One reason I think it resonates so much is that it serves as a solid validation of the warnings that have been sent out from both inside and outside the Navy's lifelines about the exceptionally wrong-headed path of the transformatinalists and the MBA-centric ideas that caught the fancy of Navy leadership.
It wasn't that there weren't good ideas that came from the transformationalists - there were. It isn't that there weren't appropriate places for MBA-centric ideas - there were. The problem was that transformationalism became a selfish, bigoted, and intollerant religion of the revolutionary that treated those whose ideas were rooted in the concepts of evolutionary progress and the lessons of history as a Medieval Christian knight would a pagan.
The stories of how warnings were ignored are legion. This isn't about the wee-crickets in the Navy blogosphere though. No. I want to take you back to the month before this blog started. Back to JUN 2004.
Some of you may recall that the USS Milius (DDG-69) had an Optimal Manning Experiment conducted on her in the middle of the last decade. I have a copy of the report by John J. McMullen Associates, dated 21 JUN 2004. Interesting reading, and in a way sad.
In it you had all the warnings you need for the second and third order effects we see today in the Balisle Report. Just a sample of the standard issue happy-report verbiage - with an underlying theme of caution;
Did we even try to understand our own studies - or did we spin them? Just search for MILIUS here to answer the question.
Initial conclusions / assumptions are that OM is working aboard Milius. Indications of their success is illustrated in Attachment A, Optimal Manning Metrics”.
However, the question begs, “At what cost to the sailors at the deck plates”? In the information and reports that I gathered there are several significant inconsistencies that are in need of clarification.
- Were there 52, or 63 billets moved ashore?
- The 3M Coordinator says that moving PMS ashore to SIMA is a failure.
- SURFPAC & the ships Final Report says PMS ashore is a success.
- The ship says Gapped Billets are at 14, with an average of 3.07 Gapped Months per billet, and the problem is worsening.
- SURFPAC says the ship only has 4 Gapped Billets and it is of no problem.
- SURFPAC and the Milius Final Report say that the OME was / is a success.
- Many of the crew interviewed have a different answer.
- If it is working well, why are so many of the crew getting only 4 hours sleep per night?
- The ship was under the impression that technological innovations would accompany OM. However, essentially no technologies, other than a stamp machine / postal meter, were implemented that have actually augmented reducing the manning.
The primary impression I am left with is that OM is certainly doable, but not without proper shore support. As indicated in the report, the shore support functions in need of improvement are SIMA, BUPERS/SURFPAC, & PAPA DETS.
I only had about a week on board the Milius to research and get answers to a multitude of questions and subjects. Therefore, much of what I am concluding is based upon interviews, and reports written by the Wardroom of the Milius. In order to determine the validity of these conclusions it would be appropriate to interview personnel at SIMA, BUPERS/SURFPAC, & PAPA DETS.