There is a difference between Mentorship and SeaDaddyism; one good, one bad – right?

Good people can argue yes or no if Mentorism is best left as an encouraged, but natural and informal process where junior personnel seek advice and example from more senior personnel who can help them understand what is needed to succeed. Many think that something so good as having a Mentor provides such a benefit that it should be mandatory. I happen to believe it works best when allowed to happen naturally – but support for formal Mentoring is a easily defended opinion. Either way – Mentorism is a net good for all involved, including the Navy.

SeaDaddyism, however, is a totally different animal. SeaDaddyism is a cancer in any organization, as one person is given special treatment based on being a golf buddy, son-in-law of a significant person, son of a good friend, daughter of a college roommate, etc. That is why smart leaders will do their best to keep any hint of favoritism away and beyond suggestion. Indeed, SeaDaddyism is best seen as straddling the fuzzy line where fraternization begins. Ugly and a net negative for the health of the Navy.

In the few cases where I saw real SeaDaddyism, conflict soon followed. Good thing about our PCS system though – in most cases the impact on a Command are mitigated by time, and things tend to self-correct for the Command degraded by the effects of a SeaDaddy on the fair and equal evaluation and treatment of subordinates.

What if we had a system of official SeaDaddyism – one that was supported all the way to the senior uniformed leadership of our Navy? What if mid-level leaders, the ones who write FITREPS and Detail officers, were held accountable if they did not practice SeaDaddyism? What if there was a by-name list of personnel who were to receive the benefits of open, aggressive, and trackable SeaDaddyism? Independent of any self-correcting PCS cycle – what if this SeaDaddyism was perpetual – unending.

Worse yet – most would know who was on the list, and who was not. What if every time someone was promoted or given a plum assignment – regardless of the possible exemplary performance of that individual – because it was known/assumed that the individual was on the SeaDaddy List, it would be assumed that the person didn’t earn or deserve promotion or a plum assignment – that it was simply a gift from his SeaDaddy?

What if that list – and the strict enforcement of SeaDaddyism – was based on race or ethnicity? Am I wearing a AFDB? No, I am just reading the logical results of Operationalizing Diversity.

From one of my very trusted sources,

—–Original Message—–
From: XXXX, XXDM, N00
Sent: XXXday, July XX, 2010
Cc: CAPT XXXX, Executive Assistant to ASN (XXX); XXX, N00; XXX, SES, N00; XXX, CAPT, N1

Subject: Diversity Accountability


In preparation for the annual Diversity Accountability Brief that I will be giving CNO next month, my N1 has put together the attached slides. The data, pulled from TWMS earlier this week, represents what is in the system but actual assignment of personnel in your XXXXXX may vary. Please review and submit changes as necessary.

A change in focus of this year’s diversity brief is the desire to identify our key performers (by name) and provide insight on each of them. CNO is interested in who are the diverse officers with high potential and what is the plan for their career progression. He may ask what is being done within to ensure they are considered for key follow on billets within the Navy. This list must be held very closely but will provide ready reference to ensure we are carefully monitoring and supporting the careers of the best and the brightest the Navy has to offer.

Please review the data provided and report your concurrence or identify specific anomalies. Your insight to the diverse composition of your command will assist in my discussion with CNO. Additionally, provide your by name list including career insight for your top performers (03 and above) in those key positions. This reporting requirement will not be put into TV4 taskers due to the sensitive nature of the by name list. Input is due to me by 2 August 2010.


So, back to the title of this post. Is this the Navy we want? A Navy where we track officers by a desired race and ethnicity, and demand – that pesky word accountability from a 4-Star is a demand – that they are ranked higher and detailed to better jobs than those of a different race and ethnicity?

Really? I take a slightly different angle on this over at my homeblog, head on over there if you want to read it and the response from the CNO’s office on the above – but here is my final thought.

We have a great tradition in our Navy of “taking charge and carrying out the plan of the day.” Those officers appointed over us are given the obedience their rank deserves and their orders are followed. That is built on a foundation of belief that those appointed over us got there on merit – they got there because they are the best. As a result, if we have to go in harm’s way they will give us the best odds of achieving victory over our enemies, secure our nation’s interests, and return our Sailors back to their families intact.

How does Diversity Accountability support this foundation? If it doesn’t – when do you start to question it?

As professionals, when do we cross the line from following every order blindly to listening to that nagging voice in the back of our head telling us all is not well – that the assumptions in our track are all wrong? The further down this track we go, the more I think of the lessons of Honda Point.

If we want to encourage the already widespread problem of racial self-identification fraud, this is a great way to do it. If we want to move away from a goal of a color-blind and equal opportunity Navy, this is a great way to do it. If we want to encourage division based on the worst parts of human nature, this is a great way to do it.

The answer is simple. The solution is very simple.

UPDATE: The Washington Times has picked up on the story with an editorial; High seas segregation: The Navy is listing dangerously in politically correct water. They nail it.

In practice, the Navy will be creating a list of privileged “diverse” officers who will enjoy special benefits and career mentoring not available to people of the wrong race, as well as a virtual guarantee of fast-track access to the highest reaches of command. Fifty-six years after the Supreme Court struck down the concept of “separate but equal” treatment of races, the U.S. Navy is erecting a wall of segregation between what will amount to two parallel promotion systems: one for the “diverse” and another for the monotone. If this isn’t illegal, it should be.

This type of backward, 20th-century, overtly racial thinking has no place in 21st-century post-racial America. The Navy leadership apparently believes the way to promote racial harmony is by engaging in blatant, invidious discrimination. In practice, however, this system will, in fact, relegate “diverse” sailors to a form of second-class status. Any nonwhite male sailor who – through intelligence, initiative and drive – builds a stellar career will simply be seen as just another special case, just one of “the Listers.” Those sailors may achieve rank, but they will have to work twice as hard to command respect.

The suggested list of privileged officers is due Monday. The message states that the reporting requirement will not be put into the secretary of the Navy’s TV4 Taskers tracking system “due to the sensitive nature of the by name list.” No doubt, once the secret list leaks, as it surely will, there will be as much discomfort for the people on the list as for those not on it, especially those unfortunates who met the diversity requirement but for some reason did not make the cut. Maybe they can sue, charging discrimination. Either way, the Navy Department has run aground.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Training & Education
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  • Derrick

    Hmm…I honestly am not a huge fan of diversity accountability in the US military, because I am sure there are basic requirements that every soldier/sailor must adhere to, and the people that meet this requirement may not be spread evenly across the demographics.

    I can understand in the civilian market why this may be a good thing, as individual qualifications are more subjective. But there is enough oversight in the US government and military now to defeat discrimination of any sort.

  • Warrant Diver


    you are so very, very wrong. When a four star embraces and endorses policies his subordinates who would provide the oversight you mention must, IAW UCMJ, obey their orders and follow his direction.

    How is this not racism? Picking people and helping to advance their career based on skin color or ethnicity is by definition racism.

  • Byron

    One can only imagine what ADM Halsey would have to say. I suspect that it would not be printable here.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    From time to time this forum is graced by comment by a flag officer.

    If there is one who favors the Navy keeping a double secret list of LT’s who WILL be first round picks for promotion, no white men need apply, perhaps he would care to explain how this is a good thing?

  • Derrick

    Well, who gave the flag officer the authority to initiate such a program? This must come from the civilian side, correct?

    Also, what is the US Navy’s definition for the term “Diverse Officer”?

  • Byron

    Derrick: Commissar.

  • YNSN

    I am a United States Sailor.

    I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.

    I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and all who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.

    I proudly serve my country’s Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment.

    I am committed to excellence and the FAIR TREATMENT OF ALL.

  • YNSN

    One day you will take a fork in the road, and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and … turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. … You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won’t have to compromise yourself. … In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you have to make a decision: to be or to do.”
    -Col. John Boyd

  • J. Scott

    No, this is not the Navy I served and loved. That political hack posing as a Flag should be relieved. Our navy needs excellence, not quotas and anyone who believes otherwise is not serious about being the best.

    BTW, YNSN—your quotation of COL Boyd is spot-on! DO!!!

  • Derrick

    Out of curiosity, does the US Navy run employee surveys to determine their likes/dislikes about the service/policies in place?

  • Jon

    Please do not construe this as arrogant, but your question highlites a fundamental difference in our thinking. I consider myself a member of the Service, not an employee and I consider the other men and women in the Service as brothers and sisters under arms not an employee pool or diverse constituency. Nevertheless to your point, yes, and recently in such a survey I wrote,
    “Leadership, Please publicly decry these feel good initiatives while we are a nation and a Service at war. How many steaming days, flight hours, or bullets could this tripe have purchased? We should all hang our heads in shame that we have allowed command principles and the fundamental tenents of leadership to be usurped by a bureaucratic pabulum of self loathing and diversity delivered racism, sexism, or religious differences. I do not care if my commander is white, black, yellow, male, female, baptist, jewish, young or old. What I care about and what adds to my quality of life is my commander’s inherent abilities in bringing my men and woman back home to their families and his vision that allows me the freedom and latitude to take the fight to the enemy. Any dialogue not addressing those issues during a time of war squanders time and money in a deeply constrained environment. This type of effluence, generated by DEOMI surveys and initiatives, should be the first thing canxed by SECDEF.” Just some thoughts from the cheap seats.

  • Jon,
    If DEOMI surveys get under your skin, then you want to make sure and check out my homeblog on Monday.

  • Grandpa Bluewater


  • Byron

    “Wating”… on the implosion? Sala announced that the Washington Times has picked up the story. Only problem, they didn’t source a certain blogger.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Waiting on a flag to give a good reason why they think this contributes to the ability of the Navy to conduct prompt, sustained, victorious combat operations at sea.

    Rather than insulting and infuriating every competent officer “of color” (not that “of color” matters a damn, once commissioned, commensurate with rank and experience, you are either a naval officer or an incompetent… background, commissioning source, or anything else irrelevant), and insulting and infuriating every officer who declines to claim a hyphen, builds a record over a career, stands by it, lives with it and hopes it is good enough to compete successfully on merit.

    Looks like it’s going to be a long wait.

  • James Deputy

    Diversity is the more politically palatable term for affirmative action. You cannot promote equal opportunity by selecting individuals by demographics for promting growth without creating division and favoritism, which is bad for unity and morale. These policies that are being seen are a short term immediate fix to a long term problem and will probably create a greater long term problem over time. Let’s fix the obstacles that are preventing the personal and professional development of all, instead of just trying to increase numbers. What happened to true leadership and morale courage?

  • John

    Unfortunately, I was at a meeting where a Coast Guard flag officer made statements similar to what was in the email. He said that we have to identify top performing “diverse” officers. As I sat there I wished that I had the courage to ask him why my presence, as a white male, was undesirable.

  • KhakiPants

    There is an unfortunate number of individuals who recognise what is happening, and don’t seem interested in doing a damn thing about it.

    About seven or eight months ago, when discussing my commissioning process with a LCDR who is in officer recruiting, blatantly told me because I was white, male, and had fairly average scores (regardless of the whole person concept, and the pluses I have in other parts of my make up) that I didn’t “have a chance in hell” of being picked up for an officer program. But if I was a racial minority or a woman, I’d be “good to go.”

    I sought out help from officers, some of them are regular contributors here, and got a lot of support from a lot of different people of different ranks, backgrounds, colors, and genders, and went back and demanded a new individual to work with.

    It never should have gotten that far. But are we surprised that I am running into such nonsense when we have Flags setting examples so that I get the kind of response I got from that LCDR?

    Sad to say, but it I’m not surprised at all. Not one bit. And if Mids and OCs are that jaded before we even commission, what does that say about the direction of the ship?

  • The military is a matter of life and death and no place for social utopians’ experiments. Objectively judged leadership MERIT must be the ONLY qualification for command.

    Good and timely blog, Cdr Sal.

  • Nancy

    Equality of opportunity is good. It is totally unrealistic to force equality of results. People just aren’t made that way..

  • Derrick

    Am I wrong in assuming that this diversity policy is enforced across all branches of the US military, or is it just the US navy?

  • Warrant Diver


    all branches have a diversity policy. I’m not familiar with any other than the Navy’s. In a nutshell, the official policy is all races, creeds and colors will be given the same opportunity and be treated the same. What this email has exposed is that behind the scenes (and to some extent, front and center in the public) that policy is disregarded and that “diverse” officers (which is generally accepted to mean anyone not a white male) will receive preferential treatment and that it is desirable to hide that preferential treatment.
    Because when you do something you know is wrong, you do it secretly.

  • David Kerr

    Political correctness is a cancer on the armed forces. Many enlisted and junior officers leave the service because they have seen it first hand. The cost is enormous. It is so sad to see the proud tradition of meritocracy die.

  • Stem

    No, this is not the Navy I joined but it makes sense when you consider that the 1960’s no-load hippie types are inhabiting Congress, carrying way too much influence in the WH, and blatantly working to gut those things we hold dear as Americans (the Constitution for one!). The real source of this cancer lies in the population of these United States that elected, and continues to elect, bad people into high office. Until the people say “enough”, things will get worse before they get better.

  • A Flag Officer

    GrandPa Bluewater, my bet is Obama put the press on Mullen, who put the press on Roughead, to isuue this idiotic adventure in racism/diversity gone amok. Both should seek an immediate release from active duty due to lack of leadership and inability to discern how this policy will destroy over 200 years of Naval tradition. What would be the point if your name was not on the “select” list. Why perform? It won’t make any differnce on the eval.

  • David

    Derrick and all like-minded diversity accountability supporters:

    Please note the memo:

    “He may ask what is being done within to ensure they are considered for key follow on billets within the Navy. This list must be held very closely but will provide ready reference to ensure we are carefully monitoring and supporting the careers of the best and the brightest the Navy has to offer.”

    The most disturbing part of this language is that it invokes the idea that “the best and brightest the Navy has to offer” are coming from a “members-only” list of diverse officers, not professionally diverse, but diverse only in that they are not a white-male; you know it, I know it, we all know it.

    Now imagine yourself as the commander: tell me, Commander, what are you doing to ensure your “diverse” officers are succeeding: are you fixing FITREPs, are you turning the other direction at their professional faults or inabilities…what are YOU doing to ensure they come out on top? Maybe these seem like examples from only one extreme of the spectrum, but doesn’t your gut tell you that ALL top performers, regardless of what “class” they happened to be born into, should be afforded the same level of intimate tracking of their careers, wouldn’t that ensure the best are in-charge?

    See the problem Derrick? It’s not “what is the officer doing to perform at his/her best, how is he or she taking care of his or her Sailors in a way that truly brings out their leadership qualities, or how much do YOU trust this person at the helm of a billion dollars of man, equip and training? No, it’s not that at all. I argue that the CNO is saying, “forget all that” – let’s just put our stars together and come up with a way to “plan for their career progression.” That way we (the flag officers) can stand up at the podium at our conferences and pat ourselves on the back for having a military that “reflects the composition of society.”

    Recall the COWPENS: anyone can be handed the key to success, but one day the curtain will be unveiled on those that do not learn our craft, whether that craft be flying planes, driving ships, navigating subs, or anything else we do…our missions are too important to gamble the lives of our Sailors and Marines all in the name of making sure the CNO has a few more speaking points at the next diversity conference. Such irresponsible actions on the part of those flag officers that support these policies is dereliction of their duties and responsibilities, not only to the men and women that serve, but to the constitution their are sworn to defend.

    I AM a United States Sailor, and I AM committed to excellence and the FAIR TREATMENT OF ALL.

  • Derrick

    BTW, why is that email posted on a public website? Even though the email addresses are ‘X’ed out, is it not an email of sensitive subject matter? To me it seems the email originated within the US Navy and was meant to be seen only by the people it was sent to.

    I ask because I am not an US naval serviceman…

  • I understand what motivates this mindset. It is for the Officer corps to be ‘a reflection of’ the Sailors they lead. I understand that.

    However, the single most malignant unintended consequence that I have witnessed is, that when a ‘Diverse O-Div’r’ is in charge, EVERYONE looks at him/her as though there is something wrong – that the ONLY reason that they lead, is that they had an (unfair) advantage.

    These ‘minority’ branded Officers will never get the respect that WE ALL need for them to have, in order to lead effectively.

    Sad situation…

  • JW – MCPO, USN (Ret.)

    No, this is NOT the Navy we want, or need. As a matter of fact, there should be NO room within our great nation for the preferential treatment of others, but I digress.

    YNSN did in fact say ALL that needs to be said (as it pertains to this matter within our Navy), when he quoted the Sailor’s Creed.

    To the CNO — Shipmate, you need to shape up, or ship out. If you’re demanding this because it’s been demanded of you, then have the MORAL COURAGE to do the right thing – tell your boss, “No way!”. If that does not answer the mail, then resign your commission. We will know why you retired, and you will be ADMIRED because of your decision. Wouldn’t it be better to be remembered for that than the atrocities that are happening with this? And rest assured, should you indeed choose the higher-ground, we WILL remember and we WILL be looking for your relief to demonstrate the same level of moral courage that we ask of you.

    To the MCPON – Shipmate…what say you? Is this how you want your Mess to operate?

    Suggestion (which really should read demand): MCPON, take a stroll into the CNO’s office. Once there, you and he stand face-to-face and recite the Sailor’s Creed together. If after doing so you find that your feelings regarding this matter remain unchanged, then might I suggest:

    For the CNO: Refer to MILPERSMAN 1810-020 and OPNAVINST 1811.3 for instructions on submitting your Voluntary Retirement Request to SECNAV.

    For the MCPON: Refer to MILSPERMAN 1810-010 for instructions on submitting your NAVPERS 1336/3 Special Request for Retirement.

    I’ll close by stating you need not feel you’re bearing this heavy weight on your broad shoulders alone. I and thousands of your shipmates are already ashamed for you.

    p.s. I have the names and numbers of some good folks within PERS-8 if you need them.

  • Byron

    Well said, Master Chief!

  • David Kerr

    The way the DOD handled the Major Hassan case is well known by armed forces leaders. The banks refuse to cash his paychecks (including the generous professional pay for his Medical Corps status). Looks like the private sector has more integrity.

    We need reform, but refuse to change direction from the path of folly.

  • The Army Chief of Staff fears a diminution in his diversity program more than he regrets the KIA by Major Hassan; we’re going to have homosexuals as shipmates regardless of our feelings and the practicalities of close living; women are going on submarines despite the operational problems and best judgment of our submariners; minorities will receive official favoritism in promotions and assignments; rules of engagement in Afghanistan make if difficult for our infantry to fight, lessen use of available air and arty support, and result in increased US casualties; and so on. My contempt for most of our senior officers seems to increase daily as the latest outrage is announced and I’ve now decided that I cannot recomment enlistment or commissioning in the armed forces for white males who I have a chance to influence. They can do better elsewhere where the deck isn’t quite so stacked against them. Frankly, if the white youngsters are to be treated this badly, joining the armed forces makes no personal or professional sense.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    A Flag Officer: With respect sir, some crazy haoles just do the right thing because it is the right thing, telling them their fitrep is of no consequence if good… just lets them off the chain completely.

    “Fear and serve the Lord Almighty, defend the right, and dread naught” didn’t come from nowhere.

    Unintended consequences….

  • Rswear

    On a separate note…
    “SeaDaddyism”? Sea Daddy was a term of endearment, a nautical term for a mentor, not an idiotic adventure in racism/diversity gone amok.

  • fp

    It is about time we have diversity in the Navy. How can a recruit accomplish job goals when they worry about racism, sexism and homophobia? Caucasian men have had preferential treatment for years in the Navy (still do), it is about time there is a sense of balance. For every twenty officers there is one minority. How is that fair? People say it is because of their scores on a stupid test. Well let me enlighten you a little. If we are to progress into the 21st century, there needs to be a test which embodies White society, Black society and Hispanic society.

    Unfortunately, test and skills are only measured through the eyes of those in power. Other words, of course whites will score higher on test which is crafted in meeting the needs of those who benefits the most. (For more information please look up diversity findings on college SATs and other exams, also look up white students living in predominately Black and Latino neighborhoods–you will find similar issues in regards to their low testing abilities–new findings).

    Furthermore, I believe there are still inequalities which proceed in our military which goes beyond the simple ideologies in scripted in the military values system. We are all humans and to believe every individual is treated fairly is a misconception. To believe, every Caucasian officer will not show favoritism because they are in the military is another BIG MISCONCEPTION!!! I would like to know how many minority recruits have left the military with an advanced degree or skills set, which could have been re-invested and not wasted on taxpayer expense.

    I believe it is a smart decision and needs to be implemented soon!!! Those who do not agree already show prejudice to minorities and are probably part of the problem and a danger to military fairness and progression. I would also like to know how many whites object to this vs. minorities who believe this is the right thing to do! Then you will see if this is fair!

  • (fp)**2

    Ah, the old Greg Gutfeld ‘If you don’t agree with me, you, sir, are worse than Hitler’. What a great way to influence people and bring them around to your warped sense of reality.
    Your grammar indicates you’ve had problems communicating and, understandably in the current ‘everybody’s special’ environment, you look for someone else to blame. Regarding testing being biased, what’s your excuse for mathematics?
    I honestly didn’t understand your sentence starting with ‘Furthermore, …’. Is ‘in scripted’ a verb? I’m guessing, if you enlisted in the Navy, you weren’t what recruiters refer to as a ‘BUMG’. Look it up, if you have any ambition; otherwise, axe someone to splain it to you, which is the easier and lazier route.

  • grandpabluewater

    For the record….still waiting…..