Put a few things in your nogg’n for a minute. Put a little Eisenhower mixed in with the Navy’s shipbuilding performance over the first decade of this century – the lost decade of shipbuilding with such wonderfully run programs such as DDG-1000, LPD-17, and the ever-changing LCS – then leaven it a healthy cynicism that any Business Ethics professor at the post-graduate level can give you. Sprinkle generously with a knowledge of the exceptionally generous retirement packages our retiring Flag Officers receive.

As that soaks in, read this.

Chuck Goddard, a former program executive officer for ships (PEO Ships) for the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), has been named president and chief executive of Wisconsin-based Marinette Marine, builders of the LCS 1 Freedom-class littoral combat ships (LCS).

The announcement was made June 13 by Fred Moosally, a former Navy captain and Lockheed executive who is president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group, the Italian parent of Marinette Marine.

Goddard, who retired from the Navy in 2008, previously supported a number of programs at Lockheed’s Maritime Systems and Sensors division, which oversaw the company’s LCS effort.

A recurring theme over at the homeblog has been the cringe-inducing revolving door between the uniformed Flag Officer on day one – and the employee of the once overseen defense contractor on day two. It doesn’t smell right, and it isn’t. There should be at least a 5-year “cooling off period” between retirement from active duty for Flag Officers and employment by companies they may have had a relationship with while in an official capacity within, lets call it, 5-years of retirement.

“5-n-5 to keep faith in the system alive.” I’m sure there are better slogans, but that’s a start.

Goddard doesn’t come right to MMC from active duty though – after he left active duty he went to, shocking I know,

… Mr. Goddard was with Lockheed Martin for three years as director of Aegis Program Integration and Capture Manager for the Aegis Combat Systems Engineering Agent (CSEA) competition.

Our friend Tim Colton makes a good point.

… he has no industrial or business experience of any kind whatever – working in a naval shipyard doesn’t count – and is, therefore, totally unqualified to run a ship construction company.

Why is he running it then? I’ll let you ponder that as well.

Has he done anything wrong? No, of course not – that isn’t the point. The system is the system and all indications are that everything that Goddard has done in his professional capacity both in uniform and since retirement is exceptional and above board – again, that isn’t the point.

People, rightly, wonder what has happened to the Navy’s ability to build an affordable, efficient, and effective Fleet. There is cynicism and a lack in trust from Congress to the deckplates about the word of Navy Flag Officers. It doesn’t happen by accident. Revolving doors from Fleet to Food Trough does not help as people will question motivation, candor, and priorities.

Oh, one last note – if Goddard’s name rings a bell, here is why.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy
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  • Bucherm

    Denby Starling(This Guy:http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=269) went from being in charge of Naval Network Warfare Command to being a VP at HP.

    Help me out here, who has the NMCI contract?

  • Steel City

    Read the press release from Marinette Marine. Words to the effect…”after a long and distinguished career”. Interesting adjectives to use for a flag officer removed from his final command after repeated “liberty incidents” and forced to retire at a pay grade less than his final rank. I would best define the end of his career as a disgrace to the FO, EDO, and Naval Officer community.

  • You act like drunkeness and sex were a bad thing. 🙂

    The fact that some company hired him should not be a big deal-what you should be zeroing in on is the bad ideas he might have been selling. Clearly that was not the case.

    Even sex maniacs need to earn a living.

  • Byron

    Well, Skippy, he’s going to be selling LCS to the taxpayer, don’t know how it could get worse that that….

    And to Phibs question, yes, at least five years. Either that, or they must have NO contact with any member of Congress OR their staff, or any representitive of the DoD…after all, the reason why these fine companies hire flags is to smooze the other flags.

  • But the rules don’t say that. It’s like saying I should criticize you for a tax deduction you should legally take. The onus of blame lies on those who were on the source selection team.

  • The Usual Suspect

    Time for a rewrite of the rules, so this does not happen again in the future. Kind of like Michael Deaver going to work for ARCO at $15K/month for going to lunch after being convicted of perjury. I was there – it was a favor to the powers that be to take care of him. He possessed no skills related to the oil industry other than his connections to D.C. At least Goddard knows the bow from the stern. It is just unseemly and appears to be a payback.

  • Jay

    I don’t agree that a career in NAVSEA equates to “no industrial or business experience of any kind whatever, working in a naval shipyard doesn’t count”. If Tim Colton wanted to say that he had little experience in commercial shipyards, that might be accurate. (Heck, do we even HAVE any purely commercial shipyards of appreciable size anymore?) Let’s hope this guy is clean and sober, it has already cost him plenty…

  • GIMP

    The system is the system and it’s created for the sole purpose of tranferring public sector money to the private sector in a version of capitalism (crony capitalism) that revolves around political pull and relationships instead of competition.

    The solution – if you draw a public sector pension, you cannot work in any capacity in any business with government contracts in the sector you worked for when in government employ.

    Actually, it should just be – if you worked in the public sector in an industry, you cannot work in the private sector in the same industry for a company with government contracts for a decade, or ever.

    Neither will ever happen, the problem will never be fixed, and we’ll continue to spend fortunes for under performing gear because public sector employees seek windfalls upon returning to the private sector. They’re happy to sell out their public sector employer for future rewards in the private sector. “If you help us get this $40B contract now, you’ll have a $2M salary when you get out in a couple of years.” Now that’s a deal any company would offer; and they do.

  • Byron

    Jay, being on one side of the table does not qualify you to be on the other side of the table. Take it from someone in the business when I tell you that this is true.

  • bullnuke

    If I remember correctly (30 to 40 years ago), the major nuclear contractors (GE, Westinghouse, etc.) were prohibited from employing former nukes for a three or five year period after leaving naval service; the buzz was that this was to stop the very high manpower drain from the nuclear program. I believe that this applied to the O-gangers as well. The apparent incestuous situation at the current time would probably not allow something similar to be initiated without some sort of courageous civilian naval leadership / congressional action. Unfortunately, as with the military leadership, there is a lot less courage out there than contractor financial influence with both the civilian leadership and congress.

  • CC

    After getting out as a LT with 10 years of service, and now having worked for two major contractors over the last 10 years – this practice is one of the most disheartening aspects of this business. I purposely left the corporate ladder climbing side of my last company becuase I grew tired of these types of practices, not the least of which was halfing to work for some of these guys as a junior executive.

    This isn’t about Goddard per se, he’s just a sympton of a broken system. Time to fix the system.

  • Mike M.

    Soft graft has been a problem for years – at all levels of the Federal Government.

    Personally, I think regulation is part of the answer. For a fixed period, say five years, EVERY former Federal employee, military or civilian, should have their post-Government employment monitored…and the Federal Government retains the right to prohibit you from taking a position if there is a conflict of interest.

    But there is another part, equally important but less popular. Better retirement benefits, particuarly during that five-year control period. Federal Government positions are often grossly underpaid compared to the responsibility involved. If you’re CNO, you get paid about $220K/year. Plus some benefits that take your effective income to the $300K/year range. Pretty good – but if you’re CNO, you’re running an organization with a budget around $180 billion, directly employing about 400,000 people. Plus the off chance of someone attacking your office. A private-sector manager with similar responsibilities would be making 100 times as much.

    People put up with it partly out of patriotism…and partly because of the abiity to make big money after retirement. Taking that away would have a big impact, which requires compensation.

    Honest government isn’t cheap, just cheaper than dishonest government.

  • Byron

    Mike, if you’re doing it for the money, then you’re in it for the wrong reasons. I’d say $300,000 is a pretty good retirement…It’d make me pretty happy.

  • Jay

    GIMP, So…you’d like no one with any experience in Gov’t. acquisition experience in private industry…Ever? That makes no sense…

    Byron, I have been on the other side of your table. Gov’t sometimes does the best it can, given the False Marketplace we are forced to deal with. If we dealt with an industry with real competition, I wouldn’t have been across the table from you (your yard might not be surviving without Gov’t contracts…) would have been someone building MEKOs outside the U.S… Would like to know your commercial/Government business split, and if you subsidize the commercial work on the Gov’t contracts (or vice versa…I guess that could happen…).

  • sid

    People put up with it partly out of patriotism…and partly because of the ability to make big money after retirement. Taking that away would have a big impact, which requires compensation.

    A system which has led to an entirely dysfunctional defense acquisitions environment…

    Nowadays, its ALLLL about the Money.

  • Byron

    “Would like to know your commercial/Government business split, and if you subsidize the commercial work on the Gov’t contracts (or vice versa…I guess that could happen…).”

    My company has one division who does nothing but Navy work. We compete fairly with the other companies for that work. It’s called “capitalism”. And no offense, but it’s hard enough with our institutional experience to work on your ships, what with all the rules and regulations and the ever-changing Standard Items..do you really think a foreign yard would want any of this work?

  • Phil

    Excellent post. Leaving open a slight chance of a unsuccessful outcome, mismanagement in one sector could lead to success in the other if the manager was running the first like the second. So Goddard might get lucky. We have seen the opposite effect often enough when corporate execs come to DoD as deputy/assistant/principal/under secretary of something and try to run a military like a business.

  • Jay

    Byron, I absolutely think that any yard, foreign or domestic, would like U.S. Gov’t design changes – “Engineering Change Proposals” (ECPs) are how some yards make $ back on a low contract bid. Might drive the designers and constructors a little nuts, but brings in the cash… There is no real capitalism when work is restricted to CONUS yards artificially. I love BIW, but their last commercial ship was launched in 1978 (I think, I was on the river for it, but that was a long time ago…), they, Huntington Ingalls, EB, etc, would not be still around if it wasn’t for government work. Other smaller yards survive on repair work or reg body dry-docking & overhauls only. Difficult situation, but it is not capitalism, not by a long shot.

  • Jay

    My bad, last BIW commercial ships were early 1980s. Perhaps Pres Reagan’s decision to unfund the old Construction Differential Subsidy was short- sighted.

  • vonda hendrix

    Great article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “post government employment” to fill out?