Saturday, December 13, 2014

Why I don't attend holiday parties and formals (and what I would change)

From SpouseBuzz

 I enjoy parties. I try to regularly host people at my house for Thanksgiving, Christmas and a bunch of other events throughout the year. I enjoy dancing (whether I'm good at it or not remains another matter) and hanging out with friends. But the last few years, I've stopped going to holiday parties and most formal events.

My boss recently asked me why I didn't go to our command's holiday party. I gave her a short answer, but it actually merits its own post. So, here are my reasons:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When do you fire someone?

At a job in Bahrain, my office had a civilian computer administrator (let's call her "Jane") who was just awful. Not only was Jane bad at her job, but she also treated the enlisted Sailors like dirt and regularly slacked off on the job.  I had always been told that you could never fire civilian employees, and apparently Jane's last few supervisors believed that. But in 2008 a new boss came in and, within 6 months, Jane was gone.

Despite popular belief, you don't have to live with poor performers in the government. So how do you get rid of them? After the computer administrator was fired, I asked my boss how and why he did it. He told me that while he didn't enjoy firing anyone, he had considered a few points first:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Yes, the Navy CAN take your awards

In case you thought the medals on your chest are earned...guess what? They aren't permanent. The Secretary of the Navy can in fact take any medal awarded to you and request its return.

Don't believe me? Check out NAVADMIN 080/14:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

October NOOCS changes

Somehow I missed the October NOOCS Volume I changes (Volume II is going on a year now with no changes):

Added 2300 and 2301 subspecialties for Naval Strategy. You can get these from the Naval War College or NPS curriculums.

Added CHC milestone AQDs (543, 544, 545, 546, 547, 548, 549)
Added Asia Pacific Hands AQDs (BR0, BR1, BR2, BR3, BR4)
Added FAO milestone AQDs (FM3, FM4)
Added Maritime Operational Planners Course AQD (JPM)
Revised a lot of AQDs in acquisition and EOD to have more specific language.

My thoughts:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fraternization guidance for Junior Officers

Fraternization is one of those nasty grey areas in the Navy, especially for officers.  For junior enlisted, it's easy: hang out with E1-E6, avoid anything that is khaki, especially if it has bars or leafs on the collar.  Since there are plenty of enlisted running around a command, there are plenty of people to hang out with, become friends with, and in general enjoy your time in the Navy.

Junior officers don't have this luxury.  They are told to not hang out with junior enlisted because it violates the Navy's fraternization policy.  They can't hang out with their Chief too much (and most Chiefs won't let them anyway).  Senior officers are giving them tasking, so in most cases they avoid them.  That leaves fellow JOs, of which there aren't many.  So if you don't get along with a selection of 2% of the crew, well, it can be very lonely.

The problem here is that there is a lot of bad gouge about fraternization.  So, let's start with an instruction.  The Navy's fraternization policy is in OPNAVINST 5370.2C, which hasn't been updated since 2007, which speaks to its enduring nature.  At only 5 pages long, it's a quick read, and worth the 20 minutes it'll take to read it (you can spare 20 minutes from Facebook, trust me).  What does it say?  In a nutshell:

- Officers and enlisted will not have unduly familiar relationships.
- Chiefs (E7-E9) will not have unduly familiar relationships with E1-E6.
- Obvious examples include cohabitating, sexual relationships, and indebtedness.

What constitutes an unduly familiar relationship?  The 5370.2C doesn't try to list all circumstances, but it gives some guidance.  An unduly relationship is anything that:

(1) call into question a senior's objectivity;
(2) result in actual or apparent preferential treatment;
(3) undermine the authority of a senior; or
(4) compromise the chain of command.

I think these points should be burned into every Junior Officer's lexicon, because if what you are doing doesn't meet these points, you are probably OK.

So, let's do some examples.

Monday, November 24, 2014

We're STILL in a continuing resolution

I forgot to post this case you're wondering why funds are short, we're still in a CR until December 11th.

We begin fiscal year (FY) 2015 under a continuing resolution (CR) that funds the government until Dec. 11.  A CR is short term legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President that ensures our government has the resources necessary to continue normal government operations without disruption.

We anticipate no near term impacts to Navy funding for personnel.  Same goes for operations and maintenance, research and development and infrastructure associated with this CR. However, until an appropriations bill is passed, uncertainty still exists. Having an approved appropriations bill would provide greater certainty and enable us to better fund the priorities of maintaining warfighting capability, procurement of new hardware, fleet readiness and Sailor training.

Friday, November 21, 2014

How to shake hands

We live in the electronic age, and one of the side effects is that our relationships with other humans has been fundamentally altered.  We now link up regularly with people around the world via email, Facebook, Twitter, Video Teleconferencing and (still) the telephone.  While this offers a lot of positives, one of the detriments is the lack of actual human contact.  You could theoretically go through the day without having any real meaningful human contact.