Saturday, April 14, 2012

Navy Captain board and Navy priorities

The selection results for Captain for both active duty and reserve officers came out:

http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/messages/Documents/ALNAVS/ALN2012/ALN12028.txt

What is MORE interesting is the board precepts letter. It tells the selection board what the priorities are when considering a CDRs service record. In a way, I think it speaks volumes about what the Navy thinks it will need over the next 5-10 years from it's senior leadership.

For Unrestricted Line Officers, the priorities were:

1. Financial Management (FM)
2. Operational Analysis (OA)
3. Joint Experience
4. Acquisition Corps
5. Navy Operational Planner
6. Political Military (POL-MIL)/Strategists
7. Integrated Air and Missile Defense
8. Naval Special Warfare (NSW) experience
9. Shore Installation Management (SIM)
10. Cyber Operations and Planning
11. Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC) experience
12. Nuclear Weapons Technical Expertise
13. Education and Training
14. Expeditionary Warfare and Confronting Irregular Challenges
15. Recruiting Considerations
16. Targeting
17. Human Intelligence (HUMINT)
18. Space Cadre
19. Astronaut Consideration

Obviously, with a 22-26 year career, there is no way you can hit ALL of these...and you aren't expected to. But I'll throw out my thoughts on why it was ranked this way:

- FM at the top is no surprise. The Navy is not going to be flush with money, and they'll need people that can manage it effectively. The GWOT slush fund made people lazy, because it was an easy pot of money to dip into. Now that that is drying up, we'll have to get smarter about how we manage and spend our cash.
- OA and joint are no surprises either. At the O6 level, you're working on a staff or running a staff, and doing a lot of planning, plus you become eligible for flag...where you will do more planning and more staff work.
- Acquisition Corp is another no-brainer. The Navy acquisition process has had a terrible time managing projects well. A big part is not having a group of people, unlike the AF, that act as a corp of experts. Although lots of folks pick on the acquisition guys as a bunch of non-warfighters, the reality is that if we don't field ships, submarines, aircraft and the corresponding gear correctly, our warfighters won't have anything to fight a war with.
- I am surprised that POL-MIL is as high as it is. With how little we allow our admirals to play politics anymore, I don't see this as important of a skill to master at the CDR level. Then again...I'm not a Navy Captain.
- IAMD just screams as a way to give AEGIS-Cruiser/Destroyer COs that did BMD in the East Med a leg up on others.
- NSW...no surprises, NSW has and will always play a big role in the future. I'm surprised it's not above POL-MIL, since it's an actual warfighting skill...
- Cyber, LREC, and Irregular warfare dropped in priority. No surprises here. As Information Warfare takes over the cyber piece (via CYBERCOM and 10th Fleet), I predict the slow withdrawl of any URL officers while the billets get changed to be IW-only. LREC and Irregular Warfare drop as we leave Afghanistan and focus on "real" threats. Of course, with the exception of NSW, we'll lose that skill set, and if we get involved in another irregular conflict, we'll see that come back to haunt us again.

Overall, no big surprises. In a way, it's kind of sad that there is no "combat experience" piece in there...would be nice to see the Navy place some value on our folks that have been shot at before.

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