the case today.

    Just the way it is.

    If you must ask ‘em out, do it after your retirement party. Doing so earlier, you may not get a party. Just the facts, folks. Just the facts. Now, you will be a heap uglier the day after you retire, though not as ugly as the day after you get fired from command.

    Editorial: If you accept the fact that the Lord God almighty loves you,
    without you deserving it, and wants you to be healthy and happy in broad and general terms, move up a step. Realize sin is that which in the long run will make you sick in body and soul and very unhappy. Which is why God wants you to avoid it. Screwing around is not the worst of sins.

    Lust (particularly for power and prestige) is much worse.

    If you take your religion with branch water, well, Evolution has build the homonids so that young males want to emulate and be with the hunt leader, females want to procreate and be with the hunt leader when he comes home with the bacon. Hence Mrs Trump. Nice for the Donald, but if you think you can do it on active duty, think again.

    Editorial off.

    This an avoidable risk. Avoid it. Were we before womens lib and the internet, I could be be pithy and risque in pursuit of educating the foolish.

    These days they’ll fire your butt for that too.

  • Navy Cynic

    Sal,
    You write that there is no excuse or acceptable explanation for the zipper failures. While there may be no excuse, there is certainly a good explanation, and that obviously is the very strong drive that causes men and women to get together. As others have already written, this has been going on since the beginning of our recorded history and it will continue to go on long after we’re all gone. It’s the way we’re hardwired as humans. If our military had taken this tack back in WWII, we would have been deprived of the leadership of King, MacArthur, Eisenhower, and many others. What’s changed today is that the Navy has now given males and females (and now homosexuals) the opportunity to work together in very close quarters. Add to that the relaxing standards of our society, and you have the recipe for further disaster. How does the Navy’s leadership respond? Moral preening and a Puritan-style approach in which public humiliation is a key element (remember the Scarlet Letter?). Sadly, none of this will work and to those who say that it will with just a little bit more focus in our leadership curriculum, I point to the Mideast where adulterers are stoned to death. This is about as draconian a punishment that you can come up with, and yet adultery is still occurring. The only real question is how long we will stay on this path before we realize its futility.
    p.s. I like your choice of Ben Franklin at the end—surely you know that he was one of our more notorious founding philanderers.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    NC,

    Ben Franklin? I have read everything I could find on the guy since I was in my mid-teens. I HIGHLY recommend that everyone read a collection of his lesser known works, “Fart Proudly” – especially his advice to a young man on choosing his lover.

    As far as I know, however, I don’t think that Dr. Franklin every a’noodle’d with one of his married subordinates who relied on his good graces for their livelihood and that of their family. That isn’t “philandering” – that is abusing a position of power over another. Big difference.

  • Heather

    To address the secular/anti-Christian sentiment:

    The virtue of self control does not fall solely within the Judeo-Christian construct.

    Maybe we need to remind people that they are rational creatures and unlike animals we do not have to live at the mercy of every physical desire?

    “The man of imperfect self-control does things at
    the instigation of his passions, knowing them to be wrong,
    while the man of self-control, knowing his lusts to be wrong,
    refuses, by the influence of reason, to follow their suggestions.” ~Aristotle

  • http://fareastcynic.com Skippy-san

    GBW,

    As Navy Cynic points out-by the Navy’s own choice it has created pre-conditions that upset the basic foundations that the rules were based on. The end of don’t ask don’t tell is going to force changes to the UCMJ like it or not-and as the services experience in Korea and other places shows, when you try idiot restrictions like curfews and Gen Order #1-Sailors being Sailors find ways around them. As I witnessed personally-when USFK tried to clamp down on off base behaviour, it simply imported the bad behaviour on base with their own personnel. The number of disciplinary incidients rose after the curfew was put in place-not declined.

    I would submit to you-that back in the bad old days, there was a a more common sense approach that involved a clear cut dividing line between one’s personal and private life. That was a clear dividing line-and in general most people respected it.

    As I read in a recent e-mail:”
    We’re asking our young men and women to go to really shitty places; some with unbearable climates, never have a drink, have little or no contact with the opposite sex, not look at magazines of a suggestive nature of any type, and adhere to ridiculous regs that require you to tuck your shirt into your PT uniform on the way to the porta-shitter at night in a dust storm because it’s a uniform.

    These people we’re sending to combat are some of the brightest I’ve met but they are looking for a little sanity, which they will only find on the outside if we don’t get a friggin’ clue. You can’t continue asking people to live for months or years at a time acting like nuns and priests. Hell, even they get to have a beer.

    Who are we afraid of offending? The guys that already hate us enough to strap C-4 to their own bodies and walk into a crowd of us? Think about it.

    The world is changing and so are social expectations. That’s not to say I am endorsing fraternization-because I am not. That’s clear violation of the rules. But we need to leave people alone in their private lives-and be more concerned about what happens at work, not outside of it. If they show up for work on time, and don’t sleep with the hired help, pass their piss tests-and keep the creditors at bay, then the rest should be none of anyone’s business.

    What folks are evidently not learning in this day and age is discretion. But don’t kid yourself, the incidents you are reading about are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    The tip of the iceberg indeed. No question about it.

    Proximity, stress, long hours spent without privacy and extreme physical closeness. All the conditions for major loss of judgement, followed by marriage, kids’ esteem, career, good name and self respect. Happens all the time, has since women went to sea, and, a bit differently, before.
    I’ve shipmates drop into the whirlpool over and over.

    Up and locked. The only safe way.

    Descriptive and advisory, not prescriptive.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Ahem,”I’ve seen shipmates” and etc. Hopefully my proofing of myself will improve before senasence sets in.

  • http://www.thegantry.net/blog Casey

    Skippy said

    in many places prostitution is legal, I don’t see how it gets in the way. If anything, it keeps the other things from happening.

    Oddly enough, by the time I got to this comment I was thinking that perhaps reliable (i.e. won’t get robbed, beaten, or infected there) red-light districts would be useful for casual wick-dipping. Can’t say how that relates back to ‘Phib’s original point about the attraction (and abuse) of power.

    Navy Cynic, do you have evidence that any of those three men ever strayed from their wives? From Morison’s description of King, and various histories of Eisenhower, I seriously doubt that.

    While we are all sons of Adam (or daughters of Eve), I must question whether it is futile to oppose the expression of sexual desire, at least in combat groups. If memory serves, when there were no women serving on ships, there was no zipper-failure. Hate to say it, but this is starting to look like ammunition for those opposed to female sailors on deck.

    Being just an ignorant civilian, I hope y’all will excuse me for mentioning a StrategyPage article discussing this very issue: Why Do Stupid Generals Survive? I found it interesting in that it cites factors I haven’t seen mentioned very often, as the points raised here seem more popular.

    The author remarks that it’s not just the Navy;

    There is growing concern that there is something wrong with the way senior commanders are selected. This means that too many unqualified officers are getting promoted to commands they cannot handle.

    One of the factors cited is a change in the evaluation system which among other things introduced the practice of rating all of one’s subordinates against each other. Another is the insidious effects of mentoring, wherein a favored candidate is allowed advancement due to the influence of an “interested” flag officer.

    After that the author mentions the former influence of chiefs (and other senior NCOs), along with the zero-tolerance mentality.

    [O]ver the last decade, officers have been less inclined to ask their men and women much. The “zero tolerance” atmosphere that has permeated the military since the end of the Cold War, has led officers to take direct control of supervisory duties the senior NCOs used to handle. The sergeants and chiefs have lost a lot of their influence, responsibility and power.

    I would like to suggest one other possible factor: strictly speaking, the United States Navy hasn’t been at war since 1945.

    Now, before anyone flames me, let me point out that excepting the Inchon landing, the Navy hasn’t faced an opposed landing, nor have they encountered any sort of fleet action since that time. The closest they’ve come are attacks on isolated individual ships, such as the Pueblo, Liberty, and Stark.

    This is not to minimize the contribution of the Navy since Korea, but over 90% of that has been air support from carriers which have rarely faced a genuine direct threat. I would suggest that, when 95%+ of the Navy (i.e. non-aviators) have not faced direct combat for over 50 years, the Navy -as an institution- has not been “in combat.” A tautology, perhaps, but still -I think- accurate. Let us examine some specifics.

    Vietnam War: excepting the riverine operations, about the only naval personnel to see combat were the carrier aviators. We continue on past Grenada until we arrive at the Gulf War. An exception would be the magnificent performance of the men on the USS Stark. While the Navy threatened an amphibious invasion (which mines rendered impracticable) the Marines executed a direct assault through the southern Iraq defenses in Kuwait. Again, the most significant influence of the Navy was by way carrier aviation.

    I shall not belabor the point by going through the tens of thousands of sorties in Iraq & Afghanistan, but content myself by pointing out that (again) Naval power in these conflicts was expressed by carrier aviation.

    Why is this relevant? Because -historically speaking- any military organization which has not been in combat for a long time tends to adopt “peacetime” habits which end up as detrimental under wartime conditions. Such habit include -but are not limited to- inaccurate analyses of potential opponents and inappropriate procurement and promotion choices. For the latter case, those who do well in institutional settings, are charismatic or photogenic, and have the right connections are favored over the ill-favored, socially-unacceptable slobs who can actually win a war. It is a more-general case of the infamous rule that those with the better uniforms lose the war. ;)

    In this case, it is my contention that the Navy has adopted peacetime promotion habits of, well, a peacetime environment. For them. Which goes back to my above list of Naval war experience since 1945. I don’t doubt for a minute that if the Navy were experiencing significant casualties and/or ship losses, practices would change very quickly.

    For example, one of the results of the Battle of Savo Island was an immediate remodeling on all Navy ships.

    Many lessons were learned from this disastrous battle. Canberra and Astoria might have been saved but for their heavily upholstered wardroom furniture, and the layers of paint and linoleum on their bulkheads and decks. All inflammable furniture and bedding was now ordered ashore, and every ship in the Navy was ordered to scrape down her interior to bare steel; day and night for the rest of 1942, sounds of chipping hammers were never still.

    (The Two-Ocean War, S.E. Morison)

    During a war the difference between the warriors the non-warriors (and good & bad habit) is quickly evident. I would respectfully suggest that the Navy has fallen into a peacetime mentality, and hence lost sight of this distinction. Hence the obsession with “diversity,” and other chimeras.

  • sid

    Maybe we need to remind people that they are rational creatures and unlike animals we do not have to live at the mercy of every physical desire?

    Now, there is some solid job security…

    As long as you have women -and now open gays- going down to the sea in ships, you can 100 percent expect these travails to continue.

    While man may be capable of bouts of rationality, the opposite is generally the default…Has been since we have been on the planet.

    Don’t expect any change.

  • sid

    I would respectfully suggest that the Navy has fallen into a peacetime mentality, and hence lost sight of this distinction. Hence the obsession with “diversity,” and other chimeras.

    Specific to that defeat, Nimitz coined: “Battlemindedness”

    Nearly none in evidence these days.

  • David Emery

    This piece on NPR was interesting and is quite relevant: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/10/137112887/some-suggest-power-increases-promiscuity

  • Navy Cynic

    Skippy-san,
    No direct evidence but remember, back then there was no email, anonymous hotline calls, or social media to get folks in trouble.

    Greg Jaffe wrote in a January 9, 2011 Washington Post op/ed piece that Gen. MacArthur returned from the Philippines in the 1930s with a 16 year-old girl whom he installed in a D.C. hotel. His reference was a biography by Geoffrey Perret.

    For King, here’s one reference:
    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA505406

    And here’s one for Eisenhower:
    http://www.nytimes.com/1991/06/06/us/eisenhower-letters-hint-at-affair-with-aide.html

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Casey: A very nice summary of the reason for the old toast – “to a short and bloody war”.

    Coupla points: As I recall, E. J. King has been mentioned in various histories as having a pre WWII history of “affairs with wives of subordinates”. Ike, fairly or not, was assumed by many to have had an ongoing affair with his female driver while in England and France.

    There was a subcultural assumption that a man who wouldn’t “steam” on liberty, e.g., drink to excess and frolic, wouldn’t fight. The proverb was pithier. Arrant nonsense, to be sure, but so is much of what goes on today.

    Enlisted Waves were frequently dated and mated from WWII to “women at sea”, by all ranks. A guy I went to basic officer submarine school with got into trouble (and out) for an incident involving a date with a female JOSN(Journalist Seaman)as a qualified LT. Since he was a submarine dept head nobody cared (she was attached to the Sub Base Pearl Harbor Public Affairs, hence not in his chain of command). The use of a Public Works gray pickup, necking at the traffic lights on Kamehamea Highway, and tossing beer cans out the window as finished, as reported by an irate citizen, were considered more germane to the (irate) Commodore. The LT later married her. He got his tail feathers scorched about the same as I did for talking to CINCHouse while a sheet or two to the windward from the Yokosuka sanctuary (if you don’t know, you never will-from me anyway)via the Hawaii autovon switch. I know I thought his halo effect was stronger than mine at the time. Net career effect, none, either case. I think the Captain was madder at me, because he got his butt chewed by higher higher rather than higher.
    Note the form: butt chewing delivered, apology extracted, grovel accomplished, end of matter. Not so, today.

    Ship’s parties were routinely held in brothels in WesPac in the 60’s and seventies, attendance expected, use of girl not required, no pressure. The troops had great fun sending over increasingly attractive
    ladies of negotiable virtue to chat up “george” (the junior officer in the wardroom) with side bets on if he would break under the pressure of their charms. See also Dan Gallery’s works, specifically USS GUADALCANAL’s liberty in Panama.

    Try any of the above today – career DOA.

    On a different question, just because the enemy didn’t score didn’t mean he didn’t keep probing and trying – and dying in the act. Overwhelming tactical superiority is the way to go. Terrier and Talos were given a wide berth by the North Vietnamese air force. USS Long Beach made her bones on Yankee Station by imitating a terrier double ender in her choice of radars, luring the snoopers into TALOS range. What you were describing is the Pax Americana Oceana. It worked pretty much the same as PAX ROMANA, those who tried, died. Few tried, but there are always some. Routine matter, routinely dealt with.

    Respect, in international terms, is a recipe with significant portions of envy and fear. Those who forget that pay a price in blood. As have we. It will get worse.

  • http://fareastcynic.com Skippy-san

    If memory serves, when there were no women serving on ships, there was no zipper-failure. Hate to say it, but this is starting to look like ammunition for those opposed to female sailors on deck.

    Oh there was plenty of “zipper failure”-it was just governed by “waht goes on det/cruise stays on cruise” and PCOD.

  • http://www.thegantry.net/blog Casey

    Sorry, Skippy, but between “det/cruise” and PCOD I’m lost. ;)

  • Mittleschmerz

    Ah, so much romanticization of the past. Almost makes me wistful for the days of unreported date-rape, segregation, conscription, officers being graded in their fitness reports for how well their wives supported the various Navy charities and garden parties.

    But what really torques me are those who continue to claim the the Navy is not battleworthy while all they can criticize are the moronic and political decision of some of the leadership. I have a difficult time looking at the actions (not the policies, the actions) of crews in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, of people like Michael Murphy, Michael Toussaint, and Michael Monsoor and many many more in Afghanistan, or the sheer number of combat sorties being flown and formerly flown into Iraq and Afghanistan and take seriously the armchair warrior who is retired or never served as they criticize the Navy for being unready. Those are statements of ignorance – an ignorance that can only be remedied by getting back to sea or in the cockpit and being there rather than just reading about it.

  • Mittleschmerz

    Casey – what Skippy means is that long before “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” aviators were proud of boasting about such low morals that when they got underway or airborne and flew over the horizon they were once again randy and single. Drinking, carousing, screwing while their wives were home washing dishes and wiping noses and behinds. Because these officers were trained to be steely eyed killers, vows and morals were things required of lesser mortals, not them.

    Det = detachment
    PCOD = p@ssy cut of date

    PCOD was critical because their only real “moral” challenge was not taking a venereal disease back home to the wife they swore faithfulness and fidelity to. ‘Course, that was before herpes and HIV were so prevalent…but that’s irrelevant to their fond dreams of yesteryear.

  • Byron

    I’m just a simple civilian who’s never served a day in any service, but I do understand this: Command is never about authority or power, but first and foremost responsibility. Your responsibility goes two ways, up the chain of command to carry out your duties and down the chain of command to those you’ve been entrusted to lead. It is always a heavy weight and those who ignore that duty are doomed to failure. There are no grey areas here; the responsibility inherent with command is absolute. Those who fail to live up to their responsibility cheat not only their superiors but also the trust they no longer deserve from those they command.

    By the way… I have no respect, none, for any so-called man who does not understand the meaning of “vow”… Especially one made before God and his wife.

  • http://fareastcynic.com Skippy-san

    Mittleschmerz,

    There were plenty of “actions” of the people who served in the bad old days. They were just as ready and just as able to get out and do the job as the folks you cite. This arguement that any one particular generation is superior to another is just not supported by the history. There has been a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication by Sailors all through this past century.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Skippy – you are absolutely correct in what your write: no one generation is superior to another. Yet, while you say that, at every turn you willingly denigrate the generation that is currently serving by harking back to the days of yore and you yourself speak to a superiority of those times.

    So I agree with what you wrote, but your own words show me that you do not.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    M. Ittleschmerz:

    The past is flawed as were its people, and they were often victorious. They made some huge mistakes.

    The current era is flawed as are its people, and they are often victorious. Often, the outcome of current events is unknown and unpredictable. Huge mistakes are in progress (as always)

    The future is unknown and unknowable. Current policies when different from the past, are fair game to comparative criticism with policies and practices of the past, if one knows what the policies and practices of the past were. Legend counts less than the facts (John Ford disagreed, as perhaps you as well). Then there are policies tried in the past, and their results, which appear to be in the process of resurrection. Like say, the Inquisition. Other methods were also victorious, to Elizabeth I’s benefit.

    All of the above says nothing of due regard for those in arena at the present moment, or for our predecessors.

    Can we refrain from poisoning the critics’ well? There might be a pony or something in what they say. In some ways, at some places, the policies and circumstances of the past might be as good or better as what has grown up in its place. Or, just possibly, no worse.

    As to sex, it isn’t going away, or we are. Best we find a way to live with it, and its second and third order effects. On the basis of the facts, not the legend (or if you prefer, a politically correct ideal).

    I agree, avoid the risks that are avoidable. Stay off the police blotter. Avoid loss of “Z” control. Treasure your family above all things. HOWEVER COMMA DOT DOT DOT

    I seldom agree with Skippy, but he has valid things to say. I think you are a bit over the top in your last exchange.

    After all, you know how soft spoken and tentative I am, myself.

  • Mittleschmerz

    GBW – I agree that Skippy has valid things to say…but my experience with him is that it is far more often a pony hidden someplace behind misogynist, luddite, (pick a retro-thinking denigrating adjective) commentary and that he only responds to strong criticism.

    Blogging has drawn the outspoken among us…and that means strong personalities and sharp elbows. But, those who give (including me) must also learn to take (including me)…and where Skippy gives he will also receive. And it, sadly, might not just come from this exchange but instead be tinted by some comment he made in some other time and place.

    So, while you can say that the last exchange was “over the top”, I’ll take that onboard, but I see it as (1) speaking in language that Skippy will hear and (2) being on the money for how I see Skippy’s writings.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    I think you will find Skippy has little time for that which does not improve the outfit’s ability to put the right ordnance on the right target, and those who peddle the kool-aid, and is right protective of the
    current fleet sailor out on windy corner. But I could be projecting on a blank screen. Happens more often than one might think.

  • http://fareastcynic.com Skippy-san

    Mttleschmerz,

    I guess should just go tell you to GFY, but I’ll take a different tack. I do not, in anyway see my writing ( do you read my blog by the way-you should) that is critical of the current generation of Sailors. I am critical of the current policy decision of the flagsm but then again, I am hardly alone in that assessment.

    I also think you are missing a key point, that today’s generation has to live with what can only be described as a blatant overstepping of what is reasonable and lawful authority, that we didn’t-and I think that’s wrong and terribly unfair to them. I’d also point out to you-that many of today’s current generation agree with me on that point. I’m out and about and its not been so long since I was with them, so its based on personal observation, not just memory.

    Now do I think single gender units are preferrable to mixed gender ones? You bet. But that hardly qualifies as a reason to to break out the M word.

  • Mittleschmerz

    Skippy – you can believe what you believe…I believe what I believe. And I have read your blog. And it, as well as your commentary here and at Salamander’s is, what I base my statements on.

    Your banner picture. Objectifying. Just about sums your attitude up.
    The comments on your post that you linked to? “self centered and egotistical”? Spot on.
    Your tag-line that “Admiral Harvey is just another f*cking nuke.”
    Your bio – “Always on the lookout for my next ex-wife.”

    I don’t miss any of your points…not one. But, I do disagree with most of them. For good reason.

  • http://fareastcynic.com Skippy-san

    Mittleschmerz,

    So who made you the morality police? Or the judge of what one should or should not think? Or more importantly what I should or should not do with my life? As for my header-I change it about every five days or so-I am sorry you hate anime, you really are missing out on great things.

    Are you a woman writing behind a man’s nom de guerre?

    And Harvey is just another f*cking nuke.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    @Mittleschmerz

    “Skippy – you can believe what you believe…I believe what I believe. And I have read your blog. And it, as well as your commentary here and at Salamander’s is, what I base my statements on.
    Your banner picture. Objectifying. Just about sums your attitude up.
    The comments on your post that you linked to? “self centered and egotistical”? Spot on.
    Your tag-line that “Admiral Harvey is just another f*cking nuke.”
    Your bio – “Always on the lookout for my next ex-wife.”
    I don’t miss any of your points…not one. But, I do disagree with most of them. For good reason.”

    Not okay on this blog. Want to talk about his blog – go over there and do it.

    @Skippy – stick to your argument and avoid stuff like this, “Are you a woman writing behind a man’s nom de guerre?” It smells like you presume there are women out there who don’t agree with you.

    @all – don’t get personal

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