All Detailing Is Local

  • Requests for Financial Managers: Scores

Required Skills: addition and subtraction; high pain tolerance

  • Requests for Political-Military and Strategy-Policy Specialists: Dozens

Required Skills: reading and writing; high alcohol tolerance

  • Requests for Manpower & Personnel Managers: Tens

Required Skills: addition and subtraction; multiplication and division (during Board season); plane geometry (to account for the detailing triangle); talking and listening

  • Requests for Logisticians: Perhaps Seven

Required Skills: addition and subtraction; multiplication and division; ability to read and understand shipping documents

  • Requests for Computer/Network/C4I Experts: About Five

Required Skills: computer/network/C4I experience

  • Requests for Operations Analysts: Maybe Four

Required Skills: multiplying and dividing; some algebra

  • Requests for Surface Nuclear Officers: Around Three

Required Skills: nuclear engineering

These data suggest that surface line officers with technical backgrounds are not in terribly high demand. Nor are they necessarily assigned to jobs that capitalize on their specialized talents. Current distribution priorities actively discourage detailers from assigning surface line officers to billets based on the officers' education. The exceptions tend to be joint specialty officer billets and instructor assignments, where the gaining command prizes education and training over other factors. Furthermore, our corporate perception of an officer's potential remains linked to that officer's promotion and screening status. Many staffs would rather train an upwardly mobile officer who knows little about the work at hand than accept a highly motivated subject matter expert whose record did not compete favorably at the last promotion or screening board.

Commander Harris is the commanding officer of the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51). He did not major in philosophy, a decision he regrets to this day.

 

 
 

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