Thursday, February 20, 2014

Diversity Thursday

The balance of the sectarianism, illogic, mathematical jackassery, and general intellectual malaise that represents the military wing of the diversity industry is on full display in the 17FEB Navy Times article by Greg Zoroya.

Once again, we find our Navy in a retrograde mentality as stuck in the past as much as the early 20th century description above. 

Well my friends - it is Thursday, so once more unto the breach.

First things first, I really want to get this out of the way. I hate to hit on this topic again, but here we go - as someone has to put out there what so many are saying in private.

The next VCNO, VADM Howard, has for a long time been under a cloud of concern that she got where she was not just by her superior service - she has served well - but by the nature of her DNA. That isn't fair to her or our Navy - but she and our Navy are not doing what they need to do in order to counter that critique.

Right or wrong, fair or not, it is there - and when you look at her record and those of her peers - it is fair that good people raise that issue, especially for those who have been in the Navy long enough to know that some people do get special consideration due to their sex or self-designated racial group. For those in uniform, these conversations are usually kept in private for obvious reasons.

You don't counter a criticism by engaging in behavior that only reinforces it. The more senior you are, the greater the demands are on your time. You cannot do everything or be everywhere - so the decisions on where you invest your time and professional capital say a lot.

I believe that senior leaders should be writing, speaking, and generally being at the front of the maritime side of the national security conversation. That is part of their job. Everyone from junior enlisted to members of Congress want to hear what they have to say, and what topics are of interest to them. I wish the CNO and SECNAV were out more - they are, but it is just hard to get good press time. 

The VCNO is part of that conversation as well. Especially due to fact that VADM Howard has not published all that much for public consumption in her career, with her higher profile she needs to get out there more, and get out there in the right venues for the right reasons.

She has given some very good talks, specifically one at the Navy History and Heritage Command about the War of 1812, but try to get a wider viewing/hearing/reading for her? Not that easy.

Where do we see her? Where is she investing her time and professional capital. She and others seem to enjoy having her speak and go to venues where she is always being referred to by what she was born as. By doing this, it only feeds her critics' concerns on why she got to where she is. Additionally, such activities are way too self-referential and do little to serve our Navy outside a very narrow, and again, self-referential scope. The Fleet Sailor does not really care, and it does nothing to advance our Navy.

We and she need less of this;
Michelle Howard, soon to be second-in-command of the Navy, still recalls her days fresh out of the Naval Academy, when she was the only woman and only black in a crowd of officers.

“You look around the room, and there’s nobody who looks or sounds like you,” says the vice admiral, who has been approved for a fourth star and promotion to vice chief of naval operations, the Navy’s No. 2-ranking officer. “It can make you take your breath in.”
... and more of this,
There are shortfalls that teams only learn through the actual act of doing. The reliance on 100 percent simulation covers up vulnerabilities that if found before the fight, can be mitigated.

I’m now in a job that underpins the train, equip and man responsibilities of the Navy. Regardless of the reason, when resources are scarce, leaders will attempt to husband means to reduce expenditure of assets. Simulation will appear to be the panacea for efficient and less costly war fighting preparation. We will need to keep in mind the requirement to preserve live training for our Sailors and fleets in order to be ready when our Nation needs us.
She should insist on a firm "no" to anything or anyone who wants to talk about her sex or the source of her DNA. It is a waste on her professional capital and actually degrades its quality. It is beneath her position and is contrary to good order and discipline. You cannot lead all Sailors when you intentionally in word and deed keep reminding a large percentage them that you are different than they are. If you did not like it when it was done to you passively, then you shouldn't impose it on others actively.

You also cannot complain that others are judging you by your sex and DNA when that is what you are seen constantly doing yourself.

That is about all on that. I would think that in the end it is much better not to be known as a, "minority female VCNO" but just as a, "good VCNO" - but that is just me.


Let's get back to the heart of that dog's breakfast of an article; notsomuch the author, but the material he is working with. Math and demographics are hard;
Despite achievements by Howard and her contemporaries to reach the highest ranks, raw percentages of black soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have actually edged lower in recent years.

Today, about one in five soldiers are black, compared with nearly 27 percent in 1985 and 1995, according to Army figures. The share of black soldiers is still larger than the 17 percent of the U.S. population who are African Americans of military enlistment age and education.

Representation in the Navy also has slipped slightly: 21 percent of its ranks were black enlisted sailors in 2005, compared with 17 percent today. The Air Force has remained fairly steady for nearly 30 years with about 17 percent of its enlisted personnel being African American.
Sounds like representation is in line with, or above the national average. Why is the Army regressing to the mean a bad thing again?
The percentage of black officers in the services has remained fairly steady since 1995 — about 5 percent to 7 percent in the Navy, Air Force and Marines, and 10 percent to 15 percent in the Army. About 8 percent of the American population of similar age and education to a military officer are black.
Again ... there is no bad news here. We are either at the national average or slightly above.

Why are people trying to hard to find a negative - or inventing it out of whole cloth? Simple - there are serious jobs at stake here; jobs in the diversity industry. People and companies who make their living promoting sectarianism and discord. They cannot report success or progress - as to do so endangers not only their paycheck, but something they have invested their self-worth. Yes, pathetic - but true. Some people soak in race 24/7/365.

I'll let you ponder this tidbit for yourself.
The Army issued a statement saying it now devotes a third of its recruitment marketing campaign to attracting minorities and winning over parents, educators, clergy and coaches.
So ... 2/3 are focused on who then? In California that is majority-minority, you are spending 1/3 on 1/2? No, dear readers - it is not you. This doesn't make sense because in 2014 this whole sad show cannot make sense as it is senseless. 

... and for some reason, people have a problem with where people want to serve.
About half of African-American soldiers in 2009 were choosing, or being chosen for, service support jobs, such as cooks or maintenance workers. Only 24 percent served in combat arms, which is traditionally associated with greater advancement through the ranks.

Although blacks in 2013 were still working in largely the same Army jobs — 22 percent in combat arms and 46 percent in support positions — there are signs that attitudes about the service may be changing.
You can write a dissertation on why people of one group serve on one place or another, but really, if it is by free choice - why care? Like I've said before - if half a ship's officers happen to be of Philippine extraction, who cares?   

This next quote is a warning to all that the diversity industry will invent the undefinable - being that you cannot find institutional or real bias, we have this;
One of his panel members, Frank Wu, chancellor and dean of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, says another factor hindering diversity efforts is one that still exists in many areas of society: subtle biases.

“The military reflects society, and that’s part of our society,” Wu says.
Job security.

Actually, we have open bias. When we make special considerations for one race or another - then you have bias. I don't think that is what Wu had in mind though.

As for VADM Howard, this last quote begs the question; 
Howard, who will receive her fourth star in the spring, says minorities will fill more command positions in the future only if sufficient numbers are brought into the ranks today.

“We have to grow people with the experience,” she says. “That group of people that you start with in that year — 20, 25 years later, are going to be the group from which you select a commanding officer.”
I'm interested in how she plans to operationalize that desire - and does her plan treat all Sailors the same regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin?

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