Please consider the following comment posted on a private forum re: my post on Commander’s Guidance. I want to share this openly on my blog as I believe the author’s comment reinforces why it is important that we consciously address the impact on our ships of a steadily increasing operational demand and just as steadily increasing pressure on the resources that sustain our forces.
"While the mantra “fewer resources mean that there are things we will do less, but not less well” resonates, there is a fundamental disconnect between that phrase and the reality of what it takes to meet an increased COCOM demand signal while still training our Sailors correctly to perform the missions that a COCOM expects a ship to show up able to do.
If OPTEMPO is up and going up, and resources are scant, reducing the number of missions that a ship needs to train for will create the whitespace needed.
But if the OPTEMPO is up and going up, and resources are scant, reducing the number of training repetitions while not reducing the number of missions that ship needs to train for will create chaos.
Example: Right now a BMD DDG needs to train for 23 missions. Which is the priority? From my time at TYCOM and NFC it seems that there is no priority call either from the COCOMs or 4 star resource providers. A BMD ship still needs to do its MOB-E, ATFP, VBSS, 3M, AAW, Strike, NSFS, EW, ASW, MOB-D, FSO, NAV, Helo Aviation, CCC, Intel, Seamanship, and SAR.
Of course some of those mission areas enable others. But we man our ships like we have already prioritized, but we haven’t. And now the onus is on the COs to decide what they needed to spend their time and manning on.
And then the Navy swoops in, picks up on whatever area was deprioritized and blames the CO.
Not right answer.
We violating the 10/10/80 rule. The rule states that 10% of your people will fail no matter what you do, 10% will succeed no matter what you do, and 80% will succeed with a little guidance and adequate support.
It seems like we are asking all our people to be in that 10% that succeeds no matter what we as a Navy do."
In my guidance I talk about the reality that while fewer resources will lead us to do less, we are not free to do anything less well. Couple that with my direction that we must hold the line on our standards – they never change, regardless of resources – and our only option is to prioritize requirements. Accordingly, I directed my Commanders to ruthlessly prioritize their requirements to achieve assigned missions with their available resources.
This guidance reflects what I believe to be the situation today and is the fundamental reality we will continue to face in the future.
The example in the comment above illustrates what we see when a ship is not adequately resourced to man, train and equip for all potential missions, yet is still expected to achieve them.
Expecting a ship to meet every mission requirement while providing only 70% of the resources necessary is not setting the conditions for success. The CO is placed in an untenable situation; we set the ship and her crew up for future failure. Ultimately, it is my responsibility, working through the chain-of-command, to balance the resources I provide to our ships, squadrons and submarines with the missions I expect those units to be able to perform.
But…our COs also have an obligation to seek the truth and act on it - to honestly assess their ship, take appropriate action, and forward their findings and recommendations up the chain-of-command for the betterment of the force. This feedback is absolutely critical. Decision-making and directing action (command) only achieves the desired outcome if there is a properly functioning feedback loop (control). We have occasionally disassociated command from control with often devastating effects that are difficult to recover from, even over a long period of time.
So we have to ensure we establish an honest flow of communication through the chain-of-command; indeed, it is critical we do this. It is not about whining up or down the chain-of-command – that is, simply complaining about problems without offering any solutions; it is about effective leadership in a culture where we work together to continually improve our ships, our squadrons, and our submarines.
The first step in improving performance is being honest about current performance – we must have the courage to “commit” truth with each other and then go where the facts lead us, while we balance the expectations of our force with the resources we provide the force.
All the best, JCHjr