CDR Salamander over at his place wrote about the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) program, even posting the NAVADMIN regarding it. This caught me off guard, in that while I have known about the program since shortly after its inception late last year; I had no idea that it was garnishing enough attention to warrant official sanction from OPNAV. Though from the outset, and despite being loath to add any more programs onto the pile, I thought this was and is a good idea, for the most part.

Being a PO2 on an optimally manned ship is not an easy thing. I made PO2 at a breakneck pace: 25 months from swearing in. Once I put on PO2, I knew–and was told–that there were no more excuses, I had to perform. But, to this point (and to this day) I’ve had no one to lead in learning how to lead (not just telling someone what to do while on watch, but to truly be a deckplate leader). Yes, of course there were instances where leadership was demanded and I had to lead and perform my duties as the senior person present, but those times were the exception. Day-to-day leadership I know very little about. Why? Because just about everyone is a Petty Officer in the Navy. On optimally manned platforms the pool of personnel junior to me is minute, and the window in which they are junior to me is measured in months, typically. Some Rates usually show up to the boat as E-4s, or make E-4 the next cycle after they report, and it’s around 75% advancement to E-5 for a few Rates as well. PO2 doesn’t mean much because of this; but, CSADD can change that. Some Petty Officers today seem to be cutting their teeth in regards to leadership once they get to the PO1 level because of how we promote and how man our platforms, let CSADD start to change this as well. It can put us in a position to both be a mentor and learn what it is to lead.

My first thought on discovering CSADD was that it was a program for the junior personnel to own. I also thought the CSADD program was going to stay a grassroots initiative (if it was ever was one). I know we’ve got our talking points from OPNAV, and I am sure we’re going to print them out and have them available. But, talking points from on high probably won’t resonate with the deckplates or many of the situations leading to destructive decisions. The two E-4s are going to talk about the party they all know is going to happen next Friday, and about staying away from that new female E-2 that just checked aboard, at the party. The E-5 will be talking to his fellow E-5, telling him not to blow his reenlistment bonus at the next liberty port (thought it would probably be a hell’uva lot of fun). Those are blanket examples sure, but getting through to a person in preventing a destructive decision, you need to be specific to them, you need to know them and the circumstance. Talking points don’t do that, the shipmate does. I think that is the spirit of this initiative.

The Navy for all of its talk of wanting to engage the World using web 2.0 applications is totally missing the point in how CSADD spread on facebook, through one of the central tenants of web 2.0: Viral marketing. CSADD spread virally across facebook, I was made aware of it when a fellow PO2 posted it on their page. When I found it, I thought it was mine by finding it, I thought it was great because of its seemingly informal nature which in turn gave it an altruistic quality that anything official automatically lacks. Why did the parents big Navy have to get involved and make it ‘uncool’? 

Still, this is OK. This program can still work. Just prevent any administrative requirements which tie into Division In The Spotlight inspections. Let the Chief’s Mess supervise the junior Sailor’s work in CSADD while still letting the junior Sailors lead. As the good CDR already pointed out, we’ve got a safety net eight layers deep behind the junior Petty Officer and Bluejacket looking out for their Shipmate, in case they err while learning to lead and mentor. We have limited leadership opportunities for junior personnel in reduced manning and quick advancement. Please, allow this initiative to be one of the few opportunities where we can lead.

Posted by CTR1(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III in Navy
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  • Byron

    Concur with everything the good YN says, especially the part about officers letting the junior enlisted handle this with the Goat Locker lending a helping hand.

    Personal knowledge: a sailor I know got his first taste of LPO and struggled mightily. When we sat down to talk about it, I realized that no one, including the goat locker, was giving him prompts; it was sink or swim. I gave him some general advice on management skills and responsibilities, but it was a bit late. He was sent over the the QA shop. Just a few months later, he got another shot and did well enough to get a walk on water, must promote, and and early CPO. All of this might have been avoided using a system like this; informal, yet packed with, “been there, done that, don’t do this”. But like the good YN says, it’ll only work if kept informal, and the officers hands off.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    I will ask since I don’t know. Does the US Navy have a version of the USMC’s NCO school? For us, it was (and maybe still is) mandatory for Corporals and junior Sergeants who didn’t get the chance as Corporals to get precisely the kind of training that you refer to. Junior leadership. The Corps has found it invaluable, and to be selected to instruct there as a Sergeant was considered quite an honor.

    After all, Petty Officers are NCOs, are they not?

    • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

      @URR, We did have schools for becoming a Work Center Supervisor (WCS), and we did have schools for becoming a Leading Petty Officer (LPO). But, before I was sent to AFG they were in the midst of migrating those schools to the Ships, with a qualified instructor on the ship (held as a collateral duty) to qualify Sailors in those leadership positions. Now, I’ve been gone for over six months now, things might have changed, or my recollection of it may be scewed. I hope so, because what I remember is basically that the leadership schools were done away with.

      @jwithington, CSADD is the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions. It was a group a CTR2 friend of mine found on facebook, and sent me a link to back around AUG09. Full disclosure: I am too old for the group as I am 28. The group has been reasonably active on facebook. As I am on my work computer right now, I cannot post the link to their facebook page. However, click the hyperlink in the entry I wrote and you will be taken to CDR Salamander’s place. Once there go to comments and look for the hyperlink I left there, it will take you to CSADD’s page on facebook. It’s best if you go there rather than get second hand information on them from me.

  • Warrant Diver


    it’s not “informal” any more, so the rest is moot. BIG NAVY is now involved, with all the drawbacks and little of the benifits that entails.
    To this generation of Flags “programs” are like money to socialist-liberals…if you think something might be broken, just throw another “program” at it, and call it fixed. Then on to developing the next program.
    Don’t get me wrong, this sounds like it was a great idea BEFORE the Navy endorsed it.

  • jwithington

    As you pointed out, institutionalizing it really does seem to suck all the fun out of it. Part of the allure of some activities is that it isn’t formally recognized, especially for the 18-25 year old crowd (trust me!).

    YN2, you explain a little more what CSAD is? Is it a support group for junior sailors by junior sailors?

  • Chaps

    Sounds promising but I must say, when I saw the term “destructive decisions,” I thought the article would be about SecDef, SecNav, and CNO.

  • YNSA Pawlikowski

    Indeed, this sounds like an outstanding program. I am very willingly naive about the tradition of “shipmates”, and believe fully in the potential of a shipmate over all other things. Due to this earnest regard for the tradition, I have nothing but hope and love for any programs that attempt to strengthen that bond and encourage it. I fully hope that CSADD enjoys the success it so direly deserves, and I shall be joining it on Facebook shortly.
    Very Respectfully,
    YNSA Pawlikowski