Style Dog

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It’s not what you think it is. What is it, then? Only the coolest callsign in the entire history of naval aviation.

Warning: Hopefully you’ve read my Rules of the Road. Rule #5 is keep it clean. I will keep it clean in this post. I will, however, dabble in some adult topics that you won’t generally find on my blog. My best guess is that it would be R-rated. Nothing too graphic, but I will describe some interactions and activities that would not be suitable for a young teenager. If you are easily offended by such material, you’d do well to take a pass and come back next Monday. I won’t have any hurt feelings so long as you don’t judge.


 

There are very clear lines of demarcation that define particular Navy eras. There were the days of sail and there were the days of steam. There were traditional boiler plants and there were nuclear reactors. There were those who experienced Tailhook before or during 1991 and those who experienced it after. Finally, there were those who served in a Navy that visited Subic Bay, Phillipines and those who did not. I will bring those who did not one step closer.

The human brain – a mighty and powerful organ – generates an immediate response upon hearing certain words or phrases. Were you to ask a Sailor what thought comes to mind when you say “Subic Bay”, he will, in all likelihood, say “sex”. No inkblots or mind activity maps required. That’s not entirely fair to Subic, or her neighboring sister city Olongapo, but it’s true.

The advantages of visiting Subic were many, some operational and some not. Flying out of Naval Air Station Cubi Point was incredible. In the below picture, you can see the runway, with Subic Bay beyond and to the left.

NAS Cubi Point runway

The views are stunning, obviously. It’s a truly gorgeous piece of real estate, which is part of what made it a great place to visit. Short of snow skiing, you could partake in just about any activity there. If you wanted to get away from the bustle, you could get a cottage on Grande Island to enjoy water and sun.

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You could scuba dive. You could sail. You could jet ski. And it was cheap. Very cheap. That was a huge part of the appeal, especially for the younger Sailors who could get their own hotel rooms, enjoy incredible food, and generally live like rockstars without draining two months of pay. Such luxuries are not available to them in places like Dubai and Singapore.

For their part, the Filipino people are wonderful. They are hard-working, very family-oriented, and exceedingly kind. It is rare not to see Filipinos smiling. To visitors, they play the role of gracious host with exquisite perfection.

They are also, on the whole, not a wealthy people. With abject poverty comes a willingness to do certain things that the rich would not. Sex sells. Even the idea of sex sells. Prostitution is not known as the world’s oldest profession by accident. Olongapo, therefore, morphed into a carnal carnival of sorts in order to help Sailors part with their money, and part with their money they did.

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To be clear, I do not condone prostitution or the solicitation of prostitutes. It is not only a violation of the UCMJ, it contributes to human trafficking. I know this because I did Trafficking in Persons training 473 time at Navy Knowledge Online. It might have been once per year. I can’t remember exactly. At any rate, I’m just saying it happened, perhaps more often than you might think.

Just a few years after it was super cool to have a WHAM! sweatshirt, there was an aviator who flew the War Hoover, what with all it’s “whoooooop” sounds and other vacuum cleaner-like noises. Our hero made port of call at Subic Bay, and would you believe he had the hankering. Not a hankering. The hankering. The distinction is important, for you can satiate a hankering with some good food and a cold beer. The hankering requires certain rituals that begin on streets like the one you see in the photo above.

There is a selection process. Once complete, drinks are purchased. His are cheap. Hers are not. Thus begins some manner of haggling. Over what exactly, I cannot say. Not my thing and never was. I gather there is negotiation regarding what actual services are being purchased, and whether finality is event-based or time-based. I have to believe the event-based option is better for the one providing the service. With contractual agreements complete, the pair begin a procession to a neutral site, more often than not up a set of stairs and on the current premises.

Before long, this fella was doing the dance with no steps in the style of the missionary (whatever that means), all belly-to-belly like. While this was wonderful, it did not match the particular manner in which he saw the deed going down. So he made vain attempts to capsize her without disengaging, which was proving more than he could manage given his partner’s lack of cooperation. She commenced to wriggling and other protestations. In an effort to remain back-to-sheets, she even widened her base, just like a turtle might do in an effort to avoid being flipped over onto its shell. She wanted no part of phase two operations. Our hero was flummoxed. This was Olongapo. Were his desires that unorthodox or debasing?

He stuck with his plan, flashing a degree of persistence that would make any naval aviator proud. He was determined. Whether because she tired of resisting or just gave up, he managed to overturn her. Immediately thereafter, she realized that his intentions were not all that repugnant. With audible relief, she said, “Ohhhhhh!!! You just want the style-doggie!”

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Misguided Outrage and the NFL

 

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You might be wondering why the Maryland flag is at the top of this post. That’s fair. We’re going to talk about this Ray Rice debacle, and I’m not much of a Ravens fan. Baltimore is in Maryland. That’s close enough.

You might also be wondering why I’m only just now writing about this. That’s fair, too. From my perspective, the story has been too hyped from the outset, and I didn’t want to add to the considerable rancor. I’ve watched it play out long enough, with predictable actors appearing from every dark corner, so I’m ready to crawl out from my dark corner. Besides, an occasional reader asked me to write about it. Who am I to say no?

Lest I be accused of being an insensitive pig, I wish to make clear my thoughts on domestic violence. It is a terrible, awful crime, and there is no excuse for it. I will make no attempt to build excuses for it. Victims of domestic violence, like victims of sexual assault, unfortunately have an incentive for not participating in the prosecutorial processes, which makes it difficult to hold assailants fully accountable. Based on my personal moral convictions, I find domestic violence even worse when the perpetrator is more aggressive and physically imposing than the victim. When the opposite is true, the victim usually, but not always, has an opportunity to exit the problem.

NOW

If you haven’t yet read Matt Walsh’s take on Ray Rice, you should take it for a spin. As usual, he takes a very distinct approach and mounts a well-articulated argument. The basic tenet is that everyone is furious only because he hit a woman. Had he simply hit another man, no one would care. If they did, they wouldn’t care that much. Matt’s hypothesis is that outrage is only valid in those who are willing to admit the fundamental differences between a man and a woman, to include their respective roles in society and physical attributes. These are not differences readily acknowledged by groups like the National Organization for Women. Ironically, NOW has been fiercely critical of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for being too lenient with Rice. On that account, I get Matt’s point.

Spurious Violence is Not the Same as Domestic Abuse

On another account, I do not necessarily agree with Matt. Popping a guy in the jaw who just spilled a drink on you is not the same as beating your wife. It is still senseless violence, which I find abhorrent, but it’s not the same thing. It’s not even in the same category. Domestic violence comes in many shapes and forms. It can occur over months, or even years. It often accompanies emotional abuse and battered self-esteem. Especially when children are involved, it’s not fair to compare it to a situation where a guy has the ability to walk away from an emotionally charged encounter, knowing he will never see the potential attacker again.

The Second Tape Never Mattered

If someone submits to you, as fact, that person X pulled out a firearm and shot person Y four times, do you need to see it on video in order for it to be upsetting? If you can’t watch it, is the outrage somehow stifled? I hope not. That is basically what happened in this case. On February 15th, Rice and his then-fiance were arrested on assault charges. Four days later, a video emerged showing Rice dragging his unconscious fiancé out of an elevator by the shoulders. What on earth do you think happened beforehand? That she drank too much? The second video provided no new information. It only revealed the brutality of the punch. It was no longer something you just imagined; it was visceral. Well, guess what? To the person who takes the punch, there is no difference.

That He is a Professional Football Player is Irrelevant

Let’s be clear. You don’t know Ray Rice. You might know who he is, but that’s only because he’s a starter on an NFL team that recently won a Super Bowl. It’s estimated that there are over two million cases of domestic violence each year. Eighty-five percent of the victims are women. I find those statistics reprehensible. Is it less reprehensible if you don’t see the attacker playing a game on television every Sunday? Not to me, it’s not, and I doubt the victims care. Oh this? My new black eye? I don’t mind it so much. I got it from a famous actor. Which leads to my next point. Spare me the affectations about role models. If you’re looking to the NFL for role models (sorry, Tim Tebow), you are sorely misguided. Find someone you actually know. Someone you can observe in settings both social and professional. Take your time. Trying to find them on the television or your Fantasy Football roster is a path to ruin.

You Had No Right to See The Videos

You’re not a bad person for watching the videos that were thrust in your face non-stop for three days. All I’m saying is that they should never have been made available to you. Casinos have a right to use security cameras for loss prevention and the safety of their clientele. Moreover, you have a right to not have private security footage video of you playing on the evening news. Call Janay Rice and ask her how she feels about it. The tape is only out there to capture the attention of looky-loos who will help boost TV ratings, which ultimately leads to thi$. Easy math. Can you imagine if this case ever went to court to be tried in front of a jury? The defense attorneys would slaughter the prosecution during the voir dire process.


 

Curse the NFL all you want. It’s a football league, and football is a violent sport played by tough men. The NFL is giving you precisely what you pay them to provide. And just like TMZ, it’s all about the money. If you disagree, try selling unauthorized NFL replica jerseys online and see how long it takes the league to find you.

Pressure from special interests groups has compelled the NFL to hire four female advisors to help shape domestic violence policies. In turn, each team will be required to have policies. I thought society already had policies. They are firmly encased in statute. From my dark corner, this is about Ray Rice, Janay Rice, and the law.

Remember when sports were fun?

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Navy Identifies Missing Pilot

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The Navy has identified Lt. Nathan Poloski, a 26 year old native of Lake Arrowhead, Calif., as the pilot who was declared presumed deceased.

The full story is here.

Nathan, we never met, but I know you. And you, me. We undoubtedly caroused with some of the same sorts, if not the same people. We traded many of the same barbs in the ready room. We both dished it out, and we both took return fire, never flinching. We both drank a shot late at night in a bar that we didn’t need, and we did it, well….. just because. We were both terrified at some point or another in our career, most likely behind the ship at night. We were also both awed by something that only aviators can experience: shooting stars on NVGs, a magnificent sunset viewed from 30 kft on return from a live bomb/strafe mission, the Sierra Nevada after a fresh snowfall. We share a brotherhood that doesn’t require a face-to-face meeting or a handshake. It’s just there. An unbreakable bond.

I pray that your squadron carries on in your good name, brother. May their aerial feats and other conquests make you proud, as yours did them.

In aviation, it’s training that claims the most lives, not combat. Nathan, until I join you for a monster dice roll at the big O-Club in the sky, please say hello to Doc, Chowdah, Bass, Woody, Waldo, Cashman, Basher, K-9, and the many others who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. Tell them we’re doing okay down here, but that we miss them terribly, as we will miss you.

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Search and Rescue Efforts Halted

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The Navy has ended its search for the missing pilot following the recent mid-air near Wake Island. Based on the initial reports of the mishap, I feared that the effort would not yield a positive result.

“This is an exceptionally difficult time for the friends and family of the missing pilot and the Navy community,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Grady, Commander, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. “We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Regardless of what or who you know, please respect the formal process that commences forthwith. The policies that protect said process are in place for very good reason.

In accordance with your tradition, please pray for those who lost a friend, sibling, son/daughter, or squadron mate. The entire team surrounding our departed warrior has nearly 9.5 months of deployment ahead of them. Their ability to grieve and heal properly are of the utmost importance; our nation’s calling awaits them.

One more thing: Shit-Hot World-Famous Orange-Tailed Shrikes.

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NAVFIT 98 – Open Thread

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Just the sight of it makes me shudder. I expect an obscure error message to pop-up at any second.

With apologies in advance to my non-Navy readers, and I’ve been pretty Navy-centric of late anyway, I’d like to get your thoughts on NAVFIT 98. More properly stated, I’d like to get your thoughts on software support for the Navy’s FITREPs and EVALs. CHIMBO at the Naval Postgraduate School is probing a potential project. Please understand that we’re soliciting ideas for software support, not for the FITREP system itself.

I’ll get us started. During a joint tour, I did FITREPs and other performance reports for all four services. The best support infrastructure, by far, came from the Marine Corps. I had to get a Marine On-Line (MOL) account and secure privileges as a reviewing and/or approving officer for those in my purview. With that accomplished, I could easily work on the reports at MOL, where they sat in one convenient location. I vastly preferred that to the stack of blue folders scattered throughout the command in various places.

General thoughts:

  • The online system effectively prevented a lot of mistakes. For example, if dates were not congruous, the software would flag it and keep you from submitting an invalid report. This applied to a number of areas in the report.
  • Reports don’t have to be mailed, nor do you have to worry about the dreaded missing FITREP that has the potential to derail your career.
  • It’s easy to see who currently has the report and in what stage of development it resides.
  • Reporting Senior Averages were conveniently co-located, which made them easier to manage.
  • Because I was land-based, I never saw how deployed units made it work. The fact that NMCI is a non-deployable asset and connectivity while underway is spotty at best necessitate a mitigation strategy.
  • There is some interest in mobile access. I think that’s doable, although it would have to be CAC enabled.

Over to you. Dig deep and help a brotha out.

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FA-18 Mid-Air

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Two jets collided during flight operations off USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) yesterday. One pilot is back aboard and receiving medical attention. The search continues for the other. Please lift positive thoughts and prayer for all affected in accordance with your custom and preference.

I don’t know that this post will reach anyone who doesn’t already know, but I’m of the opinion that more is better in such situations.

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When Strategy Meets Contact

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I had considered writing a post a few hours ago. The plan (and I have at least one reader who can confirm it!) was to write President Obama’s speech before he delivered it. With every ounce of honesty in my heart, I can tell you that my effort would have been very accurate. Let’s call it 90-percent. If you’ve seen enough of these episodes, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that Gilligan and company will be rescued from the island.

If you would be so kind, please set your preconceived notions of the President aside, even if just briefly, and forget about whatever mistakes anyone made that got us here. Many of you will argue that you can’t do that. If so, I’ll live with it. For the rest of us, I’ll offer that the President did a reasonable job in laying out a strategy for dealing with ISIL. He could not have been happy about the necessity of this step. He is, after all, a guy who very much wanted to terminate our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and deal with domestic issues as a peacetime President. Per usual, the bad guys got a vote. Now, he is likely faced with handing the keys of this operation over to whomever succeeds him in office. I don’t want to speak for the President, but I suspect that was not the legacy of his design. Fate intervenes. Cope or crumble.

Goods

Not long ago, with some unwitting participation by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, we were mincing words about whether we wanted to degrade or destroy ISIL. Thankfully, we’ve moved on. There aren’t many admirable qualities in groups like ISIL. If you had to pick one, it would be tough to argue they don’t have resolve. There is no degrading them. There is no containing them. They are a cockroach that needs to meet the sole of a boot. Anything shy of that will prove insufficient.

The President severed ISIL from their religious base by saying they are not Islamic. It takes more than words, of course, but that is an important step. Completely pulling the plug and getting the rest of the Muslim world to turn their backs on them will take years. Maybe five to ten. That’s just being realistic.

The “broad coalition” model came up several times. It’s a trite notion that often accomplishes more to assuage guilt and build faux consensus than it does anything tangible. As it relates to the ongoing civil strife in the Middle East, I’m firm in my belief that those countries must eventually take the lead and manage this for themselves. Will they? That remains to be seen. I’m pessimistic. But remember, this is a strategy, not a plan. As ISIL is a Sunni organization, it will be interesting to see how much of an investment Saudi Arabia (the Sunni kingpin) makes.

Addressing the significant (more than zero is significant) numbers of American and European citizens joining the ranks of ISIL was important. These people have passports. Our borders are porous as it is. Just stay in Boulder. It’s a nice town, kids.

Others

It’s not an extreme reach to say that our hasty, all-out departure from Iraq opened the door to ISIL’s rise. The President made clear that we are set to exit Afghanistan in similar fashion this year. Do I need to connect the dots here?

I don’t want to hear any more about the requirement for these groups to threaten American facilities and personnel. By their very existence, they already do. Their recruiting, ruthlessness, civil infrastructure, and ability to finance are bewildering. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You strike groups like ISIL because they are a detestable group of world criminals who are an absolute stain on humanity. You need no other reason.

The continued insistence that we won’t commit combat troops is a mistake. Just say that we’re not doing it now. Whether or not I agree with it, I understand the aversion. It’s messy. Guess what? War is messy. Furthermore, I would advise against telling an Army Special Forces Sergeant schlepping the desert with Iraqi forces as an “advisor” that he is not in combat. And then tell that to the 475 guys joining him.

Giving the US credit for rallying against Russian aggression in the Ukraine and ridding Syria of chemical weapons is like giving Sherman credit for rebuilding the South. It would be more appropriate to say that our hesitation and backpedaling in Syria emboldened the Russian President, who then annexed the Crimean Peninsula, so we levied economic sanctions. On second thought, just leave that whole part out of the speech and hope no one is the wiser.

Lessons Learned

Jay Carney, until recently the White House Press Secretary, now works for CNN, where he participated in the post-presser analysis. Oh. My. Gosh. Jay, you don’t work for the President any longer. You are now allowed to think for yourself. Some might even consider it a requirement.

Although I wish it fit neatly into a grand strategy, this strategy for dealing with ISIS is a good start. It must continue to develop and morph as the system in which it resides evolves, and evolve it will. This was the easy part. Following through and holding fast after the first punch in the mouth is what reveals true character.

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A Bad Time for Timing

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20 years. That’s how much time it takes to distinguish between an outlandishly successful Navy career and a decent Navy career. After two decades, one will pin on Captain and the other will not. None of this is meant to disparage the decent career, for it’s not out of the question that some aspects of the decent career were not the fault of the officer, who may have been the victim of sub-optimal timing. Perhaps the decent career was a matter of choice – that choice being one made by an officer who prioritized quality of life and fun jobs at the risk of upward-mobility. There are greater crimes.

By the current standard (and I’m using USNA as an example because it’s an easy one), date of rank is determined by class rank, and class rank is largely determined by GPA. Therefore, the date on which you pin-on O5 is determined by your Differential Equations grade during Youngster (sophomore) year. That doesn’t feel right, does it? Not to mention that your academic major and course-load are not part of the calculation. Come to think of it, your best bet is to take a ROTC scholarship and pray that the University of Texas graduates before the academy. You’ll already be ranked ahead of USNA’s valedictorian!

Some of the academy’s best students (don’t look at me) start graduate work while still enrolled, which enables them to finish a graduate degree at one of the VA/MD/DC-area’s finest institutions within a year of commissioning. A select few others even go to Oxford or Cambridge on scholarship. These are our best, right?! Yes, to include this one guy I know who had an uphill climb to make O5 and had no chance at Operational Command. They don’t tell you that when making you a Rhodes Scholar. Grad School. Or as one particular PERS-actual I know called it, “f#%king grad school”. He wasn’t opposed to the concept. He was opposed to the impact it had on officer careers without their prior knowledge, and at the ripe age of 21, they might not have listened had they been warned.

LT Austin Hulbert has taken a stab at this issue. I commend him for it. You should, too. It’s available for viewing and downloading below.

It’s not a short read. He’s done his homework and presented it in its entirety. I will offer some observations, but I can’t and won’t read it for you.

The fundamental struggle is that the Navy is working with a system that dates back to WWII. Those were different times. Pop worked for IBM in those days. He was loyal to the company, and the company was loyal to him. He bought some stock and eventually got a gold watch. Even in lean times, he wasn’t terribly worried about losing his job. There was a commensurate lack of fear in his boss that Pop would bolt for greener pastures at the first opportunity.

Nowadays, you can go through an arduous series of interviews and screenings and (if you’re lucky) work at Google. Once they’ve made you productive, they will do anything to keep talent and prevent it from leaking to a competitor. You can take a nap at work. Healthy food is available at any time. Free of charge. They build loyalty via different means because they understand their employees and what makes them happy. Pop would find it silly, but here is what matters: it works.

Here’s a quick-look:

Current Situation

“The U.S. Navy’s promotion system requires fundamental change to ensure the health and strength of future leadership. Current challenges include:

  • Fixed promotion timelines independent of career paths
  • Promotion zones based on overall time in service
  • Inconsistent career progression/experience within communities

This paper will present why the current system fails to meet the needs of the modern Naval Officer. The following changes should be implemented to incentivize retention of our best, brightest, and most talented:

  • Decouple time-in-service from promotion
  • Career progression will be based on consistent, measured performance
  • Align rank with responsibility
  • Allow for more flexibility in an officer’s career

Such changes will incentivize officers to expand on their personal and professional development, and will result in longer overall time in service at a lower cost than the current system.”

I’m interested to hear what you think. I’ll bet the paper’s author is as well.

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Christmas in September

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After a year’s worth of work and staffing, Navy leadership approved the restoration of the Aviation Command Retention Bonus (ACRB) this week. This will increase the pool of talented and qualified officers with command experience to fill critical Commander and Captain jobs.

Below are the 5 top things you need to know about ACRB:

1.    The potential for an improving economy has increased job opportunities in the civilian sector for skilled O5 aviators. With this bonus we get a “two-fer,” it will provide compensation for our most talented operators to continue their service as well as motivation for junior officers to pursue an aviation command career path.

2.    The bonus will be paid to O5 commanding officers (operational, operational training or special mission) in two installments of $18K, COs may apply for the bonus upon taking command. First payment can occur during the command tour, second payment will be one year later.

3.    COs who take the bonus are obligated to serve through their 21st and 22nd years of service–ensuring we have needed O5s with command experience, encouraging retention until these officers are in zone for promotion to O6.

4.    Specifics will be promulgated in an upcoming NAVADMIN and will be detailed on the Navy Personnel Command Aviation Career Continuation Pay (ACCP) website here.

5.    A similar bonus for Surface Warfare Offices is in work.

This is great news. A win-win. Like Christmas in September. As if being at ‘Hook wasn’t enough?!

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2014 Navy Retention Survey Results (Part 3)

Joint operations in the Pacific

Sailor Retention

What influences our Sailor’s decision making process when deciding whether to remain in uniform or pursue other opportunities?

42-percent of those surveyed indicated that they plan to stay in the Navy following their current tour. A significant number of those – more officer than enlisted – don’t have a choice. They are obligated into further service. Roughly 21-percent are undecided. That’s the target demographic. Given that they will potentially accept another set of orders, there is time to move them into the “stay” column. Those who have decided to leave are not likely to alter their plans. For most, the decision to terminate active duty service is a tough one that takes a lot of time. Teeth are gnashed. Significant others are consulted. Job searches are commenced. I’m not suggesting the Navy should give up on them, for there is no harm in courting them. The same incentives that will entice fence-sitters may inspire a course reversal in some who intend to exit.

The data regarding the impact of the 20-year retirement system are quite convincing. Indeed, this system has few parallels in the civilian world and is universally regarded as a good deal. You could do far worse than having a reasonable base income and very affordable health care for the rest of your life in your young 40s. It’s very clear that any significant tinkering would have disastrous effects. If the 20-year retirement plan changed, 75.8-percent of enlisted personnel and 80.9-percent of officers would hit the bricks. That is huge. I don’t believe the DoD would pull the plug on the retirement contract on anyone currently in service, but I would advise them (if they asked) that even minor changes like cost-of-living adjustments strike abject fear into those who are planning their lives around it. While I would stop short of suggesting it for those already in service, I firmly believe that a 401(k) or other TSP-like fund-matching option would be a great incentive for getting quality people into the Navy, or any other branch of the military. A large majority of service members do not stay in for 20-years, and many more are uncertain of their long-term intent when they join, which makes a 401(k) attractive. As it stands, of course, if you leave early you leave with nothing.

When asked if they wanted their boss’ job, a majority of officers said no, and a majority of enlisted personnel either said no or were unsure. Yikes. Either the survey-respondents are completely unmotivated, which I don’t believe for one second, or they don’t like what they see happening above them. It’s both disheartening and perplexing, but more disheartening than perplexing. Some people are completely happy with their station in life and are content to work hard in between punches of the clock. I get that. Those are not, however, the type of people we attempt to draw into the military. I would personally never want a job in a company that didn’t at least offer me a pathway to be the President or CEO one day.

A strong majority of respondents do not believe that deployment-length will decrease below eight months. It’s hard to blame them. They’ve fallen for that one before. While the BUSH Strike Group has been doing the Lord’s work in dealing with ISIL, carrier-based aviation assets have not been flying missions over this place called Afghanistan. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. We do stare convincingly at the shiniest new butterfly, don’t we? When the CARL VINSON Strike Group arrives, BUSH should head home. You following my logic? Until or unless we decide to become a reclusive nation, those obligations are out there, and out there they will remain. We can wish for less of them all we want, but the world has to cooperate, and to date, it has not.

66-percent of enlisted personnel and 71.4-percent of officers believe that junior personnel are used to their fullest potential. Because the Navy (and Marine Corps) have historically done so well at empowering those in lower tiers of rank, this is troubling. It’s not difficult to make a direct connection to risk-aversion and the zero-defect mentality. If senior personnel are worried about something going sideways, and more importantly, worried about the repercussions of something going sideways, they will be overly involved. That’s how you wind up with Chiefs turning wrenches and LCDRs writing the flight schedule. Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory claims that employees appreciate the comfort that comes with having a job that provides a salary, but that alone does not bring them satisfaction. Satisfaction comes from achievement, recognition, advancement, and growth. People want need to feel valued. If they aren’t, they will find it elsewhere.

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