As the budget cuts kick in – I’m having a few flashbacks to the 1990s “peace dividend” era. The key to getting through this process is communication. It takes away some of the uncertainty, and in a way it focuses attention to priorities. It is always interesting, and instructive, to see how different organizations start the process of thinking about what should and should not get the cut.

Via the SalamanderUnderground, the following notes from a Chief of Naval Personnel recent all-hands call is helpful, and adds a bit to Ryan’s post from the 21st.

VADM Van Buskirk’s MT&E priorities are to STABILIZE (at 320,000 personnel), BALANCE (overmanned and undermanned ratings) and DISTRIBUTE (between sea and shore) the workforce. Sailors need to be ASSIGNABLE, DEPLOYABLE and DISTRIBUTABLE in order to meet the Chief of Naval Operations tenets to be WARFIGHTERS FIRST, OPERATE FORWARD and BE READY.

In order to meet these goals, his emphasis is to attack undermanned ratings and increase the quality of recruits as currently evident on entry level exam scores. Quality of recruits is key to keep apprised and abreast of technological changes. He noted that Perform to Serve (PTS) is at 90 percent acceptable in-rate quotas with averages at over 95 percent over the last four months. Retention is historically high but a continued focus is on resiliency of the force. He indicated continued FY funding for sailor support and family readiness programs.

Q&A session discussion included impact of sequestration/CR regarding as well as the following topics:

– USN continuation of tuition assistance (TA) through this FY (all other Services have curtailed this benefit). 45 thousand sailors are recipients of TA with over 90 percent receiving degrees.

– Possible changes in advancement to include consideration of multiple scores such as sea duty.

– Priority of Cyber training but fiscal pressures including civilian furloughs may slow training pipelines.

– Attack undermanned rates with new accessions. YTD have had 41,000 new accessions. Previous years were approximately 35,000-37,000. Looking at a summer surge of recruits.

– Provision of health care with possible civilian furloughs requiring referrals to civilian specialists in town. Possible contributory payments for pharmacy co-pays and increased retiree payment for Tricare for Life.

– Discussion of option to obtain NECs on-line leveraging technology for training. Limitations include current training infrastructure and classification limitations.

– Active duty IAs (except for specific specialties such as dog handling) will be transferred to reserve component. Expect closure of Gulfport MS and other IA training centers.

– STA-21 IW program closed this year. Accession options adjusted based on ROTC, OCS and related accession pipelines. Look for adjustments in future cycles.

– Number one priority is stabilizing the work force ensuring proper distribution and balance. Cross deck sailors may receive special pays and other incentives.

This is going on throughout the Navy and other services. As budgets continue to contract, expect to see more and more of this.

Priorities; time to rack-n-stack ’em.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy
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    Then there’s what’s actually happening, which is this. As IA demands from the Army have decreased, internal Navy IA demands have increased. IAs are being used in lieu of orders so that squadrons can stay manned to their requirement on paper, but the actual human being is located in some other Navy billet physically mustering and doing the work. This fills two billets for the price of one Sailor.

    Not only does this rob a squadron of a Sailor, it prevents them from getting a replacement. Genius. It also does a great job of destroying careers as junior officers are put in a position to miss critical milestones. When it comes to flying, they are competing with their peers to be the best and you don’t get better by not doing things. Kick them out of the squadron for a year and then they compete directly with their peers where landing grades and qualifications are concerned and they will never recover. It’s a great plan overall. Not really.

  • Todd Bridges

    Like the one that burned down the Miami? He was a helluva worker, and surely could not have been replaced. Everyone works in your shop? What a strange concept!

    I understand that you work and there is no overtime allowed. But was it a result of a job that the yard screwed up in the first place? Or some tech assist situation, where ship’s force undoes something that the yard screwed up while the yard watches? The yard and procurement are two very bloated Navy programs, and in reality your calls are going to fall on deaf ears.

    Laggers are dime a dozen. Welders, NDT guys? I’ve got plenty of them at my command. Need nukes? Got a whole mess of them too! If there are jobs out there, there are people willing to do them. I know you have this inherent altruism fixing ships for this long. But let’s cut the horse hockey, you are just trying to make a buck and save your own fanny. Nice try.

    • The_Usual_Suspect61

      Are you the same Todd Bridges from Different Strokes; the one that played Willis, Gary Coleman’s older brother?

    • Todd, the biggest bunch of ef-ups to ever walk through a shipyard gate were the DoD yardbirds in Philly that damn near killed the Saratoga (because Reagan was shutting it down). And this guy was a firewatch, not a mechanic or craftsman. And where was ships sounding and security? When I’m working on a Navy ship, drydock or not, the Navy personnel are everywhere. You’ve got plenty of welders? BULLSHIT. Theres plenty of rod burners yes, but welders who can weld and pass critical weld aluminum? or good TIG welders? Not really.

      Last but not least, you sound like a SIMA guy. Here’s your sign, jackass, I’ve made a steady living over the years repairing SIMA screw ups. They don’t have the experience, they don’t have the motivation (keeping a job by producing good work) and most ships hate to see them come aboard. I had to help out three of them trying to adjust a watertight door!

      • Todd Bridges

        No, I’m not a yard guy. Just a boat guy who has lived through and fixed plenty of SY debacles, whether they be private (Electric Boat) or public (Portsmouth and Newport). Please don’t act as if you are the only ones who could possibly do these jobs.

        If you think that most ships love to see you guys come aboard, you are sadly mistaken. I can could on 2 two things when the SY shows up: 1) something is getting screwed up royally and 2) the SY will not clean up their own mess even with extensive MOAs. If the job sucks so bad, then leave. There is YOUR sign, jackass.

      • After a 24 year navy career assigned to both ship’s force and an IMA there is one thing I know for sure and that is sailors today aren’t maintaing or fixing gear. That basic level of maintenance is now being done at the IMA / NSY / public yard level I am not sure which “boat” you’re on, but it must be two blocked with the bestest, most giftedest maintainers in the fleet. Consider yourself lucky if that is the case. If I had a nickel for every time I went down and shored up some BS that today’s LPO’s / CPO’s can’t do I would have a huge bag of nickels and would have retired a second time long ago. If you’re trying to say a division’s worth of today’s sailors can keep a fleet unit operational, without outside assistance, then all I can say is you need to put the pakalolo down, now. You’re stoned.

      • Todd Bridges

        That is absolutely not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that these people are replaceable and there is plenty of fat to be trimmed at these yards. Byron seems to think that he and his yardbird buddies are irreplaceable, and I completely disagree.

      • Thanks for displaying your ignorance, Todd. For starters, welding is something you either can do or can’t: it’s all a matter of eye-hand coordination. When you have to reach out in a tight place, have only one eye on the joint and it’s hotter than hell and you’re sweating like a pig but you can’t blow air across you because that would disturb the gas shielding of the weld process. Yes, I can get guys off the street to do this and be able to pass Navy specs NDT, to the standards required and specified in Standard Item 009-12. Don’t mention schools like Tulsa…we managed to come up with 3 that were good and they had to forget everything they learned first.

        Shipfitters? First, can they burn with torch, plasma, friction wheel, etc (see eye/hand coordination). Second, do they know nomenclature of Navy ships (helps to know what they’re doing) Third, can they read Navy drawings (drawn by idiot architects to the most difficult level possible). Fourth, do they understand and are able to comply with the regulations imposed on us by standard items and local standard items. Hack and tack shipyard training won’t work, not by a long shot. They can, will and have injured and killed people by their ignorance. Last, but certainly not least, Mr. Bridges, I have spent the past 40 years at my craft. I am proud of my skills and very proud of my work aboard US Navy ships. It MEANS something to me to know that my work will allow OUR Navy to complete their missions and get OUR sailors home to their families. And yes, I got skin in the game…My son-in-law until last October was a Chief.