I want you to review the five RDML/RADM outline biographies for a few minutes. You will notice that each number is hyperlinked, but don’t click any of them until you read all five - that will tell you who is who. My commentary follows.
I did not cherry-pick these bios. I started with one, and then for comparison I decided to grab at random four other serving or recent Carrier Strike Group Commanders.
All bios stop the tour before they were to assume the position of Commander Carrier Strike Group XX.
What stands out to you?
- Naval aviator; VAL-15 and 37; USS Forrestal (CV 59), and VFA-37.
- XO/CO of VFA-37.
- XO CVN-74.
- CO AGF-11.
- CO CVN-68. During those tours, Branch deployed with both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets and has logged combat time in A7’s and F18’s over Grenada, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq. He participated in Operations Urgent Fury, Ernest Will, Southern Watch, Deliberate Force, and Iraqi Freedom.
- FRS Instructor at both A-7 and F-18 Fleet Replacement Squadrons.
- Joint Staff in Washington.
- Navy Nuclear Power Training.
- Executive Assistant COMPACFLT.
- Director of CNO Operations and Plans (N31).
- LPD-12, FFG-15, and AO-180.
- Flag LT to C2F.
- XO CG-55.
- CO DDG-71.
- COM DESRON 26.
- SWO JO Assignment Branch at BUPERS.
- Personnel Plans and Policy Division of the Joint Staff.
- Flag Secretary to COMSURFLANT.
- CNO Staff as executive officer to the director of the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review.
- Executive Assistant to CNO Operations, Plans, and Policy (N3/N5).
- COS, C2F.
- DCOS for Global Force Management and Joint Operations, CFFC.
- Commander, Joint Task Force, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
- VF-84 and VF-154.
- XO/CO VF-11 embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
- Commander, Carrier Air Wing 3.
- Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 4 in Point Mugu, Calif.
- Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nev.
- U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Air OPS for C2F.
- COS for C5F.
- Deputy and then Acting Director of Deep Blue.
- Associate Director, Assessment Division (N81D).
- VFA-131, VFA-37.
- XO/CO VFA-131.
- XO CVN 73.
- CO AGF-11.
- CO CVN-70.
- Director of CNO Strategy and Policy Division on the Navy Staff.
- Test pilot.
- Aide/administrative assistant to the Deputy CNO for Plans, Policy and Operations.
- Flag LT to Commander, Allied Forces Southern Europe in Naples, Italy.
- NATO liaison officer to UNPROFOR.
- Assistant OPS Officer, AVT-16.
- Navigator CVN-65.
- CO LHD-5
- 2 tours in VQ-4.
- XO/CO VQ-4.
- Airborne Communications Officer Course instructor.
- OIC Naval Air Maintenance Training Depot 1079.
- Political-military planner in the Asia-Pacific Division of the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate on the Joint Staff.
- Executive Assistant for the Assistant to the CJCS.
- DOS for C6F.
- Executive Assistant for the Chief of Naval Operations.
Every one of these RDML/RADM are fine officers and great professionals --- but ....
By any objective criteria, RDML Tyson does not have the background that indicates success in Command of a Carrier Strike Group. In the end, she may be the best Commander of a CSG we have ever had and be a CNO in a few years time. But, that is hope and conjecture; that isn’t founded on what we have established as primary indicators for success as a CSG Commander.
Sad. This is a classic case of feelgoodism in the selection process may make those who gave her the nod feel all warm and fuzzy inside and lets them hold her up to those who they need to curry favor with – but this is a patronizing insult to all those women in the Fleet from younger generations who are building up the professional background the same as those male officers who came before them to be Commanders of Carrier Strike Groups.
Unfortunately, the first female CSG Commander cannot stand on her record as benchmarked by those who went before – not her fault – and as a result, those who follow her will have another barrier thrown in front of them by the foolish acts of those looking for something to brag about. The next female CSG will have to say, “Yea, but look at my record – I’m not like the first. I am like everyone else - no one made a special case out of me. Really - look!”
Why not? Land based VQ made it. The door is wide open. One day - maybe an Information Dominance Professional!