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The Salty Millennial has 57 articles published.

America’s Concept for Reestablishing Our Navy’s Youthful Maritime Supremacy (ACRONYMS)

in Uncategorized

This post originally appeared on the USNI blog here.

A few weeks ago, our favorite Reptile of Guile, CDR Salamander, highlighted an amazing new acronym the Navy’s FY20 30-year Maintenance and Modernization Plan: the Navy the Nation Needs (NNN). Brilliant. Sal exhorted us to stop making up so many silly acronyms, but I disagree. I think we should go the other way. First, NNN should be shortened to N3 and then we should dive head first into that alphabet soup! We just have way too many important things to say, and not enough time, to use actual words.

In fact, if you want acronyms, I’ll give you America’s Concept for Reestablishing Our Navy’s Youthful Maritime Supremacy (ACRONYMS)!

The preferred COA for N3 in FY20-26 FYDP is to BPT execute DFE and DMO ISO 2018 NDS GPC. In the SCS, PRC BRI (AKA OBOR) OAIs are not IAW UNCLOS, while the PLAN violates TTW and challenges INDOPACOM and ASEAN FON. The DPRK conducts KLE in the DMZ, then fires TBM over ROK TTA. The IRGC executes MIO with FAC/FIAC in the SOH and GOO, frustrating OPEC and EU, IOT pressure USG to rejoin JCPOA. BRICS is leveraging DIME to establish a NWO to counter US, FVEY, NATO, and UN status quo; using IO incl. OCO, MILDEC, MISO, and PSYOPS. VEOs, such as ISIS and AQAP, maintain threat (i.e. SVBIED) to CONUS.

IRT MLECOAs / MDECOAs, DOD must PPBE USN (via NDAA) for ROMO ISO 6 GCCs and 4 FCCs. The N3 must have TBD HI/LO mix of CSGs, ARGs, ESGs, DESRONs, SAGs, SS(B/G)N, and LCS, and use JCIDS to RDT&E LSC, XLUUV, MDUUV, USV, NG-UAS (e.g. MQ-25), AS(C/B)M, HGV, DEW/HPM, and SEWIP.

In the IE, the N3 will employ IRC to conduct EMW with C5ISR&T. FYSA the N3 must maintain MDA (RMP/RAP) with GCCS-M. C2 is undergoing RMA and N3 must evolve CWC to enable C/JFMCC decisions ASAP. FT2T2EA must incl. I&W and OTHT with NIFC-CA and CEC.

NPC and CNET must assist ASN (M&RA) to evolve PERS TTPs / SOPs for 21st Century Sailors. Success of SAPR, EO, FAP, FSA, PFA, DDD, OSC, NAAP, and TAP will be KPPs and MOEs.

IAW JCIDS, N3 must employ DOTMLPF to conduct OOTW… LOL, JK, TBH IDGAD what N3 does, but FWIW YGBKM with all these ACRONYMS!

The Low-Water Mark

in Rants

This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

I was doing pretty well. Doing my goat yoga. Thinking positively about our culture. Seeing an upward trend. New CNO. New outlook on life. Future so bright I had to wear shades . . . that sorta thing.

Then I read that the Navy is convening a Board of Inquiry for Commander Bryce Benson, commanding officer (CO) of the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) during the 2017 collision, to make him “show cause” as to why the he shouldn’t be kicked out the Navy. Here we go again . . .

My positive outlook

Ok, as you know, I’m a millennial, so I offer my unsolicited opinion on all sorts of random topics and I wield a questioning attitude like a dachshund wields a roman candle in his teeth. So eventually I’m going to go too far. Well, this seems as good a hill as any to die on. Plus I’ve had about five kombuchas so I’m feeling extra salty.

Let’s recap:

  • Last month, the Commander of Naval Special Warfare (NSW) admitted publicly “we have a problem” after a series of discipline-related incidents involving SEALs, going on to say they “have failed to maintain good order and discipline, and as a result and for good reason, our NSW culture is being questioned.” Excellent!
  • Two weeks ago: “Departing top admiral acknowledges Navy’s struggle with character issues”. Good!
  • This week, at the Naval Aviation Tailhook Convention, the moderator asked a panel of eight junior aviators whether they thought their community was ready for a high-end fight. They all answered “No.” At least the junior part of that community is willing to say something!
  • Submariners? Well, who the heck knows. There’s a reason they’re called the silent service. Well played, bubbleheads.

Meanwhile, the surface force quickly issued a comprehensive review two years ago, then almost as quickly declared “mission accomplished” and went back to focusing public comments on great power competition. It seems like Navy leaders are talking more to Congress than sailors. It’s hard to listen to our leaders tell us we’re facing serious threats for the first time in decades, when the last few years show us we have more work to do on the basics. I guess “we need to practice our basic shiphandling, navigation, and unit self-defense” just doesn’t open up congressional pocketbooks. For example, how goes the Readiness Reform and Oversight Council (RROC)? And why was it formed in the first place if the events of 2017 were isolated incidents? A steady drumbeat of comments on the RROC’s work would instill confidence in sailors, Congress, and the American people that we are committed to improving on a fundamental, cultural level and earning the title of “World’s Best Surface Navy.”

Culture is the bedrock of any organization. We KNOW this. Yet, here we are, on the heels of the darkest four years in recent memory for our Navy, and we are more focused on defending the Navy’s “good name” and going after a single person who (I will concede) fell short royally but, more importantly, stood up to the Navy when our leaders drug his “good name” through the mud injudiciously. I mean that literally—the Navy dropped all charges against Benson when leaders realized they had tainted the court martial process so badly with public comments of condemnation that Benson could no longer receive a fair trial. The whole process was such an embarrassing farce that the whole Navy justice system is now under review. The Eddie Gallagher case didn’t help. (Spoiler alert: its broken)

Remember that Commander Alfredo Sanchez, the CO of the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) at the time of the collision that killed ten sailors, received a no basis ruling in his “show cause” Board of Inquiry. In other words, the Navy didn’t kick him out. The big difference between Sanchez and Benson is that Sanchez didn’t fight back. He pleaded guilty and the Navy retained him. On the other hand, Benson took the extraordinary measure of issuing a public rebuttal to his SECNAV Letter of Censure. That’s egg in the Navy’s eye, for sure, but it doesn’t make him any more guilty. To what end does the Navy seek this officer’s separation? What signals and strategic impacts are we creating, especially if the board finds in Benson’s favor?

To cut straight to the point, HOW does the Navy see this Board of Inquiry as anything other than retribution? We already took him to court-martial and failed to find him guilty. What is constructive about pursuing his administrative separation? SECNAV said he dropped legal charges in “the best interest of the Navy, the families of the Fitzgerald sailors, and the procedural rights of the accused officers.” Yet, here we are again in the headlines. Perhaps we’re still convinced that his ship’s collision, and the other three in 2017, were individual problems and not part of a systemic issue. Despite the National Transportation Safety Board report. Despite the ProPublica investigation. Despite Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin’s article. Despite what ANY officer serving in Seventh Fleet in 2017 will tell you!!! Sure, ok, just a bad apple.

Um, but what about Fat Leonard? What about all those senior officers and admirals that compromised their ethics for personal gain? What about the Farsi Island Incident of 2016, and the following investigation that condemned the widespread lack of adequate training in riverine squadrons (the first one, that is)? What about the USS Nitze (DDG-94) not detecting cruise missiles that Houthi rebels shot at her formation in the Red Sea in 2016? What about rising suicidesSexual assaultsBody fat?

My point in asking these questions is to demonstrate that we have a cultural problem. It will not be solved overnight, or even in the term of one CNO. It will take just as long to solve as it took to develop, and we can look back several decades to find its origins. We have to embrace the fact that we have a deep-rooted problem and set ourselves on a course to fix it. Retribution, and a rapid review process to get all our “stoplights to green,” will not help. We can be elite, but we have to be willing to admit that, right now, we are not.

I’ll end with a bit of anonymous feedback I received from the fleet last week, before the news broke about Commander Benson’s Board of Inquiry:

Really there is still a culture that breeds a fear of failure. One screw up, one mistake, one missed milestone and your career is over. There is no path to redemption, no recourse or correction. Too many in critical leadership positions are concerned with meeting the milestone and making it through their job instead of developing future generations and creating a path to excellence. No one is perfect and no one is good at everything right away. Mistakes will happen, it shouldn’t be the end, we should be able to learn and grow and develop.

I’m not defending Commander Benson’s actions in command of the Fitzgerald, but we tried and failed to hold him accountable for the collision. I can’t say the same for those Navy leaders who cultivated a culture that would put such unprepared people on watch that night. Let’s leave Commander Benson in the past or, even better, maybe even learn from him without absolving him of his share of the burden. Let’s learn from NSW and admit we have a problem before it gets worse. Then, let’s look forward and let the last four years be our Navy’s low-water mark.

Definitely Do NOT #BoycottBates!

in Haterade

This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

Millennials in the Navy really are needy. They want their spouses to be able to pursue their own career. They complain about having to go into debt to cover bills while their pay is delayed for months on end (start a Gofundme, snowflake!). They expect their shoes to not explode.

Seriously! They complained in their millennial way by sharing pictures with the hashtag #batesblowout whenever the outer soles of their Bates uniform shoes crumbled to tiny bits with no notice. Relax, people. It happened to me at a wedding. The whole process only took like five minutes. Besides, now I had flats! Boom . . . fashion! You don’t see me starting a hashtag on the internet to whine about it.

Now, some whiny millennial is going after the good, hard-working people of Bates Footwearwith the hashtag #BoycottBates!

Can you believe it? It’s not like Bates can help it! It’s not like they are the only shoe company in the world whose shoes randomly, catastrophically fall apart!!! C’mon millennials, have some respect for well-established business practices that rarely have been challenged! #BoycottBates is absolutely inappropriate.

The nice customer service employees at Bates have politely explained there’s nothing they can do about this phenomenon. In response to a frustrated (probably millennial) customer, they said, “We understand your frustration, however, footwear is made to be worn and when rubber, and polyurethane, is stored for a lengthy period of time, it will break down. It is a natural process called hydrolysis and something that the industry is working to address.” See? Science! Their R&D budget is probably why that particular brown leather shoe costs $165. And it only has a two-star rating because of all your negative reviews! I feel so bad for them amid all this #BoycottBates nonsense!

Also, #BoycottBates puts a lot of undue pressure on the Navy Exchange! What would happen to their sales numbers if you #BoycottBates? It’s not as if there is some other company that could supply them with black, white, and brown leather oxfords!

Oh, well, I mean, there is Dr. Martens, who makes black and white leather shoes that are almost exact replicas of Bates Oxfords, except they’re made with Goodyear rubber in the outer soles. Psssh. You’d think they would use rubber from a company that has a reputation for making long-lasting products under stressful conditions!

Oh, and their shoes cost 25 percent less than Bates, probably because they are an evil British company and they don’t have to employ a massive customer service department to deal with your #BoycottBates social media campaign! Besides, Dr. Martens doesn’t make brown shoes! I’m sure it’s not cost-effective for the Navy Exchange to contract with Dr. Martens to add brown leather to their line of shoes and supply the entire U.S. Navy with less expensive, more durable uniform footwear. It’s probably not even possible, and it most certainly involves a lot of hard work.

No, I think it’s best to support Bates Footwear and the Navy Exchange in doing things the way they’ve always been done. Whatever you do, definitely do NOT #BoycottBates!

The Internet Lied to Me

in Rants
CHARLES OKI/U.S. NAVY

Totally unfair. I was duped. Bamboozled. Hoodwinked. I’d been had.

Last week, I read an article on Task & Purpose that describe a policy change by the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) that would impact U.S. servicemembers serving overseas. According to the article, which included a direct quote from the USCIS spokesperson, children born to military parents stationed outside the U.S. would no longer automatically qualify for citizenship. They would have to go through the application process before their 18th birthday.

I, like a good millennial, reacted quickly and, um, strongly…

Well, as it turns out, the internet lied to me. The USCIS was not revoking birthright citizenship for military children after all. The actual policy change was much more innocuous and nuanced. Can you believe it? Something on the internet turned out not to be true?!? People actually pointed this out to me on Twitter. The nerve.

So, what happened? I can’t really blame Task & Purpose, or the numerous other news outlets who picked up the story. I mean, T&P did speak directly to the USCIS spokesperson, who definitely made it seem like military kids born overseas were getting hosed. And I guess I can’t really blame USCIS, either. Headscratching quote aside, when you read the actual policy change, they’re really just getting themselves in line with Department of State policy.

I’m certainly not going to hold myself accountable for my reaction. I’m a millennial, so that’s not possible. I am entitled to my knee-jerk recreational outrage. I even bothered to read an entire article instead of just a headline. What more do you want from me???

So, with no other recourse, I’m left with only one option to right this injustice: the internet owes me an apology.

Since the internet can’t actually issue statements (that I’m aware of), I’m willing to accept an apology from of the following people who run the internet:

  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Jack Dorsey
  • Donald Trump
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Bill Gates
  • Julian Assange
  • George Soros
  • Al Gore

I will also accept a private tour of Area 51, or a chicken sandwich from Popeye’s.

It’s almost like the internet just doesn’t take anything seriously.

The Navy Email User’s Guide

in Life Hacks/Navy Stuff

This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

Email is great. I love it so much! It has everything . . . laughter, tears, blinding rage, mind-numbing boredom, utter confusion . . . everything! You can spend all day reading and writing emails, then when you come back in the morning, you have a whole new batch to plow through! For some of you, this is literally your entire job. Its extra fun when your inbox is full and you get to decide what emails to delete just so you can be granted the privilege of sending again. Bonus!

The Navy loves email too. There’s low side, high side, REALLY high side. If you’re lucky, you get a Coalition email account on one (or more!) of our many multinational networks. And don’t forget about message traffic! Oh, and there’s your personal email. Gotta keep tabs on that for things like DTS, TSP, and NFAAS that won’t follow you across the various NMCI, shipboard, fleet, schoolhouse, and joint command email addresses you’ll accumulate over your career. Its such a hoot when you PCS to a new duty station and you forget your password to a Navy website, so you request to reset your password and it sends the reset link . . . to an email you can’t access anymore! Ha!

But, as great as email is, I think we need to establish some ground rules. I’ve noticed some disturbing trends recently. The other day I saw a supervisor debrief his entire team in person instead of sending a blast email. I even heard of a sailor checking out of a ship without sending an All Hands email (Rule #3)! Shenanigans!

  1. Always, always, ALWAYS include an inspirational quote at the bottom of your emails. Preferably one that belies your extreme political beliefs. Jefferson Davis and Che Guevara are gold mines!
  2. Speaking of email signatures, the length of your signature block is inversely proportional to how important your job is. As an Ensign, you should include your name, title, organization, four email addresses, three phone numbers, twitter handle, and blood type. Conversely, as a four-star Admiral you should just sign your emails with a single lowercase letter. You need to assert your dominance over those lowly staff officers who might actually need to forward your contact info to their boss.
  3. Use the All Hands distro liberally! Trust me, everyone needs to know that your directorate is going down to minimal manning Friday afternoon to attend an offsite team building exercise at Buffalo Wild Wings. If you’re departing the command, by all means do not pass up the opportunity to tell everyone how much they’ve impacted you, and if you have drama with certain people, include that too! If you want to go all out, send an All Hands email when you check in (or even before!) letting everyone know how excited you are to join the team and contribute to the mission! #positivity!
  4. Immediately after you send someone an email, go straight to their desk and ask them if they received your email. They may be in the middle of reading it and they’ll really appreciate you interrupting them to explain what they haven’t finished reading. If you’re really fast, you might even be able to beat the email as it goes through multiple firewalls and satellite relays. People really like when you hover over their shoulder waiting for your email to pop up in their inbox!
  5. In the military, we address our emails with “Sir” or “Ma’am.” If you’re not sure whether the officer you’re emailing is male or female, take a chance! Much better than stupidly using the officer’s actual name. If you’re addressing multiple male superiors, its “Gents,” and for multiple female superiors, use “Ladies!” Don’t worry, you won’t sound creepy at all.
  6. In today’s Navy, we believe in flat communication and junior empowerment. If you’ve got something to tell the CNO, email him directly! You don’t need to bother CC’ing your boss. The chain of command is so old school! If you do CC your boss, I’m sure they’ll support you! If they don’t, just claim they’re a toxic leader and initiate an IG investigation. You don’t have time for that negativity.
  7. It can be frustrating when someone “replies all” to a large distro. The best way to let them know you don’t want their replies clogging up your inbox is to “reply all” to theiremail, and tell them exactly how you feel! That will show everyone how much more valuable your time is than theirs.
  8. If you’re a liaison officer, you’re only allowed to forward emails and type four letters: FYSA. That’s IT! Don’t get cute.
  9. Email is a great place for emotional rants, and to showcase your unique humor—preferably with nautical jargon, tactical metaphors, and acronyms nobody really knows. “Deck Division once again failed to splash the vampires at inspection. Get all of their BFS’s DPC’d by COB today, or I’ll KEELHAUL YOUR FAMILY!!!” You’ll never regret sending that.

A final note on ghost emails, or GEMs: if you work really hard, keep your head down, and get a few lucky breaks, you could one day rise through the ranks and receive the privilege of writing emails for someone else. Congratulations, you’ve made it! My only advice is to fill in the TO line last on your drafts and, once it’s filled in, be very careful with your cursor. You now have a locked-and-loaded, Condition I email. You don’t want to be that staff officer who misfires an operational report to the Fleet Commander with God and Country on the CC line. Or maybe you do! If so, I wish you fair winds and following seas!

V/r,
The Salty Millennial
Editor-in-Chief, The Salty Herald
UNCLAS: tsm@saltyherald.com
Facebook: @thesaltymillennial
Office: 1-800-555-SALT
Blood Type: NaCl Positive

Let Them Keep Their Participation Trophies!

in Leadership/Rants

This post first appeared on the USNI Blog here.

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to request that you let the JAG Corps officers who prosecuted Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher keep the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals (NAM) that you so uncharitably stripped from them last week.

True, they didn’t technically “earn” those awards but that doesn’t mean you should take them away! Sir, I don’t know if you know this, but that’s not how we do things in the Navy. Sure, the prosecution team illegally wiretapped Navy Times and violated the defendant’s constitutional rights. Yes, they leaked documents and manipulated witnesses. Fine, even one of their own witnesses confessed under oath to committing the murder (after being granted immunity). Ok, ok, and they also tried to cover it all up. Look, the bottom line is those officers did a thing, in conjunction with wearing a uniform, and that merits an award.

What’s next? Are you going to take away our End of Tour Awards? Are we supposed to just NOT get awarded for completing a tour of duty without getting fired? Ha ha . . . you can see how ridiculous that sounds . . . right? I once didn’t get an End of Tour award. I “fleeted up” from my first division officer tour to my second on the same ship. Instead of getting a NAM at the end of my first tour, I got one at the end of second tour while all of my peers were getting Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals. It was traumatizing. I cried myself to sleep that night on my locally handmade, responsibly-sourced, organic, avocado-based pillow.

BTW, I’m not sure what generation those JAG Corps officers are, but did you know you can kill a millennial by taking away their participation trophy? We have extremely fragile psyches.

People love to blame millennials for their addiction to participation trophies, but the military has mastered the art and taken it to a whole new level. First of all, what generation decided to start giving National Defense Service Medals to every service member just for walking in the door after 9/11? Literally the only criterion is serving during the Global War on Terror—a war that has no indication, or even concept, of victory after almost 20 years! This is the ultimate participation trophy! Was it the millennials who ALL joined after 9/11? Hmmm . . . well, whoever it was, I’m sure it was the millennials’ fault.

Sir, this is the United States Navy! Everyone gets an award. So what if some of our first class petty officers look like Middle Eastern dictators in their dress uniforms? Besides, its gonna get, like, really hard if we have to start earning our accolades. The next thing you know we’re going to be asked to prove our worth as officers before we get promoted! Let’s not be rash, sir. You seem to be very fair. For example, when the Secretary of the Navy challenged you to fire him if the Ford class CVN elevators weren’t fixed by Summer 2019, and they were still brokenin July . . . you promoted him to Secretary of Defense! That’s the spirit! So, in honor of fairness and tradition, let those officers keep their participation trophies!

Very, very, very, very, very, very, very respectfully,

Salty

This ‘Tired Sailor’ Narrative is Killing my Watchbill

in Navy Stuff/Rants

This post first appeared on the USNI Blog here.

A couple months ago, retired Army Lieutenant General, and former National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster argued that the American people are being fed a narrative of “war weariness” and its hindering our brilliant strategy in Afghanistan. He told the story of a young student—a millennial, no doubt—who stood up at a town hall debate and said all he’s ever known is war. “Now, he’s never been to war, but he’s been subjected, I think, to this narrative of war weariness,” McMaster said.

As I sit here trying to write this watchbill, all I can say is . . . Amen. Apparently, we’re supposed to believe so-called “science” that people need an adequate amount of sleep to function. I guess we’re all going to act like aviators now? If so, then put some teeth in regulations and let’s see the resources. Meanwhile, I’ll keep doing cheetah flips and multivariable calculus to make this watchbill work.

If the CO stands the rev watch, and XO mans aft steering, this can work! via giphy

Letting sailors get enough sleep is all the rage right now. Ever since the Navy mandated a switch to circadian watch rotations in 2018, I’ve been required to let everyone on board to get seven hours of sleep a night. SEVEN HOURS!! What is this? Club Med? These millennials and their research are getting out of hand. If I can’t have an ensign conn the ship 160 feet alongside an oiler on two hours of sleep over three days, I’m not even sure I want to be in this kinder, gentler Navy. How am I supposed to man a bridge watch team when everybody is snuggled up in their racks?

Ugh, lazy WWII sailors…

Getting a healthy amount of rest is all well and good, but when was the last time you tried to man all the ship’s watchstations required by our various navigation, engineering, combat systems, and operational instructions? I guess I’ll just pluck a few more sailors from the magical sailor tree on the fantail. Oh wait, there’s no tree back there . . . just an aft lookout asking where his relief is. Who am I kidding? I’ll just do what we always do: borrow sailors from other ships to fill in the gaps!

Until the surface community has something akin to Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS), nothing is going to change. The no-kidding crew rest requirement in NATOPS forced sleep to be woven into naval aviation culture. It drives operations. Commanders don’t even consider violating pilots’ crew rest except in the most extreme circumstances. Without NATOPS, we’d be waking up pilots to attend the menu review board. It also drives resourcing. Aviation squadrons maintain enough qualified pilots to meet mission requirements without violating crew rest. Surface warfare culture isn’t limited to the lifelines of a ship. It extends to the Pentagon, to Newport, and fleet headquarters around the globe. If you’re serious about giving sailors seven hours of sleep every night, then allocate the resources to meet our 24/7 operational demands. In the immortal words of Commodore Jerry Maguire:

By the way, we’ve been talking about the importance of sleep for years. Now, it looks like there’s real potential for change in our culture. If you give me enough sailors to make it happen, I’m happy to let everyone get seven hours of sleep. And without a regulation with real “teeth,” our operational tempo, not to mention those administrative distractions we all love to malign, will eventually erode those seven hours. Otherwise, lets all agree to drop this “tired sailor” narrative and let me write a watchbill that I know will work.

Just like our strategy in Afghanistan.

Shipmates, Lend Me Your Ears…

in Announcements/Epiphanies/Leadership/Navy Stuff

This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

Dear Navy,

I am formally announcing my candidacy for the 32nd Chief of Naval Operations.

I know, I know. I hear what you’re saying. Holy cow, would this guy just PLEASE STOP?!? Yeah, well that’s what the master of this merchant said in Canada, so deal with it:

My only goal is to gain more support than LCS.

When Admiral Bill Moran suddenly announced his retirement, declining his widely popular nomination to be the next CNO, I sensed an opening. You see, Admiral Moran committed that egregious sin of having communicating with a person who had been held accountable for allegedly acting like a creepster— allegedly groping women at a drunken holiday party. You heard that right. He maintained a professional relationship with an alleged groper.

Now, the Secretary of the Navy has to move quickly before the current CNO’s term expires on 17 September, leaving less than 30 working days for the Senate to confirm a nominee. He’s even opening up the pool of candidates to three-star admirals. That’s smart. We have a talented stable of vice admirals from which to choose. Arleigh Burke was selected to be CNO when he was a two-star! Why not dig a little deeper and select a lieutenant commander? The only problem is now there are more candidates for CNO than Democrats running for president in 2020.

Could any of them be CNO in today’s Navy?

And now we have one more. Hear me out!

First, you won’t have to worry about me maintaining a relationship with any alleged gropers. I won’t try to mentor anyone. I literally have no friends. Have you read the comments lately? No one likes me. And I’m pretty sure every CO I’ve ever had is frantically deleting all of my texts and emails. I am an island, and islands have no liabilities.

Second, I won’t cut and run at the first sign of trouble. Seriously, I started a blog criticizing the entire Navy and several flag officers. You think I’m going to be sidelined easily? I don’t buy into this new trend of simply retiring when the media starts talking about something you did that somebody, somewhere might find offensive. Hell, I’m not even eligible for retirement. If I get fired, I get nothing. BTW, question for all you social justice warriors out there: If you really believe Admiral Moran did something wrong, how has he been held accountable? He wasn’t allowed to be CNO? He’s retiring with four-star benefits. What does that say about our Navy culture that anyone could describe this as accountability? In truth, I don’t think anyone believes, nor cares, that it is accountability. Its just social media blood. A show for the coliseum.

For the record, I don’t believe Admiral Moran did anything that required further accountability. I started a Twitter hashtag #keepCNOMoran but it didn’t stick. I guess nobody believes they can change what’s happening around them. Now you get me. And you know I love the Navy. If I’m bitter, it’s the Navy’s fault. I’m a millennial, it CAN’T be my fault.

A few campaign promises:

  • Service. Dress. Khaki
  • Performance-based officer promotion
  • More participation trophies
  • Beards and man buns
  • Hands in pockets

And guys, I have an autonomous warbot from the future at my disposal!

So, there you have it, Navy. I could be your next CNO. Spread it on Twitter, the CO’s suggestion box, the 1MC! Pilots, quit drawing sky genitalia and share this message: #Salty4CNO!

Together, we can Make the Navy Salty Again!

I am The Salty Millennial and I approved this message.

Salty Crashes the Uniform Board

in Navy Stuff

This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

In a shadowy, torch-lit supply storeroom, a circle of silhouetted figures doff their boat cloaks, revealing an assortment of naval officers all in different uniforms. On the Uniform Board, officers are identified and ranked by the uniform they wear. The senior board member wears Service Dress Khaki, with full Zumwalt-Navy beard, and a tobacco pipe for good measure. Even though he hasn’t been authorized for wear in years, none of the other board members have mustered the courage to tell him to step down. Nobody messes with Service Dress Khaki.

Service Dress Khaki: Now call to order this meeting of the Supreme High Council of Naval Sartorial Affairs! What Old Business do we have to bring forward?

Formal Dress: Sir, people are still confused by the Prototype Working Uniforms, especially since we just transitioned to the Type III. Oh, and NWU Type I still won’t go away.

NWU Type I: HEY, I’m still authorized!

<chorus of groans> Someone mumbles “Nobody likes you.”

Service Dress Khaki: Ugh, okay, I’ll have another ALNAV sent out about the Prototype Working Uniform and perhaps rename it the NWU Type IV. That should clear everything up. Flight Suit, please escort NWU Type I outside. And, for God’s sake, keep him away from the open flames.

Flight Suit gives NWU Type I an atomic wedgie and drags him out kicking and screaming.

Service Dress Khaki: Ok, what New Business is there?

NWU Type III: Sir, the rollout of our new SWO Bomber Jacket is going swimmingly. We published this picture on social media to rave reviews!

Service Dress Khaki: Excellent! The troops asked for bomber jackets, and we deliv-

Salty: <emerging from the shadows> Ahem . . . we did not ask for bomber jackets. We asked for bombers. Like a Sea Control Bomber.

Service Dress Khaki: Wha? Who is this? Who let him in here?!?

Service Dress Blues: Sir, this is a random midgrade officer with an inflated sense of self-importance and a mediocre sense of humor.

Salty: A couple of innovative young officers floated the idea of, instead of retiring the B-1, transferring it to the Navy for antisurface warfare. Certainly the idea has its flaws, but we have an increasingly urgent need to position maritime firepower in the Pacific beyond what our traditional framework can provide. The idea of a Sea Control Bomber should be studied, at a minimum. You gave us jackets.

Service Dress Khaki: Exactly, we gave SWOs these stunning new black leather bomber jackets!

Flight Suit: Uh, boss, we don’t actually call them bomber jac-

Service Dress Khaki: Go back on oxygen, Flight Suit!

Salty: Anyways . . . what we need are real solutions for improving our warfighting effectiveness under existing budgetary constraints.

Service Dress Khaki: Look, you’re talking about innovative solutions that require congressional approval and cooperation with the other services. That’s hard and we might get yelled at! And now we have an Army guy as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense. Can you imagine how hard it’s going to be to get funding for the Navy? We here provide the only feasible means to effect lasting, positive change in the Navy . . . uniforms!

PT Gear: Don’t forget about the Physical Readiness Council!

Service Dress Khaki: Fair point.

Summer Whites: Sir, don’t you have a friend in the Army?

Service Dress Khaki: Who, Pinks and Greens? He won’t return my calls ever since he was reauthorized for wear. Hey, maybe I could ride the throwback trend and get myself reauthorized! I can see it now: “Wear the uniform of a Navy that’s actually won a great power competition!”

Salty: My point is the SWO community already has a solid culture and tradition. Yes, we have our share of problems to fix, but can we please stop trying to improve our culture by appropriating popular elements of others that have no connection to the surface community? Let’s look honestly at the issues we’re facing, and address them head-on without fear. Besides, we already had a pretty cool jacket—the Mustang Jacket. If you want to be innovative, why don’t you authorize it for wear ashore?

<Sitting in the corner wearing a Mustang Jacket, Coveralls looks up from his coffee, grunts, and nods.>

Service Dress Khaki: Well now you’re just talking crazy. You’re getting the bomber jackets. End of story.

Salty: Ugh, well fine. At least this means we’ll get to wear khakis again.

NWU Type III: Hey, I resent that!

<The meeting devolves into shouting and shoving. In the confusion, Prototype Working Uniform gets too close to a torch and immediately bursts into flames. Pandemonium ensues. Service Dress Khaki buries his head in his hands.>

Service Dress Khaki: Meeting adjourned, I guess.

An Open Letter to the Sailors of USS John S. McCain

in Navy Stuff

This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

Shipmates,

First, apologies are in order. I apologize for feeding into a media narrative that has caused you to become objects in a political game. I’ve tweeted and posted, and here I am writing this blog post, all because I was outraged by images, articles, and hearsay that indicate you complied with orders to hide your ship and yourselves during President Trump’s recent visit to Japan. Who knows what is actually true? (well, you do, but we’ll get back to that) It turns out the old Navy adage still applies: the first report is always wrong. According to our Navy Chief of Information, Rear Admiral Charlie Brown, the picture of the tarp over the ship’s gangway banner is not from the day of the POTUS visit (unrelated maintenance . . . I want to believe, I really do). CHINFO’s return to Twitter after a five-year hiatus is an amusing surprise in all of this melodrama, and I have to say I think he handled it well. He provided a nice anchor point in all of the spin by making it crystal clear that neither the ship nor her name were obscured during the visit. He later acknowledged the White House did in fact request that the Navy keep the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) “out of sight” but, apparently, somewhere along the line the Navy stood up for itself. I can only hope that happened before the request (order?) reached your ship.

Second, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. You owe the American people nothing but faithful dedication to your Oath. I’m sure many people are trying to contact you. I also wouldn’t be surprised if you were told by your chain of command to not comment on the story to anyone. It’s all white noise. What happened, happened, and it’s not your job to help people sort out the truth from the lies. If the Navy did agree to hide you and your ship, it will all come out eventually. If not, then there’s no story here except some staff weenie who no longer has a job. Our Acting Secretary of Defense says he doesn’t want the military to be politicized, and unfortunately that’s exactly what happened to you. You deserve better. You are United States Navy sailors, and I have an appreciation for what you endure. On the other hand, some of you were on board for the fatal collision in 2017 and I have no idea what that must have been like. I do know that none of you should be made to feel like your Commander in Chief can’t stand the sight of you.

Third, we can do better. Strange, stupid requests are made of the Navy all the time (I once received a phone call on the quarterdeck from a gentleman asking how he could arrange the filming of a motorcycle jump from one aircraft carrier to another . . . kinda wish I made that happen), but our job is to respond unfailingly with honor, courage, and commitment. I think we can take the President at his word that he was not involved in the request (although using the words “well-meaning” does sting . . . I don’t understand how hiding a U.S. warship in shame could be interpreted as well-meaning), and there also is no reason to doubt Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan when he says he knew nothing about it. CHINFO says the Navy didn’t act on the request. So, some White House staffer made a stupid request and initiated some staff churn in DoD, which is not surprising. The only relevant question is where did the insanity stop? How far it went is a good measure for the health of the Surface Navy culture. I can dream that the first SWO to see the request reacted with indignation and respectfully declined; however, I’ve made no secret that I believe Surface Navy culture needs reform and I don’t think we’re there yet. I guess I can take solace in that it’s not so bad that your shipboard chain of command never received any orders (or at least acted on them), and possibly never received the request in the first place.

V/r,

Salty


P.S. If you’d like to tell me otherwise, feel free to reach out at tsm@saltyherald.com. 😉 #keepitsalty

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