18 January 2012

Surface Navy Association (SNA) Symposium (2012)

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the Surface Navy Association (SNA) National Symposium. This presentation was particularly important for me because I covered many topics (and issues) that I believe are central to our Navy now and in the future. Although the symposium is held for the Surface force, my remarks, and the lessons I discuss, are broad enough that I believe they apply to everyone – regardless of your community.
I encourage you to watch the video of my presentation or read the remarks and let me know what you think; your feedback is always welcomed and appreciated.

I also recommend you read my remarks from the 2010 symposium and watch the video of my remarks from last year‘s (2011) symposium as both messages are still very relevant today. All the best, JCHjr


SWO turned Cybergeek said...


It's off topic, but your remarks about accountability for Aegis and "who's in charge?" are particularly relevant in the cyber/network world. We're desperately searching for efficiciencies as costs spiral out of control, but who's in charge? DON-CIO? ASN-RDA? DISA? Navy Cyber Forces? FLTCYBERCOM/C10F? NSA? PEO-EIS? PEO-C4I? PEO-IWS (for tactical networks)? PEO-SHIPS? Etc, etc, etc?? Until we solve the governance and authority issues, Navy will continue to sink into a morass of expensive technological obsolescence.

SWO turned Cybergeek

Anonymous said...


I was at SNA last week and frankly was disheartened by your comments, as I was by all the "surprise" at the Bailisle Report. I am disheartened because leadership always seems shocked about these problems and the root causes...I could have saved you a fortune and told you about what all these decisions were doing. I tried to, through my chain, and got the sit down and shut up. For years. Your O-4 through O-6 officers have spent the latter half of our careers being held accountable for the results of these poor decisions based on business practices. We aren't a business. A profession, a vocation even in some cases, but not a business.
We all accept accountability when we take command, and you talked a lot about holding people accountable, so how are you holding those above the CO accountable for the destruction wrought on the fleet by our own leadership?

MaryR said...


Congratulations (I think) on being the Old Salt.

I was very impressed that you would reach into history, the modern Proceedings Magazine and a spectrum of books and articles. Not surprised; rather thankful that you have afforded your opportunity to speak at SNA to encourage others to read, speak, and write -

You emphasis on history and the modern implications or say implementations, is really impressive.

As a civilian, I wish that people outside of our sea service would be privy to the inspiration you convey

Barrett Tillman said...

Admiral, Bravo Zulu on your use of history, and not merely because that's my field. (My Osprey editor will be delighted with your choice of in-flight reading!) It's difficult for many people (military and civilian) to realize that others have BTDT, when often there are patterns or options for consideration based on what has happened before. But a USAF officer told me that there's not much point studying history because technology changes.

Two comments come to mind, both from Brits:

"You think you're blazing a trail but when you look down you see it's a well-worn path."


"Only a fool learns from his own mistakes."

Looking forward to next month's book tour.

Anonymous said...

I was present, but I listened to it again on your link as I do always enjoy "the gospel according to John". Feedback?
Fundamentals of profession, understand the technology to fight, the intellectual power of uniformed personnel and having a "single belly-button" to push are still missing. Yes, you have 192 ASSESSMENT organizations, but you do not have any repair organizations at the IMA level. There still is no cadre of trained sailors all the way up to the E-8 level since we traded our capability for perceived efficiencies. We lost PEB and it's autonomy to seriously evaluate and tie up ships (they cost the Tycom too much $ and got 'denuded') We lost INSURV as you and I knew it, a complete board of LDO/Line officers who came onboard virtually unannounced for that 'snapshot' of readiness. Its a mix of contractors/tech who do repairs supplementing a skeleton crew of INSURV and ships are now massively prepped, yet still fail. The focus has been to assess our state of readiness and build reams of paper w/ Ao justifications, rather than hold
3M results, PEB & INSURV results as a factor of success. We don't fire CO's or CMC's for the lack of readiness, but do if they use profanity or say improper things in mixed company. We salute NAVSEA which has brought that same shipyard massive support organization and their values of keeping lots of admin support in lieu of repair personnel to the piers and done away with Afloat Post-major CO's at RMCs who knew the impact of lack of repairs on their ships and replaced them w/ EDs who are more concerned with on budget/on-time and we'll cut repairs in a pax to achieve those goals. They won't have to ever worry about serving on a ship and haven't in most cases since they were Divos, so you have a lack of affinity. It speaks to the organization morass in your speech.
We still fund readiness to 70-80 of the known requirements, so it will always be a curve you cannot recover or get ahead of in the repair game.But if you keep buying more assessors vice repair personnel, the curve gets worse.
Ship's focus on paper, thats where they get hammered and won't have pride in ownership until we train them in repairing their own gear as we send them thru entry level basics. You will always get what you inspect not what you expect.
Marines ? Put a 10 man contingent on EVERY ship and let them do force protection and boarding ops, let the sailors focus on their systems, so their collateral duties don't circumvent their primary duties. Then you'll go back to those roots of expenditionary. Again, enjoyed the speech, still lots to do to go back to the future.
Retired 0-6