Tuesday, March 27, 2012

So, how are PTS, PFA, and ERB force shaping tools working out?

Interesting things coming out of the Fleet about Force shaping tools we have been using. We've seen these cockups before ... but after awhile you start to wonder who had a clear and honest view from the Fleet. This shouldn't be a shock to anyone ... unless we simply have a command climate that does not allow anything but the best case scenario to be used to make decisions.

You have to wonder if the "Most Likely" and "Most Dangerous" are even in the briefing package - or do they simply go for what is the easiest for both the briefer and briefee - the "Best Case?"

As expected, the Force reduction plans we have out there are not quite producing the 2nd and 3rd order effects we wanted; and the emails and Skypes are coming in.

AIRPAC and AIRLANT recently identified a record number of over 500 crossdecks, diverts, and TADs conducted this year to keep deploying carriers and TACAIR squadrons at FFC-mandated 90% rating fit. That is just about twice the FY11 rate. ~100 of that 500 are needed to meet FFC-CPF mandated reliefs for Sailors coming home for mandatory transition and processing due to ERB.

For the next round the number is over 600.

So, are we over manned, inefficiently manned - or are those in charge of enlisted manning reductions going to receive a good wire brushing for not planning for this?

Here is the question - if the Force is lean ... then where is fat?

Simple place to start - Shore staffs. Sailors belong on ships; ships belong at sea. Firewall that then work out until you run out of bodies and the Shore screams.

Instead of going after rates - we need to go after other variables. First item - leave the tip of the spear alone and focus on the bloated and pampered shaft. Get a run of who has not deployed in the last decade. Cut Shore BA/NMP focused on those "nice to have" billets that we know are out there.

Once you do that - then take a deep breath and ... enable the flattening and narrowing of our Staffs by making an immediate 20% reduction in Flag Officers. That is the shock that will force the change (and the Navy will be just fine).

Gather the last 5 Surface, Air, and Subsurface Commanding Officers who just left CDR Command, lock them in a room and tell them to cut and gut the Staffs they have been feeding over the last few years. They have the best view of bureaucratic overhead and the pain it causes; they will give you the best plan. The Force at Sea is in pain - time to shift it to Shore.

If you must give a general quota of serving personnel heading out the door by the end of the FY - then give COs their % or # and the ability to decide who goes home and who does not. They have the best view of personnel. Let them pick.

Whatever we did in planning for this reduction, we did not do it right. Why wasn't it done right? Simple, it was overly centralized and bureaucratic. Trust your O5/O6 leadership at the front more, and less on Millington and the Potomac Flotilla.

What is the solution now? Good question. First step would be a "N1 Standdown" to make sure present and future plans don't repeat this problem, or make this worse - then find a better way forward.

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