Thursday, July 05, 2007

Death of common sense........

Getting slowly but surely dug out from a long trip and dealing with weighty personal issues has to be a physically and mentally exhausting activity. So I've taken a while to comment on something that Phibian has commented extremely well on the last month of so. The United States Navy-following in the footsteps of its sister services is losing its ability to behave in a common sense fashion.

I think there are 4 issues that point this out.

First, a recent message talking about establishing a task for to research work/life balance. Huh?
What does this mean exactly? The way I understood it, one of the responsibilities of a unit CO was to preserve work/life balance-e.g. know when to give time off-even if it does not exactly follow the prescribed times to do so. Isn't that also what having the ability to grant 96's etc is supposed to be for?

But as others have pointed out this is about something deeper. Mainly preserving advancement opportunities for women in spite of their having time lost due to pregnancy ET AL. The Navy is supposed to be a family friendly employer. Where did it say that in the contract?

Which leads into my second point. The Navy is so heavily into creating all Sailors in its model moral image that it has unintentionally created situations where Sailors who make mistakes will be given no opportunity to make up for them-especially if they run afoul of the increasingly strict regulations. There are several examples of this-however the macro effect has been to make Sailors afraid to come forward and seek help without getting crucified in the process. It applies to family problems, alcohol problems, medical problems that are embarrassing, and other things.

Issue 3 is the Phibian's favorite (and mine) whipping boy of diversity. I still do not understand how if one recruits best qualified without respect to race, sex, or creed ( and I am coming to believe without respect to sexual orientation either-this from watching the Australians) why one will not get a diverse force. However that is not what the diversity push is all about. Its to make sure the folks with a noisy constituency get their "fair share" by publicly codifying programs that make "affirmative action" look tame.

Finally is the issue of another kind of balance-the Navy is doing a poor job of buying things for itself. The fleet is busier than ever, but doing it with less Sailors and less aircraft and ships. It still has the same number of flag officers though. Why is that? And why is it that it seems other countries with smaller budgets seem to be able to crank out capable aircraft and ships-which may not have all the bells and whistles but seem to work just fine for the missions expected. While in the US Navy -just about every shipbuilding and aircraft program is behind schedule-seriously so. And on the people front-it has never made sense to me to keep increasing the number of personnel being fed to the IA monster (Individual Augmentation) while at the same time cutting personnel numbers. I know people are expensive-they get more so when they go on deployment after deployment after deployment.

Bottom line-the service that has given me and I gave it-a lot. Has some serious problems right now. It always has, but no more so than ever, it seems to be doing nothing to face them.

Except get a spiffy blue set of BDU's that no one wants to wear. Phib's got background on that too.

Just a thought. Now I have to go back to worrying about what to do now that I have to grow up.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?