Thursday, January 17, 2013

AMCSB: Zombie Boards & The Truths They Tell

Never is something more true than, "Don't listen to what they say, watch what they do." 

From FITREPS to the Milington Diktat, we have developed a habit of telling each other little lies. Mostly it is from the intellectual cowardliness of not wanting to be the bearer of bad news, or to do something that will make someone not like you. Worse, it is a sign of disrespect where you tell a lie to someone who knows you are telling a lie, and they act like they think you are being truthful when, in reality, they know that you know that they know that you are lying. That is just your basic FITREP debrief. 

 It is something else though when your nation and your service has been at war for a decade. In addition to "normal" deployments, in order to double-count paid billets (a person is counted only once, though they are doing two jobs, one which is effectively gapped) we created IAs where the Navy sent people to fill warfighting jobs in IRQ, AFG, and other garden spots that supported those wars. There was always a promise that of course, we are at war. You are filling a combat job in addition to everything else ... you are getting "pain points" that will be rewarded. Trust us. 

Well, what ground truth does the latest Aviation Major Command Screen Board tell us?
124Total URL Eligibles (SG 91/92)
39 URL Selects (not including AVN/Seq Commands)
21 of 39 selects on first look (54%)
- 35 had a masters (90%)
- 37 had completed JPME 1 (95%)
- 26 had completed JPME 2 (67%)
- 35 had joint duty assignments (90%)
- 24 were JQO (62%)
- 21 had completed an overseas tour (54%)
- 1 had completed IA/GSA (3%)
It is like a decade of war never happened.  You could have seen almost the same results in 2000. This is simply the result of a system running on autopilot. Led by people who have lost whatever operational mindset they once had, that they don't even understand what their core job is - to fight wars.

What are the "lessons learned" for our best? Get a masters, JPME I, and Joint Tour. All else is secondary. Fight to avoid the front lines and to lead Sailors in harms way. Scratch for those triple-digit N-codes in chop-the-chopped-chop PPT jobs. Get your part-time Masters from degree mills.

And, for all that is good, don't go to war or volunteer for an IA/GSA. That's the B-Team's job.

What does our Navy seem to value after a decade of war? Simple, the box-checking, staff weenie fonctionnaire.

Update: Some people have read this as a slap at those who were selected. I can see how it could be read that way, and I am sorry if some took offense; I could have worded it better.

Our system puts out demand signals that good people respond to, or are pushed to by sponsors to follow. Also, for something as highly exceptionally selective as the AMCSB, the line between the bottom five selected and the top five not selected is very hard to draw. The central issue here is institutional and what we have our best doing with their time, and also what we use as a "tie breaker."

You were a #1 JO, DH, & CO, but due to the luck of the schedule did not do a combat deployment. You want to get in the game, and look to an IA as a way to do it. Do you? The message is clear; better to do a cube farm J-code than lead Sailors in AFG.

That board fact is to our great shame.


Skippy-san said...

Wait a minute. You are being very unfair to the folks who did screen, and furthermore, NO ONE, should be defending the Navy's IA program which was an abomination in the last decade. Not to mention, that for this year group, most of them were doing their CO tours in 2008 or so and prior to that were engaged in the necessary things to get screened for their O-5 commands. I willing to bet you a beer that at least a couple were helo guys who spent some time with units flying "in lieu of" deployments doing what they should have been doing-flying.

fully 50% of the Navy's IA's were uneccessary-and furthermore, with the removal of the RESFORON's, these fills can and should have been filled by the reserves.

With the push to have younger CO's which went on early in teh decade-the bag that had to be filled for a rising aviation star got harder and harder to fill. As it is, guys are not getting enough operational time prior to command. You have folks showing up to Department head tours with barely 1400 hours-when I went to my department head tour I had almost 2700 ( And yes its true I was a whore for flight time-if you were not flying, what was the point of being in the Navy after all?).

There are issues with 'the process', but not having been sucked into the IA cesspool is not one of them. It is not like the Navy has been not doing anything for the last ten years-otherwise why would ships be failing insurv? These folks were plenty busy "fighting the war".

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