Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The overdue controlled burn ....

Get ready to cut your firelanes.

Admiral Harvey has looked at the impassible forest, untended and overgrown - and has decided to
take action.

To have a safe and healthy forest, you need to do some messy things - and here is what Admiral Harvey had to say in comments in his own blog linked to above.
... we will be doing a "controlled burn" of staffs, programs and processes to get rid of those entities, policies and processes that simply do not add real value to our ability to deploy ready forces - should be a very interesting next couple of years. Stay tuned! All the best, JCHjr
If you can support his efforts, pull a double shift. If you can't; get out of his way.

Good luck Admiral Harvey. There is a lot of understory choking the forest; has been for awhile.

On, and in case you were wondering if he is doing this alone - he isn't. He is, rightly, in full alignment with the
SECDEF and what we have been calling for on this blog for years.
Gates said the private sector has flattened and streamlined its middle and upper echelons, but the Defense Department "continues to maintain a top-heavy hierarchy that more reflects 20th century headquarters superstructure than 21st century realities."
Speaking on the 65th anniversary of V-E Day when Germany's unconditional surrender ended World War II in Europe, Gates pointed to the fact that, two decades after the end of the Cold War and resulting cuts in U.S. forces in Europe, the U.S. military still has more than 40 generals, admirals or civilian equivalents on the continent.
"Yet we scold our allies over the bloat in NATO headquarters," he said.
The savings, he said during his speech, must be "sustained and added to over time."
Gates signaled that his review will look at everything, from eliminating unnecessary or duplicative commands to reducing the number of general officers in the military's ranks - moves that could rile both military leadership and Capitol Hill.
"The Defense Department must take a hard look at every aspect of how it is organized, staffed and operated - indeed, every aspect of how it does business," Gates said.
"In each instance we must ask: first, is this respectful of the American taxpayer at a time of economic and fiscal duress? And second, is this activity or arrangement the best use of limited dollars, given the pressing needs to take care of our people, win the wars we are in, and invest in the capabilities necessary to deal with the most likely and lethal future threats?"
He also will review whether executive or flag-officer billets could be converted to a lower grade to create "a flatter, more effective and less costly organization."
And he said he will look at how many commands or organizations are conducting repetitive or overlapping functions and could be combined or eliminated altogether.
But Gates ruled out the possibility of another base realignment and closure round, saying it would likely be too difficult politically.
First step. Cut Flag Officers levels in half as an entering argument - but no less than a third after horse-trading. Return DESRON Staffs to levels seen in the mid-90s - and other remaining Staffs not eliminated by a similar level.

Want something out of the box? OK, here you go. Make four our of five (because I know I'll never get all) LCS what a sub-100 Sailor command should be - a LCDR Command. Make that 1 LCS CDR Command also the Commander of a "LCS Division" under the Commodore at the local DESRON. After all, LCS are supposed to work as a network anyway - make each LCSDiv have 4-5 LCS - one Commanded by a CDR the others by LCDRs. No additional staff required for a LCSDiv, and it gives that LCS CDR Command a little more than what his LCDR LCS CO's might have. That way he has a chance to compete with those CDRs commanding DDGs and other ships. DESRONs can handle the additional load. If not - then there is something else for your staff to streamline.

There, just cut down on the number of CDRs and CAPT you "need" as well.

Everyone should lean in to support Admiral Harvey to support the SECDEF.

Oh, and Admiral - here is some low-hanging fruit for 'ya that isn't as out of the box or as goofy as my LCSDiv idea. Does COMNAVSURFOR really need
three LCDRs to do a LT's job? Oh heck - let a YNCS do it - or a GS-9 - or put it where it belongs; as a collateral duty. If the administrative overhead for the job requires three LCDR - then there is another problem worth solving.


Tom Goering said...

Another place for potential DOD savings would be in recruiting. Currently, there are 5 recruiting commands - each competing against the other for a finite pool of applicants. Merging the recruiting effort into a joint command would make the process more efficient, and provide enormous savings.

Skippy-san said...

My own idea is to undo your favorite Navy IG's stupid idea.

MR T's Haircut said...



We have been saying this for YEARS on this porch..  glad to see some traction..

1.  Cut the Flags
2.  Cut NKO required Crap
3.  Cut Diversity Directorate
4.  Make LCDR and LT commands
5.  GUT and CUT the Navy Region HQ's... give comptrolling back to the command.

6.  Listen to PHIB!! 

Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor said...

Beautiful, Phib!

Simple math -- 1 flag position eliminated == at least 2 other officer billets (his "personal" staff) and more likely 8-10 minimum (functional staff). 

My own business just went through a delayering like this... my little group of ~20 reported to a first line systems engineering manager, who reported to a senior systems engineering manager, who reported to a director, who reported to another director, who reported to the VP responsible for all engineering in the business.  The second level of directors has ceased to be, and each level down the chain is now responsible for more functions -- senior manager went from 5 up to 7 functional groups.

On the LCS command, I'll raise you one -- LT commands, LCDR Divisions.  Make the supporting squadron commodore an O-5 command.

Combat NFO said...

Sounds like McCain's requests are being worked on.

Andy said...

Concur. Most strongly. One of the most disheartening things I used to do annually was look at the annual Naval Update issue of "Proceedings" and count the Flags of all species, then count the number of ships the US Navy has or had.  So by all means retire 'em.  Eliminate the Diversity Commisariate. Stop rewarding endless tours inside the Beltway with continued promotion and advancement. (nothing like meeting a senior CDR who's last operational tour was when they were an O-2).And while he's at it, I'd like to see ADM Harvey take every single copy of every single business management text, website and PowerPoint presentation that has the Department of the Navy's imprint anywhere on them and shred them, wipe them and delete them.  Then burn the remainders. Make sure every Chief and every officer gets books on leadership.

But bear this in mind: A lot of this came as fallout from ODS 20 years ago when we sent ashore Lt's and LCDR's to help plan and mange both the Air and Ground Components (we got our way with Maritime Component) and were met by USAF (and Army) COL's and BGEN's.  Guess who won virtually all the assorted "discussions" that ensued?  If we're (all DOD) weeding, it better damn well be across the board.

Damn, I need another cup of coffee.

I wish him the very best of success in his endevor, it's about $%^&ing time.


cdrsalamander said...

Amen.  That can combine VP squadrons so that they are the same size as VQ squadrons.  

Talked to one of the WTU folks the other day about their flight hours and aircraft availability.  What a Potempkin Village they have built in that community - even worse now than it was a decade ago.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Secretary Gates is only partially correct in his assertions about 20th vs 21st Century staffs.  For most of the 20th Century, you know, the World Wars and Korea part, Division and Corps staffs were surprisingly small. 

Sounds like Adm Harvey is "Mattis-izing" FFC.  Good for him.  Even in the austere staff days of 1944, in the push across France, Patton canniballized 15% of all Regimental, Division, Corps, and Army staffs and sent them as combat replacements for his exhausted infantry, armor, and artillery units.  This did two things.  It gave an influx of fresh soldiers to units that had been moving and fighting for weeks, and it gave former staff Officers and enlisted a perspective as to the forward zone that many lacked. 

When many returned to staffs in September as combat replacements finally caught up, they were far more imbued with a warfighting spirit than they had previously been.  Oh, and the "depleted" staffs in the middle of a running fight with the Wehrmacht?  Didn't miss a beat.  Huh.

LT B said...

You see Bob, I have seven different bosses. 

MR T's Haircut said...


don't forget that Patton also describes the Organization and Composition of his Army in a mere 3 pages.. He was a master of KISS

bullnav said...

I was on a DESRON staff in the mid-90s: 12 people.  Worked fine.  Now I see DESRON staffs 4 times that size.  Hell, when we went to the Black Sea in '95, it was the Commodore, myself (the lone Submariner on the staff and ASW Officer), the OPS, the Material Officer, and our OS1.  That was it to conduct a major PFP ASW exercise (Briz '95) and visit Georgia. 

Lots of work to do, and I hope that SECDEF can overcome the institutional inertia to get it done.

Anthony Mirvish said...

Admiral Spruance was also a fan of small staffs, and while Nimitz' chief of staff, kept the CINCPAC staff as small as practical too. 

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Today, GSP would be relieved for failing to have an EO statement published in his mobile CP. 

OnceAMarine said...

Don't forget the cover sheet on your TPS reports ...and I'll send you another copy of that memo :-D

CDR K said...

The simple fact is that we have an enormous staff in place so we can fight the beltway battles...I hope SECDEF orders across the board cuts.  Otherwise I fear Navy will come up on the short end.  Then again, a little preemptive "staff cutting" could go a long way!  Maybe start be recalling the OPNAV "shadow staff"?

Skippy-san said...

Especially since: CWO's are now going to be flying P-3's (does not impact command opportunity) and the old argument that P-3's guys can't make flag or command ships has been proven wrong. Hell,
 if TACAMO women can command CVBG's with zero traps...... :)

I concur with Mr. T.  Do away with CNIC and the regional staffs and return installations to the TYCOMS. Then do away with the lead follow relationships of the TYCOMS and have just one TYCOM per major platform ( surface, air, and subs).

I've got a lot more ideas-but this idea will die when Gates resigns IMHO. I'd also point out that replacing military with CIVPERS billets does not necessarily save you money. Life cycle costs for CIVPERS can be high and/or higher than having military and military are actually easier to "fire".

Vlad the Impaler said...

I understand the concern over bloated staffs that are nothing but a tribute to an ADM's ego and the administration creep but I think there are still a fair number of billets that warrant senior officers. At least when dealing with naval history, captains are not inclined to go into detail with a LT and are far more open with someone who had his own commands, went to the Naval War College, and who has about the same depth of experience.

Other tasks such as communicating with higher ranking civilians require a level of education a finesse that is generally correlated with being a senior officer. Civilians also tend to be more respectfull of senior ranks than junior ones who then feel a small sense of flattery. Senior officers also have more to lose in event of misconduct. They tend to be more reliable when put in certain positions.

I think the real issue is that in order to be recognized as a good officer by the beurocracy, officers need to create programs or get their hands in some effort to look good. A uniform only requires one person consulting a few other people but then you have a lot of people who don't have anything to show except being mediocre division or ship commanders. The core culture seems to have shifted from seeking maritime supremacy to a finishing school for an educated class. The same thing tends to affect other militaries that are run by a self-referntial political class.

Combat NFO said...

It'll be interesting to see Gates shows a commitment to reducing the administrative burden as well, or if he just thinks the staffs are doing nothing at all.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I said "September" but meant "November".  3rd Army began getting "Repple Depple" folks in November. 

gorilspi said...

Well...there went my career.

gorilspi said...

Well...there went my career.

Mike M. said...

While we're at it, can we please dump the obsession with metrics?  We're at the point where we are spending an inordinate amount of effort tracking things that were estimated by rule-of-thumb.

Combat NFO said...

Sounds like we should start tracking the amount of time spent tracking things.  42% increase in pay seems awfully high, I'm assuming this is aggregate.  It would make sense if all the activated reservists were pushing up the number, but to say the average basic pay has gone up 42% seems kinda high to me.

Anonymous said...

Hao about cutting ALL those billets in the Diversity community? Just chop them off!!