31 July 2009

Topics For Discussion

First, thank you for your encouragement and your patience as I continue to learn the best way to run this Blog so that we can have an honest and robust dialogue.

I would now like to hear from you on some topics I choose and on ones that you would like to discuss on this Blog.  I’ve got the topics already mentioned by Heretic, AW1 Tim, Benjamin Walthrop and others, but I know that there are many more out there.


ex-EM1(SS) Tugboat said...

I know ASW has been mentioned. Being a former submariner, I mention it again. Crucial. I don't have all the data on the McCain's sonar casualty, but there's no good reason to my military mind for a sub to get that close to an American DDG. Ever. Not even in a posed picture, let alone when playing the game.

Also, I'd like discussion on a high-low mix on ships. I know that we can do better (broad capability-wise) for the money than the LCS. Destroyer escorts with some subtle (and not-so subtle) tweaks could do wonders for battlegroup protection, at a considerably lower cost than the LCS's currently proposed or considered.

Heretic said...

Admiral, there is a possibility/potential for the future which I'd like to bring to your attention, that is possibly being overlooked.

The USN leased HMS Gotland from the Swedish Navy (complete with crew) for two years to run ASW wargame exercises off the west coast. By all reports, the Gotland had an extremely enviable record against the USN forces arrayed against her, including carrier groups.

At present, Kockums and the Swedish Navy are in the process of defining the successor to the Gotland class of SSP, which currently is named A26. I have to ask if there is *any* interest on the part of the USN in seeing "copies" of the forthcoming A26 being built under liscense by Electric Boat. The Swedish Navy says they want the A26 by the 2015-2017 timeframe, which means that if Electric Boat and Kockums were to partner at this stage of development, with intent to manufacture for the navy service in each respective country, both the Swedish and US Navies could take delivery of A26 boats at a lower price than if Kockums was building for Sweden alone thanks to division of development costs.

I'm thinking that there is a window of opportunity for collaboration here on the forthcoming A26 SSP, which it would (perhaps?) be foolish to allow to close without at least making preliminary inquiries. At the very least, such early stage collaboration could, if handled properly, yield a superior boat for both services in the middle of the coming decade.

Would such inquiries and request for information lie within your purview, admiral?

Heretic said...

Let me guess ... no interest in the USN whatsoever, in any form or fashion, from any quarter?

CWO3/7441/USN(RET) said...


The discussion points I would like to recommend would center around Leadership as a core value and spread out. I personally feel that the Navy evaluation system is flawed.

Not just slightly but to such an extent that I believe the results have actually hurt the Navy. Do not mistake this for any indication that I feel individuals in the Navy are lacking. I do feel that strong leadership principles, teamwork, strengthening and supporting a strong chain of command have been hurt by the process and results of the Navy's evaluation system. I am seeing small changes, but I do not feel it is enough to address the problems at hand. I mean the Navy made an entire command for leadership, but go to the web site and try to find a definition for leadership. I remember how I thought the changes were good when they first started, but now I can see how it truly has led to a disolving of accountability and weakening of leadership in the chain of command. That is my belief anyway.

Within the eval system the forced ranking of sailors, using the same form for E-1 to O-10, and the high year tenure policy have all contributed to the poor state of leadership in the Navy. It's a relative term. I believe many of the changes that have been implemented in the Navy were designed to make it easier for the Navy to operate in a joint environment. I believe that this has hurt the Navy, and that is to emphasize that the joint environment is not better, is not more efficient, and is not less prone to mistakes. When I was a young E-5, and it took a dictionary, thesauras, and lots of rewrites and massaging to accurately write evaluations I griped like any other good sailor, but those evals were good reflections of the the individual and exactly what that individual needed to not only advance themselves but be great and valued members of the team. Those evaluations told a more complete story and placed proper perspective to a situation than the point distribution process. I am now a believer that everything is not accurately measureable, or rather it doesn't actually produce the complex weighting and interaction of a tasks importance within a simple bullet.

There are too many variables in reality to cut back on an individual's performance evaluation. It is more difficult and the original arguments that those whom are better writers will be produce evals that are preferred are still true. The only difference I have now is my response would be so what. That is the responsibility of Leadership, and should be expected and promoted in the chain of command, it strengthens a command, leadership, the chain of command, and the Navy. Ranking is stupid.

A true leader would state that their primary goal is to make everyone under their charge into 4.0 sailors, and has the faith that it is not only possible, but it is attainable and easily proved by his or her command/department/division/section/team/squadron/fleet.........Of course that would have to be the second lesson, the first lesson of leadership I was taught was to lead your way out of a job.

How can 22 compartments on your ship be on fire and the first notification you have is from a ship along side, no internal reports!!!!!???????? Port Royal, Greenville, New Orleans, Chosin; need I say more. Has their been an increase in the number of commanders relieved of command because of a lack of confidence?

Shipmate said...


I appreciate the chance to discuss the matter and applaud your courage in opening up this blog.

I believe that we need to have a discussion about how we measure and analyze things. Too much discussion of metrics has caused us to loose the forrest for the trees. Several have taken metric measurement as the end all to our problems. That which you measure should provide a robust ability to make a decision. Irrespective of the outcome. I have seen too many people try to manipulate metrics to get to the "answer" that they want.

We have to be passionate about our dis-passionate analysis.

Our current measurement of readiness is simply wrong. We have to stop looking at figures of merit and adjust to a rolling level of capablility. Our current model (TFOM) is similar to going to the grocery store to stock the pantry and then have a measured approach to using those supplies. A good model if you have a consistent demand signal (like the cold war days). Today, we are in an iron-chef world where things happen real fast and you have to deal with the threats and circumstances that change rapidly and which are compressed in time.

We need to have a time stamp measurement process that allows us to look at the situaiton (meter, gage, indicator, whatever) and adjust to provide realistic (real-time and instantaneous) status.

We must find a way to evaluate readiness past the time that a unit is out of basic phase. There are plenty of models one could use but without a realistic discussion on how to measure readiness capability and effectiveness we are just spinning our wheels or, worse, sending people in harms way without a realistic understanding of what they are capable of accomplishing. I know so many people who simple want to get the check-in-the-block finished but don't have a clue about real capability. Just look at the number of ships that are "green" in some area but have signifant difficulty in following a basic shoot-move-communicate plan when they are in theater.

We DO need a realistic end-to-end assessment capaiblity but we must look at the entire process and not merely stand up new "centers of excellence" without understanding what we are trying to do. If you don't measure the right things then you are doomed from the start.

More to follow ... thanks again for the opportunity to contribute. .



Jim Dolbow said...


Possible topics you could blog about include the partnership Fleet Forces Command and the U.S. Coast Guard as well as the importance of naval history to today's warfighters. Thanks for the opportunity


Jim Dolbow

Ronbo said...


I would be interested in your thoughts on Active/Reserve Integration (ARI). Specifically, the role of tip of the spear reserve forces (SPECWAR, EOD, SEABEE, MESF, etc...) as budgets constrain, particularly cost of war (COW) funds, and the decision making process on reserve force manpower, equippage and employment for the future from your perspective.

Very Respectfully,

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

For Jim Dolbow - I'll pick it up on the connection between our history and what it means to our Navy today.
Here's a great example - look at the campaign in the Solomons from Aug 1942 - Nov 1943 and think about all the issues we have today with littoral warfare. We've learned alot of those lessons already, the hard way. The posts at USNI bring that story to life and it's directly applicable to the challenges we face today.
Another example - the greatest period of innovation in our Navy was during the 20s and 30s, a period of extraordinary economic challenge to the nation. Yet, during this timeframe, the Navy developed the concepts, planes and platforms to bring carrier aviation to life in time to provide the war-winnimg capability during WWII in the Pacific.
Our history has much to teach us and we need to be ready, and willing, to learn.

For Ronbo - Active-Reserve Integration is an excellent topic with great relevancy to how we are doing business today. I'll definitely get more into that issue in the future.

Thanks very much for the feedback and all the best, JCHjr

AW1 Tim said...


I would heartily endorse Heretic's idea for the construction of a few conventional submarines, especially the Swedish or German boats, as they are proven platforms.

As training boats for ASW exercises, they cannot be beat, and for littoral warfare, they also offer certain advantages.

I fully understand the limited funding that our Navy currently faces, but if there was a way to procure any number of those hulls, I truly believe that the skills gained through training against them, as well as learning the capabilities of modern conventional submarines, would easily support the costs involved.


SONAR977 said...

I see alot of post on the blog concerning training. What is USFF doing to hold warfare enterprises accountable for training of sailors while approving acquistions? There are too many systems in fleet use at the tip of the spear which have no formal training for the operator. If the sailors can not operate systems properly, because they have not been trained, lack functional training equipment, or opportunities to realistically practice skills learned we have failed as leaders.

Jeffrey T. Helfrich said...

Sir, I've been curious for a while now why the Navy is not making better use of our retired community to fill gapped billets. I spent the first six months of '06 out at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait & the place was crawling with Army retirees, in uniform, on recalls. For example, the SEA at the command I was at had retired in '88, & after leaving us he was going to a follow-on billet as SEA at another CONUS command. There were several O5's & O6's in the same category. While I know that using retired officers has political implications, it just seems to me that we're missing a real bet, especially when we're gapping billets all over the place to be able to send people forward. Shoot, if you need someone to go forward, send me.

Very respectfully,

Jeffrey T. Helfrich, LCDR, USN(ret)

AI duty said...


Suggest discussion thread on IA experience working with Army. Having just returned from an IA working with the Army, I can tell you that Army NCO's and Officers do not appreciate CPO's in their commands.

USFFC must not fail our junior Sailors by allowing Army to remove CPO IA's from missions with junior Sailors. The Army NCO's and Officers are NOT providing appropriate support to our junior Sailor's. Army, Army Reserve and National Guard do not get along at all and that transfers to junior Navy personnel as well.

Concerned MCPO

NVYGUNZ said...

Adm, I'd be interested in your thoughts on the current status of 3M. There seems to be a lot of chatter and finger pointing with regards to 3M (fleet-wide). Thank you.


ET3 Parrish said...

ADM J. C. Harvey,
A recent personal experience has brought to light the need for a change in the navy leave policy. I strongly believe that we need a Bereavement Leave policy. I feel that someone in you immediate family dieing is not something you should have to plan to us your leave for. Not all situations are as cut and dry as going home for a funeral and coming right back, and even if thats all it is, I still believe you should get a set amount of leave that is not counted against you. In the navy we have pretty much unlimited SIQ time as long as its permitted by a doctors note, and we get convalescent leave after a surgery or physical injury. I understand that when on convalescent leave you are normally in the area and accounted for however, there must be a way to work out the legalities. My father passed away on 03 OCT 09, and being divorced from my mother and never remarried, I was left with my little sister and I being only next of kin. This meaning we were legally the only ones who were able to do anything with the funeral or his assets. My mother couldn't even pick up my dads house keys. They would not give them to anyone but me. My fathers body sat for 3 1/2 days while I made arrangements to come home. What if I had no leave days. My fathers body whould have sat until I had gotten all the nessasary paper work to deem my mother or little sister as executive of estate. No funeral arrangements were made untill I got home. The last thing I needed to be worring about was how many leave days I had. It is not a situation where I would have taken leave if it had not happened. I didn't choose or plan to go home, there for i should not have to have these days counted against me. And this is not something I am pushing for because I want my leave days back, this is something I believe in because I would never want another person to have to go through the stress and heartache I just experiance. Even after the funeral was finished and over, I was responsible for cleaning my father's trailor out, shutting off his utilities, sending the death certificate to his creditors and bank. Transferring his assets, such as his motorcycle and car to mine and my sisters name. I rushed to get as much of this done before my leave ended, and I was not finished when I returned to work. So not only am I still trying to complete some of these things from Virginia, but i came back to work before have any real time to grieve or cope with anything going on. I just cant put into words how I feel in this situation and how strongly I feel that this is a serious issue that needs some attention. I would appreciate any feedback you might have in helping my attempt to bring this issue to light. Thank you.


AJ said...

How about the Navy motto as an idea for a discussion item?
Maybe we should have blogged this before the current motto was released.
"Global Force for Good" sounds like a B-movie or sci-fi cartoon line.
"Global Force for Freedom" would have been a much better choice.