Thursday, September 25, 2014

Diversity Thursday

So, on DivThu, if the "... head of diversity, inclusion and women’s policy for the U.S. Navy (who BTW is a CAPT (sel) and needs to update her linkedin profile) ..." has an article at WaPo titled; To keep up with 21st century threats, the military needs to modernize its hiring, should we Fisk it?

Why yes, we should.

But, first things first.

Unless something has changed recently such that the USN has not updated its innerwebs, there is no such thing as the "head of diversity, inclusion and women’s policy." There is OPNAV N134 that in theory is the Navy Office of Diversity and Inclusion - but their websites, as linked on their facebook page (that hasn't been touched since July) are all dead ends, and their official site hasn't been touched since April of 2013 and tells nothing of leadership - nor does their site that still has Admiral Harris as a 3-star. Their NPC site looks all of 1996, and their twitter account (both of them) are dead.

Perhaps she is running the Office of Women's Policy (OPNAV N134W) (no, I didn't make that 4-digit N-code up) But again, they are very poor about identifying who is in a leadership position only giving three LT's named Erin, Heidi, and Tawney (not very diverse) as staff members, and their brief is from March of 2013 without much mention of who is running the circus either.

Here's an idea, before our good O-6 to be starts coming up with such bang-up ideas about the future, perhaps she should first get her present day house in order. Yes, that is petty, but in 2014, one can't help oneself. 

Now that we have established how great the Diversity Bullies have their social media in order to the point they can pimp articles to WaPo, let's go.

By Renee J. Squier September 23 at 9:34 PM
The writer is head of diversity, inclusion and women’s policy for the U.S. Navy. The views expressed here are her own.
Cool. This writer thinks anyone who is a HR officer on active duty can express her own views, then so can he. Using the starting point that as a professional group, on balance the self-licking, Cultural Marxist, sectarian, non-value added Navy adjunct to the diversity industry do little more than sow derision in the ranks, promote their own self interest, and in general through the performance of their duties are prejudicial to good order and discipline - then we should not let them suffer the soft bigotry of low expectations. We should offer our constructive and not-so-constructive review of their ideas.

She didn't get to O-6 for nut'n, I'm sure she's fine with it. Nothing personal - I am sure we would get along swimmingly, but Squier's ideas .... well. Let's see what cuts the WaPo mustard.
If the United States were attacked again, the way it was at Pearl Harbor or on Sept. 11, would you step forward to serve in the military? If you’ve climbed any distance up the career ladder, the answer is probably no, because the military hires people almost exclusively at entry level, and signing up could severely diminish your pay and status.
Wow. Well, I served 21 years on active duty, so I get a check in that block. After both those attacks - especially Pearl Harbor - hundreds of thousands of people in their teens, twenties, thirties, forties, and more were directly commissioned for their skill sets - and enlisted if they met the physical requirements. Even more served as civilians. After 911, as needed, so did more people leave their lives behind to serve. "Pay and Status" were not their concern. I'm not sure what she is going for in this paragraph, but it sure gives some insight in to what this HR professional thinks about people's motivations ... and it is wide of the mark and ahistorical.
But what does that mean for the defense of our nation? 
The world is changing rapidly, with technology at the forefront. It once was possible to hire military personnel young and teach them to be experts in a single skill over a 20- to 30-year career. But today this approach isolates the military from society, limiting its expertise with cutting-edge technology and reducing the diversity of its thinking.
The strawmen cometh. That could have been written at any decade in living memory and beyond. I don't know of a single enlisted person or officer who spent "20-to-30 years" on a single skill. Shipmate .... you may have spent from what I see the last six years plus just doing HR - but in the Fleet, you are lucky if you do the same thing for one tour, much less a career.

Technological change was much greater from 1910 to 1950 than it has been from 1974 to 2014. It is simply temporal copernican narcissism to think that "all is new." As for "diversity of its thinking" - wouldn't a first step perhaps be to move away from the STEM bias ... but that is a different topic for a different day. Want to give people a few years for dedicated study at civilian institution or extended fellowships at civilian corporations? Yea, that is good ... but Squier isn't quite asking for that as I can tell.
Plus, in the past, people were our main source of power projection and had to be physically present at the battlefield in a fight. But this, too, has changed. Now we use missiles and drones to fight from a distance when possible. The need for skills beyond physical prowess has multiplied.
I'm sorry. The ICBM has been with us since, when, 1959? Drones have been in use for even longer. No transformational crisis there.

Oh, "physical prowess" .... mmmm .... a little motivational leg showing here. We shall keep an eye on that as we go further ....
The breakneck advance of technology is producing commensurate change in the threats we face. How can we keep up? The answer is to be just as innovative with our human resources strategy as we are with our weapons and tactics. We need new ways to recruit the best talent to defend our nation. The key is to modernize our core concept of an all-volunteer force to include lateral hiring.
"Breakneck?" Child please. There is that "transformational" don't-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste-if-we-don't-have-a-crisis-let's-play-pretend that has grown so shopworn.

From Libya to ISIS/L/Islamic State to Ukraine to the Taiwan Straights ... even throwing in cyber (just an extension of electromagnetic warfare) - just how have the threats changed?

Answer; they haven't. They only seem unusual if you have not been paying attention or only have a historical perspective the length of your conscience life.

Now we have her "it," the term "lateral hiring." Nice - not quite ready for bu11sh1t bingo, but we'll put in on the side of the page just in case.
When the all-volunteer force was formed in the 1970s, its structure reflected the common career arcs of the day, where many workers served a single employer their entire careers. Now, workers change jobs every few years, updating and improving their skills to stay current. The military hasn’t kept pace.
I will agree that we need to update our personnel system - something we spent an hour talking to VADM Moran about on Midrats - but again - our Sailors are changing jobs every few years as well ... so are our officers. OK, Staff types, ahem, may feel stuck on groundhog day, but line officers? Job stability, well ... that's cute. In the middle 10-yrs of my career, I had four distinctly different job responsibilities over five tours - three of which were sea tours. That's normal.
Suppose you could enlist at a rank reflecting your management experience or mastery of a valuable, high-level skill? And for a limited number of years? Would that make you more likely to answer the call to serve in an emergency? For large numbers of patriotic Americans, I think it would.
Sure, I can imagine it ... because I've seen it with some, ahem, Staff positions. I have also seen this ... wait for it ... BY TAPPING IN TO THE FRACKING RESERVES FOR RECALL TO ACTIVE DUTY.

For the love of Pete ... could it be any clearer? But, I'm getting distracted by the shiny light on the wall ... back to the topic.

I would like an example exactly who in WWII or in the post 911 world we could not bring in to the fight? Examples please; UIC and BSC would be nice, but I'll take NECC or designators if possible. This general statement is just so much fried air.
There are many advantages to this approach. Although boot camp or officer candidate school would still be required to acclimate enlistees to the unique culture of the military, lateral hiring would significantly reduce the time needed to “create” effective leaders. 
(1) Officers are not enlistees. (2) I don't see how lateral hiring would have anything to do about "creating" effective leaders. Positional authority is not the same as being an effective leader.
It would also ease budgetary pressures by enabling the United States to maintain a smaller standing military, since it would be much easier to rapidly increase numbers across all ranks in a crisis. There would still be career military members, but they would be fewer and less likely to have served continuously. Instead, they would move more freely between the military and private industry.
OK, once again we are talking ABOUT THE FRACKING RESERVES. Renee, you are hurting my head.
The biggest impediment would be cultural. Some will say that lateral hiring would dilute the quality and prestige of the services, or that competition with “outsiders” for promotions would be unfair to those working their way up the ranks. 
Way too many generalities. Again, it depends on the specifics of the job. If you are a cardiologist who is less than a decade out of med school as a LCDR and the head of cardiology from Harvard Medical School came in at age 55 as a CAPT - I don't think you'd have an issue.

If on the other hand, you are a LCDR F-18 pilot with 3,000 hrs and a tour as a FRS instructor and then a 737 pilot is coming in to be your CO after just getting his safe-to-solo flight ... then sure ... there might be issues ... especially when that 737 pilot took a command slot away from a newly minted pilot with 4,000 hours and multiple combat tours.

How about a "lateral hiring" in to a SEAL team? Make a UFC champion a Chief and put him on a team ahead of others who have been on teams for 15 years?

Yes, I know - that is all rather silly, but I am only illustrating absurdity by being absurd. That is not what Squier is talking about.
But the imperative to maintain technological dominance begs for cross-discipline, integrated careers. Every company in the world does lateral hiring, and their employees accept new leaders as a matter of course. It may be difficult to give up the traditional military career ladder, but there is much more to be gained by seeking greater diversity in skills, experience and ideas.
Again ... define "diversity" please ... the Navy, especially those in the diversity commissariat like Squier, have muddied that name a bit. 

My career was very cross-discipline - heck I had jobs that were coded for a completely different designator - and in another case, a higher rank from another service. And again ... my experience is not unusual. Then again ... I was an unrestricted line officer. YMMV.

As for the substance of the rest of the above paragraph, sound great, and we have that IN THE FRACKING RESERVES.

I do not think that Squier really addressed the topic she wanted to address. She talked around it and played a little dog whistle shadow puppet with it ... but really. That can't be it. 

I was hoping for something more along the lines of what we have discussed multiple times on Midrats, but alas ... I am left disappointed. 

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