If you have not done your homework - then click here, read it then come back.
Before we plow in, let's look at the message traffic.
R 021754Z SEP 09Now some general comments. First things first - it is way too long. At 15 pages it is at least twice the length is should be. The format is part of the problem.
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC
TO AL NAVADMIN
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC
PLEASE PASS TO ALL OFFICE CODES:
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N00//
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N00/SEP// SUBJ/CNO GUIDANCE FOR 2010// GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. I HAVE RELEASED MY GUIDANCE FOR 2010 AND POSTED IT ONLINE AT WWW.NAVY.MIL.
2. MY 2010 CNO GUIDANCE REAFFIRMS MY FOCUS AREAS AND 18 INTENTIONS, WHICH I ARTICULATED IN MY PREVIOUS GUIDANCE. IT ALSO HIGHLIGHTS SOME OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS OVER THE PAST YEAR IN EXECUTING THE MARITIME STRATEGY. WE WILL BUILD UPON THIS PROGRESS AND SEEK NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN THE YEAR AHEAD.
3. MY 2010 GUIDANCE CONSIDERS THE STRATEGIC, OPERATIONAL, AND FISCAL CHALLENGES WE FACE TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE. TO FURTHER REFINE OUR COURSE, THIS YEAR'S GUIDANCE PROVIDES ADDITIONAL FOCUS FOR MY 18 INTENTIONS AND IDENTIFIES 5 INTENTIONS ON WHICH I WILL PLACE PARTICULAR EMPHASIS:
A. CONTINUE TO BE THE DOMINANT, READY NAVAL FORCE ACROSS ALL MARITIME MISSIONS B. BUILD A NAVY WITH APPROPRIATE FORCE STRUCTURE AND STRATEGIC LAYDOWN C. ACHIEVE DECISION SUPERIORITY D. ALIGN THE REQUIREMENTS, RESOURCES AND ACQUISITION PROCESSES E. EVOLVE AND ESTABLISH INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS 4. READ MY GUIDANCE CLOSELY AND USE IT TO INFORM YOUR ACTIONS AND COMMUNICATION.
5. WE ARE ON THE RIGHT COURSE TO SEIZE THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD. YOUR IMPRESSIVE WORK AFLOAT AND ASHORE MAKES ALL OF US PROUD AND IS KEY AS WE TAKE OUR NAVY INTO THE FUTURE AT THIS IMPORTANT TIME IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR DEDICATED SERVICE AND FOR THE STEADFAST SUPPORT OF YOUR FAMILIES.
6. RELEASED BY ADMIRAL G. ROUGHEAD, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.//
Because of the format, it reads like what it probably was - a "block responsibility" work of different authors glued together at the end with an intro and conclusion thrown in for good measure. As a result, it is irritatingly repetitived. Not only within "blocks," but between them as well. Some ideas and topics are repeated three to four times. A secondary problem - and I feel the pain of the final editor - is the logical result of having too many people in the chop chain - basic editing problems that get lost in the "move this to here and then back again" nature that MS Word allows.
Just one example of the type; PPBE is defined on page 12 but is used first on page 9. The SME specific acronym overload is too high for such a document as well. Way to wonkish unless you have spent most of your career assigned to the Potomac Flotilla. The end result is that even for a wonkish squid like myself, interest in going further sinks like a stone after about page 4.
Yes, I know I sound critical - but I wanted better. I wanted better because now more than ever the Fleet hungers for clear, precise, jargon-free Direction and Guidance from its Commander. We really need to think like we are sending something manually on HF TTY. Keep that mindset, and we would all be better.
Enough of the general, let's go to the specific from my POV.
First paragraph starts out strong with pulling out some of the useful bits from the Maritime Strategy. It follows up with a shout-out to those parts of the Navy participating in the Long War, and follows up with core at-sea mission areas. At this point, I was very happy about what might follow. Very strong opening.
The second paragraph starts to wander a bit. Did you notice the,
"...stretched in our ability to meet additional operational demands. Our budget is pressurized..."... bit? I believe that these are the "challenges" referred to later in,
... we are well prepared to meet (the challenges) and transform them into opportunities ...Excuse me? I don't care who you are - you cannot transform a tight budget in the face of an overused capital base into opportunities unless you plan on setting the conditions to sell a massive downsizing and restructuring at lower but more efficient output level. That is just happy-talk.
Oh, and how in Neptune's name can a budget be "pressurized?" Like a space suit? An A/C system? A bike tire? Ungh. Horrible Potomac Flotilla phrase. Kill it now before it can reproduce.
This is when things started getting wobbly as the above followed another solid review of the CNO's Focus Areas. Next is a nice emphasis of his "Top 5 Intentions." Five is a good number for Commander's Intent - 18 is too many. It would be better to stick with the Top 5 and turn the other 13 into 2010 Key Indicators of Progress. But this ain't my show....
The next section goes through Building the Future Force. We show a little leg from the smart-set with this bit,
... improve our capability and capacity to meet increasing Combatant Commander demands for integrated air and missile defense and open ocean anti-submarine warfare.Hey! Phiby like! I don't seem so crazy anymore with an eye to the Long Game ....
However - I soon felt like I just had a Midwatch boloney sandwich, you know - the ones where the boloney is getting green but you can't tell in red lighting - with the following.
... conducted the "Leveraging the Undersea Environment" wargame...That is the worst wargame name for FY09.
Things turn up again with this long waited move,
We moved Navy Expeditionary Combat Command operations into our base budget.Took almost as long as it took to defeat Germany in WWII - but I'll take it.
Moving to page 4, I snickered at this mention,
We created navyformoms.com as a virtual community for parents and other key influencers to communicate with each other.Snerk. Better late than never to come out, I guess.
At the bottom is a good example of a "what" that avoids the "so what." It is the "so what" that we need- as I don't see a Fleet size mention anywhere.
Our FY10 budget better aligned our program with the path our maritime Strategy has set; however, we are progressing at an adjusted pace.That needs to be fleshed out. I'll call it now - by the end of FY10 we will have a new, lower "minimum Fleet size."
Sometimes we try too hard to bang that MBA square peg in the round hole of the military.
We will seek out and embrace "Game Changers" .... at the left end of the kill chain.Ummm, ok. Claim your MSM at the desk after you get your plaque.
How many ways can you say "Strategic Homeporting?" I hope this is a new one, because I will take "strategic laydown" if that means we can mitigate the "Christmas Eve at the pier" scenario.
We are moving towards a strategic laydown of our forces that will ensure effective operations in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.I also think that "man-made disaster" is the new "global replace" phrase for "terrorist attack." Good Salamander-approved thinking though.
We have a "where is the accountability" moment on page 7,
We will restore discipline and rigor in our requirements...Great. First apologize for all the hate mail sent to me over the last half-decade by those who said we did not have a "discipline and rigor" problem - and send Sid and Byron a gift card at the NEX for the grief they got as well. Second, who was in charge when we were "undisciplined and lacked rigor" and will they be held accountable? Do you, as CNO, accept any responsibility for it? If so, why and for what reason did you/we lose the bubble? That is important to know so we don't make the same mistakes in the future - and that others are comfortable talking about the mistakes they have made in their career.
By the end of page 7, things just drag, repeat, and made me grumpy. A few examples:
- Page 9: Bu11sh1t Bingo phrase of the day, "Tone of the Force."
- Page 10:
"We will continue to focus on diversity accessions and retentions, focusing outreach efforts on key influences in diversie communities to ensure the face of the nation is reflected in our Navy."Normal font, good: bolded font, racist thinking unworthy of our Navy.
Enough of that shameful habit of our Navy - I want to end on a strong, happy note - the last paragraph.
We are privileged to serve in the United States Navy at this time in history. Seek out and create the opportunities that will sustain our maritime dominance today and in the future.That we can all nod our head to. NB: throughout our history those who have sought out new ideas and concepts have run into great head winds.
Turn into the wind.