Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Navy's racism laid bare

This just breaks my heart because to watch the Navy I love disgrace itself, yes it is disgrace, on the alter of official racism is almost beyond response of defense. This policy, from bottom to top, makes good, fair, solid officers into racists. Good intentions and all, I am sure. Those who push this policy probably don't see it as racist - but on its face it is. Racist in a threatening way as well. I don't need to talk about what the use of "accountability" means to an officer - you know.

I don't need to use the word quota - you know. I don't need to talk about the fraud of racial self-identification - you know. I don't need to remind you that in the zero sum game of promotions that anything short of meritocracy is discrimination - you know. I don't need to discuss undue Command influence - you know.

I weep for this shame. Weep. Our Navy, our Sailors, are so much better than this. Our junior Officers and Enlisted are so beyond this type of quota jelly-bean counting. This whole policy is an insult to a generation beneficially marked by multi-racial genetic make-up, mix-race marriage and parentage, and race-neutral social structures. Why take Sailors born in 1990 and force a discredited theory on them like it is 1971? This retrograde racist policy drags us back to a place that brings nothing but sectarianism, guilt, self-loathing, and hate that derive from the arbitrary unfairness inflicted on a very personal level. The Navy deserves so much better from their senior leadership. This makes racists of us all.

I will let this speak for itself. First an email, then the reference. Quoted in full.
Date: Monday, September 15, 2008, 6:14 PM
Subject: General Tasker: Coordination Office: Hot List: Cxxx Nxx
Cxxx DIVERSITY ACCOUNTABILITY BRIEF

Captains,

Sorry for the late turnaround on this from me to you. Cxxx sent us this hot tasker this morning with a COB Monday (Washington DC) deadline. They are asking for "a list of your Early Promote and Must Promote in Pay Grades 05 and 06." We must assume they want the names.

Please do not drill down to the tenant command level on this, only respond for those billets of yours which belong to Cxxx. The other enterprises should be similarly tasking their subordinates.

One piece which is clearly part of the original tasker from VADM Harvey (attached) but which is not mentioned at all in the CNIC tasker is "diversity;" however, as it appears to be the entire point of the data call, please annotate which of your O5/O6 EP/MP officers (from last cycle) are diverse.
The reference.
----- Original Message -----
From: Harvey, John C Jr VADM N1, CNP
To: Cotton, John G VADM CNR; Burt, Robert F RADM; 'xxxx@navsoc.socom.mil' ; Thompson, Alan S. RADM NAVSUP, 00; Shear, Wayne RADM NAVFAC HQ; Thorp, Frank RDML CHINFO PTGN; 'xxxx@med.navy.mil' ; Titley, David W RDML CNMOC; 'xxxx@jpac.pacom.mil' ; Conway, Bob VADM CNIC HQ, N00; Sullivan, Paul E VADM Naval Sea Systems Command ,SEA 00; Starling, Denby VADM NETWARCOM, N00; 'xxxx@js.pentagon.mil' ; Venlet, David VADM; Cothron, Tony L RDML N2
Cc: LeFever, Michael A., RADM, N13; Barrett, Ken J. CAPT, NAVPERSCOM N134; McLaughlin, Patrick SES; Ted Childs ; James, John H SES SEA 04; 'xxxx@navy.mil'
Sent: Wed Feb 27 09:23:44 2008
Subject: CNO ACCOUNTABILITY REVIEWS

Admirals,

Wanted to provide all an update on the CNO Accountability reviews that started again with the JAG community last week. Attached is the CNO approved schedule.

As a reminder, the accountability template was designed to establish an initial baseline of diversity data that is "cut and sliced" in a number of ways. The success of our overall diversity efforts rest on your ability to detail the specifics of your enterprise and community. Armed with this information you will be able to determine if and/or why any variances exist and how they might best be addressed. Through these efforts-- YOUR efforts-- Navy's overall diversity strategy will be better informed and our collective efforts will be strengthened.

CNO Mullen completed reviews with the Surface Warfare Enterprise, Undersea Enterprise, Naval Aviation Enterprise, and Navy Expeditionary Combat Enterprise. Based on the lessons learned from these reviews and the concerns ADM Roughead has expressed, I strongly encourage you to prepare the following issues for a thorough discussion:

- CNO wants to see the enterprise demographic data that has been part of the previous reviews and will also want to review both percentages and raw numbers within each category.

- CNO will focus on middle career management -- who are the diverse hot runners in an enterprise (you should know them by name) and what is the plan for their career progression. In particular, be able to answer the following:
(1) Who are the minority O-5/O-6s in your community?
(2) What are YOU doing to ensure these men and women are being properly developed to attain the highest levels of leadership?
(3) What is being done within your Enterprise / Community to ensure that these men and women are assigned to the key billets that lead to promotion?

- You will need to know what your enterprise's benchmark for success is in regard to middle career management and the timeframe in which success will be achieved.

- A three year plan addressing your key issues that includes a measurable way ahead must, rpt MUST, be briefed.

- The CNO approved benchmark for officer success is a 2037 Flag Pool that is 10% AA / 13% API / 13% Hispanic. This goal is what you should measure your officer corps against. There is no need to create a new benchmark; certainly the benchmark itself should be a discussion topic, but no need to create a new goal that differs from CNO's stated targets.

Follow-on briefs will be scheduled by CNO after your initial brief with him. This brief will be your opportunity to showcase what your individual enterprise/community diversity make-up reflects and your plan to move ahead.

As always, CAPT Ken Barrett and his team in my diversity directorate are standing by to assist you in putting together the best product possible for your brief to CNO.

Standing by for any questions. All the best and v/r, John
Will it take a lawsuit to stop this racism, because that is what it is. Please explain to me how it isn't. I want to believe otherwise, but my eyes see what they see. The sky is blue; the sea is wet; this is a racist policy.

Hat tip
Skippy-san.
UPDATE: In comments to this post, WTH comes up with some sobering points.
Numbers from the latest posted CO/XO SWO Mentoring brief from Bupers, available here:

(APR08, so none of this is new) I have cited this when talking about retention.
Goal for SWO Flags 2037:
62.9% White
10.7% African American
13.5% Hispanic
12.9% Asian/Pacific islander or Native American

I read Goal as Quota. Of note is the comparative ENS accessions (who I assume will make up the 2037 flag pool):
77% White
8% African American
6% Hispanic
9% Asian/Pacific islander or Native American
With those numbers the only way you are going to get there is bold faced discrimination based on race, creed, or national origin.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that this post has created trouble for some people. Please accept my apologies. Of note, the email and message have been wildly circulated via commercial email, which is how I received them - also of note, the email came to me via the classic fwd of a fwd of a fwd - from an unimpeachable source. No one on the original email sent it to me. Full stop.

As always, I am open to do anything up to deleting a post of mine if it is in error or crosses any line. I do not think this has. If you think it has, please email me to explain. Door is always open.

The goal of this post is to have a conversation that people in the Fleet just can't have in the open. We are a great Navy with great leaders - some of our policies need to be questioned when they negatively effect unit cohesion. Discrimination on a basis of race, creed, color, or national origin meets that standard.

If you are interested in a ppt of the plan, which I may blog on later, I recommend this. (link fixed)

I am open to other opinions, and D&G.

Cross posted at MilBlogs.

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Grandpa Bluewater said...

O5: "Racism refers exclusively to those who are white and oppressing.l"

Please provide the term for those who are black and oppressing; asian and pacific islander and oppressing; native american and oppressing; mixed race and oppressing (specify racial mixture and proportion - unless of course you hold to the "one drop theory"); hispanic and oppressing (please clarify your position vis-a-vis spaniards who are white, are they hispanic, or are all spaniards not white, since they are hispanic)?

Please define the term oppressing; is the the irish american attending catholic school and on the honor roll oppressing if he gets in Harvard and a black from an exclusive prep school with a C average doesn't? Does it make it oppressing if the irish american lad or lass went to a suburban catholic academy and not an inner city school? May a protestant "Christian" school in the south not be an oppressive institution? Is it racist if it admits only non whites, but not if it admits only blacks?

Is it permissable to refer to your assertion that only whites are racist as bigots, or are we forced back to the more general technical term "damn fool nonsense"?.

I am just intensely curious. You, sir, are just a damn fool bigot.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Labor Lawyer: Lets take 'em in order.

You can't correct a wrong by screwing the wrong doers' great great grand nephew. Much less some kid who just kind of looks like the old bastard when he was 18 or 25 or 32. So much for para 1.

If you recruit on any basis other than aptitude, those recruited on that basis will have less aptitude than those whose aptitude overcame not having any of the characteristic favored.
It cuts both ways, by the way. Example: Rickover. Characteristic favored, WASP. Now you can rig the grades in the officer programs to compensate for attrition, but all you do is pass through the lower aptitude candidates to the next gate in career progression.

Recruiting and being recruited is lifelong. Minority officers are recruited because they are a) minority, and b) officers, thought to mean highly competent.  A twofer -  just like black and female, it confers an advantage in keeping the feds off one's company's back in the world of affirmative action, and is thought to get a competent minority recruit on a more reliable basis than being black and female. Silly, I know, but there it is. Yes, Virginia, a black female qualified pilot is a threefer for the airline.

Finally, THE OCEAN DOESN'T CARE!!! NEITHER DOES THE ENEMY. GM can bankrupt itself with racial politics and political correctness, or just poor salesmanship and shoddy engineering design, or all of the above or none of the above, it's just poverty and joblessness on a grand scale. In the Navy, the risks are MORTAL to the sailors, to the officers and ultimately, to the republic.

Therefore everybody wants competent officers. Black officers, if anything, are harder on subcompetent black J.O.'s.  Since recruiting for melanin and not ability means you get more melanin and only average (in bulk lots) ability, those who aren't highly able TEND to be encouraged to seek employment elsewhere. If it were otherwise, more sailors would die needlessly. (By the way, be careful with that phrase "on average", it can mean many things.) Things being what they are, really competent minority members are highly prized.
To the detriment of all other really competent officers in a constantly shrinking Navy with an up or out officer promotion system. 

So it's A, B, and C. You better believe "Navy leadership is entitled (obligated, IMO) to figure out why" (hint, you need a race blind meritocracy, which affirmative action/favoritism can never provide)" and take action",  WHICH IS THE WHOLE POINT, EVERY THURSDAY.

I hope this clarifies these matters somewhat.

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