Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Of CLASSRONs and other signs of madness

This post bounces around some - so be patient.

It has been quite a long time since I have touched on CLASSRONs. To be honest, I just don't have the energy to go after them except when something especially foolish comes up. Thanks to Tim, I think I have one.
For background; what is a CLASSRON? Well, I'll let Big Navy tell you,
The CLASSRONs will not replace the existing Afloat Training Groups or Type Commands (TYCOM). They will provide the Immediate Senior in Command and TYCOM with the ability to find process inefficiencies and to apply resources to achieve desired results. Creation of the CLASSRONs was an outgrowth of the Surface Warfare Enterprise.
So, yes. We have created another CAPT Command to create another layer of bureaucracy because the other layers failed. More of the same always fixes a problem. And yes, the CAPT gets to call himself "Commodore." I really am starting to get fed up with a Navy run by Boomers. Everyone gets a trophy.

Back when I was a pup, I accidentally came across a letter the Battle Group (as they were still known) COS to his father where he lamented the fact that at the end of his career he found himself just another clog in the bureaucracy preventing things from working smoothly - getting in Commanding Officer's way. That was the COS for a Carrier Battle Group. I would not want to see what the CLASSRON Commodore's write to their fathers about .....

Anywho; can you really tell me that the ATG, TYCOM, DESRON, MCMRON, etcRON couldn't do
that? There had to be another CAPT running around wanting to be called Commodore and looking for a designated parking space? Sigh. I love new structures and new ideas - I really do. But...only if they replace other older ones, and smooth the process from a monetary, personnel, and warfighting perspective. Especially support structures. A Staff Weenie should only speak if it improves the silence. A support structure should be created if it creates a smaller footprint than the one it replaces - if it replaces nothing - then don't create it.

On a mildly unrelated subject - but one that flows into the "do we need more staff or more shipboard manning" mantra - here is a fun tip that reader Tim sent my way (read the whole sales pitch via PDF here); Byron, are they having any luck?
Everyone can agree that corrosion on the waterfront is a big issue today.
Why is it more now than in the past?
With more and more ship’s lives being extended beyond their originally-designed service lives, constant preservation is needed to keep the ships clean, efficient, and ready for tasking. Keeping Warships Ready for Tasking (WRFT) is one of the larger principles behind the development of the Destroyer Class Squadron (DDGRON).
Besides adding another acronym to the lexicon (hope you got a NCM for that), are you sure that is the argument you want to make? Are you sure that is accurate? Existing structure do not encourage a clean ship? An efficient ship? A ship that is ready for tasking? You aren't about to contradict yourself in this article, are you?
The Norfolk Common Support Directorate (CSD), under the cognizance of the DDGRON, is waging one small battle in the global war on rust.

Using Sailors who are TAD from local ships, the CSD, under the leadership of Lt. Dominc Bailey, has formed Corrosion Control Teams (CCT). Each CCT is a group of five to ten sailors, lead by a First Class Petty Officer or Chief. These teams are then assigned to ships who have requested assistance in corrosion control or deep cleaning.
In the last few weeks, two ships have requested assistance. Eight sailors went aboard USS Ashland (LSD 48) assisting with bilge preservation. Lead by two First Class Petty Officers, the team meets on the ship at 8:15 a.m. ready to begin an energetic day of work.
"Energetic." I like that. I like that a lot. I think I will use this next time there is a CHT problem.
Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Atkinson, Ashland’s Executive Officer is a firm believer in the effectiveness of this initiative. “The primary metric of their effectiveness can be seen in the clearance of RBOs (repair before operates) problems on the ship's Aux Boilers. S/F has cleared 12 of 23 RBOs in 2 days. RSO Sailors have removed the daily housekeeping responsibilities out of the hands of S/F and allowed S/F to focus on maintenance,” said Atkinson.
Ummmm, XO. Sounds like the crew already removed themselves from that "problem." (Oh, hi Chris!)
A second team of eight sailors went onboard USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) for topside preservation in preparation of their upcoming INSURV. Also under the guidance of two First Class Petty Officers, the team was assigned to cleaning, and painting topside areas onboard the ship.
Ah, here. There is that pesky contradiction. Lets look at that quote again,
With more and more ship’s lives being extended beyond their originally-designed service lives, constant preservation is needed to keep the ships clean, efficient, and ready for tasking.
The BUCKLEY was commissioned in DEC 2001. She is of this decade. Now ASHLAND is an "older" ship at 15 years .... but nowhere close to being "beyond their originally designed service lives."

Sorry, try again.
The DDGRON hopes that by assisting ships on the waterfront with their preservation, the necessity for additional work in the future will diminish. Cmdr. Mark Leary, who heads the project from DDGRON, believes “this is an opportunity to effectively utilize TAD personnel, while at the same time doing some good for the ships in the areas of cleanliness and preservation.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Corrosion Control Team or requesting assistance, please contact Lt. Dominic Bailey at the Norfolk Common Support Directorate 757-445-xxxx or email xxxxx@navy.mil.
Actually, I am more interested on why we have such a corrosion problems on such young ships. I would like to ask the last 10 1LT, XOs, and senior members of the Chief's Mess why their ships are in such bad shape. How many of their COs have ruined a pair or two of coveralls in their tour?

As for Big Navy, I would like to see three 10 year old ships randomly selected within 1 month of a deployment from the US, Dutch, and Japanese navy. Let's look at the bilge, topside and two other place of Byron's choosing. Then we should compare corrosion. Just a thought.

Yes, I thought the same thing, "Optimal Manning." Also I thought of what a white flag that this is to the Goat Locker.
Someone out there please tell my how this says good thing about what is going on in the Fleet from either a "transformational" or leadership or efficiency point of view. Please. Also include an answer why we keep growing the tail at the expense of the teeth? At this point the Surface Navy isn't going to be able make fun of the VP bubbas when it comes to Staff bloat and overhead.

Are the CLASSRONs a bandaid or a cure? I am ready to be sold - but over the last year, I just don't see it.
Oh, thinking of cleanliness and corrosion - someone who hasn't done a tour on a CVN is thinking you can get by with a crew of 1,000. Baaawawahahahah!!!!

I don't care how many folks you have at the TPU (or whatever we are calling it today) - but you cannot keep a CVN clean and ready for a 50 year life with only 1,000 people - unless your Senior Chiefs are manning sweepers and the Airwing knows how to work a needle-gun.

(Disclaimer: yes, I know this was a bit of a puff piece about getting some good out of some underutilized Sailors - but I think it tells, unintentionally, a much larger story)

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