But with all this screening and winnowing, why are more unqualified officers getting to command ships, and then getting relieved because they can't hack it? Some point to the growing popularity of "mentoring" by senior officers (that smaller percentage that makes it to admiral.) While the navy uses a board of officers to decide which officers get ship commands, the enthusiastic recommendation of one or more admirals does count. Perhaps it counts too much. While the navy is still quick to relieve any ship commander that screws up (one naval "tradition" that should never be tampered with), up until that point, it is prudent not to offend any admirals by implying that their judgment of "up and coming talent" is faulty. In the aftermath of these reliefs, it often becomes known that the relieved captain had a long record of problems. But because he was "blessed" by one or more admirals, these infractions were overlooked. The golden boys tend to be very personable and, well, look good. The navy promotion system is organized to rise above such superficial characteristics, but apparently the power, and misuse, of mentoring, has increasingly corrupted the process.Bingo. Today we call it a Mentor. Back when I was and ENS it was called a Sea-Daddy. There is an even worse manifestation of it today as well - sectarian Mentors. They, clearly on if not over the ethical line, shop lists to potential board members of officers whose sole criteria for being on their list is that their ethnicity - in some cases exclusively the same ethnicity of the Flag Officer in question. Ponder if you will what those Flag Officers are not focused on if ethinity is their #1 priority WRT Mentorees. Then again - if the CNO has sectarianism as his #1 priority, who should be shocked.
There is also this jewel - one that is a much larger problem. We have forgotten that the primary puporse of Field and Company Grade Officers is to lead at the Tactical level - that is on a ship, submarine, or airplane. Full stop.
Another problem is that officers don't spend as much time at sea, or in command, as in the past. A lot of time is spent going to school, and away from the chiefs and sailors. For example, while the navy had more ships in the 1930s, than it does today, there were fewer people in the navy. That's because, back then, 80 percent of navy personnel were assigned to a ship, and had plenty of time to learn how to keep it clean and operational.Hat tip HP.