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ERASE Yourself!

in Announcements/Navy Stuff

This post originally appeared on the USNI blog here.

WhatsApp has been hacked! Facebook sold your data! Terrorists are tracking your running routes!

Nothing is sacred. I may be a millennial, but I remember when the internet was an idyllic place full of weird AOL chat rooms and pirated Phish MP3s. Nowadays? It’s a battlefield, and you are ill equipped. For example, the Navy just declared the Chinese-owned app TikTok—which does the same thing as other social media apps, but in a cooler and shadier way—is a cybersecurity threat and advised everyone to uninstall it. If you’re 35 or older Tiktok isn’t directly targeting you, because there’s zero chance you’ve downloaded the app (if you have, you’re trying way too hard). No, TikTok is targeting your newest sailors and, maybe more importantly, your kids. No argument here. Like I said… nothing is sacred.

Yes, the internet is dark and full of terrors, but there is a glimmer of hope! I’ve teamed up with DARPA to announce a brand-new program designed to protect you from yourself in this scary information environment: Elective Reversible Amnesia and Social Eradication (ERASE)!

ERASE is an exciting new opportunity to render you invulnerable to the enemy’s attempts to target you on the internet. Let’s face it, we stink at information security and emissions control. Our ships are like fountains of electromagnetic energy and personal data whenever they enter port. ERASE takes the problem out of your hands with a simple procedure that will make it impossible for you to remember anything not pertaining to the Navy. You’ll be the sailor you’ve always dreamed of becoming! Meanwhile, the ERASE team will also eliminate any evidence that you ever existed in society (both on the internet and IRL). No more pesky distractions from family and friends! BTW, since the procedure is elective, you are responsible for all costs but we’ll dock your pay with a discreetly coded line item on your LES, and you won’t remember how much you got paid before the procedure so you won’t mind at all! The good news is, just in case you do want to keep your spouse and kids around, your family can get ERASE’d under TRICARE Prime for a very reasonable co-pay!

Whose kids are these and why do they know so much about ships?

You’ll also be glad to know our military physicians have a 51 percent success rate in reversing the procedure and restoring your original identity. Should you have second thoughts, you’ll probably be able to go right back to living your terrifyingly risky existence on the internet (Note: zero of our test patients have elected to reverse the procedure they cannot remember having). The simple fact is ERASE is the only feasible defense against cybersecurity threats. We’ve been trying to tell you simply not to use unfamiliar information technology, but then some hot new app or “show us your Social Security Number challenge” comes along. Short of actually understanding continuously evolving information technology and how we can safely and effectively use it to our advantage, ERASE-ing yourself is the next best alternative.

Trust me, we are all on the front lines of the information battlespace and it’s only getting worse. Last week, the Office of the Secretary Defense sent out a memo to all service members warning of the unknown dangers of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, like and 23andMe. The industry is mostly unregulated, and your genetic data could be used for questionable purposes. Its not enough that we protect your mind and personal data online with ERASE, now we need to protect your DNA as well! We all know you’ll just ignore the warning to stop using these tests, and there is evidence that your security (and, therefore national security) could be compromised if even your relatives take these tests. What we don’t know is how any of this really works, which is why the folks at DARPA also asked me to roll out their follow-on initiative to ERASE: Precautionary Unlikely Reversible Genetic Enhancement (PURGE)!

PURGE is an experimental, legally safe medical procedure that scrubs your DNA of any connection to your lineage, just as a precaution. Think of it as a juice cleanse for your genes! You’ll no longer be vulnerable to DNA attacks, or for that matter any of the hereditary diseases that have plagued your family for centuries. Our scientists can also code honor, courage, and commitment into your DNA, so you’ll finally be able to live up to that FITREP bullet that says you’re “the living embodiment of the Navy’s Core Values.” With the combination of PURGE and ERASE, you’ll be entrusting your DNA, your brain, and your social existence to the Navy’s competent hands, which virtually guarantees your continued promotion! Bonus!

Talk to your PCM about PURGE, because you haven’t paid attention to a word I’ve said!

Also, while not official DoD policy, I don’t recommend using those at-home colon cancer screening tests either. There’s no way to be sure someone won’t harvest your genetic data from your DNA “sample.” Plus, it’s just gross.

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.

New Opportunity for Young Strategists: Defense Analyst First Tour

in Announcements/Navy Stuff

This is a guest post by Midshipman Briney Von Saltington VIII, which originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

Developing the next generation of strategic thinkers is critical to securing our national interests in the Era of Great Power Competition. We need officers who understand global military strategy from Day One. That is why I signed up for the first cohort of the Navy’s new Defense Analyst First Tour (DAFT) program.

A couple weeks ago, World Politics Review published an article by Steven Metz advocating for strategic education early in officers’ careers, and highlighting the value of certain “homegrown” military strategy consortia (although no mention of <cough> the U.S. Naval Institute, or <cough> CIMSEC). This article met strong criticism in the military blogosphere, so I thought I would explain the value of my DAFT career path. This is called “strategic communication.” When talking to senior officers, I find it is most effective to explain strategic concepts using quotes and short sentences.

As a DAFT midshipman, I will graduate with a degree in public policy and immediately join the team at OPNAV N5879X. My job will be to write quarterly strategic assessments, based on random articles from various military blogs I periodically check when I’m curious if any of them cited my published papers. My first order of business as a DAFT officer will be to publish my strategic masterpiece, Lethal Third Offset 5G Offshore Balancing Strategies for Great Power Competition in the A2AD Grey Zone, which is mostly a collection of my hot takes on strategic current events. I expect it to be a roaring success, as I have painstakingly regurgitated DoD and Navy leaders’ favorite buzzwords.

I was selected to be DAFT based on the quality of my senior thesis, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History: 2017–2019. With DAFT JOs influencing naval strategy in the decades to come, we will have the opportunity to shape the fate of the nation using the news and analysis provided to us by our social media networks. Some would call this “recency bias,” but I prefer to think of it as being unencumbered by the boredom of history.

When you go DAFT, you get to skip all that tactical and technical detail that many junior officers obsess over. Things like leading a division, flying a helicopter, and running a propulsion system are hardly relevant in the really important matters, such as nuclear brinkmanship and the big data revolution. In the fleet, we will fill shipboard policy and strategy officer (PSO) billets, where we will develop strategic plans for each individual ship. #DistributedStrategy!

DAFT is modeled on naval aviation’s highly successful SERGRAD program, in which highly qualified student naval aviators are selected to go directly to instructor training, and then return to flight school to teach new students how to fly naval aircraft. When an idea works in one particular instance, we all know it’s best to apply it universally. Since SERGRAD has been so successful, it was pretty much a “no-brainer” for the Navy to create an equivalent career path for naval strategists. As in, I am fairly certain nobody gave the decision much thought.

Most midshipmen spend their summers integrating with the fleet to gain firsthand experience with the various Navy communities, complement their education, and help them select their career paths. DAFT midshipmen, however, spend their summers interning with Washington, D.C.-based think tanks, getting indoctrinated into the unique American brand of military strategy. I chose to intern with The Salty Herald, one of the most innovative, cutting edge think tanks around. It’s a great workplace, although Saltron is a pain.

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