Sep 28 2014

Still here, you greasy bastards.

Published by under Blogging

Two weeks without posting is obscene. I should be doing better and I resolve to do better. However in my defense, things have been busy, I've been depressed, and I've been in a funk. A real funk-and its taking me a while to work through. But make no mistake, I'm still an honest to God blogger.

Lots on my mind right now. Yet one more war in the Middle East is a good way to start. I don't know where it ends-and that troubles me greatly.

But till I can assemble my thoughts-have a great weekend.

 

9 responses so far

Sep 13 2014

Too much fun

Published by under Japan Living

Sorry for the lack of posting. I have been enjoying my time here in Japan and reminiscing about how much fun it was. I really have missed being here. Germany is ok, but I really thought I would be back working in Asia by now.

That has not happened.

The S.O. has a lot of family issues going on-which was one of the reasons for this trip. I've tried to be supportive as I can, and I have also been pleasantly surprised that my Japanese language skills have held up better than I expected. Was able to converse reasonable well with her family, and when we went to an appointment for some S.O. business issues-I held my own in understanding and contributing to the conversation. That, needless to say is a big victory for me.

Alas, it all comes to an end tomorrow as we board a plane for the long trip back. Sadness will envelope me I am sure as I board the bus for Narita. I sure as hell am not going to wait so long to come back.

Pictures to follow.

 

 

12 responses so far

Sep 05 2014

Tadaima!

Published by under Uncategorized

That is what you say in Japanese when you come home. Hopefully a loving specimen of Japanese womanhood greets you with a beer and a cheery, "O kaeri nasai" when you do.

We spent the last week at my father's house-after a quick stop in Shopping Mall. Did not really want or need to go to Shopping Mall, considering I was just there, but since my employer was paying for the trip home for my home leave. That was where I had to go to.

Spent the week in hot and humid North Carolina and got up this morning to get on the plane. It was 2 hours late departing which made our connection to Tokyo a tight one. Fortunately we were able to get upgraded and ended up on the upper deck of the 747. The upper deck is nice. Was able to sleep on the plane.

Now we are at our lodging, trying to gut it out and stay up long enough to make the body clock sync when we go to sleep. Don't know if it will work.

But it sure is nice to be back in Japan.smiley

No responses yet

Aug 27 2014

One of my pet peeves……..

Published by under Time wasters

I am sorry it’s been a long time between posts. I was on travel to the US, partly for business and partly to see my son. The business days tended to be long and involved and when I got back to the room-between drinks, dinner, binging on Netflix and doing my courses-something had to go by the wayside. So that is not a good excuse-but it’s the truth.

Now I’m back in Germany-but only for a short while till I begin a trip I have been planning for some six months, a voyage back to the promised land of Japan. It’s been 4+ years since I have set foot in Japan, 2.5 years since I set foot anywhere in Northern or Southeast Asia. To say I am more than a little excited about it is an understatement.

So as I prepare to drop off the grid for a while ( about 2 weeks to be accurate) I wanted to do a quick post on one of my biggest pet peeves: e-mail. Or rather, people who complain they don’t have enough time to get through their e-mail. I had the misfortune of hearing two Lieutenant Colonels whine and complain about how they spend so much time dealing with e-mail, they don’t have enough time to get anything else done. Since one of those same LTC’s seems always to find 1.5 hours for a mind numbing staff meeting each week-and another 1.5 hours each day for a workout, ( and the other one is always dealing with child care issues-welcome to the modern world) I know for a fact that this is utter bullshit.

 E-mail is the curse of our generation and those that are yet to come. Yet, I think some of the complainers really don’t know how bad things were in the “good old days” of OCR printers and messages, message diary entries, and messages that had to go all the way to the CO for signature. You have amazing tools at your disposal to deal with e-mail these days-it disgusts me when you don’t know how to use them.

 It especially makes me angry when I hear a flag officer complain about his e-mail load. What that tells me, is that you don’t know how to delegate responsibility to subordinates-and more importantly, you don’t know how to :1) read for content and context and 2) scan and sort necessary e-mails from trash. As an O-7 in a modern military, you should be able to do better.

I get between 75-100 e-mails in an average workday on two different networks. I am almost always able to work my way through the pile in relatively short order in the morning and before I go home at night. I do long for the days of yesteryear, when I could use POP mail to drop into my e-mail accounts at night while drinking beer, but thanks to events of the last few years that is impossible to do. The key is understanding a few fundamental rules about e-mail, and for that matter, about work in general. So I provide these rules and suggestions for your consideration.

Rule #1: Not everything is worth doing to perfection. Some things are worth doing only good enough and others are not worth doing at all. The trick is to know which is which.

For e-mail the corollary would be-not every e-mail needs to be answered. And those that do, do not always have to be answered by you in writing. Phone calls are quicker.

 For my two LTC friends above, they have the double curse of being grammar and word Nazis-added to the idea that they subscribe to the notion that we have what I call, “Twitter flags”, e.g., Admirals only have a little time so you can only give them the bulletized version. I think that is total crap.

Rule #2: Outlook is a powerful tool, IF, you will learn how to use it.

Here is an example. I have a coworker who says he hates the “preview pane”. With all due respect, he’s an idiot. The sorting rules and preview pane of Outlook are your friends not your enemies. Especially the preview pane. I use it religiously and have my outlook set up with calendar on the right of the preview pane. I make it a point to scan through all my new e-mail using the preview pane first-then I go back and read in detail the ones I judge to be important. I scan paragraphs quickly-not necessarily to read for total comprehension, but to scan for warning flags of things that are dangerous and need to be responded to.

And here is an adjunct rule-if you have a secretary, or a chief of staff or exec, they better be trustworthy enough to read your official mail and you should have no qualms about sharing your inbox with them. Three sets of  eyes can spot warning flags better than one. ( Caution if you do this, have some checks and balances and fire the person that does not safeguard the contents.) Lots of times they can alert you to something you missed, or in many cases they can take actions on your behalf.

Rule #3: Action and CC lines mean different things. If you are not an action addressee on a e-mail, give thanks, take note of an e-mail and move on. Come back to the e-mail if you need to later.

Rule #4: Start at the top of the pile and work your way down. That will help you resist the urge to respond immediately, which is usually never a good thing. You will also generally find out that a problem has worked itself out without you having to intervene at all save for reading about it.

Rule # 5. For writing replies-see rule #1. If it is really important, and you have the luxury to have subordinates “ghost” the reply, let them do it. Its good training for them.  But if you do this-be a man and ask them for the desired text only. Don’t be one of these flag officer pussies who insist on having the whole e-mail including addressees laid out for them. That wastes time. There  is a word for flag officers who make subordinates create an outlook shell and then put addresses and text in that shell: morons.

If it’s just a minor matter that needs acknowledgement-then respond quickly, and move on.

Rule #6. Learn to use Outlook rule sets-and learn how to archive. Generally if an e-mail is over a month old, you don’t need it and you can archive it. This makes your e-mail inbox smaller.

Rule #7. Go see rule # 1. If you are a leader, e-mail should be a small portion of your day. If you are spending too much time on e-mail, you are in over your head.

Trust me-these rules work. I am a big believer in managing by walking around, and I refuse to get chained to my desk all day. I also believe in things like Blackberries, and letting people work from home, or at least have access to e-mail at home to the max extent possible. I know some people hate these ideas-but I am the kind of person who works best in spurts. Having the BB with me, allows me to pace myself and do more productive things. I am not a slave to my Blackberry. It is a slave to me.

Thus endeth the rant for today. 

4 responses so far

Aug 27 2014

Can’t believe I missed it.

Yesterday was Women's Equality Day. And I totally forgot about it. I'm so depressed. wink

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After all, there are some hard facts of life:

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And while you are at it-get me a beer:

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Ok Honey?

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No responses yet

Aug 13 2014

The darkness that always lurks beneath the surface.

Published by under Memorials

I wanted to write a quick not about the tragic loss of Robin Williams. His death will most probably be ruled a suicide. And I expect ( and in some of the worst corners of the internet-we are already seeing) the holier than thou brigades are already spouting venom-not understanding in the least the struggles one must deal with, once you get the Scarlett "AA" tagged upon you.

Its common knowledge that Williams struggled with issues from addiction. What most of the do gooders seem to ignore, is the heavy burden America's system of shoving you into the hell that is AA does to you. Addiction treatment is not about stopping drinking. Plenty of people do that for protracted periods of time with no effort. It is the idea that they foist upon you that you can never do it again-that creates the inner conflict that grows and grows and grows. Especially since it is complete and total bullshit-most alcoholics recover on their own, and do perfectly fine drinking again, once they realize that there is personal responsibility. The treatment industry is about control-not fluids. Its about their iron clad demand that you cede control of your life to someone who in all probability is more fucked up than you are. And they stick a double whammy on you in that they tell you , that you can never take that control back.

Only by rejecting their ideas-and demanding to live your life on your own terms can you ever get some peace back. I know, because I lived through the hell of having a worthless bastard tell me how I had to live my life. It took luck and a great deal of anger and planning to escape from the shackles of the "program" he abandoned me into. I don't think I can ever forgive him for his callousness and indifference.

What does this have to do with Robin Williams? Well, a lot I think. The conflict of being a talented individual, knowing you are talented, and then being forced to be subjected to an idea that you are worthless and powerless-is a huge conflict. It creates inner struggles and a feeling of futility at being told you are not "like everyone else". Even when you are. it takes a great deal of struggle to break free.

Not everyone is up to the struggle-no matter how successful they are.

So all the people who so easily dismiss his struggle-I have no use for. The trolls who have been coming out and writing really reprehensible things-I also have no use for. They may think it can never happen to them-trust me, it can. And don't kid yourself, your so called friends and allies will abandon you in heartbeat. Such is the nature of America's coerced treatment machine.

So God rest the soul of Robin Williams, and if he is any just will grant him access to glory. To all those who attack him after the fact-I spit upon you.

I loved a lot of his movies-and I think he was a gifted and talented man. Since I was aware of him from my college years-his work literally spanned the length of my adult life. And he was a great.

 

 

He deserves peace and a place in heaven. Those who think otherwise-can leave my sight now.

5 responses so far

Aug 11 2014

Just kill me now…..

Published by under Fun things!

Once again I have to apologize for the lack of posting. The S.O. and I went on a marvelous trip to Austria. And now we are back.

And work got even more suckier in the interval.

So, pix to follow-and now I ask for appeals to save me from flag induced O-5 ambition. Trust me pal-you are still getting passed over.

In the meantime-help me think about this:

 

No responses yet

Aug 03 2014

Recent Reading

Published by under Movies and Books

While I was back in the land of the free and the home of the stupid and overweight, I had a chance to stumble into Barnes and Noble. This was ostensibly for the purpose of purchasing a study guide for the examination I have to take later this year, but that did not stop me from perusing the aisles and finding some other great books. Since I am home sick today-woke up at 4AM sick as a dog-I thought I might share them with you.

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When I left the store 1+30 after entering it and 167 dollars poorer, I had five books in my bag. The study guide of course, and this one, by Michael Lewis:

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Originally published in 1991, this is a collection of the columns he wrote after leaving the world of investment banking. Taken together they are a great picture of the foolishness that was the 1980's-and provide insight into the ideas that laid the foundation for the disasters we say in the second half of the first decade of the 21st Century. I have now read 4 of his books and enjoyed all of them very much. I had recently finished this book, which was a fascinating investigation of Flash trading and how it screws the average investor:

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The book is a fascinating read. 

Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading—source of the most intractable problems—will have no advantage whatsoever.

The characters in Flash Boys are fabulous, each completely different from what you think of when you think “Wall Street guy.” Several have walked away from jobs in the financial sector that paid them millions of dollars a year. From their new vantage point they investigate the big banks, the world’s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated, and expose the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits.

The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for your blood pressure, because if you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you. But in the end, Flash Boys is an uplifting read. Here are people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don’t get paid for that; they have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it.

 

What I found most interesting was the lengths these companies would go to , to gain milliseconds in time. And the outrage they expressed when someone actually called what they were doing the thievery that it is and was. The main narrative involves Brad Katsuyama, a trader at the Royal Bank of Canada, a relatively obscure firm that is no where near the top tier when it comes to Wall Street trading. Katsuyama discovers that his trades aren't getting filled as he expects, and he becomes suspicious and goes looking for the problem. He finds it-and a whole lot more problems.

 

In both books, it is a fairly clear common thread that the people with money, are conspiring to keep other people from joining in the party. Investing is increasingly rigged against the average person and small investor-which I find especially disgusting in light of how corporations have walked away from their obligations to provide pensions and made millions of Americans utterly dependent on making good investment decisions. The problems identified in both books are symptoms of a bigger problem, namely that people do not embrace a business model that looks out for all the stakeholders in a company, which includes more than just the shareholders; it includes the employees and the customers. If you ever needed convincing of why unregulated markets are dangerous, these two books do a good job.

 

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Moving on to the other purchases, to keep up with my commenters, I purchased this little gem:

 

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It is a great book and one I have really enjoyed. I look forward to using some of these quotes to respond to Curtis in the future.

 

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On a more serious note, I came across this fine book by astronaut and moon walking explorer, Buzz Aldrin. 

 

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Basically, Aldrin is offering a well reasoned argument that: 1) Exploration is important, 2) The US manned space program is broken and finally 3) there are some commons sense and affordable solutions on our part that would fix it.

 

I agree with this assessment:

 

"There is no reason to go there," "Let's wait until we have better technology," "Let's straighten up our home front first before we venture into somewhere else." These tired, old excuses could have been said to Columbus or any of the great explorers in our history; people use them to stall progress since the day of dawn. Yet, here we are, thousands of years later, and we still kill each other on a daily basis. Let's face it, humanity haven't changed a bit, and if we were to wait for the perfect time for everything, we would still live in caves and pray for some imaginary lightning god for fire. Curiosity and exploration are the real driving forces of progress. We harvest and bask in the fruits of scientific progress today, of which not a small part come from space exploration from our kitchenware to satellite TV. Similarly, the process of exploring Mars could hold technologies that could define our future for centuries to come. Or maybe not… But if we don't go and look, we will never know!





For that reason, I wholeheartedly agree with the central premise of this book, and I am overjoyed to see the growing number of private companies taking up the baton our government had dropped decades ago.





"The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams."


- Neil deGrass Tyson

 

Specifically, Aldrin avoids the trap of saying we have to go back to the moon. He argues that while we should eventually have bases and industry on the moon, its not sufficient enough of a challenge to motivate us and keep us on track. Using the year 2035 as a benchmark and bemoaning all the lost time we have squandered in the last 20 years-Aldrin lays out a good plane to have government and private industry work together to get mankind out into the solar system on a long term basis. For going back to the moon- Aldrin does not ignore it, rather he proposes that we outsource it. E.G. let the Japanese or Chinese or Europeans go there and we should applaud them all the way.  For the US he says we should go for bigger game: a blueprint for establishing a base on Mars involving a novel “flexible path” approach, with Mars’ moon Phobos as a docking station. He endorses commercial space travel for paying passengers, as a way to work on technology and get more people to buy into space exploration. "He favors the use of "reusable, recyclable space transportation" and equipment as the building blocks of "cycling" networks to support and replenish the movement of people, cargo, and other essential materials between the "celestial triad" of Earth, the moon, and Mars."

 

Most importantly, despite what many say, Aldrin's plan is affordable. Certainly it will cost maybe 15% of what we wasted on worthless wars for worthless Arabs over the last dozen years. Just think what we could have done if the US had not wasted all that money on the hell hole that is Iraq?

 

Read the book for yourself. I think we should put Aldrin's ideas into action. If there is any one criticism I would levy, it is that Aldrin's strategy assumes a steadfast government over the years. Given that the legislature has morons like Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and an asshole like Louie Gohmert, I am not sure that is a good assumption.

9 responses so far

Aug 01 2014

Still here.

Published by under Uncategorized

It is crunch time on my courses right now. Plus. I am playing the popular game, "What will next year's budget be?".

So go read this outstanding article by James Fallows instead.

 

No responses yet

Jul 26 2014

Mile high

Published by under Uncategorized

Sitting in the lounge at Denver International-waiting to make the jump back across the Atlantic.

If you have not seen any of the latest Weird Al videos, you are missing a treat. Here is his send up of Happy:

 

Funny, isn't it? Have a great weekend. See you on the other side!

4 responses so far

Jul 20 2014

Six New States????

Nothing like coming back to the land of the free-home of the stupid. I remain just furious every time I see someone come out in support of this incredibly ridiculous idea.

The plan would split the state of California into six smaller US states — each with its own governor and legislature — as you can see in this map:

Six_Californias

The proposal's chief backer, venture capitalist Timothy Draper, argues that with six states instead of one, government would be more decentralized and responsive. "The existing breadth of industry and various interests in California is untenable," Draper has said. He argues that the state's economy and educational systems have stagnated, partly because of the state's centralized bureaucracy — and he thinks dispensing with this bureaucratic baggage would allow for more innovation in governance. Under his plan, he told Gregory Ferenstein at TechCrunch, "Each new state can start fresh. From a new crowd sourced state flower to a more relevant constitution." Then, these "start-up states," as he calls them, "will be able to compete with each other, for us" — trying to lure businesses and residents.

So this is what I spent 29 years of my life in the service of a great nation, all so some rich douchebag can come along and propose an idea as positively dangerous and destructive as this? NO! I tell you. NO! Both the Constitution and the Civil War settled this-and quite simply, it is in really bad taste to even raise this issue at all. It is sedition pure and simple. "Any region caught leaving the State of California will be shot for desertion. Any one advocating the leaving of California will hung for sedition."

I can't tell you how much this really bothers me-and how much I hate people who dare to speak in its favor. California has a long and proud history-and until it started letting crackpots control the voting process by passing things like Prop-13, and giving credence to assholes like Grover Norquist. It deserves a lot better. The United States has a long and proud history too. And don't kid yourself, if an idea like this were to come to pass, it would destroy the United States. Maybe not right away-but it would start the US down a path it does not want to go down. I could see the US going the way of Europe-or Africa, increasingly smaller political entities, when in reality it needs bigger ones.

God this makes me angry. It really does. The reason the Union is inviolate-is that it forces, in the end, the people to decide,maybe after a lot of stupidity-such as that we are seeing from our teabagger crazed loons, maybe not-that they have to work to solve problems. Taking the lazy way out is not an option. You don't get to break up states! ( yes Texas, this applies to you too, spare the crap about your "special" status. You forfeited that when you took so many military bases.)

The State has problems, yes. The US, has problems too. But the solution is not to break up the Union-or to cede the solutions to a solution similar to the Balkans-and we have seen how well THAT has worked. Both California and the US have straightforward solutions to their problems. They just need to the will to exercise them-and stop letting crazed lunatics control the agenda.

I DID NOT give 29 years of my life in the service of my nation-only to see it kidnapped by rich bastards who care not a whit about it. NO!

Play nice in the comments or I will boot your ass in a heartbeat. I feel very strongly on this issue.

23 responses so far

Jul 18 2014

Traveling man

There just are not enough hours in the day sometimes. Leaving this week for business and to visit my father in the USA. Sitting here in the lounge contemplating the long jump across the Atlantic and then a cramped ride in a DeHaviland Dash 8 to my Dad's place. The shoot down of the Malaysian airliner keeps going through my mind. Those passengers were probably doing the same thing I am doing, relaxing before boarding, thinking about what to do at their destination, when on the plane many were probably asleep or reading-anticipating arrival in Amsterdam. Looking forward to life and a future.

And then……BOOM!

It is just not fair. I'll bet some of those passengers had put in a busy week like I did, trying to get things taken care of so they could relax on vacation. In my case it was a week trying to convince my erstwhile boss that he actually should pay attention to the budget up front-instead of relying on the previous author of the stupid merger to take care of things. Oh, he will take care of things all right-right up your ass. I've told you time and time again, money is one of those things its worth taking time to get right. Certainly a lot moreso than esoteric power points that nobody will read.

But that seems to be the story of my life lately, not being able to convince folks I am right. When KNOW I am. It is tiresome, to say the least.

The S.O. was unexpectedly very sweet to me last night. Very much a surprise-made doubly so because she too has had a busy week and got a scare when she went in to work and found a co-worker had screwed something up. We had a marvelous dinner last night at an outdoor Italian restaurant, and it was a beautiful evening to watch the sun set and be thankful for being able to live in an interesting place. ( Even if it is not Japan). It was more than usually sad to kiss her good bye this morning.

And oh you should see the day today!! The weather is gorgeous . It would be a great day to play golf. To go hiking. To be out and about in a convertible. To be driving a boat. Or flying a plane. Or even riding in one I guess.

I had a good deal of nostalgia last night. The song Maggie May was playing on my I-pod. That song always takes me back to the period 74-75, when I was preparing to attend to The Citadel, turning down the Naval Academy to do it-and contemplating what it would be like "in the Corps". I always think of the Citadel when I hear that song. The line, " I wish I had never seen your face" makes me think about what might have been if I had not met the ex. At that point in the song, nostalgia turns to rueful sadness.

In case you have not guessed-this post is really not about much of anything, just I had some time and I wanted to pour some feelings out. Now its time to go board the plane. Dear God please keep it safe.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

One response so far

Jul 14 2014

Submitted without comment-but worth your time

Published by under Feminist Buffoonery,Navy

This appeared at  Phib's place a week ago. It is so good and so much a commentary on what is wrong with my once beloved Navy, I had to post it here in it's entirety. Its worth a read-especially where it calls out the survivors of the Uncle Vern's purges during the last decade for their failures. Naval Aviation culture is dying-and when it is gone, people will never know how much fun it once was.

Here now is the post:

"When the Tailhook investigation began, and certain political elements used the incident to bring discredit on Naval Aviation as a whole, and then on the Navy writ large, one is entitled to ask, on behalf of those magnificent performers who have never failed their leaders, where were their leaders?" As Naval Aviation leadership begins to face one of the worst retention crises in its history, readdressing this question, originally posed by former Secretary of the Navy James Webb at the Naval Institute's 122nd Annual Meeting and sixth Annapolis Seminar in 1996, may help explain why some of aviation's best and brightest have decided to leave. 

Naval Aviation leadership is currently struggling with the real threat of not having enough pilots to fly the aircraft on its flight lines, and it's not solely due to cyclic and predictable factors (economy, OPTEMPO). The more insidious problem, going largely unaddressed, is one of trust and confidence; more accurately, the fleet's loss of trust and confidence in its senior leadership. This breakdown in trust has spread well beyond junior officers reaching their first "stay or go" milestones. Large numbers of post-command Commanders are electing to retire, instead of pursuing further promotion and increased retirement benefits. In both cases, officers are saying "no thanks" to generous amounts of money (for some, as much as $125,000), choosing instead to part ways with an organization they competed fiercely to join; one that, at some point, provided tremendous satisfaction.

  The Naval Personnel, Research, Studies and Technology (NPRS&T) group recently conducted a survey of Naval Aviators from the ranks of Lieutenant to Commander. All groups suggested availability of resources and workplace climate should be top priorities for senior leadership. These two factors go a long way towards explaining the larger problem of lost trust. 

The NPRS&T survey solicited open-ended responses and provided selected examples in their summary. With respect to availability of resources, the underlying theme was, "stop asking us to doing more with less." Whether the "less" applies to flight hours, qualified Sailors, or materiel support, squadrons are routinely asked to meet increasingly demanding operational requirements with less of each. Worse, they're being told to do so by flag officers who wear flight jackets adorned with multiple 1000-hour tabs and Centurion patches, symbolizing aviation milestones which have become almost entirely unattainable to today's aviators. Squadrons are regularly sent on 10-month deployments with just-in-time parts delivery, artificial readiness, and aircraft that saw their best days when our flag officers were using them for a BAGEX.

NPRS&T also accepted open-ended responses pertaining to workplace climate.

Many of the ill effects described above spill into this arena, but there are additional issues that must be addressed. Not surprisingly, some of the key words provided in the responses include race, gender, SAPR, micro-management, and GMT. It is also no surprise that the manner in which our leadership has chosen to address these issues also serves to erode trust. 

Many of the cultural and climate issues that are alleged to plague our current force were accepted – nay, fostered – by today's admirals when they were swashbuckling junior officers. We're being asked to undo and "fix" the problems they watched develop.  

We're told to de-glamorize alcohol even as we hear legendary stories about the Miramar O'Club. We're required to complete mind-numbing Trafficking in Persons training, yet hear frequent reminiscences about Subic Bay and Pattaya. We watch good officers publicly shamed and relieved for offenses that the relieving flag officers themselves were guilty of, but in an era absent Facebook and Twitter. We see the fervor surrounding the military's alleged sexual assault crisis, while time and again, our flag officers fail to recognize the 99% of us who find such crimes equally reprehensible. Instead, we're subjected to yet another NKO training to make sure we remember that rape is wrong. And we're conducting this training at the expense of executing our primary mission – flying our aircraft and preparing for war. With this description of our "workplace climate," is it any wonder that Lieutenants and Commanders alike sense an ever-decreasing amount of trust from our leaders? Is it any surprise that talented and highly competitive officers are turning down bonuses and voting with their feet?

 So what's an admiral to do? First, our leadership must stop talking to us like we're suits at an annual shareholder's meeting. Speak to us honestly, frankly, and with words that don't betray your brown shoes. Don't speak to us about best-practices, enterprises, or stake-holders. Remember that we're a sharp and incredibly discerning audience who knows a bad deal when we see it. Stand up and own the problems that you've charged us with fixing. Accountability still matters in this profession. Second, stand up and serve as advocates for the over-whelming majority of us who are doing it right. There is very little faith among us that our leadership will stand up in the face of outside scrutiny to defend any officer who is unfortunate enough to end up on the wrong end of an investigation – for anything. We don't believe you have the ability, or the willingness, to pump the brakes before pulling the trigger.

For many, the professional satisfaction that may come with command at sea just doesn't seem worth the risk of having our careers, reputations, and families drug through the bilges on the basis of allegations. Our leaders are seeing the effects of their "do as I say, not as I did" message manifested in decreased retention, lost trust, and waning esprit de corps. James Webb asked, "Where were their leaders?" Today they are scrambling to piece together financial solutions to problems that can't be monetized – at least not until they can figure out how much our trust is worth."

The survey is here.

 

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Jul 10 2014

Recent Reading

On the trip over to Normandy-I had forgotten to charge my I-Pad. So I grabbed a book from the shelf to read on the train. Boy am I glad I did. It was an honor to re-immerse myself in this book.

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Schlesinger, a life long liberal, was also an outstanding historian. And a superb writer. He never struck a mismatched key. For the writing alone-this book is worth a read, but more importantly, it is a stirring defense of humanity in government, and the willingness to adopt a creed other than that which inhabits the current GOP: " I got mine, fuck you!"

One of the most interesting things about reading the letters of Arthur Schlesinger is the quality of the discussion between him and those like Joseph and Stewart Alsop and many others. They held differing view points-but because they had the shared experience of a demanding education, and having to actually earn their way onto a writing staff-and live under an editor, the quality of what they produced was far superior to what the intellectual children, who presume to even think they have a right to sit at the grown ups table, produce now. The Krauthamers, Chunky Bobo, the plagiarist Malkin, all the members of the Liars Club-cretins like William Jacobsen, John Hinderaker, Mark Steyn, 3/4 of the blogosphere ( especially the mil-blogs)-what they produce is trash when held up in comparison to the quality of the writing that went forth from the great writers of the 50's and 60's. Near the end of his life Schlesinger saw this decline of intellectual rigor-and rightly chastised it, particularly those who fell for the shame that was what he called "Gingrichism" in the mid 90's. Altogether great history-a story the above listed children can not even begin to appreciate.

This is worth the money to buy.

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Jul 07 2014

And we are back.

Published by under Memorials

Spent the last five days in France. It was outstanding-especially as we went to visit the Normandy Beaches. Pix to follow over the next few days.

So here is where I spent my 4th-no fire works, but a lot of sincere feeling for the folks who can never leave this place:

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"Not for the dead, not for the more than fifty million real dead in the world's worst catastrophe: victors and vanquished, combatants and civilians, people of so many nations, men, women and children, all cut down. For them there can be no new earthly dawn. Yet though their bones lie in the darkness of the grave, they will not have died in vain, if their remembrance can lead us from the long, long time of war to the time of peace. " -Herman Wouk

 

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