Checking the fathometer

November 2009


For those who are not fully updated or familiar with the latest case of racial discrimination at the USNA, this time involving the Color Guard, please click here to get up to speed, and then come back.

As former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum stated this morning in the Philidelpha Inquirer,

‘It’s not a critical national-security matter when a few white male midshipmen almost get bounced from a color guard. After the Fort Hood killings, however, we should look at the military’s blind commitment to “diversity” and see if it’s blinding us to the obvious – and the dangerous.’

I encourage everyone to read the full article – but the danger he refers to is not the direct danger of an officer with a gun killing his fellow servicemembers wholesale – but is the broader danger an aggressive, exclusionary, close-minded, and corrosive philosophy can have on an institution’s culture – a culture that requires a meritocracy infused with candor to excel in peace and war.

First of all – at the core – what core competency of the Navy is a diverse Navy supposed to represent? One would hope that an organization that serves a nation would reflect its peoples diverse background as a natural by-product of the removal of all barriers to entry based on race, creed, color, or national origin.

The problem is – life is not that simple, clean, or easy. A percentage-to-percentage reflection of a nation’s diversity rarely occurs naturally, even if it is free of institutional discrimination. For reasons that fill up entire library shelves; socio-economic, cultural, family habits and traditions towards education, careers goals, and family structures vary wildly in such a diverse nation as ours.

Especially in high skilled areas of our economy that require a meritocracy due to the financial, life-and-death, or innate performance requirements of the profession; pure balanced diversity is the exception – not the norm. A simple walk through the Doctor’s lounge at your local hospital, a Silicon Valley research facility, a bio-medical lab in the Research Triangle Park, a Los Alamos laboratory, a nuclear power plant, a NFL locker room, or a hedge fund golf outing will show you that even in an open and fair society – perfect diversity is the exception not the rule – and perfect diversity does not equate with mission success.

Where we run into problems is when we refuse to accept reality – when we game the system – when we sell little bits of our soul in order to buy something that cannot be honestly purchased or to curry favor with important people. In a zero-sum game based on objective criteria used to achieve the best possible outcome, when an external factor – in this case race, creed, color, or national origin – is brought in that has nothing to do with the objective criteria, and is used to select a set-group of personnel defined by the external factors, what must be sacrificed to achieve that external factor’s percentage goals are those objective criteria. You intentionally sub-optimize your organization by dilution – replacing high objective criteria scores with low objective criteria scores.

In the case of Midshipmen – when you take out any pure athletic criteria used to bring in some MIDN – the objective criteria can very broadly be broken down to two areas; academic potential and leadership potential. To expand the number of the external factor driven aspects, you have to decrease the acceptance threshold of your objective criteria for those specific external factor sub-groups. As shown by the USNA’s own data – those tradeoffs have been made and continue to be made – specifically to increase self-identified minority MIDN numbers (in addition to the number of those minority candidates who made it using the objective criteria alone). To meet that external factor requirement – a #1 priority as we have been told – lower academic and leadership potential is accepted on the front end (and can be advertised high and low, far and wide) with the hope that enough of the sub-optimal group can maintain minimum standards and make it out the back end.

Of course, that means that some applicants that met the objective criteria of academic and leadership potential will not be accepted – but we have made the decision that higher percentages of minority MIDN are more important than academic and leadership potential. In the zero-sum game that is admissions – that is the first decision we made to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin.

As our MIDN have learned in their first few years exposed to the Navy – that is not the only time racial discrimination takes place.

There are organizations at Annapolis that are voluntary and represent USNA and the Navy. They get their picture taken; this has become a problem.

For instance, the “face of the Navy” that the USNA Gospel Choir and the USNA Crew team show are very different. Is that a problem? No, not really. It is only a problem if, at your core, you see race and racial politics in everything you do – regardless of the reality you live in. The MIDN and their generation don’t care – but they soon learn that those above them do. They care a lot.

This is where we reach another decision point; and we decide to discriminate – selectively. Where Gospel and Crew get a pass – lower profile perhaps – others do not.

You have in the USNA Color Guard a high profile voluntary organization that individual MIDN have spent years building seniority and experience to provide the most professional military bearing to represent the Navy to the nation. Groups such as the Color Guard pride themselves in being a meritocracy of shared discipline, shared values, and shared rewards. They are good because they are fair. They excel because they function on objective criteria – sustained superior performance. At least – that is what they thought.

In late OCT, we had the uniformed leadership at USNA decide that in order to artificially create something they desired to be true, that they would actively intervene and discriminate against two Midshipmen based on their race and gender.

This is fact. This cannot be defended. USNA has tried to spin it. Sandbag it. Confuse the issue with the now infamous “8v6” saga. What it has not tried to do is explain its actions in any logical and consistent way.

I think it says a lot about the Navy’s Diversity initiatives when we have to hide them, spin them, sandbag them – and when we get caught out in the open – we do something quite Soviet; we issue a gag-order to those discriminated against and their peers after the story breaks. That should cause a moment of self-reflection.

For three weeks on, this story continues to boil. The fact that the USNA discriminated on the basis of race has not been disproved, and the official denials are self-conflicting and debunked. The MIDN involved are not permitted to speak. The relationship between the Commandant of Midshipmen and his Midshipmen has been drastically changed from one of mutual admiration to mutual distrust.

In a larger sense, why has such a small example of what we have seen so often had so much traction? Well, primarily it is because we can identify a name and a face to the innocent party. As opposed to “X number in the reject pile,” we have two MIDN who are soon to be commissioned and in our Fleet. Two MIDN who know personally that they can be discriminated against on the basis of their race and wonder, “When will I be discriminated against again?” Argue that point if you wish, but put yourselves in their shoes; it happened to them once, why won’t it happen again?

Is this really where we want to be as an institution? Does this bring great credit upon the Naval Service? Is there another way?

What is the solution? As with most hard and complicated problems, the answer is simple. Live up to our standards. Demonstrate the innate integrity and fairness of our Navy. Implement a policy that is simple for the PAO, Commandant, and the Midshipmen to understand – and then carry it on to the Fleet. Have a policy that is easy to defend. One you are proud to defend and don’t have to hide from. One you can defend directly with simple, basic words.

Have a policy that we do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin. We do not make selections, limit, expand, or track the professional progress of our Sailors based on their race or ethnicity. Simple. Done. Move forward. Prove it by removing all reference to a Sailor’s racial or ethnic background. Remove all pictures from the all boards. Remove all doubt. They are of limited utility anyway, as we know – names, pictures, and faces are a poor way to understand self-identified race and ethnicity anyway.

Excise and redistribute the BA/NMP for almost all of our branch of the divisive Diversity Industry to other UICs related to supporting Sailors at sea and Marines ashore. The UCMJ has all we need to deal with bigots.

Will there be pressure from the larger Diversity Industry and their backers in Congress? Absolutely – they have jobs to keep and grievances to feed. Will there be a change in the ethnic makeup of those selected for officer programs? Probably. Some racial and ethnic groups will go up – some will go down – some may stay the same. If you have objective criteria – then you shouldn’t care. The Sailors don’t care. They just want someone to treat them fairly, do their job, execute the mission, be a leader, and bring them home from combat intact.

In any event, with more and more mixed-race citizens and minority percentages as a result of immigration patterns in the last 50 years – it will mean less and less with each passing year. That is a good thing. Like we did in the Truman Administration – why don’t we get ahead of the curve on this issue. This is not a time to be stuck in 1971 – we need to get ready for the second decade of the 21st Century.

For those who will object to the change, again – look for the reasons brought up at the beginning of the post; socio-economic, cultural, and family habits and traditions towards education, careers, and family structures. None of these are within the control of the US Navy – nor should they. What can we do? We can ensure that we reach out to all communities in the US – something the Recruiting Districts should already be good at. We could expand JNROTC, as is being done – to help local educators build the academic and leadership potential that is in every community.

Most of all – we should have faith in our people and our institution. Create a fair, just, and admirable institution – and the best will come to you. What would their ethnicity and race be? Who cares – they’re the best. The best attract the best of all colors.

If you value performance, potential, and excellence – that is what you will put your efforts towards – and is what you will get.

If you value race and ethnicity and make your decisions based on that – then you will get what all cultures that emphasize race and ethnicity get; strife, conflict, division, and unending episodes of racial and ethnic discrimination.

As a last note, we all know that these little – and large – “Diversity decision” issues are nothing new in the Navy. We have all, myself included, been party to them. With a wink, a nod, and perhaps a taunt-jawed acceptance – we have all gone along with it. With time and progress however, don’t all archaic theories and methods reach the point that they are no longer valid and usefull?

As with segregation in the past, don’t we have to eventually reach a point were we stop and conduct a little self-reflection? When do we reach the point where we say, “No. This must stop. This has gone on long enough. We are a good, honest, fair, and open institution. Discrimination in any form is beneath the honor and dignity of our Service. This will go on no longer.”

Good people with the best intentions made some hard decisions trying to fix a problem they were sold as a requirement. So hard, it seems, that decisions were made to “bend the curve” and take short cuts using methods that, in the end, they cannot defend and cannot survive the light of day.

As we look towards the second decade of the 21st Century, where next year’s class of Midshipmen were born as Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush challenged each other in the 1992 election – can we say, “Enough,” or will we have to wait for the next episode where we hide, mumble, spin, and blanch at what we have become?

Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy

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  • Sorry but this is a tempest in a teapot. The real diversity issue deals with gender more than race. When the Naval Services take a serious look at the performance of females in uniform then we’re taking steps toward a gender/racial neutral military. The real issue is being ducked because its harder–take aim at the role of women and uniform and then you’ll have my attention.

  • Solo,
    Naught, naughty. No thread hijacking. That is a different post that someone else can do.


  • UltimaRatioReg


    Had the situation been reversed, and two African-American Middies were pulled from the Color Guard, and informed that it was done because of their skin color, this would have been front page stuff for weeks. And should be. Certainly WaPo would have had no such trepidations about anonymous sources in making sure this was above the fold. If this does indeed become a tempest in a teapot, it highlights the despicable double standard that exists in what Sal calls accurately they “Diversity Industry”.

    The shameful and bullying gag order, the “leadership” doublespeak and obfuscating, the flat-out lack of integrity from those who are supposed to provide examples of conduct to these future Naval Officers, should get EVERYONE’S attention. The Superintendent and Commandant of Midshipmen should be relieved, but they certainly won’t be. Such is the “diversity” climate under the CNO that there is little doubt their actions met with his approval, discriminatory, unfair, and shameful though they were.

  • Oh I don’t disagree, but I believe that the racial issue in the military is really a minor one. Not to hijack a thread but biggest “rights” issue facing the military is one of gender and sexuality, not race.

    The midshipmen (both the original color guard and the subs) both saw this for what it was. It probably caused heartache for both parties and I doubt that they’re happy about the intervention by higher ups.

    I just think that they (the leadership) were probably operating from a generational sphere of reference. During their formative years in the military, racial issues were front and center. Once this crop of general officers retires I think we’ll be one step closer to this issue being settled once and for all.

  • Talk about a subject that the CNO needs to weigh in on. I know he monitor this blog, I hope he speaks up.

  • CPT Joe

    Women and blacks aren’t the only problem. Wait till DADT is cancelled. The gender disoriented and TG’s are just over the horizon. Civil organizations are already dealing with this problem. I recently attended a conference at Lockheed Martin where a 50 year-old “woman” with a beard attended, and all kinds of accomodations had to be made for this person.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

  • Joe,
    Focus ….. and good googly moogly. “Women and blacks” are not a problem here; and have not been identified as such.

    If you insist in pointing fingers and playing the Diversity Industry’s game of sectarian belly-button picking, then do this for me.

    Be as superficial as you can possibly be and grab a picture of the CJCS, CNO, The Superintendent, and the Commandant of Midshipmen.

    There is your senior leadership that are driving the problem we identify in this post. ID their ethnicity/race/gender. Now play the sectarian blame game.

    Oh, just because you brought it up – I support the repeal of DADT – so stir that around your nogg’n. I have actually served with militaries that have turned DADT into “Don’t Care.” You know what? They have less discipline problems, their aircraft are better maintained, their watch teams more professional, and their ships are cleaner. I don’t think there is a connection there – but in a broad sense – it makes no difference.

    Wait, I think I just hijacked my own post. Bad Phib … bad Phib.

    Back to the subject at hand; race and ethnicity do not matter – it is how we see it and deal with it that matters.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “I just think that they (the leadership) were probably operating from a generational sphere of reference.”

    Without doubt. But that is not excuse for policies that openly encourage discrimination against service members based on skin color. I think the CNO has already weighed in, having stated “diversity” is a strategic imperative, whatever that means. However, his mission, and that of his Navy, is war fighting, not social engineering. But I suppose that is what happens when you stop being war fighters and become simply a “force for good” like the Shriners or the Lion’s Club.

    No, the most serious matter in both the USNA and Fort Hood incidents (they are two sides of the same coin) is the politically pliable “leadership”, CNO included, who perpetrate what happened at USNA, and the conditions and events leading to Fort Hood.

    Both occurrences are more than merely unintended consequences. The leadership (there’s that word again) was willing to accept those events, in order to push a political/social agenda. Yes, this is even true of the Fort Hood tragedy. If you don’t believe, listen to General Casey’s remarks in the face of 13 killed, saying that he hoped his precious Diversity did not become a casualty.

    They have sacrificed fairness, integrity, trust and confidence, and ultimately security for both their Soldiers and Sailors, and for this country, on the altar of Diversity.

    These men, Chief of Staff of the Army, the CNO (whose “diversity as strategic imperative” nonsense set the tone for the USNA Color Guard incident), and the leadership of Annapolis have sold themselves at the political marketplace. They are no longer fit to lead, even though they once might have been.

  • Chaps

    If that Midshipman who was dropped from the color guard by racial discrimination is shocked by that action and wonders if it will happen again, he certainly should hope he never hears the briefings given to selection board members after oaths are taken and they can’t talk about them.

  • Benjamin Walthrop


    Please give a timeframe and rank of the promotion board associated with what you are insinuating or something to back it up. I can tell you from personal experience in 2007 on the O-4 line board that nothing even remotely like racial/gender preference was directly addressed or insinuated at any time during the promotion board. The nature of the promotion board process for officers basically precludes any such nonsense from occurring, but I’d be interested if you could show my personal experience (in which no such racial/gender shenanigans went on) as the anomaly rather than the norm.


  • What’s really stunning about this whole issue is the lack of feedback on it. From whatever perspective this is a subject (including the role of women and DADT) that needs to be addressed. The fact that so few are commenting is more an indictment of the “get along-go along” mindset that causes tragedies like GANJGAL to occur because subordinates are too afraid to ask the tough questions or make the tough calls.

  • Solo,
    2 of the 4 posts on the subject I did at my home blog have well over 100 comments .. EACH.

    In addition to the Philly Inq. OPED by Sen. Santorum, his has been picked up by the Washington Post, National Review, MIchelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, and a host of others.

    No, this has plenty of churn.

  • Chap

    I’m Chap; I’m not the other guy. I would note that the precepts are on the NPC website.

  • Benjamin Walthrop


    My apologies. I didn’t think it “sounded” like you.

    I would welcome a response by Chaps, or anyone else on the promotion board issue.

    The precept addresses EEO and specifically prohibits the use of a number of non-performance related issues (gender, race, ethicity, etc.) to be considered by the board. My personal observation is that those issues were not considered by the board. If they had been, there were plenty of people in the people in the room representing groups that are currently being used by BUPERS to measure diversity that would have dropped a whole roll of dimes on the process.


  • Chaps

    1995-99 I sat as Recorder or member of boards for LCDR, CDR, and Captain. Since, even in retirement, I am still under oath not to reveal board proceedings, I can’t give you specific verbage and such from briefings after the oaths were taken and proceedings secured. They were “interpretations” that spelled out how the EEO provisions of the precepts were to be implemented and how fitreps for minorities and women were to be viewed. I regret bringing this up since I can’t, honorably, provide specific details and even if I did, Bupers would issue denials that could not be rebutted because the briefs were oral. So. Please consider my comments withdrawn. And, in deference to Chap, who eveidently has been posting longer than I, I will use a different screen name in the future: Shaman.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    DOD Statement on Fort Hood Independent Review

    The Department of Defense today released a statement by Togo West and retired Adm. Vern Clark, co-chairs of the DoD independent review related to Fort Hood.

    “In light of the shooting at Fort Hood, Secretary Gates has asked us to lead a department-wide review to ensure the safety and health of DOD employees and their families.

    “The secretary has given extensive guidance on areas to be examined – areas that cover a broad range of issues, programs, policies, and procedures. Considering the scope of this review, its short deadline, and its importance to the Department of Defense, we will be focused intently on our work during this time. At the end of this process, we will be more than willing to discuss our findings.

    “This task is a solemn responsibility, and one that we undertake with humility and a firm commitment to fulfill the department’s – and the nation’s – obligation to keep our troops, their families, and all DoD employees safe.”

    Something about shutting the barn door after the horse got out?
    I hold out little hope that the light will be shined in the right corners with this…

  • Byron

    Oh, yeah, we had heightened security restrictions at the Naval Base I work at: Instead of showing your ID badge still in whatever holder you have it in, now you have to take it out. I feel much safer now, trust me.

  • Rhode Islander


    Most fathometers cease to work above speeds of roughly 25 knots. And at slower speeds, some fathometers read the depth below the keel, while others onboard the same ship read the depth below the lowest projection (the prop’s usually).

    I think your article gives an accurate reading while transitting sensitive waters that many Americans cannot fathom.

  • Can someone explain to me the benefit or benefits of “Diversity?”

    By “Diversity” I mean the fetish of the services leadership to ensure that the demographics of the services match some benchmark. I am NOT saying that the services should not be a place where people of any ethnic background should not have equal opportunity to excel or fail on their merits.

    The Chiefs have made the procurement and mentoring of selected minority groups a priority. Where is the benefit?

  • borhbemo

    The comments about senior Navy leadership’s “Soviet-like’ reaction to criticism in this case especially telling…and ironic considering how much blood and treasure we invested not to end up Soviet.

    This dialogue is healthy…but ominous. I’ve been rereading Catton’s Centennial series on the Civil War (I know, I know, much more and better scholarship since, but I still turn to him for his unique ability to give “voice” to the people and the times).

    And among the saddest voices he calls up are those of the career officers eventually forced to choose between conflicting identities and loyalties–one as servants of the…whole…country, the other as sons of their states and communities.

    And now many seem bent on forcing a similar choice–between our identities as citizens of the whole country and defenders of the Constitution, and our ethnic, racial, gender or other subset identity.

    So those past voices seem to echo in today’s debate about divided identities and loyalties. That first debate went on for nigh on seventy years before we took up arms against each other in 1861. By then, talk having been exhausted, the two visions of the future of the country proved so profoundly and mutually exclusive that nothing but force of arms would settle the argument.

    One of the many reasons cited when we were assigned to read Thucydides in the War College was to remind us that no nation is immune from destruction prompted by internal decay and sectarianism. Even more so in times of war.

    Are we going there again? I hope not but fear so.

  • Juan Caruso

    I share borhbemo’s anxiety over destruction from within.

    The military’s quota-type diversity is being directed by our civilian, beltway leadership. These leaders have adopted an utopian outlook established by decades of civilian precedents which, in many cases, happens to be a significant focus of their professional, legal backgrounds.

    Is utopianism practical for an effective military? Consider that Pakistani civilians recently evacuated targeted areas when the Paki Army was sent to uproot insurgents. Large numbers of civilians avoided being injured or killed. Have we heard of major civilian evacuations for U.S. troops, however?

    Like the British forces in our own Revolution, our diverse soldiers are required to drive single file, in plain sight and risk becoming IED targets. The academy’s quota-type diversity may be a swirling “tempest in a teapot”, but it may also be a by-product of a larger, CAT-5 hurricane whose direction and damage are tough to predict.

    I applaud CDRSalamander for his cool-headed approach toward engaging this third rail of politics.

  • USNA admissions seems like a good starting point:
    Assume in an ideal world that all the applicants had access to the same opportunities from birth to age eighteen. In this case, it would be completely justifiable to remove all diversity metrics from an applicants selection package. Decisions on selection to the service academy would be based solely on academic performance, character references, athletics and extracurricular involvement.
    Now take the world as it is. Some individuals have significant barriers in place to their success including family situation, geographic location and quality of available educational facilities. An individual with a 3.5 GPA who dodged gang violence and overcomes parental neglect MAY be far superior to a 4.0 student who was provided with tutoring and a supportive household.
    Who would make the better leader? How would you as an admissions board member make the determination?
    If the incoming class is predominantly white males it is not due to racism on the part of the selection board but it is likely the result of prejudice in our society. One example, 24% of the black population is below the poverty line compared with 8% of non-hispanic whites (2003).
    I think that equates to lack of opportunity.

    One Poorly Vetted Solution:
    Since only parity of opportunity in society will create a population that can be evaluated by the admissions board solely on grades, sports and eca’s how about increasing the size of the incoming class and giving the admissions board the ability to provide a chance to those who have done more with less. After plebe year, start cutting the fat and trim down the graduating class based on performance alone. Class composition at the end of four years will be far more informative than incoming class demographics.

  • Dymaxion

    Good post and good comments. Thank you CDR Salamander!
    I too would prefer a “don’t care” or post-racial attitude in our Navy and in our great nation.
    I especially liked the line about not being stuck in 1971 having been born in a more recent year.
    Let’s hope this dialog is carried up the chain.
    Honor Commitment Courage

  • After plebe year, start cutting the fat and trim down the graduating class based on performance alone. Class composition at the end of four years will be far more informative than incoming class demographics.

    That’s a terrific idea, except that any disproportionate dismissal of minority students would be prima facie evidence of institutional racism and the leadership would be accused of selectively targeting population groups for dismissal. It’s just kicking the can down the road by a year group. Hell, they can’t bring themselves to enforce existing standards right now. How can you expect them to do so when there would be an even bigger stick to beat them over the head with?

  • XBradTC

    Excellent point and one I didn’t consider. Thanks for the feedback

    Gruntled JO

  • Byron

    GJO, for a tread head, xbrad is a pretty smart feller 😉

  • Mrs. Davis

    They can’t select officers effectively, They can’t procure warships effectively, they haven’t developed a strategy an above average civilian can understand…Is there and elephant in this room? Unfortunately, it’s the same generation that’s running the banks and the congress and….

    This too shall pass.

    I just hope it doesn’t require a large war to provide the laxative effect.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Mrs. Davis,

    You may be on to something there. And I hope it does pass. However, the odds of winning drop slightly with each transgression against the combat readiness of our armed forces. I would hate to think we should have gone into that “large war” with a decided advantage, only to have Vegas put the affair at 6-5 against…..

  • john1981

    This window into the inside of the current USNA environment captured my attention. In trying to make sense of these events, my wife pointed out to me the silver lining in all of this: the Mids didn’t buy anything the Commandant was selling. Even with all of his “good will” with the Brigade, they were able to sniff the BS and they called him on it (based on all of the reporting so far).

    It is also important to consider that, had this happened on any other campus in the country (except for the other Academies, hopefully), nobody–NOBODY–would have batted an eye. If anything, it would have been applauded as the right thing to do.

    Since the Superintendent and the Commandant (and the CNO and CJCS) are intent on “leading” social change in terms of diversity, maybe they should start taking cues from the society as represented by the generation they are leading, which appears to be at least one step ahead of them. This will require leadership, long-term (strategic) thinking and probably a significant amount of intestinal (political) fortitude (what some might call “moral courage”). Not to mention some hard work on the part of the admissions process.

  • Well I’ll say this since no one else has (and I’ve been waiting for it)…Sadly it would seem, especially with the recent comments from the Army Chief of Staff and the Chief Of Naval Operations, that with the election of our first Black President–they feel a need to present their “qualities” regarding diversity.

    As UltimateRatioReg said…
    “They have sacrificed fairness, integrity, trust and confidence, and ultimately security for both their Soldiers and Sailors, and for this country, on the altar of Diversity.
    These men, Chief of Staff of the Army, the CNO (whose “diversity as strategic imperative” nonsense set the tone for the USNA Color Guard incident), and the leadership of Annapolis have sold themselves at the political marketplace. They are no longer fit to lead, even though they once might have been.”

    Trust and confidence (as I was taught) runs up AND down the rank structure. If our leadership is seeking to ingratiate themselves to elected officials despite it being counter to good order and discipline in the ranks then “thank you for your service but ….”

    I see a bigger problem though. It goes back to the quality of our Flag Ranks. Remember the “Revolt of the Generals”??? Good men knew better but did not speak up until safely housed in the warm embrace of retirement. How many good men are not speaking up now?

    Sorry I got off on a tangent. The point is this. The parties that participated in this travesty need to resign. The reason? Loss of confidence in their leadership.

  • “I just hope it doesn’t require a large war to provide the laxative effect.”

    This town needs an ENEMA!!!

  • Solo,
    I’ll say it – and I don’t have to.

    This. Has. Nothing. To. Do. With. The. Present. CINC.

    Full stop.

    This predates him by a long shot.

  • Roger that. Then I withdraw the last.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    “This. Has. Nothing. To. Do. With. The. Present. CINC.”

    I will disagree with that. This is HIS watch. Almost ten months into it. Whether it reflects his policies, his desires, his mandates or not, he’s on the bridge, has been for some time.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    We (old hands) all know the promotion surgeries cartoon.

    “Taint funny, McGee”. In all too many cases, sad but true.

    One modest suggestion: Cease and desist providing instructions to the promotion boards under blood oaths to be carried to the grave.
    Make all records of the boards public except the officers’ records (or summaries/extracts thereof), make all votes by secret ballot, and present all officers considered to the board in order of date of birth, oldest first. Have licensed and bonded civilians provided by a different service than that holding the promotion board redact all seemingly extraneous marks, folds,small tears and cuts, and annotations from the records presented to the board. PUBLISH all instructions to the board two weeks prior to convening the board.

    Sunlight, the best disinfectant.

  • Maineiac

    If I have this story right, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has made diversity a top priority. The all white, all male Naval academy color guard was scheduled to appear in the World Series. Someone realized that this might make it appear that the Naval Academy has decided to blow off the JCS. Someone reasoned that this would make them look bad and if they made a last minute switch-a-roo, this would make them look good. When I served in the military this activity was called covering your a$$. Mr. Salamander, on the other hand, claims that it proves how deeply corrosive current navy diversity policy is. If that is the case then the color guard flap is only the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

    The writer realizes this and attempts to connect the dots to the tragic shooting at Ft. Hood. There is no evidence that the shooting were in any way related to the military’s diversity policy and none is provided. Of course no evidence is required when preaching to the choir, which based on the comments seems to be the case. To those of us outside the choir it seems to be a case of confirmation bias, in which case the slenderest threat serves as sure proof.

    The Navy has always expected the appearance of it’s ships, officers and crews to reflect the values of the Navy, my advice to those who don’t like the policy is to take the advice given to me by my drill instructor in boot camp, quite whining and “Get with the program”

  • Maineiac,
    Interesting. So, I guess there area some, like you, who approve of racial discrimination. Very 1950s of you.

    Your comment, “If that is the case …. ” tells me that you have not been on active duty for the last couple of decades – or if you have been then you simply have not been paying attention.

    Then again, if you see no problem in tapping a Sailor on the shoulder and telling him to his face, “Listen, you have worked very hard for this and you have earned it. However, I am going to take it away from you simply because you were born in a racial category that I simply do not like. Be a team player – nothing personal here – I just don’t like your race. Some races in the Navy are more equal than others – know your place boy and do what you’re told.” – then I guess you haven’t seen anything racist going on it the way we do Diversity.

    I recommend that you do what I suggested. Follow the link to my home blog and all the background is there for you if you take the time to read and follow the embedded html links.

  • Byron

    You know, it’s been said that the most powerful force in the universe is a closed mind…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “There is no evidence that the shooting were in any way related to the military’s diversity policy and none is provided.”

    You might consider bouncing over to CDR Salamander’s blog and getting some background on this, or taking a look here https://blog.usni.org/?p=4926.

    It beats having one’s head in the sand….

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sorry, Phib. You beat me to it.


    I will not make the connection between the color guard at Annapolis and the murders at Fort Hood for two reasons. 1. They are nowhere near each other in terms of intrinsic importance of the events themselves. 2. The Ft Hood killings are painful enough without the potentially brutal overreactions.

    That said, the fact that people are willing to come to this conclusion does illustrate some of the problems with how “diversity” is conceptualized and practiced. These are everyone’s problems.

    There IS personal and structural racism in the military because there IS racism in the nation. This is a fact. We should not deny that. I won’t.

    The challenge is how to address it. I agree with much of what Cdr. S argues regarding diversity in the Navy. Specifically, there is a diversity industry motivated at least in part by organizational and bureaucratic survival and growth. Also, that having an honest written conversation about race has become extremely difficult (the diversity bullies part but also see overreaction above).

    Simply put, the way diversity is practiced today is wrong. Racism is racism, no matter which direction it goes. The plusses and minuses don’t cancel out, it’s all minuses. To set aside quotas or “representative” spots perpetuates the problems two ways, it deeply embitters those not in the preferred group (specifically against the preferred group I might add) and it hamstrings those (of any group) who could compete on their merit. How does this help things?

    Even more corrosive though is the message that it sends that the appearance of diversity is more important than addressing the real racism. Before we get to post-racial and don’t care, we have to address these things. The appearance of diversity is a phenomenal enabler (in the AA sense of the word) that allows us not to face this problem. Again, how does this help?

  • Byron

    Prove there is racism.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Two white male Middies being replaced because of their lack of pigment qualifies as racism.

    PERMDUINS: https://blog.usni.org/?p=4926

  • Byron

    Point. I was asking Mr. Permduins to provide proof that there is racism against persons of descent or religion at the Academy today other than those of Caucasian birth. As yet, he has offered no proof of such actions. My opinion is that there’s about as much chance of that happening as there is of the Seminoles beating the Gators this weekend 😉

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Roger that. I was trying out my “bitter irony”. Guess it needs work.

  • Byron

    “Bitter irony”? Is that sort of like your ex-wife getting a complete body makeover and hitting the lottery? 🙂

  • Grandpa Bluewater,

    “Make all records of the boards public except the officers’ records (or summaries/extracts thereof), make all votes by secret ballot, and present all officers considered to the board in order of date of birth, oldest first. Have licensed and bonded civilians provided by a different service than that holding the promotion board redact all seemingly extraneous marks, folds,small tears and cuts, and annotations from the records presented to the board. PUBLISH all instructions to the board two weeks prior to convening the board. Sunlight, the best disinfectant.”

    Not that I would disagree with you, Sir, but there has been at least one countervening, legal precedent for promotion board secrecy:

    WASHINGTON, Jul 27, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) — An appeals court in Washington Tuesday ruled Navy chaplain promotion boards must keep their proceedings secret.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    I fail to see the benefit, or the logic of the court.

    The benefit and logic lie at the opposite pole.

    The advantage of open records is that the swamp of rumors, legends, and allegations of nepotism, alumni cabals, secret societies, conspiracies, mentor interference, coded messages from the ruling clique to their agents and similar skullduggery drains away. With a secret ballot the cloud of retribution by the above vs maverick members of the board falls away. The result is strengthening the service members faith in the validity of the selection process, especially for high rank. Not to mention protecting the validity of the process. I didn’t invent the above foolishness, nor do I embrace it. But it’s out there…

    Even specifying all but Chaplains would be beneficial.