• A King’s Orders To The U.S. Navy – gCaptain

    In the wake of the USS John S. McCain incident. “Every Captain in the whole military industrial complex received multiple emails demanding better ship handling from every officer.” said one pilot.” The USNS xxx’s Master said he got over 20 of them… forwarded and cc’d around the globe, covering everyone’s butt.” Another pilot said “I’ve seen these emails. Some are broad but many contain detailed lists of actions that should be taken by crews. None contain anything that will prevent the next collision at sea.”

    Most mariners will shake their heads in disgust at this #C.Y.A. mentality but few will flag them as dangerous. Which they most certainly are.

    In the short term, C.Y.A. messages send the clear message that mistakes will not be tolerated. The authors of these emails often believe they are doing good by keeping the men on their toes and focused on the problems at hand. They are partly correct, C.Y.A. messages do narrow a crew’s focus. These signals focus the mind on problems – not solutions – they also induce stress and fear and repress original thought. A watchstander needs to approach heavy traffic with plenty of rest, a clear mind and the ability to engage the problems ahead intuitively… not worried about his career and the possibility of being hit by another ship.
    #Intrusive_leadership becomes especially dangerous when dictated by leaders who lack training and experience at the helm of a ship. The Secretary of the Navy is a USMC Aviator. Chief Of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, is a submarine commander. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran, is an aviator. Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet and the man selected to fix the problems, is an aviator.

    In the wake of the USS Fitzgerald incident the small handful of senior U.S. Navy leaders with shipboard experience, like Adm. Michelle Howard, were not dispatched to Japan – where her indomitable leadership might have found solutions – but to ribbon cutting ceremonies in Europe.

    Joseph Konrad éditeur de gCaptain reste en pointe…
    Il appelle à la rescousse les grands anciens (directive du 21/01/1941)…

    And that person is a man with significant watchstanding experience aboard ships, Admiral Ernest J. King, USN, Commander in Chief of Naval forces in WWII.

    7. The corollaries of paragraph 6 are:
    (a) adopt the premise that the echelon commanders are competent in their several command echelons unless and until they themselves prove otherwise;

    (b) teach them that they are not only expected to be competent for their several command echelons but that it is required of them that they be competent;

    (c) train them — by guidance and supervision — to exercise foresight, to think, to judge, to decide and to act for themselves;

    (d) stop ‘nursing’ them;

    (e) finally, train ourselves to be satisfied with ‘acceptable solutions’ even though they are not “staff solutions or other particular solutions that we ourselves prefer.”

    • Dans une US Navy qu’il décrit comme étant commandée essentiellement par des aviateurs – et un sous-marinier, des hommes, blancs, Joseph Konrad déplore le non recours à l’expérience maritime (de navigation et de commandement à la mer) d’une amirale, femme, afro-américaine qu’on préfère employer à inaugurer les chrysanthèmes en Europe…

      Michelle Howard — Wikipédia

      Michelle Janine Howard, née le 30 avril 1960 sur la March Air Reserve Base (Californie), est une amirale américaine. Elle est la première femme afro-américaine à commander un navire militaire (1999), première femme à devenir amiral quatre étoiles, à devenir femme vice-chef des Opérations navales (2014-2016), à diriger l’United States Naval Forces Europe (depuis 2016) puis l’Allied Joint Force Command Naples (depuis 2016).

    • Mêmes conclusions ici. Avec extension à la dépendance globale de la société aux technologies…

      USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain Mishaps Reveal Vulnerability | Observer

      First, neither the Naval Academy nor OCS produces naval officers qualified to fill seagoing billets without further training. The Surface Officer Warfare School that conducted this preparation was eliminated and ensigns were sent to sea in large numbers. Commanding officers and distance learning means were put in place to conduct this training. That did not work.

      Technology is also a culprit. The bridge of a modern warship is loaded with super technology. Radars and sonars have been augmented with infrared sensors and night vision devices. Computers navigate by GPS (global positioning system) and alert watch standers of potential dangers of collision or when in restricted waters. Seaman’s eye and good seamanship have been partially replaced by technology. As a result, traditional mariners’ skills have atrophied.

      Each of the services faces potential similar problems mandated by judgments at the time that made sense given the pressures and demands. These institutional decisions have vulnerabilities of their own. For example, American military forces are entirely dependent today on the network and GPS that provide the life’s blood of C3I (command, control and intelligence) to logistics and from firing precision ordinance against the enemy to supplying cheeseburgers and smart phones to forward operation bases.

      Similarly, society at large is dependent on the Internet, cell phones and electronic everything from depositing money in banks to paying bills and having intimate conversations with friends. Cyber attacks and hacking are the most well known disrupters that exploit these vulnerabilities.

      The Pentagon is well aware of many of these vulnerabilities. Naval officers are oiling ancient sextants to navigate by the sun and stars. Soldiers and marines are reading maps instead of iPads. And “distributed operations” that assume the “net” no longer works are being practiced.

      Given that the other services may face issues similar to the Navy’s, the Pentagon would be well advised to conduct a major review of these potential vulnerabilities created by institutional choices. Two topics are less visible although possibly more important. The first has to do with preparing flag and general officer for higher command and geopolitical and strategic issues. The second has to do with civilian control of the military.

    • Maybe today’s Navy is just not very good at driving ships

      In the wake of two fatal collisions of Navy warships with commercial vessels, current and former senior surface warfare officers are speaking out, saying today’s Navy suffers from a disturbing problem: The SWO community is just not very good at driving ships.

      The two collisions — and a total of 17 sailors lost at sea this summer — have raised concerns about whether this generation of surface fleet officers lack the basic core competency of their trade.

      The problem is years in the making. Now, the current generation of officers rising into command-level billets lacks the skills, training, education and experience needed to operate effectively and safely at sea, according to current and former officers interviewed by Navy Times.
      For nearly 30 years, all new surface warfare officers spent their first six months in uniform at the Surface Warfare Officer’s School in Newport, Rhode Island, learning the theory behind driving ships and leading sailors as division officers.

      But that changed in 2003. The Navy decided to eliminate the “SWOS Basic” school and simply send surface fleet officers out to sea to learn on the job. The Navy did that mainly to save money, and the fleet has suffered severely for it, said retired Cmdr. Kurt Lippold.

      The Navy has cut training as a budgetary device and they have done it at the expense of our ability to operate safely at sea,” said Lippold, who commanded the destroyer Cole in 2000 when it was attacked by terrorists in Yemen.

      After 2003, each young officer was issued a set of 21 CD-ROMs for computer-based training — jokingly called “SWOS in a Box” — to take with them to sea and learn. Young officers were required to complete this instructor-less course in between earning their shipboard qualifications, management of their divisions and collateral duties.

      The elimination of SWOS Basic was the death knell of professional SWO culture in the United States Navy,” Hoffman said. “I’m not suggesting that … the entire surface warfare community is completely barren of professionalism. I’m telling you that there are systemic problems, particularly at the department head level, where they are timid, where they lack resolve and they don’t have the sea time we expect.

    • The chickens come home to roost’ - the meaning and origin of this phrase

      The notion of bad deeds, specifically curses, coming back to haunt their originator is long established in the English language and was expressed in print as early as 1390, when Geoffrey Chaucer used it in The Parson’s Tale:

      And ofte tyme swich cursynge wrongfully retorneth agayn to hym that curseth, as a bryd that retorneth agayn to his owene nest.

      The allusion that was usually made was to a bird returning to its nest at nightfall, which would have been a familiar one to a medieval audience. Other allusions to unwelcome returns were also made, as in the Elizabethan play The lamentable and true tragedie of Arden of Feversham, 1592:

      For curses are like arrowes shot upright, Which falling down light on the suters [shooter’s] head.

      Chickens didn’t enter the scene until the 19th century when a fuller version of the phrase was used as a motto on the title page of Robert Southey’s poem The Curse of Kehama, 1810:

      Curses are like young chicken: they always come home to roost.

      This extended version is still in use, notably in the USA.

      The notion of the evil that men create returns to their own door also exists in other cultures. Buddhists are familiar with the idea that one is punished by one’s bad deeds, not because of them. Samuel Taylor Coleridge revived the imagery of a bird returning to punish a bad deed in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1798. In the poem the eponymous mariner kills an albatross, which was regarded as an omen of good luck, and is punished by his shipmates by having the bird hung around his neck:

      Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
      Had I from old and young!
      Instead of the cross, the Albatross
      About my neck was hung.