24 July 2009

New U.S. Fleet Forces Command Blog

Today, I took command of U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Over the past few years, I have come to appreciate Blogging as a form of communication not just to disseminate information or hold forth on a particular subject, but to get valuable feedback from a broad audience with a wide variety of perspectives.

I have been particularly impressed with the 10th Mountain Division’s Blog started under Major General Oates. It is very much a Command Blog, not just a Commander’s Blog, where the whole 10th Mountain family can learn about and discuss issues which are important to them. My goal is to emulate that environment here at USFF.

I plan to use the USFF Blog to help increase meaningful two-way communication throughout our organization. What I will need from you are straight-forward comments (positive and negative) about specific topics that will help us all learn, grow and accomplish our assigned missions.

I welcome all perspectives, and my first thread will be to ask for ideas from you that you would like me to address in future posts. I will not be able to respond to every post we receive in the Blog, but I will read them and do my best to respond appropriately to the issues that arise.


Missy Schmidt said...

Thanks for the foresight re: two-way communications and welcome to Hampton Roads!

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

Ms Schmidt, thanks very much for the welcome back to Hampton Roads. I've spent a great deal of time here in the past and am looking forward to the next few years - I love it down here! All the best, JCHjr

Sailor Bob said...

Congrats on the new job. The fleet guys appreciate the fact that you ask for and listen to unfiltered feedback.
V/r, SB

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

Sailor Bob, thanks very much for the note - the feedback I received from our Div Os, DHs and COs/XOs really helped me get ready during my turnover and will help guide my actions in the near term.
I'll be doing a series of Fleet visits next week to get a good look at every community from the deckplate/flightline level. All the best, JCHjr

Maggie said...

You made it! You're a blogger.

Congratulations on your new command.


ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

Thanks very much Maggie - your example inspired me! Have a great weekend and all the best, JCHjr

Heretic said...

I welcome all perspectives, and my first thread will be to ask for ideas from you that you would like me to address in future posts.


In no especially particular order, may I toss the following topics onto the bonfire ...

"Influence Squadrons" organized around "Gator" assets.

The state of the art in Anti-Submarine Warfare in the USN from a SWO perspective, your concerns about it (if any), and in what ways (training, kit, etc.) and why(s) you might like to see improvement in this area.

The challenge/revolution of Air Independent Propulsion in conventional submarines (eg. Gotland class/A26 class from Sweden and Type 212/214 from Germany for example) in terms of "bang for buck" and also in "quantity has a quality all of its own."

What is the purpose of the Navy?
Is the purpose of the Navy to fight?
To keep the peace?
To police the seas?
To protect the nation's commerce at sea?

Thank you for your time Admiral. I look forward to reading the wisdom of your experience(s).

Jennifer MackInday said...

Looking forward to your posts!

Steeljaw Scribe said...


Welcome to the blog 'verse sir and congrats on assuming your new command.

After attending the JFCC-IMD sponsored JWFC last week, and noting significantly increasing demand signals for our BMD configured ships, I can only presume that you will come to empathize closely with Solomon when it comes to assigning precious assets...
v/r, SJS

MaryR said...

Welcome to the blog command ADM Harvey - a new resource for our Navy!

Your contributions to the blogosphere have been great thus far.

Naval Institute blog

Mike Lambert said...


Encourage your subordinate Flag officers to enter the blogosphere and communicate with their Sailors. Some Flag officers appear to be afraid to share their opinions. Maybe you can help them overcome that.

Vr/Mike Lambert
Captain USN - retired

FbL said...

Congratulations, and welcome! I've watched your comments at USNI blog and Neptunus Lex and elsewhere. Very cool to see you officially aboard!

K3mper said...

Admiral--Congrats on your new command! In my current job, we leverage Facebook and other social networking sites extensively to reach our target audiences. I believe your efforts on this blog will pay great dividends...and I know you will always retain a healthy focus and perspective on personnel issues. Vr,K3mper

Tom Goering said...


Congratulations on your new command!

Vr/Tom Goering

SJBill said...

Admiral Harvey,

Sir, met you at the first "NWC - Conversation with the Country" forum in San Francisco. Hearty congratulations to you and your new command!

I regularly refer to the new phenomenon of Command "Blogs" and "Tweets", and you have been entered as a "favorite".

Ping away when able! We are eager to assist if needed.


Maggie said...

Your post has been linked

"Fleet Forces Command Joins the Blogging ‘Verse"

From "I Like The Cut Of His Jib"

From Information Dissemination
Harvey Takes Over at Fleet Forces Command

Steeljaw Scribe

And....some troublemaker -

CDR Salamander said...

ADM Harvey,
Congrats on the new command and thank you very much for joining the blogging medium.

I firmly believe that your joining the conversation in this way will increase communication and clarity of understanding both within FFC and in the larger national security community. Being CFFC is a tremendous opportunity and comes with a stewardship responsibility that demands the best in leadership.

I look forward to an exceptionally fruitful tour for both you and our Navy.

AW1 Tim said...


Congratulations on your new command, and upon this blog. This medium is ideal for a "two-way" communications regarding issues that every sailor considers important, and can be both enlightening, exasperating, rewarding, and humbling, sometimes in the same moment.

My concerns, as I have stated at NeptunusLex and CdrSalamder, are regarding ASW, both our training, concept, and appreciation of ours and potential opponent's capabilities.

I have a great concern that our gold standard of ASW excellence is slipping due to a number of factors, and that we potentially risk our pre-eminence in future conflicts through diversions of limited assets, both personnel, material, and time.

But regardless, I wish you continued success, and a wonderful tour in your new command.


virgil xenophon said...

Welcome sir!

As an ex-Air Force Fossil from long, long ago in a Galaxy far, far away (insofar as the modern force is constituted) I'll only say that my Father, who was a highly successful college coach in 3 sports for 30 yrs and on the Olympic Committee for Pistol and Rifle, always credited the constant stream of fresh, young faces coming thru campus with keeping him both physically and mentally young as well as open to new ideas and ways of doing things. I think you will find this experiment a useful exercise in it's own way in going a long way to create the same sort of nourishing environment as the college campus.

But then you already thought that, or we wouldn't all be here, would we? :)

(Like the White on Black comments typing screen, btw._

Chuck Garcia said...

Admiral, congratulations on your assignment. I am a civilian from Bakersfield California, and I have followed the U.S. Fleet Forces Command site for about two years now. It sounds like your position prepares people for their roles in the U.S fleet, wherever it may be. I look forward to seeing new and exciting things with U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Chuck Garcia

MR T's Haircut said...

Welcome to the Blogoshpere Admiral,

I have to ask though, Blue Digitals or Khaki?


Benjamin Walthrop said...

VADM Harvey,

Congratulations on entering the naval blogosphere.

313 by 2020 does not appear to be achievable given the current constraints facing the Navy in terms of ships acquired per year and a budget to support that goal. The challenges appear to go beyond new ship acquisition and extend into the maintenance and modernization spheres of influence as well. The resource "battle" appears to be a zero sum game. I would be interested in seeing a serious discussion of the balancing act between current readiness, future readiness, and the Navy after next.

The USN (from my perspective) is following a path that is eerily similar to the RN in terms of relevance and credibility in terms of public support and the associated resourcing required to meet national strategic objectives.

Current trends suggest than anyone working for (or with) the DoN are pursuing a profession that is increasingly being resourced in a way that indicates the sea services are considered as decreasingly relevant in the 21st century.

I do not personally believe this is the right course to steer, but the data that is publicly available lays out a different narrative. From a strategic communication perspective, these disconnects need to be addressed.


Grandpa Bluewater said...

Congratulations and Welcome.

Good luck. I look forward to reading and commenting as the spirit moves.

xformed said...

Welcome aboard! I'll be looking forward to seeing top level blogging from the ranks, having had enjoyed the ones from the middle and lower ranks for some time now.

Thanks for stepping up. It should prove to be a valuable link of communications all around.

SubIcon said...


Really glad to see this blog, and more importantly the renewed emphasis on the importance of critical discussion and reasoning by professional Naval Officers. I am optimistic that the resurgence of open discussion over the past two years will continue and will strengthen our Service in the process.

My suggested focus for the Navy over the next ten or so years: our nation benefits when we put warships to sea and operate. Too often we get caught up in 'enabling priorities' and forget the objectives they are meant to enable. Every decision should at least consider "how will this put more warships to sea?"

I'm more a lurked than a poster but I'll be checking back here often - this blog has many potential contributors who have been clamoring for a venue where ideas can begin to effect change. I believe the leadership is assembling in all the right places - CJCS, CNO, CFFC - to be receptive to those ideas and to incorporate them in our strategic vision. Proud to support, to serve, and to make a difference!

Submarine Iconoclast

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

Many thanks for all the welcoming comments; it's good to hear from all of you.

Obviously the blog is still very much a "work in progress" and I have some work to do in how to organize the threads and develop some continuity of thought on any particular issue. So please bear with me.

For the record, I've got my blue digitals locked and loaded and I'm looking forward to wearing them when appropriate to do so.

Enjoy the weekend and all the best, JCHjr

Quatermaster said...

Congrats and welcome to the Blogosphere.

Any newbie will have growing pains, but you know that already. Keep plugging, we'll keep reading while you learn.

xformed said...


Like every other great project, so goes the blog layout. Have your own "strategic retreat," or possibly close a door and have a few of your staff, O and E, who have blogged for a bit (hopefully a while) share their ideas. All you really have to do is funnel your goals for your command tour into this layout.

I've been helping businesses get out of the blocks here locally, and while they are small, the process is the same: What are your core areas of expertise, and what are some other themes you are passionate about are the jumping off point. What do you want people to know, in other words? Certainly in your case, there is the issue of facilitating communications of organizational information flowing, so no one "fails to get the word," you included on the upward movement of info. A fine line is not to jump the Chain of Command, but to compliment it, like a virtual "Commander's Call." On top of that "Command Philosophy" type posts. Nothing greater than to be able to see what the commander on the top is thinking/where they are headed, so everyone can factor that in their daily decision making. What if your COs could just grab that on a regular scan of you blog? My idea with my clients is: Say it once well, then send people the link when it comes up again in conversation. You keep moving forward, the new ones to the table get the value of what you already laid out concisely.

Major "hot button" issues may become entire categories, where there are great ideas, but spread across a spectrum and not yet "settled." The opportunity to make these great dialogues is right before you. Haul the CMC into it as well. Know there will be "passionate" people in the ranks. Engage them when you can, to focus the issues.

Family info. Awards (every one likes to hear who's doing great things, and the ones who are, too, even if they are humble about it). Events, professional and otherwise (think community support for charities, or maybe a sports team having a military appreciation event game). Reading Lists (what you are reading, your reviews, and also lists for different levels of your organization) for professional and personal growth.

I'll toss in a personal favorite: Sea stories. In this case one's with a message. Some may be "what we learned was..." others "this is life at sea" types.

To take an example of "The Destroyermen," I think there is an opportunity to highlight your sailors and what they do each and every day to keep the fleet operating. I think their posts showcasing what divisions and ratings do have a great educational value for not only those in, but even more so with those in the civilian world...who may be your sailors one day.

I'd be happy to email a few more thoughts if you'd let me know how to get to your mailbox within current protocol, and I'd recommend you open a back channel to some of the long timers in this field, for the lessons learned in the layouts/categories/what worked-what didn't to help get this thing out of the starting blocks faster. I know many Milbloggers were happy to pitch in and fill my head with ideas, because that's the way "the system" works. CDR van Avery, if I may be so bold as to volunteer him, would be an excellent adviser if you can talk his commander into borrowing his brain occasionally.


Byron said...

Great to see you join the blogosphere, Admiral, and even better to see you in your new duty station. The Navy will surely be well-served by your promotion. It's terrific that the Navy is quickly seeing the power of blogs to provide up and down comms to all ranks and to get "the message" out to us civilians. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for what you have to say.

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

xformed, great ideas and suggestions - thanks very much for taking the time to send them my way. All the best, JCHjr

JR, for Monday discussion please.

Tom Marfiak said...


Congatulations. Do great things!


Tom Marfiak said...


Congratulations on your new command! We are all excited for you and for our Navy. The challenges you will face will be far reaching, but the resources you command will be up to the task. God speed and following seas.

Tom Marfiak
Rear Admiral USN Ret.

YNSN said...

It's wonderful to see so many familiar names commenting on your Blog Sir! Welcome to the neighborhood and congratulation's on your new Command.

Bryan Vu said...

ADM Harvey. Congratulations on making four-star. I had the pleasure of meeting you when I was working at the Navy Annex in Arlington, VA. Back then, you were serving as OPNAV N12. In my opinion, this promotion was long overdue. :-) I hope that the transition back direct operations been easy for you.


IA Sailor said...


Congrats on your promotion. As a Reservist, I am appalled at the lack of Navy's use of technology in pay, personnel and communication where in my private sector job, we would laugh at. Currently, I am a mobilized Reservist in Kuwait awaiting a short trip to Afghanistan to assist our efforts in fighting our enemies.

As a former civilian Policy Advisor in the Pentagon, I advocated for an "all elements of national power" approach to fighting our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan. It took the guts of GEN Petreaus and GEN McChrystal to implement a counterinsurgency strategy that often crashed heads with traditional Army officers stuck in a Cold War mentality. Long story short I helped organize a counterterrorism program of attacking our enemies financial networks.

Unfortunately, when I received my mobilization orders from the Navy Reserves, I was shuttled like a piece of cattle to a desk job in Iraq. I tried urging Navy leadership in my chain of command that my skills were better utilized in Afghanistan since I had extensive knowledge of our enemies TTP's there. In typical form, Navy leadership kept passing my request on, but no action was taken. Luckily for me I was able to contact some of old colleagues at the Pentagon and discuss with a 3 star General my situation who made some calls to change my orders and move me to Afghanistan.

I am very excited about going to help in the joint effort on the ground, but keep thinking what if I were a regular IA sailor without connections in the Pentagon? It is truly frustrating that as Reservists we are sacrificing time from our families and civilian employers, who demonstrate true patriotism by allowing us the time to defend our nation often at detriment to their bottom line.

In your role as FFC, I would respectfully urge you to look at how Reservists can be better utilized in augmenting active forces. I know it is tough to exactly place civilian skills with those of the military, but why do we annually fill out the Civilian Skills Questionnaire?

From what I have seen going through ECRC with other active and reserve Sailors, the Navy is doing an incredible job of working together to help the Army. However, I continue to come across Reservists who often have no voice within Navy leadership.

IA Sailor

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

IA Sailor, thanks for sending along your comments and I'm glad you're heading to where you think your talents, skills and abilities will be of the most value.

I'm pretty familiar with the state of our pay and personnel systems, both for the active and reserve components. It's a long, sad story why Navy was unable to modernize our systems along the lines of the USMC MCTFS, but I think we may actually soon be breaking free of our legacy systems and a developmental system that never got to first base. I remain hopeful and our current CNP is driving this one very hard.

As someone who was once responsible for every set of orders the Navy issued (active and reserve), I know that what appears to be an obvious solution to the individual may not always be that obvious to the Navy, and for a variety of good reasons. And, unfortunately, sometimes bad ones.

Sometimes your detailers will disagree with your assessment of what the best course of action is and sometimes the needs of the Navy don't correspond with the desires of the individual. The good news is that the process is governed by people, is flexible and can be worked in a variety of ways to get to the best solution.

My very best wishes to you as you head into your tour in Afghanistan. Please continue to send us your lessons learned from the IA experience, goods and others, so we can continue to improve the process and do right by our Sailors and their families. All the best and good luck, JCHjr

NCCM King said...


You've always had a knack for coming up with new ways of finding out what's going on with Sailors on the deckplates. Once again, congratulations on your promotion and your new command.


Chad said...

ADM Harvey,

Congratulations on your new command. It never ceases to amaze me how some of the most influential ideas come from the most unlikely of sources; I think this blog will help level the playing field and let you hear some of the meaningful opinions from individuals that may not have had the opportunity nor confidence to do so in person.

Information Exchange is an important subject for me, albeit more often in the technological sense than feedback on issues. Unfortunately, my experiences have not been very positive when it comes to Navy device and ship systems working together. It seems the approach we have taken is that in order to work together we must all do things the same (standard) way. Unfortunately, everyone has their own standard. I was not originally going to post the second part of this message, but when I read your comment above mention that the Navy process is "flexible and can be worked in a variety of ways to get to the best solution" I was reminded that although this may occur with people, it doesn't seem to carry over to the systems we work with. Even though it could. We all want the best technology in the hands of our Sailors, but if the solution is made by different manufacturers or the first part uses one standard and the second uses another, it doesn't work. The worst part is that instead of embracing how different systems can easily work together, we argue about how 'my way is right'... and it is the people who need these capabilities to just work that get hurt.

I would suggest a specific topic for your blog on how certain systems do work well together and how others do not. It would be interesting to hear the implications - such as getting things done faster or greater risk in the field - from the people who live with the benefits or consequences every day.


Arthur Mitchell said...

Congratulations on your new command, sir. I'm thrilled that you're on Twitter - and congratulations to the PAOs who are giving us the chance to follow the fleet.

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

Arthur, terrific to hear from you.

I hope you can use this forum to help continue our education on the Millenials, the generation of young men and women now entering the Navy in significant numbers with a very different set of defining characteristics than their predecessors.
We all need to understand what this generational shift in the Navy, and in our society, means to every aspect of our profession and how we do business.

All the best, JCHjr

Kathleen Donald said...

ADM Harvey,

Congratulations on taking this post and on starting this blog. I'm not the least bit surprised that you decided to initiate, given your burning interest to learn as much as possible and understand a multitude of perspectives. I think the Navy is quite lucky to have you in this position. I'll be monitoring your blog regularly.

Frank Roberts said...

Congratulations on your assumption of command. I will look forward to an office call at some point to give you the same understanding about the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA) that Admiral Greenert had.
We are working closely with RADM Anderson on one issue of importance.
Best regards.

NMETL Advocate said...


Welcome to Fleet Forces!


ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

Team, it is a well-known military axiom that no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy; in this case my plan didn't survive first contact with my own website.
There have been some technical issues preventing my posts from being accepted and I suspect others may have suffered the same fate.
It would appear, however, that we are now back on track.
I have a substantive post coming later this afternoon that will also contain some of the structure we're going to build into how we do business with the blog.
Your comments have been very helpful to us as we developed our vector check for this effort and I look forward to continuing to receive your feedback.
All the best, JCHjr

+25 yr DON Civilian said...

Congratulations Sir, on your command of USFFC. What happened to Navy individual training and is it back on track? I have some time in the Navy training organization which underwent significant changes during your time as OPNAV N1, prior to your assignment as DNS.

Dennis Ferguson said...

Admiral Harvey:

You have come a long way from sharing Underway OOD/JOOD midwatches with a chief who thought you still had a green glow from your previous command.


ETCM(SW) Dennis M. Ferguson USN (Ret) USS McInerney (FFG-8)

CAPT Cate Mueller said...

This initial thread is closing for comments. If you'd like to post a comment on the USFF Blog, please choose an open thread.

Fleetwarrior said...


Is the staff at USFF going to be able to wear the NWU? I am a proud Sailor and would like to wear the NWU vice khakis as a staff member.

mil said...


Your topic US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 599 (AP) :: Politics News ... was interesting when I found it on Friday searching for mil as I also have articles and information posted on this subject. Thank You... Steve Noel Sr....

IA Afghanistan said...


I would like to know why time training for an IA assignment away from parent command can not be counted when requesting an extension for time spent on IA. Being pulled from shore duty I spent close to three months training before boots on ground. (BOG) That's three months I don't get back at my command to finish any qualifications that are pending. Thank You

IT1(AW/NAC), Camp Phoenix Afghanistan

FightMusic said...

It's truly wonderful to see such an engaging dialog in the Forces. Leveraging new media for constructive communication and discussion is a powerful and effective strategy to stay up-to-date with current technological trends. I look forward to seeing how this blog develops.

JeffM from FightMusic


ADM Harvey,

Congratulations on your new command. I was on USS Enterprise and your shipmate before and during WestPac '74. A memorable task we undertook with CDR Read was S/G Eddy Current Testing and Tube Plugging. I recall assisting you in full dressout to enter the S/G Plennums - so long ago. I have since seen CDR Read at Georgia Power Co. We also were mates during nuclear training Vallejo and Idaho.
I am now living a peaceful life in the Caribbean - and it's a heaven on earth. Especially after three years in the Baluchistan desert construction a power plant!

Best Wishes, Shipmate Jules


ADM Harvey,

There is this USS Enterprise website called the "Official Big E Rx Site" for Big E nuc's. And yes, you are commented on there. This is quite a site with fun and lots of memories. Including stories and photos of CC Smith [and his now adult son], Mauritius, Mombasa, F14 troubles, Olongapo City, Karachi, and much more. See pages 45, 46, 53, 56 and 58 for John Harvey comments.


Best Wishes, Shipmate Jules J LaMontagne

PS: Our WestPac '74 cruise made three Rear Admirals from Engineering and Reactor Departments; John Harvey, Dale Baugh and Tom Wilson.