Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Who needs a union?

Some of our European allies' military have union representation - a peculiar arrangement that causes a bunch of funny faces and disbelief on the American martial mind - but they seem to like it.

The American reaction to such a concept, given our experience with the New York Teachers Union, and the all too common municipality held hostage by the fire and police union pension plans, is understandable.

In some ways, especially with the Exalted Order of the Staff Driver Mutual Protection Society, we seem to have already picked up some of the worst habits of a corrupt union shop.
The head of naval intelligence has not been able to view classified information for an entire year.

Vice Adm. Ted Branch, the director of naval intelligence, had his security clearance suspended in November 2013 after being investigated for possible misconduct. In the year since, no charges have been filed and there is no sense of when they might be, leaving the Navy in an untenable situation.

If classified information is being discussed at a meeting, the director of naval intelligence has to leave the room.

If Branch drops by a subordinate’s office, the space must be sanitized of any secrets before he enters.

Branch can’t attend morning intelligence briefs, or sit with the other services’ intel chiefs when they meet with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said a naval intelligence source, who spoke on background because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
I feel sorry for VADM Branch. He is in limbo, but really ... this isn't about him.

We are a nation at a slow simmer war - and either naval intelligence is operating in a leadership vacuum and cannot effectively serve the nation - or more likely, we have an experiment going on to see if the Director of Naval Intelligence job is actually needed. If you can go a year plus with little more than an O2 absorber trolling around his NIPR account, then really ...

I don't know, but if that was OS1 Smith or Captain Jones holding a bit of BA/NMP and could not do the job because they lost their security clearance, he sure wouldn't be in a holding pattern in that job unless he was the deputy OIC at Thule. Are we holding our Flag Officers to the same standard they are holding their CAPT and CDR, much less First Class Petty Officers?

A lot of ink has been spilt this year trying to understand why there is a loss of credibility with senior leadership. The way VADM Branch is being treated should be in the top-5 of examples to why.

Again, I feel sorry mostly for VADM Branch - he is caught between an almost criminally incompetent Justice Department and the rolling train wreck of the Fat Leonard scandal. It is beneath the dignity of a USN Flag Officer to be put in such a situation, but both he and the USN 4-star cadre are to blame. 

This isn't about VADM Branch. This is about making sure that our Navy and its nation have the right leadership in the right place - and that they are giving 100% to their job. VADM Branch cannot do that - if everything is as described in David Larter's article - which we have no reason not to believe. 

Life isn't fair, and as Papa Salamander always told me; "Son, no one owes you a living." USN and DNI need to move on. 

Have the N1 process the end of tour award and let's get this sad spectacle out of the way - no one is served by it, least of all Ted Branch.

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