Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sen. Webb, Rick - look to SES next

It may take a few years, but eventually Congress and the press catches up to Salamander.
Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said he is studying historical trends to determine why senior ranks are growing but is not ready to do anything about it.

“This is not intended to be an adversarial hearing,” he said Wednesday as defense and service officials appeared before him to discuss how needs are determined. “This is an area we are just beginning to get a look at.”

But while Webb may not be ready to act, one witness said something is definitely amiss.

“The average general and admiral has nearly 500 fewer uniformed personnel under command today than in 1991,” said Ben Freeman of the Project on Government Oversight, a federal watchdog group.
Sen Webb (D-VA) - no please, be adversarial; we've been worrying about your testosterone levels for years.

... and when did you first hear about POGO? Midrats of course. Now, on with the goodness in Rick's article in Navy Times;
Some 964 flag and general officers are in the force today, down from 1,017 at the end of the Cold War. The total force, however, has dropped by 600,000, a much steeper decrease.

The 30 percent drop in the overall force against a 15 percent-drop in flag and general officers has created “star creep,” said Freeman, who endorsed Graham’s idea of also studying growth in senior civilians.
They may force you to sit through Lean Six-Sigma .... they may twist "lean" in to your FITREP somehow ... but when it comes to their own there is but but one word; fat.

You can read all of POGO's Ben Freeman's testimony here.

If they really want to ponder top-heavy ineffeciency - then look to the SES gaggle. Verily.


Byron said...

I'm all for cutting half of them, and ZERO flags for anything other command other than ones that put warheads on foreheads...because if they don't, they ain't important.

Anonymous said...

Simple and fast screen to reduce billets, works for whatever percentage whack you want to take:

(1) Rank-order all FOGO across the services based on the number of officers and enlisted in their chain of command.
(2) For each FOGO billet below the cut line, reduce the position to an O-6.
(3) Offer incumbents retirement at present grade or reduction to O-6 if they wish to remain on active duty.

virgil xenophon said...

You know where the inevitable logic of all this is headed, don't you? The British route: Hundreds of Admirals and ZERO ships of any kind..

DJ Elliott said...

The WWII number was fat too.Simple fix - implement the 30 year retirement on all ranks, no wavers.Replace each billet other than JCS with 1 rank lower.5 total 4-stars is correct.Almost all the other 4-star billets are only 3-star in size.Use O-6 as the highest level for an Adm/Gen's COS.Ensign billets can be SNCO billets...10 percent cap on commisioned and warrent officers in all services...PS  I wrote an article on rank inflation in 1995 for USNI.They declined to publish.  It has gotten worse since then...

Bubba said...

I'd like to see the graph back to the end of the War of Northern Agression.

The graph starts at the end of WWII.  I think that at the end of WWII there would have been a bloated general staff.  Incompetent generals, (perhaps Peter Principled would be a better word), got promoted up and out of the way, and many older staff officers had positions in industry and Washington.  More and more flag officers were created, particularly after successful actions.  At the end of a successful war, one would suspect there would be many more flag officers, and for that matter, many more sergeants and CPOs, then at the start.

Former LN1 said...

And yet the High-Year tenure gates for E's keep getting tightened. 

The Navy's JAG reserve is a ludicrous "inverted pyramid" -- more 4-stripers than you can shake a stick at, generally with very little to do other than gun-deck eachother's PRT results and recommend eachother for MSMs.  What a joke.

Bubba said...

I look at the huge number of lawyers and wonder, "who hires these guys."  What is the use of a lawyer?  What purpose do they serve? 

Sure, I can see the need for a litigator or two, for courts martial and courts of inquiry, but really, what is the use of a lawyer? According to a recent study, less than 10% of lawyers have been in a courtroom in the past 12 months and you have to ask, what do they do?

G-man said...

We must use the tools at hand - the diversity quotas and the PRT.  makes all flags/SES run the PRT - top 80% move on to the second round.  Then we apply simple statistical racial averages of Navy's current make-up to the remaining.  that way we get the fittest which also meet the current diversity quotas which obviously guarantees we have the happiest, most colorful, most job-security focused flags/SES we've ever had.  No matter whether or not we get the best, the brightest, the leaders, and the do-ers.

We all know the senior enlisted and O-5s/O-6s really run the Navy so who cares? 

Steel City said...

Place I used to (fortunately past tense) work there were dozens of them trying to make save Flipper and Shamu from the mean old Fleets and their sonar death weapons.  The end result was a bureaucracy with untold wasted scarce resources.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I like it, in theory. 

But, if everyone passes the PRT, they can all stay, IAW Navy regs.  So, let's have them shoot the pistol.  Anyone not qualifying first time across, gets his/her walking papers.

Anonymous said...

Those would be litigators, the 10% what are the other 90 % doing?

Anonymous said...

They have a cushy club, why not stick around?  They convince leadership that nobody junior to them can do the work (leadership failure if that's the case) and then either come back as a civilian or just stick around in uniform forever.  Why leave?

The Usual Suspect said...

The other 90% are agitators.

Benjamin Walthrop said...


Not trying to start a fight here...I just want to understand your position.  If I read your comment correctly, you don't think there should be Staff Corps FO's, Restricted Line, FO's, Medical FO's, or FO's in other staff positions (OPNAV, TYCOM, SYSCOM's, etc.).

Basically (for the USN) the only FO's should be Group Commanders (ARG, CSG, ESG, etc.) or COCOMs.  Is this your position?

Actus Rhesus said...

actually, the navy's courts-martial numbers have dwindled to the point where the"litigators" are the underworked and overstaffed community.  The big demand is in OP-Law, E-Law, Contracts, Fiscal Law.  If you don't understand what they lawyers do, then you have clearly never been on a major staff.

However I do agree that having a JAG 3 star is a joke.

Actus Rhesus said...

"other than ones that put warheads on foreheads...because if they don't, they ain't important."

ignorant, byron.  flipping ignorant.  While it frustrates me at times to realize that a lot of our navy has lost focus on the "pointy end", I'd like to remind you that a spearhead without a shaft isn't much of a spear.

Aubrey said...

Have to take issue with this - AR makes a good point, any spear needs a heck of a lot more than a point to be effective.

Byron, you know history, strategy and tactics - what would have happened in the Pacific in 1943-4 without the fleet train and support services? Not every job or command is directly involved in combat, the true test I whether various commands and endeavor actually SUPPORT combat forces, or are totally extraneous...

Guest said...

The JAG 3-star billet was mandated by legislation advocated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a reserve USAF JAG.

Naval_Historian said...

Here's a thought: Simplify the rank structure.

RADM(LH) would become a Commodore; O-6 with title and incentive pay (for pay purposes would be an O-6.75) that would cease on completion of duty.

RADM(UH) would become RADM with one star. Period.

VADM, 2 stars.

ADM, 3 stars.

CNO would be by Navy regs the ONLY 4-star on active duty.

Those in formal leadership roles, i.e. COMCARGRU 8, would qualify for incentive pay during billet tenure.

Another thought might be bring back the Army's old Brevet system for all flag officers. Example: CAPT Jones would be breveted to VADM while serving as COMNAVRESFOR.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Flag Officers? Frock 'em all. Give half orders to "home".
Make all staffs a quarter staff, since they mostly get used to beat on sailors and other staffs (Robin Hood joke).

Naval_Historian said...

Correction: Two 4 star billets; CNO and the USN rep on the JCS. CNO would be senior by regulation regardless of date of prior ranks/comissioning. They would both be breveted ADMs with the CNO's incentive pay being $1 more.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the CNO already the USN rep on the JCS?