Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unsolicited Advice

A few days ago one of the officers at my command stopped by and asked me about getting a Masters Degree via distance learning from Naval Postgraduate School.  I walked her through all the ins and outs, the advantages and disadvantages.  We talked for a solid 30 minutes about NPS.  It was probably the most enjoyable conversation I had that day because I felt like I had something to offer her and that she listened to what I had to say.  Even if she doesn't pursue the degree, at least she legitimately heard me out.

About a month ago I had an almost polar opposite experience.  I had a young man complain about how high his electric bill was, something that isn't uncommon in Hawaii.  Feeling like I could help him, I asked if he had a cable box, which he told me he did.  I gave him my advice about unplugging his box at the end of the day to help cut his electrical costs (advice that is now two years old, in case he ever Googled it).  Straight to my face, he told me "That won't work."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mandatory Security Review?

Yikes!  DoN is cracking down on security reviews.  If you have a clearance with some sort of caution, condition or warning, you're now required to have a "way ahead" or risk cancellation.  Read about it here:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Admitting there is a problem

First, I've got a new blog for the blog roll: The Greenie Board.

I got sucked in by his article called Perception? It's Reality. Apparently CNP is visiting Rhode Island to discuss the findings from the Navy Retention Survey, and input is being collated for him to comment on. One of the first comments sent in nails the problem on the head:

 “The first step is to admit there is a problem - it's not a perceived lack of trust - it's an actual lack of trust. It's not a marketing problem - it's an operations problem.  To say it's a perception problem makes the problem about the subordinates, rather than the Flag Officers / "senior leaders" who need to be looking introspectively at both their decision-making process and decisions and how both may contribute to the actual lack of trust.”

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fixing the little things

Toilet, from Wikipedia

I once had a toilet that didn't work well.  It did its job OK, but often I had to jiggle the handle or fiddle with the tank to get it to stop running.  At the time it was a minor annoyance, which I let slide for about a year.

Then one day I used the toilet right before walking out of the house to go to church.  My family came back from church almost two hours later to find our toilet hadn't stopped running and had overflowed (from the tank, since the limit switch broke) and was cascading water down through the upstairs floor into our kitchen.  Luckily I had homeowners insurance, which covered the toilet, new tile, new subfloor and the cleanup.

What I realized later in life was that the toilet was a little problem that I had chosen to life with.  I could have spent part of an afternoon fixing the problem, but instead I just put up with it.  And in the short term, it was fine.  But over time, all the other components inside the toilet broke, and since I had already written off the toilet as broken in my mind, I didn't notice the slide until it caused a thousand dollars in damage to my house.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Commands that make rank

 YOKOSUKA, Japan (March 1, 2007) - Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Jason Dillon and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ann Hammerer fill in test cycle information during the Navy-Wide Advancement Exam on board Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka. Advancement exams for the E-4 through E-6 are offered twice a year, in March and September. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John L. Beeman (RELEASED)

At some point, during the next promotion phase, Navy Times will probably publish an article about which commands have the best and worst selection rate. The article will imply that somehow if you go to these commands you stand a better chance at making rank than others.

I hate these articles because I have heard they drive Sailors decisions as to where to request orders. Just like how most politics are local, commands have all sorts of reasons for being good or bad on a given year for promotion. It has much more to do with the command team than the actual command, yet I don't see Navy Times tracking which reporting seniors tend to get people promoted (wouldn't THAT be an interesting article).

It does make me think of this article by Seth Godin:

Friday, October 3, 2014

How to respond to the ISIS threat against military families

F-18 dropping a laser guided bomb (Wiki Commons)

 Today's headlines on Fox News featured ISIS's call to find military families and slaughter them.

Obviously, as a person with a military family, this is concerning. The Army's response was to tell people to stay vigilant. So, news flash: you're supposed to ALWAYS be vigilant. I don't think that response gave anyone any feeling of security.

Expanding security is not sustainable. As it is, the local security around military housing can't even keep out trespassing local residents, so I don't think they could keep out ISIS members attempting to blend in, at least not without a hefty price tag.

The services do have a host of other responses they could give though:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

High Year Tenure Changes

Luckily not for active duty...

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced changes to its High Year Tenure (HYT) policy in NAVADMIN 223/14, released Sept. 26.
"High Year Tenure is a management tool used to properly size and shape the Navy's Total Force," said Capt. William Kronzer, branch head, Enlisted Personnel Plans and Policy. "In 2012, we merged active and drilling reserve HYT policies and adjusted gates on length of service (LOS). After a subsequent review, and keeping with the Total Force perspective, we saw a need to include Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) members under this same policy."

The IRR includes members of Navy Reserve Volunteer Training Units (VTUs) and the Navy Reserve's Active Status Pool (ASP). New rules impacting these members include making LOS limits apply to the IRR and establishing a ceiling for ASP Sailors not serving in the VTU. ASP Sailors can affiliate with the VTU prior to reaching the imposed ceiling. The new rules will effect an estimated 700 ASP and IRR Sailors but are intended to ensure parity for all.