On the other hand, what in the 21st Century is put out as Diversity by those who draw their emotional and financial sustenance from it is a cancer in the heart and soul of this nation. It is a retrograde, oppressive, biased, closed minded socio-political theory that is sectarian, divisive, and ultimately schematic at its core.
In the Navy we should all be "Navy Blue." Nothing more, nothing less - we should adopt the Freeman Doctrine in all matters related to race, creed, color and national origin. That is the only way we can foster a race-neutral work environment. You don't do that by rubbing selective ethnic and racial groups in other people's faces based on the phases of the moon.
In an environment such as the Navy, one of the most essential "atmospherics" that a leader must drive to create is one of impartiality and a merit based evaluation of performance. There is a reason we have fraternization rules. Simply the appearance of partiality on the part of a leader will destroy unit cohesion and trust in the Chain of Command. It doesn't matter if the bias is personal, community, or designator bias. It is all, rightfully, discouraged and when found - actionable.
I will stop there, as all you need to do to hear the rest of my thoughts is to click the "Diversity" tab below, but in summary: this is all patronizing, biased, and specifically exclusionary. By pushing this policy, we are making good officers patronizing, biased, and specifically exclusionary. That is sad.
For your review, is the latest Diversity project. This time from Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Vice Admiral D.C. Curtis, USN.
In defense of VADM Curtis (who I have praised before) - the CNO's #1 priority is Diversity. That is a strong push from on top. Has to do something. Too bad the CNO's priorities are not in alignment with the SECNAV's. Ahem.
Again, perhaps a generational issue, as the general feedback I get from Gen X and younger officers of all DNA sub-types who have to go through this junk is, "What a waste of time." Perhaps it is a personal issue with VADM Curtis, as we saw with Admiral Mullen. Don't know. What I do know is that this constant selective promotion of one self-identified ethnic group over others is feeding a sectarian cancer that will eat at the foundation of every wardroom.
Oh, and don't tell me Diversity is in order to enhance recruitment and support of the Navy throughout the Navy. That has been debunked from the NBA to our own research.
If the Diversity Mandate were true, then (as we will discover next Thursday), we must have Americans of Philippine extraction flooding the senior ranks; as Philippinos by far have the highest reenlistment rates of any ethnic group. No, the story here is deeper and harder to fix.
First; I want you to review Surface Force's new publicantion - Surface Warfare Update; Vol. 1 Issue 1.
Page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, and page 6.
One of my spies sent this to me last week, pre-publication. Before I blogged about it though, I wanted to make sure I got some feedback from VADM Curtis's Diversity Office. They were very helpful and professional, specifically LCDR Mark Haney. I want to give them equal time.
As a final note before I turn it over to LCDR Haney, I would like to make a simple observation about LCDR Haney and his two office mates, LCDR Sonya Brown-Conner and LCDR Dave Pavlik.
Three SWO LCDR filling up the Diversity Office. I think of our friends at SUPSHIPS, NAVSEA, and SPAWAR who can not do all they want to do in order to ensure the future of our Fleet because they have been bled white though loss of BA/NMP. Imagine what these talented mid-career line officers could be doing for the future of the Fleet if they worked in any of those places. I think of the Joint Staff jobs where their talents are needed from Kabul to the Horn of Africa. I think of the PhD programs that are available.
I see the Navy expending three very talented officers at ... well ... the well intentioned promotion of divisive sectarianism, and that is sad - again, sad.
Anyway, enough of me. Now that you have read the six pages of Surface Warfare Update, on to LCDR Haney.
From an exchange of emails between us over the last week (BZ to him for taking the time and effort in an exceptionally professional manner), below are his comments explaining the e-zine and answering some of my questions. Some minor editing on my part for clarity and brevity - but here he is.
LCDR Haney will be in Georgia font, I will be in Courier New Bold - of course. "Interesting" comments are in red bold.
As stated in Admiral Curtis' email to all SWO Flags, Commodores and Commanding Officers it is ". . .a newsletter we have developed to focus on mentorship and role-modeling for minority Surface Warfare Officers in particular and for the entire Surface Force in general." Mentorship and role-modeling is extremely important to the development of all Officers and we are excited about the potential of this newsletter, created to help highlight information and resources, to facilitate that development.
This first edition focuses on minority Officers in the Surface Community, a recurring theme and one of many themes the Surface Warrior's Update will cover as I think it is important for Junior Officers (especially first tour) to see representation and success in the fleet that might not be apparent in their own wardrooms. We then provide information and tools on ways for Officers to connect if desired (SWO E-Mentor, Affinity Groups, Fleet concentration information), perhaps seeking out a mentor or a discussion they previously would not have pursued.
Future editions will expand on this theme, highlighting additional areas of what we see as a very diverse community to include home of record, gender, commissioning sources, prior Enlisted service, alternate career paths, family situation, milestone accomplishment, AMPHIB/CRUDES etc. For example, the next edition plans on using the CO call out portion to highlight what parts of the country many CO's are from, relating people to each other based on similar geographic areas. We see this as another way to connect Officer's to the community and to its leadership, facilitating retention, professional exchange and mentorship.
1. Was this newletter the result of an idea VADM Curtis came up with, or is it part of a larger effort that will be replicated in the Pacific Surfaces as well?
-This is a CNSF Diversity Office initiative with the expected audience being all Surface Warfare Officers.
2. How many people, military and civilian, are involved in the production of the magazine?
-The CNSF Diversity Office is responsible for the publication. The Office consists of the 3 Officers listed in the publication and this is one of the many duties we perform in our Office. Primarily 1 Officer worked on this publication.
3. Will this be a monthly publication, and if not, how often will it be published?
4. What is the budget per year for publication of this newletter?
-Publication was created by SWO's for SWO's - no budget no paid overtime.
5. In an email, VADM Curtis mentioned, "This newsletter is being sent to SWO Flags and CO's regularly and to all Minority SWO's once with a sign up subscription option". Will it be sent out hard copy or just email?
6. Where does your office get its list of Minority SWO's?
-PERS 41 which draws from the Navy's database of an Officer's self-selected race/ethnicity.
-No Officers are being excluding and in fact the reason it is sent to all SWO Flags and CO's is because the information is relevant to all leadership and expected to be passed on to their areas of influence. VADM Curtis also solicited feedback in his email to CO's to what we can do better to address the mentorship and developmental needs of SWO wardrooms.
WRT forwarding to all minority SWO's once, since the major focus of this edition was role-modeling of successful minority Surface Warfare Officers we wanted to ensure those Officers received this particular edition directly. Future editions will follow a similar targeted distro based on theme.
8. Is VADM Curtis concerned that dedicating special effort and time to only a select group of officers based simply on self-identified race and/or ethnic group might create an appearance of bias on his part towards those racial and ethnic groups who do not receive that special treatment?
-As addressed above, this publication is directed to all Surface Warfare Officers and is not exclusive of any group. It is also one of many publications and outlets that the Surface Enterprise has recently produced that focuses on networking, information dissemination and professional development repeating a consistent message through numerous forums to include:
-Increased SWO professional/camaraderie gatherings in Fleet concentrations (SWO Socials, PERS-41 Road shows, Spouse Briefs, Surface Line Week).
-SWO-Intro course: Professional development early in a JO's career as well as networking those JO's with local peers and leadership.
-Network News: A networking and role modeling newsletter focused on Surface Warfare Women - great success.
-Surface Navy Women's Symposiums: Fleet concentration networking events focused on role-modeling successful SWO females.
-SWO eMentor: Connecting the SWO Community through the internet, allowing Officers to find and engage mentors "outside of the lifelines."
-Social Media: SWONet, CNSF Facebook and Twitter site.
9. If he does recognize that appearance of bias, what will he do to mitigate it?
-Topics in this publication are relevant to all SWO's and we will continue to develop this as a leadership resource.
10. If he does not think there is an appearance of bias, why? Has he talked to those officers from racial and ethnic groups that are not being given special treatment? If so, what feedback has he received during those discussions?
-This newsletter was vetted through Senior and Junior Officers representing the spectrum of diversity in the Surface Force and feedback incorporated. Feedback was positive and appreciative of the mentorship resource for themselves or their wardrooms. Resources offered in these newsletters are available to all Surface Warfare Officers with no special treatment to any one group.
I suggest you now read Surface Warfare Update again and judge for yourself. The linked above can be a tad difficult for old eyes to read, so if you want the PDF, email me and I will send it your way.