Monday, May 4, 2015

How Darth Vader's Leadership Can Solve The Navy's Bureaucracy Problems

Let's face it, The Empire Strikes Back is an awesome movie.  It might be the best movie of all times.  The underdog hero of the original Star Wars: A New Hope starts off getting decisively routed at Hoth (someone must have forgotten that 'Hope' isn't a strategy!).  Han gets captured and frozen in carbonite, Leia barely escapes and Luke joins the Wounded Warriors.  The Empire shows us how COIN operations are supposed to be executed.

In this movie Darth Vader solves all the biggest bureaucratic problems that face our Navy today.  In fact, we should all strive to be more like this Dark Lord of the Sith.  After reviewing constant Galactic Internet content about why his Imperial Officers were leaving service early to go be nerf herders or moisture farmers, Darth Vader made it fun to be in the Imperial Navy again.  Despite his unnatural inclinations towards the Dark Side of the Force, Darth Vader leaves us with valuable lessons on how to properly solve problems facing today's Navy.

He doesn't tolerate mediocrity.  Admiral Ozzel nearly ignored his own ISR-gathering probe droids.  Vader and Piet luckily catch this and are able to locate the Rebel center of gravity on Hoth and launch a full on attack.  Vader shows understanding and lets Ozzel live while probably making a note to give him a 3.0 FITREP in the upcoming O-7 FITREP cycle.

Admiral Ozzel was probably an aviator whose flying job was replaced by droids. His lack of faith in ISR is disturbing...
Then Ozzel blows off yet another order from Vader and nearly throws the entire attack.  Vader puts an end to Ozzel with his own version of a 1.0 SP FITREP by choking him to death via VTC.  Too severe?  How many Imperial Stormtroopers died in the bellies of the AT-ATs that could have been saved if the Rebels were caught without their shields up?  We find Vader's actions ruthless, yet we all complain that there are too many Sailors that are on the ROAD program riding out 3.0 EVALs and FITREPs every year until retirement.  Unless you're a CO, short of a DUI, sexual assault or running a ship aground, it seems impossible to get fired in today's Navy.

This is why Darth Vader insisted on a VTC connection with all his vessels. N6 needs to stop whining.
Not only does Vader not tolerate mediocrity, he actively promotes initiative and sets high expectations.  Want a spot promotion?  Vader's your man.  Captain Piett jumps four paygrades to O-7.  It obviously doesn't set the Empire back one bit.  If anything, now-Admiral Piett has more drive to crush the Rebel scum and pushes his forces accordingly.  Admiral Zumwalt downgraded multiple billets in order to capture that fervent spirit, with great success.

Asteroid field? Simply target practice to raise the Galactic Gunnery pillar in DRRS-N. Unlike the US Navy, the Imperial Navy doesn't need a memo to conduct gunnery at all opportunities.
Not only can Darth Vader reinvigorate his battle staff, but he is an active member of all important operational planning teams (OPTs).  Luckily for the Empire, Darth Vader had insisted on a backup plan to the bombardment of Hoth.  His OPT correctly identified the base shield as the Rebel's center of gravity.  Although the ground assault didn't catch Rebel leadership, it did deny the Rebellion an operating base.

Phase 3 (Dominate the Enemy) was complete when this guy entered the fray. 
After figuring out that his conventional forces couldn't catch Rebel leadership, he charged his OPT to redo Annex C4 (Special Operations) of the Galactic Empire's OPLAN 662.  The OPT came up with three well-made COAs, and Darth Vader chose the "Hire Bounty Hunters" COA.  He executed it immediately from the deck of his flagship.

The OPT didn't decide Bounty Hunter makeup...that was a personal touch of the commander
Sure, some Imperial Officers had doubts.  "We don't need their scum" they said.  But Vader knew his people.  He knew that the Imperial Navy could easily crush the Rebellion in an open fight.  But the Rebels hid in the shadows and lived to fight again.  The Rebels knew they could outlive Darth Vader and the Emperor to eventually fight on their own terms.  So Darth Vader used an unconventional solution to an unconventional problem.  It worked brilliantly: not only was Han Solo captured, but Luke was lured in too and nearly destroyed.  Had the OPT recommended more than just a single complement of TIE Fighters be hidden at Bespin, the Millenium Falcon might never have escaped.

Join me Luke on my personal staff! I'll talk to the detailer personally!
Darth Vader's leadership raised the hopes and morale of the Imperial Navy after the disastrous loss of the Death Star.  Retention went through the roof.  Everyone wants to hunt Rebel scum when your leadership rewards initiative.  Although the Empire was eventually defeated, it lost due to a lack of strong leadership in Galactic-weaponry acquisition and critical infrastructure protection, not due to any fault of the Imperial Navy.  Had the Emperor simply let the Navy attack the Rebel Fleet at Endor (as the original Annex C3 called for), perhaps peace and security could have finally been restored to the galaxy.  At least in the end, Darth Vader's leadership lessons were preserved into a series of movies to educate young Naval Officers in how to better their Navy's future.

The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, U.S. Government, Galactic Empire or the Emperor.  All pictures courtesy of Disney.