- Among those officers who have been condemned to spend their time and energies in shore establishments during the war, the one unanimously positive conclusion must be that there is something radically wrong with our naval organization as regards the policy of administration of shore stations. There is very little of the dash and glamor of “ service in the war zone ” in the active supervision in dungarees of the construction or repair of a battleship or destroyer, or in the handling of the billows of correspondence and plans appertaining thereto. No medals are given for this service. It is a hard grind without the thrills of combat, actual or prospective, but there can be no question as to the necessity for its performance.
- In spite of the admitted importance of the subject, very little impartial consideration has been given in detail to the administration of these shore establishments, especially the industrial plants, i. e., the building, manufacturing, fitting out, and repair stations. Essays abounding in deep thought and fine phrasing, as well as famous books, have been written to explain the raison d'etre of a navy, but in practically all of these writings the author was thinking almost, if not entirely, of a navy as an organization of fleets, with, of course, the necessary naval staff for administration and direction. It is the purpose of this article to discuss impartially the policy of administration and organization of navy yards in the light, not only of the past two years’ experience, but also of some twelve years’ study along organization lines.
- Whether the radical changes in the assignment of duties and responsibilities as proposed herein are militarily according to precedent and custom, has nothing to do with the discussion, as we are considering this whole question only as a problem in industrial reorganization. The author declines to be drawn into any “ line or staff ” argument on this or any other point brought out in this paper. Either work is industrial or it is military, and a divorcing of the two must come, either through our own efforts or the spur of a hostile Congressional Committee action, for innumerable perfectly definite examples of inefficiency under the combined milito-industrial scheme can be shown to conclusively prove this point. In the discussion and the examples to be given, the attempt will be made to deal with this problem exactly as though it were simply an industrial re-organisation problem of the usual type, without any consideration (at first) of the military influence whatever.
- On this basis, then,
- Just how efficiently have we performed our several tasks in these stations?
- How would these tasks be handled by an ideal system based on sound industrial engineering practice?
- How can we so alter our organization and methods as to approach the ideal?
- A great industrial engineer once said “ destroy your whole physical plant and it can be restored in brief time, but lose your organisation and you have a stupendous task in reconstruction before you.” The personnel is the thing, as we can many of us recall to our sorrow in the painful results of certain gunnery exercises and steaming competitions.
- Let us consider then a “ first-class navy yard,” and beginning at the top, study its organization chart. (Actual, not the imaginary one hung up in the commander’s or industrial manager’s office.) Strange to say these charts vary in all yards, whether under the industrial manager type of administration, or under the good old commandant scheme. We find a little empire, made up of separate kingdoms, each divided into its principalities and duchies, all as jealous of their prerogatives as they are eager to “ slip the buck ” to each other for any delays, bad workmanship or errors of any kind. We even find encouragement by the various monarchs, of this party bickering policy between their respective subjects.
Example.—Telegram from a commandant, West Coast Yard, to industrial manager, East Coast Yard, urgently requesting information as to shipment certain articles imperatively needed to complete a destroyer.
Answer.— “Wire referred to engineer officer for reply; shipment will be made as soon as received in store from machinery division who have order for manufacture! ”
“ Supply Officer! ”
- What a wealth of comforting information for the hungry yard in dire need of the material in question! By all the rules of business and of common sense, this inquiry is entitled to a simple, prompt, direct statement signed by the responsible head of his authorized assistant, that the material is or is not made and will be shipped on a definite—named—date (never, as soon as possible, which conveys no information on which to base any real action whatever).
- Numerous examples of intra-divisional and departmental squabbling and covetous schemings can be quoted. No officer of experience either in Washington or in any shore station is ignorant of them nor can deny first-hand knowledge of their existence. There are not captious criticisms nor backstairs gossip but facts. Let us then come out plainly, admit our faults and seek correction of them.
- Returning to the chart, let us consider the commandant (of an industrial yard, having no “manager ”).
- A modern navy yard represents an investment of government funds (raised by taxation, remember, i. e., the people’s money) of about $25,000,000. To this yard is sent every two to four years say, a commandant, who may or may not have ever served in the industrial organization of a navy yard before, and who as a general rule never had any modern business experience whatever. For what part of his responsibilities has he been trained to a degree in any way comparable to the president and general manager of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Company? (This, of course, is through no fault of his and in no way reflects on his ability as a naval officer). Is it possible for this man to discharge his responsibility to the people of the United States so far as rendering an economical, efficient management of this $25,000,000 plant is concerned? What private shipyard would employ him in a similar capacity ? How many naval officers of similar training and experience have been coaxed out of the service by glittering offers from big industrial concerns? Is this not significant ?
- In this connection, let us try and forget at least a part of the ingrained idea that a graduate of the Naval Academy is, ipso facto, a technical man of high ability just by virtue of his completion of the four years’ course. He simply isn’t, and the various P. G. courses now fathered, both at Annapolis and at various colleges, clinch this statement. The average graduate of the Naval Academy is in a fair way to become a good naval officer, but as a technical graduate he rates just behind the juniors in any one of our high grade engineering schools.
- Furthermore, it has been deemed essential in the training of midshipmen to inculcate into them a spirit of self-confidence reaching dangerously close to conceit; a feeling of their individual ability to handle any situation. This is probably a fine quality for a young naval officer to possess, and it acts to give him that fertility of resource and speed of decision so essential in the prompt handling of military emergencies. But in the teaching of this idea, has not there been an almost entire sacrifice of the proper appreciation of the difficulties and problems which confront executives trained in other professions?
- Hasn’t it, in fact, led to almost a touch of contempt for the humble “ cit,” and to go a step farther, for the young line officers' confreres of the staff? If we grant there is even a slight touch of truth in this, wouldn’t it explain the fact that a majority of officers (Naval Academy graduates) serving as industrial managers, commandants, heads of divisions, etc., actually and sincerely believe they are fitted perfectly to the job, and are comparable in fitness to the corresponding executives in similar private establishments ?
- The author holds no brief for the “ staff ” or for the corps to which he belongs; although the members of the latter, in general, have been chosen from somewhere near the tops of their respective classes, he believes the percentage of incompetency along industrial management lines just as high in this corps as in any other. He has even reached the conclusion, in some instances, that the high mental horsepower of some of his colleagues had caused a corresponding reduction in this (un) common sense when it came to managerial qualifications. However, the point is, in this corps, a real effort is made to assign the men to duty which is commensurate with their proved ability, i. e., “ paper hounds ” to desk work, “ mental sharks ” to design and calculation problems, “ practical men ” to navy yard assignments, etc.
(There is no denying that “ navy politics,” as well as other considerations besides demonstrated fitness, will always affect certain assignments to desirable duty. We must simply be philosophical over such exhibitions of human nature in action.)
- The officer we had under discussion who corresponds in position to general manager in an industrial organization, has eight or nine departments or divisions under him in a navy yard (without counting those strictly military). In several of these departments we find a duplication of personnel, i. e., office superintendents, new work superintendents, shop superintendents, etc., and unless we are in great luck, a duplication also of materiel (buildings, machinery, equipment and supplies).
- For a fine example, take the New York navy yard, and plot out the office locations (and later the organizations) of the commandant, industrial manager, construction officer, engineer officer, public works officer and supply officer. We discover that the offices of the various departments and divisions are each installed in their own buildings, widely and (apparently) purposely separated, doubtless with careful forethought to reduce the bloodshed to a minimum, certainly not .with the idea of following modern business practice. In what modern shipyard will one find such an absurd situation as regards separation of the important units in the organization? It is unthinkable.
- Seeking another specific example, take the handling of heavy weights by Hull vs. Machinery Divisions at some yards. Each must have its riggers, helpers and laborers, all with a duplication of gear, one being permitted to handle guns up to 6-inch caliber, for example, and all machinery, whereas the other takes all guns above 6-inch caliber and all other heavy weights! No defence can be offered for such a duplication; rigging in or out guns, or proper slinging of machinery or armor is no mystic rite to any thoroughly qualified rigger under proper supervision.
- Examples might be multiplied, such as water and oil piping in engine and fire-rooms and outside them, etc., gratings, sheet metal work, etc. Witness the knotty question of “ cognizance of work ” both as regards the bureaus of the Navy Department and the divisions and departments in each navy yard! A sea lawyer indeed is he who can master all these intricacies of regulation, instruction and confusion. Some of 11s at least can recall the constant jockeying incidental to securing some small real or fancied advantage for this or that division in a question of cognizance. We do not have to grope very far back in the cobwebby recesses of our memories to stumble on plenty of specific examples of this pettiness, either. The really efficient performance of the work in the shop best qualified was the last consideration that entered the heads of the most of us.
- Because certain sheet metal work goes on an exhaust trunk or on a boiler, it must not be touched by the lowly hand of the sheet metal shop, but is “ machinery work ” and must needs be performed by the copper shop or the boiler shop, as this is in charge of the machinery division, although the sheet metal force would seem to be the only logical one to perform all strictly sheet metal work. Then in some yards, we find the “ inside shipfitter ” of the hull division doing work plainly the logical job for the outside machinist of the machinery division.
- Examples might be multiplied to the point of weariness, so let us return to the individual case of the commandant, doubtless an efficient and sincere naval officer who is supposed to be in close touch with all industrial activities under his charge (“ command ’’). Was he (or is he ever) selected because of his experience and proven managerial ability ? Or was he selected because he was about due for shore duty and this particular billet was available for one of his rank (and “ acceptability ”)? Going down the line, does he find his aides and department heads are men skilled in the duties they are supposed to perform, and especially selected for this reason? He does not.
- When, for five years, the important position as one of the superintendents of a division in one of our biggest navy yards can be filled by three junior lieutenants in succession, no one of whom had ever been ashore before in his naval career, nor ever had any industrial experience whatever, our method of selection for these positions is due for a change if we ever expect to accomplish any real efficient handling of our management problems, in which we must have, it will be granted, first, the proper personnel, second, the materiel, third the methods.
- Can you suggest the name of any large and successful shipbuilding corporation that would enthusiastically employ any one of these young officers as a superintendent immediately on his coming ashore for the first time, earnest, brainy and energetic though each of these officers may be? If not, does the reason why not suggest itself, and isn’t it applicable to our little problem here, providing, of course, we brush aside for the moment the military considerations?
- Our good friend the commandant is given one or more “ aides ” and we find upon comparing these with our industrial ideal that the “ senior aide ” is a combination marine superintendent, chief of police, captain of detectives, welfare worker and fire chief, whereas the rest of the “ aides ” are private secretaries without stenographic ability, whose principal industrial duties are to wield that great innovation, the rubber stamp by direction.” They are in no sense “ assistants to the general manager," and most of their industrial duties can be easily and more economically, as well as efficiently, performed by the chief clerk and his force, who at least have the qualities of experience and permanence.
- Let us dissect out those duties of the senior aide in connection with “ yard craft ” and we find that 90 per cent of these duties are strictly industrial. What arrivals, berthings, dockings, undockings, and transfer of vessels on the waterfront of an “ industrial yard ” are military, or performed for any military reason whatever? The ship comes to the yard for work by the yard force and appliances, not as a military maneuver. Why try to camouflage it as such by forcing the responsible industrial supervisor to request of the military “ senior aide ” that this ship be berthed here, shifted there, or assisted into dock No. X, using the tugs under his “ command” ? Why not have these facilities under the direct charge of those who require them? Is it, or is it not, sound business procedure ?
25. Again, consider the police functions of the senior aide (captain of the yard). Do they check up with the latest and best plant protection? We find he divides responsibility with nearly everybody including the commanding officer of marines, and hence he cannot be blamed for the conflicts of authority and irritating incidents that occur daily. He would be super-human if he could prevent them. Right here, let it be stated that the strictly military control of interior policing throughout an industrial establishment never makes for harmony, either among the mechanics or the supervisors. The absolute intolerance inherent in the military policing is going to become more and more a cause of trouble and friction in our government industrial plants as the independent ideas now spreading so rapidly among the mechanical forces gain in strength. We may as well be prepared to bow gracefully to a situation that is nearing us daily.
26. I shall venture to prophesy that within five years the use of armed marines (or soldiers) in policing the strictly industrial portion of government plants will be abolished, so far as contact with the civilian working personnel is concerned. A regular plant police force will take the place of the military guard in the industrial yards similar to that in the Naval Aircraft factory at Philadelphia, and all must admit that plant was thoroughly protected at all times. From the standpoint of economy to the government (i.e. people of the U. S. A., our stockholders) the use of marines for yard police duty is a very extravagant method of protection, except in so far as the relief to the Navy Department working appropriations is concerned.
27. Since the rather arduous but highly instructive experience of two years’ active and responsible association with the fire department of one of our largest cities, the author has witnessed so many painful exhibitions by various navy yard firefighting (?) forces that it is difficult for him to discuss the subject dispassionately. Suffice to say that no uniformed, disciplined force, no matter how large or well officered or how well equipped and disciplined, constitutes an efficient tire-fighting force unless thoroughly trained in firefighting. If you doubt this, ask the experts, Chief Kenlon of New York, Murphy of Philadelphia, or Major Ray of the U. S. Army, or Powell Evans, president National Fire Prevention Association. That more of our navy yards have not suffered disastrous fires is due partly to thorough patrol, and partly to that inscrutable Providence to which Mr. Taft referred in his much quoted phrase.
28. The commandant has under him to assist in ha idling the industrial matters under his “command,” the various heads of divisions or “ yard departments,” each functionary being painstakingly and redundantly appellated as an officer—i. e., “ engineer officer,” “ construction officer,” “ supply officer,” etc In turn each of these has his assistants who are the real superintendents directly in responsible charge of work. And if the first specification of the first charge was found “ proved,” or even “ proved in part,” as regards the general inexperience and lack of training of the commandant for his industrial duties and responsibilities, what then can we say in defence of the selection methods in vogue for the selection and assignment of these invariably numerous assistants of his?
- Some of them in the higher grades doubtless may have had a tour of duty or two ashore in some navy yard, or as “ inspector ’’ of materials or machinery under one of another of the bureaus of the Navy Department, being stationed at some steel works, electric manufacturing company or shipbuilding plant. But in the majority of cases these officers were not selected in the first instance because of their especial fitness for industrial work, nor did they have any real opportunity to display such fitness or to acquire the necessary experience while occupying these previous positions. The question which immediately arises namely, “Where shall these officers secure this experience?” will be answered later in this article by a suggestion which though it may sound radical to-day, was at one time tried out in the naval service in the case of two officers.
- Criticism, to be of value, must be followed by constructive suggestion. Holding his breath, therefore, the author now takes the icy plunge, praying the shooting will not start at least until he hits the opposite shore. Let us start with the first essential, the personnel, and sketch out an organization chart, then unfold some ideas as to the qualifications required to fill the various billets whose authority and responsibility are shown.
(Strictly speaking, an organization chart of this character should start at the root of many of our evils, namely, the Navy Department itself, but the writer has felt that enough discussion and fireworks can probably be initiated by this proposed change in navy yard administration, without searching any further.)
- At the first glance, many of the readers will notice the complete absence of the word “ officer.” The fact that some of these divisional heads may happen to be officers does not warrant proclaiming the fact blatantly by sign and signature. Nor has it anything to do with their duties in this organization. The author has worked both in military and industrial organizations, in uniform and in “ cits,” and has no hesitancy in stating he considers a uniform a distinct handicap in industrial work. Contrary to the popular military belief, it gives no special prestige or standing to the wearer in the eyes of his civilian subordinates, except to arouse a certain suspicion that if the brass bound coat and cap came off there would be but little left to worship and admire. So each head and sub-head has been given the title of his job only, without the intrusion of any word to lend the increasingly offensive military flavor.
- It will be noted that the organization is grouped under an industrial manager, and divided into seven main activities, namely: (1) assistant industrial manager; (2) chief engineer; (3) shop superintendent; (4) outside superintendent; (5) production superintendent; (6) material superintendent, and (7) marine superintendent.
- Assistant Industrial Manager.—Flanked by the various principal superintendents and the chief engineer, who is the chief technical adviser of the industrial manager. The assistant manager is given charge of the offices proper, all office activities being under his division, including the accounting; the accounting superintendent has under his charge the paying, which is in accord with standard industrial practice and is entirely logical.
(1a) The relations between the assistant industrial manager and the chief engineer must necessarily be close since the repair and construction superintendents, respectively, will be in constant touch with the chief engineer and his assistant engineers as regards many points of design, planning of work, use of available tools and materials for special jobs, etc.
(1b) It is intended that the repair superintendent shall have complete charge (under the assistant industrial manager) of all drafting, planning, job order and despatching activities on ships under overhaul, repairs to yard plant, public works, repairs and maintenance, etc., whereas the construction superintendent shall exercise similar jurisdiction for all new construction. In other words, these two executives will be responsible for the plans the estimating and planning of all work, issuing of the proper’ job orders covering it and the despatching of these orders in proper sequence when the drawings and materials (and in some cases jigs and tools) are available. This arrangement is, of course elemental in management work, and simply means that the shop’ outside and marine superintendents and all their subordinates have nothing to worry about except the proper performance of the work in accordance with the drawings, detailed job orders, and material provided for them.
(1c) The chief clerk (a civilian, not an aide, “junior,” senior ’ or plain without trimmings) is properly made responsible for and given the requisite authority over, the whole clerical force, janitors, correspondence, files, equipment, civil service classified (non-technical), etc. The higher supervisory clerks in most navy yards are a long-suffering, overloaded, underpaid body of potentially able men, thoroughly versed in their jobs, and constantly prevented from using their experience and knowledge to the best advantage to the government.
- Chief Engineer.—In charge of all matters of design, tests, technical reports, etc. On his staff would be ordnance and electrical experts (both radio and gyro), a qualified constructor and civil engineer. As stated above, his relations with repair and construction superintendents would necessarily be very close. He would have no authority over the working forces and would not act as manager in the absence of the manager and assistant manager.
- Shop Superintendent.—All work inside shops, power plant buildings, quarters, etc., also in charge all land transportation facilities, operation, repair and maintenance. The safety engineer and the police and fire heads are also under him.
- I he outside superintendent handles every yard job outside shops and buildings, and all ship work. He has assistants for hull, machinery, ordnance, electric and public works activities.
- Production Superintendent.—Responsible for efficient methods of work performance, for “progress” and “follow up ” reports, also for proper carrying out all tests and inspections of work done (as prescribed by plans and job orders or specification requirements). As he must check work of other division heads, he reports direct to industrial manager.
- Material Superintendent.—To handle preparation of requisitions direct from plans and material lists, conduct purchasing, storage, and supply of all materials, machines, tools, supplies, equipment of every kind used by the industrial yard; to maintain automatic follow up records of status of every requisition, purchase order, contract, etc., and to accept full responsibility for securing and delivering on time every material thing required by the Industrial Department. He also is charged with the survey and inspection of materials. The maintenance of elaborate “ material office ” organizations by Hull, Machinery or Public Works Departments has no place in this proposed re-organization. All of their activities are properly functions of the material (“supply”) division and the latter should be given this responsibility together with the organization to handle it
(7) The Marine Superintendent.—In charge of dry docks, berthing, of ships, floating property (tugs, lighters, launches floats), of berthing facilities, and ships “ in ordinary. He move vessels on waterfront to suit convenience of outside superintendent, upon request of latter, but never without informing him in advance. In the proposed type office building (Fig.1), it will be noted that the office of the marine superintendent is close to that of the outside superintendent with whom he should consult in regard to berthings, dockings and undockings.
33. In discussing the above assignment of duties and responsibilities, before passing to the third chapter of this paper, the author believes the scheme once proposed by Commander L. M Cox (C. E. C.) has great merit, i. e., to have an experienced cm engineer on the staff of the commandant of each naval district, with a view to making the technical knowledge and experience of this officer available for consultation and recommendation on all major public works problems arising in any naval plant in the district. This scheme would not only relieve these technical officers of such petty worries as the re-furnishing of “ chamber No. hi in senior aide’s quarters,” but would also insure an unbiased, extraneous judgment to be applied to many of our yard development and construction problems the solutions for which are now unluckily, but nevertheless surely, influenced by the warped viewpoint of “ the man inside the fence,” who is bound to be swayed by the many petty local considerations. (Another point is that in any government establishment, politics and policy always will hold joint sway, so such matters as discipline, employment welfare, etc., except merest routine, must be handled in person by the manager or assistant manager, whereas in a big private plant, a separate office would handle these matters and the manager would see only the exceptional cases.)
- Having our proposed organization before us, how can we select, train and assign the personnel available, so as to fill these positions satisfactorily ? Let us start with the manager and build down from him.
It will be admitted that, to be a successful manager of any industrial plant of the size of the one under consideration, i. e., a navy yard employing 8000 to 12,000 men (and women), a man must possess certain outstanding qualifications. Among these are: (1) education; (2) training; (3) experience; (4) tact; (5) energy; (6) initiative; (7) health; and (8) vision. (I have not mentioned “ honesty ” since, like bravery, it is a quality we are warranted in assuming that every officer of the U. S. Navy possesses.)
- Education.—This does not mean solely the possession of a degree of diploma from a school, college, or university. Some of the best executives in big industry never had an academic education. But this man must be “learned” in his job, i. e., he has kept in close touch with the advance in management, not only by professional reading and study, but by contact with other men in industry and by observation of their plants.
- Training.—The best executives are “trained” men. They have been through the lower positions in turn and have not, like a favored son, been pitchforked into one of the higher places, sooner or later to fall to their proper levels.
- Experience.—The broader the field of activity in which a man has served, if he has made the most of each opportunity to grow, the more valuable does this quality of experience become. Judgment comes only with experience, and our candidate must have judgment for he will surely have many opportunities to exercise this quality.
- Tact.—Here is a qualification that sometimes appears almost incompatible with some features of a military education and training. Neither the rendering nor the compelling of absolute obedience, particularly the latter of the two, is an especially good school for tact. It is one of the most serious and fatal defects in the majority of our navy yard executives to-day. Tact implies patience, the quality of tolerance, of self-control at all times. It is of supreme importance in the handling of civilian personnel.
- Energy.—The author will have difficulty in getting by the censor when he remarks that, in his opinion, the average naval officer on shore duty shows little of this quality in comparison with his civilian brethren, nor even with his sea-going self. Most sea-going officers, regardless of corps, regard a tour of shore duty as a sort of mildly educative holiday; a chance to be with one’s family, to renew friendships, to enjoy “ all night in ” with delicious monotony, to eat home food if married, and to taste the flesh pots of Babylon, if not. Incidentally, to acquire some experience about which he is rather vague as to its value in detail, but expressed only as a glittering generality this value is immense. The principal reason for all this state of mind is that sea-going, not shore-staying, is a naval officer’s job and he knows it, added to which is the fact that the establishment where he is pushed into the organization, unfortunately doesn’t have to show a profit. This latter condition is also responsible for that lack of burning zeal conspicuous in the most of us who remain more or less constantly on shore, so that altogether our navy yard officer output per standard working day is way below normal for an industrial plant (for corresponding executives).
- Initiative.—By this we imply the ability to take responsibility, to inaugurate improvements, the faculty of blaspheming, not worshiping, the little god of “ things as they are ”; in other words, the constant striving for improvement in all men and matters under this executive’s charge, at the same time exercising that tact and judgment which the possession of initiative also implies.
- Health.—Our ideal must not only have health in the sense of freedom from illness, but must have the vigor to give real driving force to the energy we have prescribed for him. Mental as well as physical health is included here; he must not worry, but be alert at all times.
- Vision.—This implies ability to grasp not only the details of the job, but also the possibilities, the improvement to be had in personnel, in shops, in methods, in plant. The power to see beyond the desk and the office door, to look ahead, to anticipate. It has been named last as being the most important of all
- Now that we have these eight qualities enumerated, how should we go about training our future department heads and managers to insure their possessing the largest number of these qualities and the highest degree of perfection in each? The author would offer the suggestion that an industrial corps be established to comprise picked officers, from the line, construction, pay and civil engineer corps, who have distinguished themselves in handling industrial work, and who volunteer for this duty. If each of the five bureaus concerned nominated a representative to a board, and this board, under the presidency of the assistant secretary, selected say thirty officers from lieutenant commander to captain in rank, regardless of grade, simply on record, reputation and the eight qualities above, a nucleus for the organization of four first class navy yards could be formed. Select a manager for each yard from the thirty, regardless of rank or corps, and have the assignment to the industrial managership carry with it the rank, pay and allowances of rear admiral. This suggestion is almost solely an attempt to provide for the officer selected for this responsible position, a salary somewhat higher than the average piece work and “ make up ” earnings of the modern riveter or shipfitter, first class. The author was strongly tempted to suggest that these 30 should, from among themselves, elect by mail ballot, the four managers, but this would smack too much of “government by the governed” for a military organization, even in these piping times of universal suffrage.
37. The cry will be raised that bureau and departmental and corps politics and “ pull ” will be exercised at once by this or that candidate and bureau, and thus defeat the very object1 which is sought by this procedure. The answer to this cry is simply that the author claims no omnipotence of mind which makes it possible for him to wipe out our old scape-goat “ human nature ” at a stroke. The fact that influence has been, is constantly, and always will be used should not move us to damn all selective methods. The plain facts are that the present system of providing officers for industrial duties is unsound and highly inefficient, resulting in a modern miracle if the rightly equipped man is fitted to the job, whereas the proposed method is believed to offer at the least reckoning, more than an equal chance that a qualified man will be selected.
- Having provided a manager for (at least) each of the four large yards, let each in conference with the department select his principal assistants from the remaining eligibles. In selecting these, a prospective manager can be trusted to assign them to those supervisory positions in the organization for which their records show they have had the most experience. Next circularize all officers of these four corps above mentioned, of the rank of commander and below, as to their desire to take up industrial work; turn these applications over to the board which selected the nucleus of thirty, and let them choose an additional two hundred officers. (Of course, this selection must be balanced, j. e., there should not be a preponderance of constructors at the expense of pay officer, etc., or a dearth of civil engineers for the requisite public works functions of the four yards any more than in selecting the first 30.)
- When the list has the department’s approval, order a sufficient number of these officers to fill the necessary quota at each of the four yards in the higher supervisory positions only, leaving the lower positions (assistants) for junior officers of not less than two years' sea service who apply for this duty. Those of these latter officers who show aptitude and desire to continue, at the end of one year should be given special technical courses, similar to that now established for the construction corps, for example. (It is assumed that the majority of officers will all now be drawn from the Naval Academy graduates in view of the large classes now available.) The remaining officers of the 200 should be given at least a year in industrial engineering at an approved technical school, with plenty of opportunity to study the various types of management in private organizations, and then sent to the yards to relieve those first chosen, who in turn should receive these special one-year courses.
- In all of these technical courses, whether civil, electrical, mechanical or naval construction, especial stress should be placed in the last year on the importance of industrial engineering, management, and business economics. When the course is satisfactorily completed, notation should be made on the officer’s record and in the navy register, and he should be ordered to one of the industrial yards, “ for such duty as the manager may assign.” During his first year in the yard, the junior officers (students) should be put through shop courses as was formerly done for all army ordnance officers, and as is now being done with assistant constructors.
- At New York and Mare Island, for example, actual manual work in the various shops throughout the yard, is being performed by each student officer both as a helper and as a mechanic in all trades. The advantages of this training are so apparent that it makes many of us who have lost the thatching off our respective roofs, wish we had been given such a training back in the days when we were supposed to be securing our “ practical education.”
- When the neophyte has finished his years' novitiate as proposed, he is available for assignment to one of the positions as assistant to a superintendent. For example, if he was educated (in the P. G. course) with an especial view to civil engineering, he would be detailed first to the outside superintendent, next to the assistant industrial manager's staff, and from here on his work would be along civil engineering lines. On the other hand, if educated for electrical engineering, he would go to the outside superintendent or the shop superintendent first for a tour, next to the repair or construction superintendent. Either of these would be available for assistants to the chief engineer after completing service in the above divisions.
- The governing idea of this order of duty is that 110 one shall be in a position to design, plan, or issue orders for performance of work, until he has had actual practical experience in the doing of the work, either in the shop or outside, and preferably both. No officer should be detailed as assistant to the chief engineer (after those trained become available) until he has had experience in the office, shop and outside.
- Now for the radical suggestion referred to in paragraph 29: Some of the two hundred officers first selected for assignment to the four yards to be placed under the industrial managers, that are not needed for the first detail, might be given leave to temporarily associate themselves with any approved private corporation where they could obtain first-hand practical experience of the management game, to be recalled to duty as their services are required. This proposal requires a modification in the present law covering officers being employed by private firms holding government contracts. Also, no officer should be accepted for assignment to this industrial corps until he has signed an agreement to serve at least eight years (as is done by officers selected for the construction corps).
- It is further suggested that every one of the officers selected for this industrial work, shall, as opportunity presents, be sent to sea for at least one year out of every five, excluding, of course, the first five after assignment to this shore duty. Each officer should be ordered to duty on board ship in that department for which he is to supervise work on ships when he comes ashore, such as steam or electrical engineering, ordnance, or naval construction. The groove into which the pay officer would fit is self-evident, but the civil engineer presents difficulties. However, the author hazards a guess that the sea-going would be good for this officer, and in any case he could be no more of a menace as an assistant to the chief engineer, the electrical officer, or the navigator even, then the junior lieutenant who springs, full-armed, into the job of outside superintendent under our present scheme.
- A military organization of any kind that is to endure as an efficient unit, must be knit together by strands of common sympathy. This desirable state of understanding and appreciation can only be produced where we know each other’s mode of life, its hardships, joys, and daily tasks. We shore-staying chaps are singularly free from a proper knowledge of our sea-going brethren at work: We are like the “sub-deb ” who thinks the navy is just one delightful round of teas on the flagships, dinners, jazzy dances on the spotless decks with immaculate officers in glittering gold (?) trimmed uniforms, etc., etc. Therefore this article raucously insists that the author and all his confreres living in large crystal houses, be sent out to respond in kind to the mighty heavings of the ocean deep. The few months consumed will be well spent in the all-around esprit dc corps resulting, to say nothing of the broadening of the vision.
- In our industrial manager scheme of organization there is no room for boards, courts, signal or communication watches or other strictly military assignments. These should be handled by the military commandant entirely, who should be the naval district commandant and have entire charge of all military activities, with a proper staff to assume these responsibilities.
- While serving out this panacea for all our navy yard ills, let us add another drop and suggest an inspector-admiral bureau or office, in the Navy Department, responsible to the chief of naval operations. Give it any title you please, it will be as popular under one as another. But no one can deny that there is a screaming need for independent, thorough, efficient and repeated inspection of all departments and divisions of our navy yards. (Bureaus and offices might well be included.) Do not assume by this that the restoration of the inspection officer and his crew is meant; far from it. An adjutant and inspector general’s office under the chief of operations, with properly qualified officers from all corps, detailed for four years only, is intended; to embrace the boards of inspection and survey, prison boards, inspector of pay (supply) corps, etc.; and to have power to inspect the same as the adjutant general of the marine corps has for his corps, to report in detail, all findings, and submit recommendations, with of course, comment by those interested. The author is only interested here in the application of this inspection to navy yards, but its extension to military activities and to the navy afloat, has, in his opinion, advantages just as obvious. Such a bureau as this would make it possible to do away with many of the multitudinous boards ordered on every occasion by everyone in authority in the navy. “ When in doubt or fear, order a board.”
49. In conclusion, the author desires to placate those infuriated officers whom he has in the preceding pages, condemned to sea for life. (Those on their three years sea duty on " active " ships, would be expected and required to exercise a thorough and painstaking inspection of every activity of the yard force on board their respective ships. The idea now exists, but the practice, in most ships, is a little bit pale.) His scheme for this is regular uninterrupted two-year tours of duty in the reserve ships, officers to be so detailed as to rotate in day’s duty on board, to draw sea pay and commutation of quarters, to be required on board only during drill hours (except when on day’s duty). This gives the officer an opportunity to establish a home and allowances to maintain it, all of the leisure that a shore job should give him, and yet does not inflict him temporarily upon an organization which doesn’t need him and which regards his entrance and exit respectively, not as events, but merely as part of the routine of the plant. This does not, of course, apply to those who seek detail to the Naval Academy, inspection duty, or assignment to the various bureaus in Washington or to special offices throughout the country.
50. If this paper squeezes by the censor, it is hoped there may be a point or two herein, or in the criticisms of it, that will be of value in putting our industrial shore stations on a parity of efficiency with that military efficiency which units of the fleet have attained. We are in my humble judgment, way below it now; about where naval gunnery was when Sims began hurling broadsides back in 1901.