29 July 2010

Statement to the House Armed Services Committee


Yesterday, I testified before the Readiness Subcommittee and Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on Fleet Readiness. My written statement to the Committee can be found here, and a complete webcast of the hearing can be found on the HASC website here. All the best, JCHjr


NVYGUNZ said...


Thank you for providing the statement. I tried to watch the webcast, but it wouldn't work. Anyway, a question and a couple comments if you don't mind.

Q: I noticed you said, "standing down CLASSRONs and providing their manning/functions to Readiness ISICs, ATGs and TYCOMs." Did I read that right? Are they not working out as designed? If you intent to follow through with these actions, can you please have you staff look into the manning, specifically the enlisted manning of these "Staffs"?

C: In my experience I have noticed in many cases, the enlisted "Staff" subject matter expert is sometimes no better qualified or senior than the person they may be assessing on the ship. Therefore, not providing the needed coaching, mentoring, assessing required. An example I'll use is 3M. Until recently, most of the "Staff" 3M positions were filled by Chiefs (Senior, Master) who were never a 3M Coordinator. However, they were billeted to a "Staff" position and asked to assess fleet units. Do you have a enlisted 3M expert on your staff? SURFOR/LANT does, they are both post-tour 3MCs currently, but their predecessors were not. ATGs and many other "Staff" type billets are similar. Seems UNSAT to me. I assume there may be other billets across "Staffs" that are similar. Going to a NEC granting school before checking in doesn't count. We have also 'rolled' many of these billets down from Master Chiefs to Chiefs. I am sure money had something to do with it, but you loose a lot of 'horsepower' and experience when that is done. Credibility too.

Secondly, I have also noticed many of these "Staff" commands are commanded by a Commodore, a senior Captain. Usually post-major command, well experienced, etc., but most have no - 9580 CMC. They should have a post-tour (perhaps major command), well experienced CMC walking the ships with them. Those new CMCs on your Destroyers (usually first-tour) need the same mentoring and guidance as do your new Commanding Officers. In most cases, comms skip straight up to the numbered Fleet or Force Master Chief, because their ISIC Senior Enlisted is an OSCS or GSMC, etc. Just doesn't work...

Lastly, back on the subject of your report, I was happy to see you emphasize assessments, particularly third-party assessments. I have never been fond of self-assessments. You never get an honest look, even though we are bread in a culture of honesty. Sailors, however, don't rat on themselves or their shipmates, especially if it is something critical or perhaps career ending. When I was younger we took our ship to places like GITMO for REFTRA. When you left there a couple weeks later, your ship & crew were unstoppable. It was like bootcamp. They broke you down and built you back up, leaner and meaner than before. There were no self-assessments. Unfortunately, those days are gone. But, like Computer Based Training, we need to find a solid balance with assessments. I hope we are able to crack that nut before you leave office.

As always Sir, I enjoy reading your blog. I hope you don't mind my comments. I try to give an honest reply to your posts while keeping a respectful demeanor. Enjoy your weekend and thanks for all you do!


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

NVYGUNZ, please don't worry about posting - I welcome your comments. Indeed, I really enjoy receiving them and learning from them. I only wish that I'd hear from more people who have good thoughts to offer.
Your comments on staff make-up - getting the right people with the right experience into the right job - are absolutely correct and I thank you for focusing my attention on that part of the manning equation. I'll be following up along the lines you recommend.
I wish I could bring back the GTMO experience for all our ships! I'm with you - we came out of there ready to go across the board. Was it painful? Absolutely! was it worth it? Absolutely!
Thanks again for your comments. All the best, JCHjr

Anonymous said...

It is good to see mistakes being corrected to get our ships back on an even keel. With a follow up on the 30 July post, the "old RSG" provided all the services for inport maintenance and readiness and usually had the post major Command CG CO's who had lengthy engineering backgrounds who didn't want to go back to DC. They were fresh off the ships with a real perspective of the problems. We found the most effective CMC's to have in our back pocket came from the Submarine Community Engineering ratings. They knew how to mentor the chief's and assist with maintenance issues by the troops. I watched the FFGRON stand up and try to execute the maintenance portions of their missions, when right around the corner was the Regional Maintenance Center who already had the answers to the questions they were investigating. New command trying to find it's way, but lacked the inport knowledge of where to go or decided to beat it's own path. I firmly believe the Readiness organization should be commanded by an 1110 who reports to CNSL directly with an ED as his CSO, vice the current arrangement. We see CNSL ACTUAL on the piers every month, can't remember the last time NAVSEA came into port and he runs the RMCs...at present. When you look at revitalizing the SIMAs, don't forget to bring back the LDO billets that went away, they were the cornerstone of direct assistance to the engineers on the ships for solving problems and marshalling the ship's work through the SIMA paperwork nightmares to get jobs started. Keep up the great work, always good to see a fast Williamson turn in progress.
Retired 0-6

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

Anonymous, thanks very much for this post - good ideas, and solid reminders of the old "tried and true" ways of doing busines that worked, are always welcome.
Much hard work ahead of us, but I'm very hopeful that we can get it done if we can get everyone lined up beind the 80% solition and execute with vigor and determination. All the best, JCHjr

Seaman Jimmy said...

I enjoyed reading your testimony because it was a definitive reaffirmation of what many of my peers and subordinates have been saying for some time: we are going the wrong way! Rather than wax poetic about how refreshing it was to hear our thoughts echoed in your testimony- I wanted to highlight another concern raised not only by our sailors but by the Secretary of Defense regarding the large number of Admirals vs. how many ships and commands we have.
Yes this is the proverbial ‘third rail’ of communication that you do NOT want to bring up during a VTC- but it is apparent that the constant stove-piping of comms and progress is due to the inability to work around the 800 pound gorilla in the room (with several stars on his collar). This command alone has more stars than Orion –and if a closed JFCOM folds more billets into our command here we are destined to rival Andromeda. Cell-Nav aside- we can not work with each other if every scrap of paper and product produced needs to be vetted by a star.
I do not want to seem irreverent Sir but unless we can convince more Admirals to fire or retire themselves we are destined to continue our unproductive and costly way of doing business. The Air Force is a great example of how ineffective they have become because they decided to do a ‘bottom-up review’ of manning rather than reducing their Generals. (Man I hated using the Zoomies as a frame of reference but they did make the mistake we are making once before). I do not know how you convince someone to fire themselves… but if we do not communicate that throughout the Fleet then the tap runs dry sooner on our budgets and our progress because we are all too afraid to be irreverent.
Seaman Jimmy

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

Seaman Jimmy, I suppose it's a matter of perspective how much one believes the number of Flag officers currently serving in the Navy contributes to the challenge of effectively dealing with the many issues we are facing. I never focused on the number so much as as I did on individual performance and the placement of Flag officers in our various commands and organizations to ensure we got the most bang for our buck.
Clearly, though, SecDef has made his own assessment and intends to act on the evidence he sees that we have too many Flags/Generals/SES for the proper level of leadership required in today's armed forces and the current scope/scale of ongoing global operations.
So we shall go where the study leads us and deal with the outcome, whatever it may be. Our shared goal is the most effective fighting force possible and that goal must remain our focus in the months and years ahead. All the best, JCHjr

Seaman Jimmy said...

I agree that everything on this issue can be very subjective to perspective. The over arching concerns that I had is to ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of the past by 'thinning' out our enlisted and JO's ranks to save money while ignoring some other areas where we could save costs. If one 2 star retiring could save the jobs of even 2 FCs on my combat team then I would personally deliver the paperwork to make it happen. I know the value of good leadership in the right places but the question I hear around the water cooler is usually about how needful we are for a 2 or 1 star to be in charge of a job better suited for a post command O6? I do not want to name Codes but a quick look at our own HQ Org Chart speaks volumes about what many to believe is the Navys' culture of star glut (especially at a time when overt efforts to reduce manning is killing jobs of those in greater need of employment).
VERY Respectfully,
Seaman Jimmy

Anonymous said...

Admiral I really enjoyed your All Hands call on 16 Aug, it was both informative and motivational. It was inspiring to hear your words and understand that leadership now has a good grasp of “deck plate readiness”. The only area I could not say I fully understood was in regards to Mr. Williams question on readiness certification and your 2 tier response. If I heard correctly 1 being that yes deploying units will be ready IAW their total capability( Major Combat Operations) and the 2nd it may be, that single focus units like BMD could deploy with less than full certification of all warfare areas. Sir it is our mantra to ensure other services and CCDRs understand the multi-mission capability inherent in Aegis. We do this because CNO said we will not loose these multi-faceted forces to a single mission.

So if in the blog you could expound or if so inclined respond to my questions below it would be much appreciated:

Will ship manning remain as is or is the plan to remove all non-BMD and safety of navigation CIC / CBS watchstanders like ST’s and GMG’s?

If we do fully man the BMD ships and not train to major combat operations levels, do we then let non-BMD skills atrophy and probably make it difficult for the SAILORs to advance?

Is the possibility of C6F BMD units being subject to multi environment (air/surface/subsurface) preemptive attack in support of non-state or state sponsored events or being apportioned to another operational plans / AOR, so low that we can accept the risk to this strategic asset?

Sir I know there are not enough resources to support all the requirements. I think that small amount of resources saved by not training our “low density, high demand” BMD units to be a “full up rounds” is not equal to the risk you may be taking.

Our friends who fly the fighters always say the kill ratio is many to 1, because of a fully armed air craft and a fully trained pilot. I can see many scenarios when the BMD ship is out of interceptors and the need to fully employ the other capability will become an imperative.

Just my 2 cents.

V/R Rick

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

Rick, thanks for the post and your questions - I'm working up my answers and will post them tomorrow. But as a heads-up, the situation I was trying to describe this morning does not require the extreme actions your questions raise as potential outcomes.

Seaman Jimmy, I am on completely board with your concerns and have no intention of recommending any further thinning out of our enlisted or JO ranks.

All the best, JCHjr

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


You’re absolutely right – we don’t build multi-mission ships only to strip them down to make them single mission capable for a deployment. Once we deploy, we have to be ready for the “come as you are fight” so we have to have multi-mission ships with Sailors confident in their ability to perform all missions assigned. This means two things to me:

(1) Our Sailors must deploy ready for the immediate fight (the missions we know they will have to perform the first day of deployment). To expect our Sailors to be at the highest state of readiness for all 23 mission areas in the Surface Training Manual at all times is not a reasonable expectation. To set up our Sailors for success, we have to prioritize missions – primary, secondary, tertiary – then tailor the certification process accordingly at the start of the basic training phase. So for our BMD ships, BMD plus the other missions we believe the ship will have to perform on deployment will be primary mission areas and must be the focus of our pre-deployment certification process.

(2) Our Sailors must also be able to rapidly spin-up to execute emergent missions while on deployment. Since most of the systems on our ships (and the Sailors who operate them) are needed across multiple mission areas and to perform core shipboard functions (like damage control, operate the engineering plant, navigate the ship, AT/FP, etc.) – the ship and its crew must be viewed as one integrated system. So for our BMD deployers, we can’t (and won’t) reduce non-BMD mission manning and we must ensure the crew is adequately trained in all the mission areas so that they can rapidly spin-up for emergent (secondary and tertiary) missions – and we must take this spin-up time into consideration before we send the ship into the fight.
Being ready for the unexpected fight is part of our culture – which is why we routinely exercise our Sailors in all mission areas (main space fire drills, gunnery exercises, run ASW problems on watchstanders, etc.) while on station conducting a primary mission (like BMD).

Great follow-up questions from the All Hands and I think 2 cents well spent. All the best, JCHjr

Anonymous said...

Sir thank you for your response.
What I think I understand is; the Navy is at a point where it is overtly evident that we are not producing the full up rounds we previously thought we did. I respect that your knowledge of this fact is comprehensive and you are working toward overcoming these problems. But for us in the trenches, we have given this much thought and we continue to run excursions into the art of the possible. What is holding up some of the process is “how ready is ready” and how many “readies” do we have to produce. At the CSG staff level this is not a big challenge. We have entitlements associated with each CSG’s training and we are effective in our scheduling processes, end state we train and certify staffs and we do not break training capacity. Increasing unit readiness by getting the training down to each unit is another issue:

- We only assess warfare commander / staffs in the integrated / advance phase of training.
- Today we do not have capacity to evaluate the readiness of all participants in C2X / JTFX i.e. we do not have enough training entitlements to stress, measure and mentor every unit in the strike group or independent deployer training to the level of readiness needed for major combat.
- We lack capability to assess units and for that matter some aspects of commanders / staffs in complex training events.

It seems to me that we have no choice but to modify our behaviors when it comes to Navy capability generation, so what is the best approach?

- Change training and certification thresholds or
- Change number of missions trained to full readiness or
- Change Fleet levels of employment (RFF responses / number of units available)

Of course the answer might be an “and” combinations of the above, regardless do you agree there is need for basic change? If the answer is yes then how can we optimize our training processes to meet the increase demands different readiness focuses required AOR dependent? Will we create new stratums of readiness (EUCOM ready/ surge, CENTCOM ready/surge, PACOM ready/surge or AA/BMD ready, SUW, AAW ready, USW, SUR ready etc) then develop training packages that align with these predefined capability requirements? That might work if CCDRs will accept some risk by allowing these units fully trained to the anticipated threat but not fully train to capability and while that might work but it begs the question of how to keep SAILORS competitive and trained in all aspects of naval warfare.

These are the kinds of things we discuss and work regularly. I am hoping you will share a bit of the way ahead with us so that we understand the commander’s intention from the start.
As the old saying goes; pick any two and the third is what you don’t get.

* I want it fast
* I want it cheap
* I want it right

Just my 2 cents.

V/R Rick