Archive for the 'Midrats' Tag
Well, we had a little trouble with the technical side of live podcasting last week (and, as my old Macintosh computer used to say, “It’s not my fault”) but CDR Salamander and I are, if nothing else, persistent.
So please join us on Sunday, as we fight with electrons and, uh, other things in our presentation of Midrats Episode 210: “John Kuehn & Joint Operations from Cape Fear to the South China Sea”
Though nations for thousands of years have been wrestling with the challenge of Joint operations, as an island nation with significant global interests ashore, the USA has a rich history of doing Joint right, and blind parochialism. (Note by E1: Sal wrote this and your guess is as good as mine in what he meant in that last part there. Or, just maybe the electrons have struck again – Red Lectroids?)
Using this as a starting point, this Sunday for the full hour we will have returning guest, John Kuehn.
Dr. John T. Kuehn is the General William Stofft Chair for Historical Research at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He retired from the U.S. Navy 2004 at the rank of commander after 23 years of service as a naval flight officer in EP-3s and ES-3s. He authored Agents of Innovation (2008) and co-authored Eyewitness Pacific Theater (2008) with D.M. Giangreco, as well as numerous articles and editorials and was awarded a Moncado Prize from the Society for Military History in 2011.
We will also discuss his latest book, just released by Praeger, A military History of Japan: From the Age of the Samurai to the 21st Century.
Please join us live at 5pm Eastern U.S. on 12 January 2014 or pick the show up later by clicking here.
Every listen is a strike against the Lectroids!
Many continue to focus on the “Pacific Pivot” and/or IndoPac, but the news seems to keep finding its way back to Africa.
This Sunday we’re going to leave IndoPac and all that in order to focus the full hour discussing the eastern part of Africa with a returning guest Alex Martin who will give us a first hand report from a personal and professional perspective.
Alex graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy and went on to lead infantry, reconnaissance and special operations units in multiple combat deployments. Upon leaving active duty, Alex started a private maritime security company that served commercial shipping interests in the Indian Ocean. In July 2013 Alex joined Nuru International and currently serves as a Foundation Team Leader in Kenya.
The last time we talked to Alex was shortly after he and his Marines were involved in retaking a ship from Somali pirates.
Join us live if you can (or pick us up later if you can’t) by clicking here.
For a maritime power with global requirements, what is the role of the small ship in times of peace and war?
What are the tradeoffs between quantity and capability, size and range, survivability and affordable?
Does the US Navy need a high-low mix or a Strike Group-Flotilla mix?
Where do our national requirements influence how we build our Fleet vs. the process other nations build theirs?
Do we have a sustainable path towards a balanced Fleet, or are we sailing on based on outdated charts?
To discuss this and more for the full hour will be returning guest U.S. Naval War College Center for Naval Warfare Studies Dean, Captain Robert C. Rubel, USN (Ret.)
15 Dec 13 at 5pm. Join us live or listen to the show later by clicking here
Don’t be distracted about the Aegis, Russia, or China – the first thing you need to read in this December’s Proceedings is the “Nobody Asked Me, But …” contribution by Lieutenant Alexander P. Smith on page 12.
The most important ingredient to a successful Navy is not its ships, aircraft, submarines or secure budget. No, the most important part of our Navy is its intellectual capital, specifically the education of its officers.
The naval service will face a multitude of challenges that will require a true diversity of experience and education in its leaders in order for the best decisions to be made. If everyone brings the same tool-set to the table, you are in trouble.
There has been a long-dwell discussion in our Navy about what type of education our leaders need. For the last few decades, there has been a heavy bias towards technical education; a bias that is about to get heavier;
The tier system was developed in 2009 as a result of fewer NROTC and U.S. Naval Academy graduates entering the nuclear-reactor community. The Regulations for Officer Development and the Academic-Major Selection Policy direct that a minimum of 65 percent of NROTC Navy-option scholarship midshipmen must complete a technical-degree program before receiving their commissions. A technical degree refers to Tiers 1 and 2, which comprise all STEM majors. Tier 1 includes most engineering majors, and Tier 2 refers to majors in biochemistry, astrophysics, chemistry, computer programming/engineering, civil engineering, physics, and mathematics. All other academic majors are non-technical, or Tier 3.
As a result of the new policy, a high-school senior’s best chance of obtaining a Navy scholarship is to apply for Tiers 1 and 2, since CNO guidance specifies that not less than 85 percent of incoming offers will come from this restricted pool. In fact, an algorithm decides the fate of hopeful midshipmen, balanced in large part with their proposed major selection annotated in their applications.
This is a huge error. 65% one could argue if one wished, but 85% is simply warping to the collective intellectual capital of the Navy.
We don’t even need to review all the English and History majors that do exceptionally well in the nuclear pipeline – but to put such a intellectual straight jacket on the entire Navy over the requirements of one part, that is a sure sign of a loss of perspective.
In last Sunday’s Midrats, Admiral J.C. Harvey, USN (Ret) made an argument for technical education that is fine for the nuclear community, but the Navy is not the nuclear community. If you look at the challenges from Program Management to Joint/Combined Combat Operations; none of those are helped by a technically focused mind. Just the opposite, it begs for officers of influence with a deep understanding of economics, diplomacy, history, philosophy, and yes … even poetry.
One could argue that the problems we have had in the last few decades derive from a lack of nuance and perspective by officers who fell in love with theory and the promise of technology, who had no view to history, civilian political concerns, or even human nature. As a result we got burned out “optimally manned” crews, corrosion laden “business best practices” ships, and an exquisitely engineered if unaffordable delicate Tiffany Fleet – not to mention entire wardrooms in 2001 who couldn’t place Afghanistan or Ethiopia on a map, much less even had a brief understanding of the background of Central Asia or the Horn of Africa. Back to LT Smith;
Does the tier system produce better submariners or more proficient naval officers? If less than 35 percent of our unrestricted line officers have developed the ability to think comprehensively through critical reading and reflection, what will the force look like in 20 years? These are questions to ponder regarding the benefits and disadvantages of STEM graduates. We ought not to forget the value of future officers developing a keen interest in foreign affairs, history, and languages.
We actually know the answers to that. To this day, once you leave the CONUS shores, we lack wardrooms and Staffs with sufficient knowledge of any of those areas.
It is about to get worse.
If we really have a problem getting well qualified nuclear engineering officers on our submarines and carriers – then instead of having negative 2nd and 3rd order effects throughout the Fleet – then let’s focus on how we keep and manage the careers of our nuclear engineers. Do we need to look at the Commonwealth model? Do we need to look at compensation and non-Command career paths that can still get someone to CAPT at 30-yrs? Is the Navy having to serve the Millington Diktat as opposed to Millington serving the Navy?
Whatever the problem is – forcing a 85% STEM officer corps is not that answer.
What do we need our officers to be able to do? Be outstanding engineers? Well, as our friend LCDR BJ Armstrong, USN might ask, “What would Admiral Mahan say?”
Wouldn’t you know – we know the answer;
The organizing and disciplining of the crew, the management under all circumstances of the great machine which a ship is, call for a very high order of character, whether natural or acquired; capacity for governing men, for dealing with conflicting tempers and interests jarring in a most artificial mode of life; self possession and habit of command in danger, in sudden emergencies, in the tumult and probable horrors of a modern naval action; sound judgment which can take risks calmly, yet risk no more than is absolutely necessary; sagacity to divine the probable movements of an enemy, to provide against future wants, to avoid or compel action as may be wished; moral courage, to be shown in fearlessness of responsibility, in readiness to either act or not act, regardless of censure whether from above or below; quickness of eye and mind, the intuitive perception of danger or advantage, the ready instinct which seizes the proper means in either case: all these are faculties not born in every man, not perfected in any man save by the long training of habit—a fact to which the early history of all naval wars bears witness.
Doesn’t sound like an STEM heavy requirement to me.
In less than a month we will be firmly in the middle of the 2nd decade of the 21st Century. What path were we put on at the start 21st Century that got us here? How do we evaluate the right decisions, the neutral decisions, and the less than optimal calls of the last decade and a half? What lessons can we take away now in order to make decisions to best position the Navy on the approaches to 2030?
Our guest for the full hour this Sunday to discuss this an much more will be Admiral John C. Harvey, Jr, USN (Ret).
Almost a year since he joined the retired ranks, when in uniform Admiral Harvey was one of the of the more engaged, visible, and accessible Flag Officers of his generation – and in retirement he continues to be an influential voice.
Admiral Harvey was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a 1973 graduate of the U S Naval Academy.
In his thirty-nine year Navy career, he specialized in naval nuclear propulsion, surface ship and carrier strike-group operations and Navy-wide manpower management/personnel policy development.
He commanded the USS DAVID R RAY (DD 971), the USS CAPE ST GEORGE (CG 71), the THEODORE ROOSEVELT Strike Group/CCDG-8 and also served as the Navy’s 54th Chief of Naval Personnel and as the Director, Navy Staff.
Prior to his retirement from the Navy in November, 2012, Admiral Harvey served as Commander, US Fleet Forces Command. He now makes his home in Vienna, Virginia where he resides with his wife, Mary Ellen.
Join us live or, if you can’t make it live, pick up the show later by clicking here.
By Mark Tempest
When one hangs up the uniform after decades of service, but still wants to contribute to their nations national security needs, what paths can that take? How does one find a path forward, and what are the keys to success?
In a budgetary challenge not seen by the US military in two decades, what are the important “must haves” that need to be kept at full strength, and what “nice to haves” may have to be put in to the side?
What are the legacy ideas, concepts, and capabilities that the Navy and Marine Corps need to make sure they maintain mastery of, and what new things are either here or are soon on the way that we need to set conditions for success now?
Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and more will be Robert O. Work, Col. USMC (Ret), presently CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and former Undersecretary of the Navy from 2009-2013.
After 27-years of active duty service in the Marine Corps, Work joined the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), where he focused on defense strategy and programs, revolutions in war, Department of Defense transformation, and maritime affairs. He also contributed to Department of Defense studies on global basing and emerging military missions; and provided support for the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review.
During this time, Work was also an adjunct professor at George Washington University, where he taught defense analysis and roles and missions of the armed forces.
In late 2008, Work served on President Barack Obama’s Department of Defense Transition Team.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois; and has Masters Degrees from the University of Southern California, the Naval Postgraduate School; and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Join us live (5pm EST) or pick the show up later by clicking here.
By Mark Tempest
Are there lessons one can learn from the most exceptional edges of the military experience that can be useful to the civilian world?
Was there something from the experience of American prisoners of war imprisoned at the “Hanoi Hilton” during the Vietnam War that had to do with their success in their subsequent careers?
Our guests to discuss for the full hour will be Peter Fretwell and Taylor Baldwin Kiland, authors of Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams.
You might find the review of their book by one of the former POWs, CAPT Dick Stratton, relevant:
It is almost as if the authors were there beside Jim Stockdale while he was in the Maison Centrale (Hanoi Hilton).
Join us live or pick the show up later by clicking here.
By Mark Tempest
In an arch that spans the immediate post-Cold War era through the Iraq War, what are the observations and lessons of a front-line leader at the tactical level and, for those who are injured in service to their nation, through recovery.
Our guest for the full hour will be Jason Redman, author of The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader.
Jason joined the Navy on September 11, 1992 and served as an enlisted SEAL until he entered Old Dominion University in August of 2001, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management via Naval ROTC. He was commissioned in May of 2004 and returned as Naval SEAL Officer.
He deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2007, and in September was severely wounded. While recovering at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Jason underwent 37 surgeries. His experience led him to create Wounded Wear, a Non-Profit organization that provides clothing kits and clothing modifications to America’s wounded warriors.
Some of you will remember Jason for the sign on his door at Bethesda which is replicated above.
Some of you may not of heard of him at all.
Here’s your chance to get to learn more about him and his story.
Please join us live (or listen later) by clicking here.
5pm (EST) Sunday 3 Nov 13.
Join us this Sunday, 13 Oct at 1700/5pm (Eastern U.S.) for Episode 197: Sea Swap & Small Unit Leadership :
While good ideas are often forgotten, bad ideas seem to pop up over an over again – especially the sexy ones that sound so good, but never seem to work well. The answer, of course, is to try again and hope for a better result.
Some would argue that sea swap is one of those sexy ideas that just isn’t that practical in actual operation.
A good idea? One of the good ideas mostly forgotten is that of the Junior Officer in significant positions of authority. LTJG as XO? LT as Skipper? Sure… used to be common; now not so much outside the MIW and PC community.
What are the different challenges for the officer on a smaller warship? As JO command opportunities shrink, what is our Navy losing?
Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and anything else the squirrels deliver will be Lieutenant Matthew Hipple, USN.
We’ll start the conversation from his article in the July 2013 Proceedings, Sea Swap – Its a Trap – then we’ll be off to the races from there.
LT Hipple is a surface warfare officer who graduated from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. He is Director of the NEXTWAR blog and hosts the Sea Control podcast. While his opinions may not reflect those of the United States Navy, Department of Defense, or US Government, he wishes they did.
To join us live or listen to the show later, click here.
By Mark Tempest
Please join us Sunday 6 Oct 13 for our Episode 196: RDML Kirby, USN, CHINFO:
When the race to being wrong first seems to be a standard, how do we maintain the standard of being a useful source of information, but in a timely manner? In some areas like the budget that wander in to the political arena – how do we stay inside the lines but still inform?
Our guest for the full hour to discuss the process, method and substance of explaining the an often perplexed world our Navy and those things that impact it will be Rear Admiral John Kirby, USN, the Chief of Information.
Join us live at 5pm Eastern U.S. or pick the show up later by clicking here.
- On Midrats 23 November 14: “Episode 255: Commanding the Seas -the Surface Force with Bryan Clark from CSBA”
- A Magical Metrical Mystery Tour of Ineffective U.S. Drug Policy
- On Midrats 16 November 14, “Episode 254: John A. Nagl: 13 Years into the War”
- Gabe’s Gambit: Celebrating the Marine Corps Birthday and Reflecting on Talent Management
- On Midrats 9 November 14 Episode 253: “The Fleet we Have, Want, and Need” – with Jerry Hendrix