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teams or training assist visits. The
Storm flags are flying on the fleet’s waterfronts in the wake of the 20 November 1987 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. Heavy seas, in the form of congressionally mandated 1989 Department of Defense budget reductions of $52 billion ^ from the $644 billion originally requested in 1987, are causing concern to fleet leaders.1 As well they should. The U. S. Atlantic Fleet, for example, will have to cut $600 million in operations and maintenance accounts, a slice of about 11- 12%.2 Compensation, personnel management, retention, and human services are also receiving ongoing budgetary reviews, which in turn are receiving considerable press attention.
Analysts are debating the possible deleterious effects of these budget cuts on naval readiness and naval bureaucrats attempting to assuage negative perceptions in their media appearances. But shipboard leaders are tasked with preserving their units’ war-fighting capability. They and their charges must live with and, perhaps, fight with the results of their efforts. Theirs is the challenge of an entire generation of young naval leadership.
Despite the eternal ebb and flow of the budgetary process, the Navy’s leadership assets remain—as if in the plus column of tomorrow’s budget. Today’s is not a novel challenge. A comparative glance at U. S. naval history reveals at least 11 periods when fleet budgets were more dramatically reduced and when strong leadership overcame resultant materiel shortages. Admiral Ernest J. King, in one of his famed “Orders to the Fleet” of 24 March 1941, encouraged his sailors to “make the best of what you /mve.”3 In remembering the world war that subsequently demanded U. S. involvement, his words were, indeed, prophetic. They are apropos today.
Today, shipboard leaders must use their repertoire of leadership talents to “make the best.” This repertoire, however, may need slight revision, augmentation, or even revitalization during the time warp separating the abundant 1980s from the austere 1990s.
Before tackling the leadership and management disciplines needed to deal with the budget cuts, however, officers must identify the cutbacks’ effects and develop a plan to counter them.
Short Term Strains: The text, Naval Leadership—Voices of Experience, views recognition of the problem as “the first hurdle for any leader.”4 Therefore, the shipboard leader’s first step should be to study his particular situation in some detail. An incomplete listing of the precursory effects of the reduced funding reveals an initial U. S. Navy response which, owing mainly to time constraints, has been more reactive than deliberate. Whether a gradual, long-term decline in naval strength will follow is a question that will be answered mainly on the deck- plates. Leaders with vision, who hope to enjoy a Navy that remains fully ready to fight, will realize that most short-term strains are merely fiscal symptoms of tomorrow’s real leadership challenge. Moreover, leaders who wait for a money tree that could once again bear fruit may never solve the near-term difficulties that budget constraints impose. Effective shipboard leaders will realize that they must dig much deeper than their pocket- books to solve the following problems:
► Fossil-fuel consumption will be reduced substantially, a factor affecting at- sea type training for conventional ships and possibly flight hours for aviation units. Nuclear-powered vessels, with their fuel already paid for, may expect to fill some commitments previously scheduled for conventional ships. This will affect morale.
► Intermediate maintenance and con- the
tractor-supplied industrial support on 1 waterfronts will be reduced and mo tightly allocated to ships by type c0tl1 manders. Ship’s force personnel vvl almost completely absorb rudimentary jobs, including such tasks as exterior ti ishing, lagging, or weight testing-
► Operations target funding will be re
duced by 10-15%, if not as much * 40%. Spare-part inventories may also reduced, especially on larger ships- 1 creases in either area will become e more difficult for squadron or type c°nl manders to substantiate. ...
► Formal and team training off ship " be replaced somewhat by mobile train1 ?
constraints that inhibit at-sea type tral11, ing will once again bring about su meaningful efforts as battle force inp° training, coordinated inport exerciseSj and fast cruises. Division officers " need to beef up their on-board train"1- programs to compensate. .
► Conditional manning levels, if n , wartime manning levels, will be reduce slightly and ships will adjust and evalu® their battle bills accordingly. Thereafter more personnel reductions may folio"1’ affecting, at a minimum, a ship’s train111' readiness before deployment. In additi°n’ NAVOP 013/88 directs commands to & sess the reenlistment designs of persona whose end of active service falls bet"'®
1 April 1988 and the end of fiscal yea 1988. Except for nuclear-trained Pers°nc nel and others in critical ratings, th° who decide not to reenlist are being dlS charged early. Whether such early-0 actions are planned in the next fiscal yea remains uncertain.
► Compensation for naval personnel m*1- increase at a lower annual rate than inn ^ tion, despite concerted DoD lobby efforts in Congress. The fiscal year 1 ■ “ 2% pay raise may be repeated in 19° ’ and also will go into effect later—in -lal1
not October.5 In late 1988, those *io’CerS ^to selected for promo- ^ 0r those enlisted personnel (E-2) who . advanced will experience delays in in ,n'nS on that extra stripe and in receiv- mt the pay that goes with it. Again, 1 013/88 applies.
as retention rates vary in critical ratings. SRB “windows” will open and close and candidates for rcenlistment will be required to be fully qualified for reenlistment and to sign on within the prescribed time windows to qualify for SRBs. NAVOP 004/88 outlines 1988 SRB policies and, significantly, many ratings are no longer eligible. The Military Retirement Reform Act of 1986 and NAVOP
Budget cuts may weigh heavily in in minus column of the Navy’s balance sheet, but the commitment and capability of its people land squarely in the plus column. What’s a little belt-tightening to a crew with the moxie to keep the stricken Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) afloat?
your crew, communicate with them
A host of leaders who endured the
era of fiscal austerity—the late
which to attack budget difficulties ^ high command can compile these s plans to help formulate the budge1 ^
No, this XO (of the USS Iowa [BB- 61]) is not auditioning for “Supercarrier.” But going on Site TV is a good way to keep the crew informed of exactly how the budget cuts will affect them.
077/86 also reduced retirement benefits slightly, a factor especially significant to careerists who are in their second or third enlistments.
► Variable housing allowances (VHAs) have been reallocated in 1988 by geographic area. According to former Navy Secretary James Webb, this reallocation “was done in the name of equity for everyone worldwide.” In effect, VHAs have been raised in such high-cost areas as Washington, D.C., and reduced in many other areas.6
► As permanent-change-of-station funds are decreased, orders requiring these funds are being deferred, in some cases for as long as four months.7 Split tours,
» even along the same waterfront, ship-to- ship, will be minimized.
► Summary or special courts-martial resulting in other-than-honorable discharges for miscreants—which cost the Navy and tax the judge advocates’ resources—will need to be reduced. Ships’ commanding officers and shipboard leaders will be tasked to provide alternate motivational or punitive solutions to these discharges, including better use of correctional custody unit and more use of the brig. The “bad guy” who walks across the prow for the last time might not be replaced quickly, especially in light of more stringent recruitment policy and force reduction measures. The real challenge, however, is somehow to reduce the frequency and severity of conduct that leads to judicial proceedings.
The overall effects of these short-term strains on the shipboard leader and his division or work center will be harder work, longer hours and seemingly less money. Leaders will have to work smarter, too, and husband sparse personnel and material resources ever more wisely.
Having identified these short-term strains, shipboard leaders must next develop their plans of attack to counter them.
Desired: Fleet Participation: Fleet shipboard leaders are not merely at the receiving end of budget-cutting methodology. While ships will regroup following the initial surge of budget cuts, their follow-on plans for maintaining combat readiness—and for getting more readiness miles per dollar—are worthy of attention at the staff and fleet level. Two important benefits result from this process. First, such feedback helps ensure that the naval bureaucracy, from the Pentagon down to the fleet commander, is fully aware of the grass-root effects of budget reduction. By getting involved in the process, deckplate leaders will help provide that the budgetary process at the shipboard or unit level some two years hence will be more proactive than reactive. Second, and even more important, soliciting fleet feedback will make the junior personnel who must be prepared to fight also feel that they are a part of the budget reduction solution.
Such participatory problem-solving tactics are not new—in either the military or U. S. business. The Chrysler Corporation’s president and chief executive officer, Lee A. Iacocca, cites top-to-bottom participation in problem solving and economy as stalwarts of his company’s return from bankruptcy in the mid-1980s. The plan that turned Chrysler around, both in productivity and morale, was arrived at by hard-line negotiation and adhered to by everyone, including Iacocca, who reduced his own personal salary to one dollar per year.x Likewise, ships or squadrons that prepare their own moneysaving plans and submit them to their administrative commanders will be heard.
A ship’s plan for maintaining mission readiness in an era of austerity need be neither complex nor so abstract in management principle as to be indigestible at the divisional level. According to Vice Admiral Charles R. Larson, U. S. Navy, Commander, U. S. Second Fleet and former Superintendent of the U. S. Naval Academy, “In any planning for mission accomplishment you have to realize that there are no new missions. Many of these things have been done before. . . . Review past plans, look at lessons team •* j and incorporate all of that into your in' ^ planning. And then you have to PreP plain what the mission is, what yoU ._ trying to accomplish. Get your subo nates involved.
can supply invaluable advice for to ^ middle managers—junior 01,1 ^ chiefs, and leading petty officers- ^ younger of these are now serving ships’ COs, XOs, and senior chiefs- though Admiral Carlisle A. H- *r y Chief of Naval Operations, in his nr ^ speeches around the fleet, has likene oncoming era to that after the Vie War, he has been quick to point out today’s fleet possesses several a tages over the Navy of the late 19' both in number of ships and quality personnel.10 Therefore, while the p Vietnam era leaders can provide va*ua(|ie quantitative analyses comparing ^ former era to the present one, the ^ generation can apply fresh optimism of the recent tide of pride and profess alism. From these two bases of s,re^oln deckplate leaders can develop plans ^ quests they will submit to the Depart111' of Defense and Congress.
The People Principle: Managemd1 scarce fiscal resources will only g° s° j when such assets are severely hm The vast remainder of the budget lenge is people intensive and, thus, ership intensive. A budget reduction action plan, if stashed in an office j drawer, will never improve readiness save money. It must be executed 1,1 „
push-and-shove, day-by-day, Pe L, oriented actions of shipboard lea
- ^at will first appear as a “warm and zy improvement in morale or in in-
reased familial enthusiasm at depen- nts club meetings may well be mea- e^e<? ln quality retention and battle lc'ency awards at the year’s end. War- „n tennis, in his book, Leaders, says Managers do things right—Leaders do e right things.”11
C n ihe late 1970s, there was a story of a "-service seaman who stole frozen " off mess decks to take home to his "lily 0f thpgg ne was chastised and "ished at captain’s mast in accordance ljU" the Uniform Code of Military Jus- e> despite the fact that premast investi- ^ 10n revealed a sailor whose budget as inadequate to make ends meet. Had ear ^lnancia* problem been identified r ler. the sailor and his wife would have i CeiVed budget counseling. Postmast ^'hative, as it turned out, helped the wife 8et a job on base and find day care for l^e children. The fish could have stayed the ship’s freezer.
fj . "dget cuts will severely test the mate- Wi]iStrengths of the fleet, but these cuts "Iso check the mettle of personnel
who will make more out of less. Beyond counting bullets and pennies, shipboard leaders must take a much harder look at their people.
The U. S. Navy is made up of loyal, hard-working men and women. Take, for instance, the heroics of the crew of the USS Stark (FFG-31) and the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) in saving their ships from the fire resulting from two Iraqi Exocet cruise missiles. Or remember the fleet’s Marines and sailors who worked and died in and around Beirut back in 1983-1984, or who fought Libya’s terrorism in 1986. And some will even recall the nine-month deployments of the U. S. aircraft carrier battle groups to “Gonzo Station” in the early 1980s. The good news is that many, if not most, of these people are now leading today’s young sailors, on station in the Persian Gulf. No amount of money can pay for that kind of dedication.
Leaders, therefore, owe it to themselves and their troops to look hard at how budget cuts will affect their personnel. They should then apply the tools at their disposal to take care of their troops in ways other than money. Examples abound. Jack Falvey wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “To Raise Productivity, Try Saying Thank You,” and concluded, “If results are produced by committed people, just how much love and money can you spread around to build that commitment and those results? Go, do something nice for someone or say something nice to someone right now.”12 That’s a start.
For division officers who are tired of writing awards, there is a solution—write more of them and they will come easier. Rear Admiral Paul W. Parcells, former CO of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), used to comment to his men who received medals, “If you think you do not deserve your medal, just think back, and you’ll remember a time when you worked harder and didn’t get anything. This medal will be for that time, also.”
Indeed, the Navy’s fleet personnel are due more formal recognition but, more importantly, they deserve more notice of their efforts that would lead to recognition. One common complaint is that
Operation Sink or Swim—A Plan Outline
sel all crew members on their career motivations and intentions. This counseling will occur on at least two levels other than the departmental career counselor and at least twice annually.
VIII. Beneficial Suggestion Program: Having educated and counseled the entire crew on OSS initiatives, the representatives will enact an aggressive “Benny Sug” program under the auspices of the OSS Committee.
IX. Crew Awareness Program: The ship’s public-affairs officer will provide a program on Site TV and in print media to inform the crew (and their dependents) of the real or perceived impacts of budget cuts. This program will highlight actions of the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and Department of Defense to improve military compensation, improve health care for dependents, maintain a less strenuous tempo of operations for ships, hold on to veterans benefits in education, and preserve selective reenlistment bonuses for many ratings. The ship’s commanding officer can answer concerns raised and reported in paragraph V.
X. State of the Ship: The OSS Committee’s senior member will present a “State of the Ship” report to the commanding officer at the end of the four-week agenda. This overview will serve as the statistical base from which to develop an off-ship plan that will be submitted to higher command.
XI. Plan Submission: The CO will send the USS Efficient s OSS plan up the chain of command biannually, highlighting areas where the ship realized significant cost reductions. He will also identify areas of material or personnel most adversely affected by budget reductions.
Purpose: To develop the USS Efficient's shipboard plan
0r combating the liabilities, real or perceived, incurred as "result of current budget reductions.
■ Goal: To improve the USS Efficient's productivity, Material and training readiness, advancement, retention, conduct, and morale.
’ri. Personnel Organization: One USS Efficient officer and °"e chief petty officer from each shipboard department Wl,l meet biweekly in January and June, to develop and Maintain the Operation Sink or Swim (OSS) budget reduction and action plan.
■ Bases of Measurement: Departmental representatives 'v,ll submit annual budget estimates, in operations target a"d operations and maintenance funding, that represent a 20% dollar reduction from their departments’ actual expenditures from the previous fiscal year. Departmental career counselor personnel will provide statistical advancement and retention figures, while legal or master-at-arms Personnel will provide a breakdown of courts-martial or n°njudicial punishment statistics for the previous year. Using these data, the representatives will establish quantitative criteria, wherever possible, to calibrate savings in hose areas delineated in paragraph II.
Problem Definition: Each departmental representative "rill list and prioritize the problems, as perceived by the average E-5 or E-6, presented by budget cuts.
U Goal Setting: Each representative will establish quantitive departmental goals to improve in each area deline- "ted in paragraph II and will disseminate these goals ^idely at departmental quarters and in shipboard media.
Increase Counseling: The department representatives "nil initiate or fine-tune a program to interview and coun
Lieutenant Gorce currently serves in the comba_ rection center of the USS Theodore Roosevelt
&■ (CVN- (LHA-
award winners are often the more visible personnel who get noticed, while others who deserve recognition are working as hard or harder and get nothing. True or not it is up to shipboard leaders to ferret out the performers from the dark spaces up in combat or from the bilges down in the main machinery room and then recognize them. Do it often.
Recently, the new career-counselor rating (NC) has been keeping track of the intricate rules of reenlisting, advancing in rate, split touring, and changing in rating. During an era when reenlistment bonuses and bountiful pay raises proliferated, the command NC was so busy and so expert that division officers often came to rely too heavily on his (or her) services. But merely sending the key performer to the command NC for career advice will no longer suffice, especially when the NC’s advice may still be laden with visions of more money or other lucrative career options formerly available. The division officer and chief must reclaim the role of counselor as career mentor and keep the ,NC as an expert in the rules. The divisional leaders should attack the command’s NC for career knowledge and then apply that knowledge to take care of their sailors.
Families do not work for shipboard leaders, but effective leaders will work hard for them. In a recent series of articles on “Navy Wives” published by Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, one wife commented, “The Navy only cares about me as much as it impacts my husband’s performance.” The series of articles profded this group of Navy constituents who are dedicated, but doubtful that the Navy really cares for their welfare.13 Yes, family morale does affect readiness and shipboard morale. One thing is certain: all echelons of fleet leadership are already looking very hard at family welfare in the wake of current budget cuts. But for the shipboard E-4 who leaves behind a 19-year-old wife and baby, the division officer and chief are the Navy’s policy on family welfare. This is a big responsibility for the fleet’s middle managers.
According to a former commanding general of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, Lieutenant General Melvin Zaiz, leaders must make the extra effort to care.
“How do you know if you care? Well, for one thing, if you care, you listen to your soldiers. Now when I say listen, I don’t mean that stilted baloney that so many officers engage in and stand up to an enlisted man and say, ‘How old are you, son? Where
are you from? How long have you been here? Thank you very much. Next man.’ That’s baloney. That’s form. That’s pose. . . . I’m talking about listening . . . listening . . . ’cause the little soldier won’t come out and tell you everything’s all wrong. He’ll be a little hesitant. If you ask him if he’s getting along all right and he just shrugs, he’s getting along lousy . . . You better dig a little deeper. To care, you must listen. You care if you listen to him. Really listen to him!”14
As I Do: Care is free, at least the gut- level caring General Zais referred to. Quality is free, too—especially in the standards expected from leaders.15 The three leadership qualities of General Order 21 have been identified and developed in many naval leadership texts. These qualities are personal example, professional knowledge, and moral responsibility. Each has its application in the budget reduction arena.
Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, after taking office in early 1987, applied these basics to the difficulties imposed by today’s budget reduction. It is not enough simply to promote increased productivity, dedication, and moral courage in subordinates, he said, leaders must also develop these same qualities within themselves. “A leader,” he continued, “who does not have the respect of his people, whose people do not believe he is operating from a system of values, will find that his words are meaningless to the people he is leading.”16 For example, if ship’s force must now work late to do the kinds of jobs that the shipyard or contractors did last year, the leader should stick around, too, to see that the seamen clean their paint brushes and to thank them. Such personal example will become a topic on the mess decks and will be remembered favorably when other late efforts are required.
Detailed knowledge about budget cuts’ effects at the unit’s level and professional knowledge generally, is a great source of strength for the shipboard leader. If the ship’s combat information center officer, for instance, can develop an on-board tactics training program rivaling the one ashore that became more difficult to schedule, he makes his ship better prepared to fight and also makes his watch- standers more willing to follow his judgment in battle. Fleet schools might not instill that same kind of confidence.
Leaders must throw two old naval adages overboard. “You rate what you get away with,” is the first of these, and it is a blatant affront to moral responsibility.17 The second is, “Spend it [money! or lose it.” Leaders must look beyon their division’s parochial interests an take on board a corporate attitude tna discourages “cumshaw” acquisitions and comes down hard on budget paddin^ and waste. Expediency and waiving Pre scribed procedures will weaken the entne fleet. Despite the difficulties imposed ) budget reduction, most ethical rules 16 main inviolate. Fleet leaders must be »ee to challenge their sailors, “Do as I sa-!' and do as I do.”
Finally, the budget reduction is^not crisis. As long as there are leaders “m plus column,” it will not become one^ Just as sailors are wise to prepare for worst in securing for sea, so must Prude, leaders make the fleet seaworthy for nu get reduction. . ,
One fleet leader, Vice Admiral Ria. ard Dunleavy, Commander Naval Forces, Atlantic Fleet, in encouraging 1 commanding officers recently on the s ject of budget cuts, kept his closing r marks simple: “Keep the faith.” 1 Grant Willis, “Carlucci to Keep Current ^VLg], Force Readiness.” Navy Times, 7 December ^ 2“Budget Cuts Hit Atlantic Fleet.” Navy T‘me ' December 1987.
’Thomas B. Buell, Master of Sea Power: A ” 1 ^ ^ phy of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King (Boston. Little, Brown and Co., 1980.), p. 136. .^j
“Karel Montor, et al., eds., Naval Leadership- ^ of Experience (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute 1987.), p. 167. 0l
5Rick Maze. “2% Jan. Pay Cap Likely m " Cutting Pact.” Navy Times, 30 November aj. “Tony Germanotta, “U. S. may lose bases a ■ 1 Webb warns.” The Virginian Pilot and The Le Star, 16 January 1988. ,^„s,
7"End of year transfer delays in offing.” Soun Military Newspapers of Virginia, 28 January 8Lee Iacocca, lacocca: An Autobiography ' .9. York, NY: Bantam Books, 1984), pp. 167— l81 ■ ' 9Montor, p. 170 „
10“CNO lauds Navy people’s performance. ings. 28 January 1988. ,.w
"Warren Bennis, Leaders: The Strategies jar Charge (New York, NY: Harper and Row, D8 ■ ’
12Zig Ziglar, Top Performance: How to Develop ^ cellence in Yourself and Others (Old Tappan- Fleming H. Revell Company, 1987.), p. 1®J’ us£s 13Mike D’Orse, “Navy Wives,” Part One, leam man and military go hand in hand.” The g ian Pilot and The Ledger Star, 7 February g\.
'“Nancy Austin and Tom Peters, A Passion for "Vy- lence: The Leadership Difference (New Yor - Random House, 1985.), p. 290. ,.V/(A
15Philip B. Crosby, Quality is Free: The Art °J ing Quality Certain (New York, NY: McGraw Book Company, 1979).
l6Montor, pp. 7-8. ^p:
"Harley F. Cope, Command at Sea (Annapolis- Naval Institute Press, 1967.), p. 5. ,
71). Previously, he served in the USS Nassauit- ^ 4) and the USS Comte De Grasse (DD-9 ‘
graduated from the Naval Academy in 1978.