Thursday, July 24, 2014

Diversity Thursday

In this environment, I guess they eventually get them all. 

Let me know if you catch the tell;
Buss also overhauled the selection process. The Blues will still get to pick the next generation of team members, but once those selections are made, Buss said new checks and balances will be used to vet those selections.

Buss said the the selection criteria has been carefully rewritten to ensure no one is excluded.

“We’ve really kind of focused on clearly stating in our selection instruction that demographics and gender will not be considered as factors,” he said. “It’s really based on aviation skill, professional performance and community reputation.”

Once the flying and nonflying new members are picked, those selections will first get looked at by the squadron’s immediate boss, the chief of naval air training.

From there, Blues selections will be sent to Navy Personnel Command for a final scrub to ensure there’s nothing in the person’s record to preclude their selection and that a tour with the team won’t be bad for their career progression.

Buss said he’s ready for naysayers to complain that the new process as “the admirals picking the team,” but he said nothing is further from the truth.

“It’s just having an outside set of eyes look at the selections to be sure you are picking the most talented and diverse team possible,” he said.
Can I pick at that a bit? I'll fisk just the paragraphs above.

1. We no longer trust the best to pick the best? We need to have the not-best second guess the choices of the best? I get that right? The best are motivated to pick the best because in that line of work, if the guy off your left and right wingtip is not the best - then good chance he may kill you and others. So ... what do the second guessing not-best think overrides excellence?

2. Of course people are being excluded, I sure hope so. That is the foundation of an "exclusive" display team. Without mercy, you exclude those who are not the absolute best in the aircraft. You exclude some exceptional pilots, superb officers ... but those who just don't quite make the final cut. In VADM Buss's view, who, exactly, is being excluded for reasons that require a 3,000-mile screwdriver? Please provide examples for us to use as a reference. Do you have any evidence for the reasons that unacceptable exclusion took place?

3. "... really kind of focused ..." is not the kind of clear wording that builds confidence. "...clearly stating in our selection instruction that demographics and gender will not be considered as factors ..." Why, pray tell, do you feel the need to say that? Shouldn't that be self evident? If not, would the reason be that those in the Fleet see on a regular basis that selection on demographics (read race and ethnicity) and gender (sex) does take place? It feels a little protesteth-too-much and defensive. Of course, we know why you had to say it - don't we?

4. Actually, having the first Flag Officer in the chain of command looking at the list seems fine and good; probably the move I most approve of. Good manners if nothing else.

5. What, pray tell, would Millington know about a junior officer that the squadron CO doesn't? Additionally, if the Millington Diktat on career progression would stop someone from going to the Blue Angels - then we don't stop that pilot from going to the Blues - we break the Millington Diktat down to parade rest and rebuild it. It is broken.

6. VADM Buss; if the Admirals have the last say in who and who cannot be on team, then they are picking them. Don't run away from reality, embrace it. It is a defendable position that good people can argue both sides of.

7. Ahhh ... there is your tell. In an echo from para. 3, you show your hand. "... outside set of eyes look at the selections to be sure you are picking the most ... diverse team possible." Yes, I took talented out, because words and sentence structure matter. I would ask that he define "diverse," but we all know what that is - it is the diversity metrics we measure; race, ethnicity, and sex.

So there you go. We know why the Admirals have their new system. They want to second guess from a distance based on something they are not the best judge of - talent in the aircraft - and on something that has nothing to do with who is the best in the aircraft - diversity.

In a normal organization, that is just irritating, bigoted and unfair. In a precision flying team, that means you are willing to accept greater risk of death to pilots, observers, and service reputation in order to be able to check more boxes in the Diversity Bullies' little boxes.

On an individual basis, there is also the very real fact that because of this taint in the system, everyone who comes to the team from a group that has a special snowflake month from the Commissariat will be look at in a different light; did they get there like we did by performance - or are they a diversity pick? That does no one any good, and the fault lies with leadership for letting such a system take root.

That, sir, is on you. It's a tough job, and I am sure you were in a tough place where you felt you had to do something. Your call to make in the end. Hope you made it for the right reasons.

I am glad you gave the answers you did. I don't think it had the desired effects based on my email since this came out. Instead of people not worried that diversity is trumping safety and performance, now most are convinced that it is or will be at some time in the future.

Me? I don't know. I do know we have a long history of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and sex - at least in the period from the late 80s to first decade of the 21st Century that I saw in all its patronizing and bigoted glory; I was ordered to participate in it, and I get new examples of it all the time. Just a shame to think that even here, this cancer has seeped in.


There is a non-DivThu story here as well.

In a standard issue high-n-right reaction to this - Big Navy has flailed about until they have change to say they have change.

Details here on the changes. They are going to have an XO now; an XO who does not fly. Yea ... that will go over well.

I mumbled to myself that they would probably pick an NFO so no one would try to get flight hours and instead will sit at the desk. I thought it would be fun if they picked a P-3 NFO just to give the pointy-nosed guys someone to abuse ... but they turned the nob to 11 instead.
Executive Officer:

Navy Cmdr. Bob Flynn, 45, of Moorestown, N.J., is a S-3B Viking Naval Flight Officer and is currently assigned to the Naval War College. He is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
The last S-3 squadron decom'd in JAN09 ... so ... there you go. Nice work though Bob; BZ to you given a chance to get back to squadron life, and enjoy the opportunity to create and make a unique XO position.

As a S-3 bubba, you're used to the abuse from the Fighter Attack Guys - so you'll be fine.

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