360-Degree Feedback: Can We Handle the Truth?
By Captain Mike Lambert, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Early in October 2004, Navy Newsstand announced that the surface community had launched the 360-Degree Feedback Program. The program includes self ratings, peer reviews, and leadership assessments. Feedback is sought from everyone in the chain of command. Designed to "show ourselves as others see us," it may improve communication across the chain of command. The approach helps by bringing out every aspect of enlisted and officer performance.
That month, selected officers from the surface warfare community started participating in a new multi-rater feedback pilot program in an effort to enhance individual leadership, career, and professional development under the Navy's Human Capital Strategy. Many will immediately recognize the program as something then-Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark introduced during "The Leadership Summil" at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. California, five years ago (3-6 December 2001).
Vice Admiral Timothy LaFleur was a natural to test the concept with the surface warfare community. He was one of the 260 participants, "from seaman to admiral" in the leadership summit. The pilot program for 360-Degree Feedback was one of more than 30 pilot programs proposed during the summit.
Submarine Squadron 20 commanding officers undertook a second, less-publicized test of the program in May 2005. While the results of that test have not been made public, Captain Steve Struble, squadron commodore, described the program as "an investment in the future of the Navy," adding: "The windfall is that participants will certainly benefit on a personal level. These tools help develop the 'right brain' aspects of awareness, judgment and creativity, rather than the 'left brain' functions of technical knowledge and procedural compliance that we so often locus on as submariners."
What's Holding Up 360-Degree Feedback?
But where has the program been since then? What's holding it up? The fact is, 360-degree feedback is troublesome. Feedback, particularly negative feedback (even when given constructively), can be difficult to handle-for both provider and receiver. It is harder still, if the person providing the feedback is a junior in the chain of command. Keep in mind that negative feedback provided to seniors may be given at considerable risk to your own future success. At least that was my experience. Let me share one of my lessons learned with you.
A master chief with whom I worked very closely suggested (while he was in the terminal stages of cancer) that I provide our commanding officer with some muchneeded (in our opinion) feedback. I did exactly what the master chief suggested. Now. I am only guessing that our commanding officer did not care for the feedback because he has not spoken to me since. That feedback, which I have summarized I here, earned me immediate "persona non grata" status at the command and with our commanding officer. In all fairness to him. I probably earned it. The cardinal rule of providing feedback is to use tact and balance. I failed in that regard: I should have been more tactful.
What I Told My CO
Summary of my constructive feedback in my commanding officer:
* You're going to be a leader in the community; these things may help you.
* You are a great speaker. Be careful not to lose the feeling behind the words. Words have meaning; actions have consequences. Ensure your actions match your words. Some sailors actually listen to every word. They can sense any hint of insincerity.
* Your command philosophy should be written down and distributed widely in the command. This is a huge reason for the CNO's success in the Navy. We all know where he's going and we talk about it. The same should have been true at the command level. The command wants to follow you. Tell us where you want to go.
* Respect our time. Typically ten or more people are always awaiting your late arrival at some function (staff meeting, wardroom meetings, dinners, graduations, etc).If people believe that you are willing to consistently waste their time, they will stop feeling guilty about wasting yours.
* Be consistent with your administration of military justice. It's easy to punish junior members in the command for trivial violations. Applying the same standards across the board does not always work. In fact, the more senior the individual is, the more accountable they should be held for their action or inaction. Everyone is watching-and judging.
* When senior officers visit the command, maximize their exposure to the junior members of the command. They will benefit the most.
* Take your junior officers, chiefs, and sailors to lunch or simply go have lunch with them in their mess. Everyone will learn a lot. especially you.
* Invite your key command leaders to your home for a social event so they can see how it's done. Juniors need to see how their seniors do this. It's part of the learning/teaching process.
* Share information with your department heads. It is astounding how much information a commanding officer is exposed to and that is not shared with the department heads. Distributed information is enormously powerful. Your department heads can keep a secret if there is a requirement for secrecy. Trust them.
* Don't play favorites with members of the wardroom. It hurts the wardroom and it hurts you.
* Focus your calendar on the command's mission. Ceremonial events and public relations are important, but your time should be spent on those areas the commanding officer can directly influence for the greatest benefit to the command's mission.
* Don't take this feedback the wrong way. You are an officer of incredible potential. Promotion boards will see it the same way.
What Vice Admiral LeFleur Thinks
As Vice Admiral LaFleur said, "The 360-Degree Feedback program is an excellent performance feedback tool and designed for counseling purposes only. Feedback results will not he entered into fitness reports or be available for use by selection boards. Instead, the goal of the new system is to promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement, with leadership at the foundation."
Based on my limited experience in providing feedback to my senior, I wonder if our leaders are as ready to receive 360-Degree Feedback as we are to provide it. I do agree 100 percent with Vice Admiral LaFleur and share the belief that I have personally benefited from receiving feedback on how others see me. Constructive feedback from seniors, peers, and subordinates will make us all better-if we can take it. Stand by, seniors in the chain of command. Sometimes feedback is awfully hard to swallow, especially when administered by your junior.
We'll see where the pilot program takes us and whether it goes Fleet-wide in the next few years. Ready or not, here it comes.
Captain Lambert retired in June 2006. He was most recently the staff director on the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Detainee Task Force. He commanded Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan, and was also the director of training at the Center for Cryptology at Curry Station, Pensacola, Florida. His career spanned 30 years of service, from seaman recruit to captain.
Loose Lips Can Still Sink Ships
By Commander Frank Morley, U.S. Navy, and Lieutenant (junior grade) Lamar Stanley, U.S. Navy
That World War II admonition made sense then, and it makes sense today. Unfortunately, Navy Information Security (InfoSec) and Operational Security (OpSec) practices on hoard ship hark hack to the days before the Internet, satellite and cell phones, and Blackberries-and there is little guidance on how we should adapt. Given today's terrorist environment, however, we cannot afford to continue business-as-usual.
For more than 200 years, we have been relatively free to discuss operational issues inside the lifelines of the ship. There was virtually no opportunity for this information to get off the ship until the next port call, and we were taught to keep our Sailors informed. There were little consequences for discussing these issues, and the benefits of an informed and mission-motivated crew were obvious. There were few seereis on hoard ship; scuttlebutt passed the lime and kept things interesting. Even today, a contingency operation or possible change in operational schedule discussed at the highest levels on hoard the ship often becomes a hot topic on the mess decks that night.
On a carrier, the obvious place to discuss classified subjects is the carrier intelligence center (CVIC), a secure area where most mission planning and debriefing occur. But what does it take to gain access to the intelligence center? Throughout my career on numerous carriers, all it took was ringing the buzzer and waiting for the door to he opened. A flight suit, khakis, dungarees, coveralls, and-on a few occasions in port, civilian clothes-have been adequate. There were no questions, no badging, no access list; often, no one even looked up. On other ships, the wardroom might be the obvious choice. Is access secured? Is it sound proof? Who is refilling the coffee pot?
Who Should Hear Sensitive Information?
Assuming we have a truly secure space, with whom can we discuss such issues when outside it? After all, everyone leaves a sensitive discussion with a slightly different view as to which people who did not attend the meeting can be filled in as planning begins. Beyond that, is anything secure within the sacred confines of a junior officer bunkroom?
Published guidance provides reasonable bounds, but it is not widely disseminated or understood throughout the Fleet. In the 1980s and early 1990s, for example, there was a widely accepted limit as to when to discuss a ship's movement. The authors could not uncover the specific written guidance of that day, but from experience and interviews it was generally understood that ship movements outside 30 days were considered classified. Movements inside 30 days, unless directed otherwise, were unclassified. This gave our Sailors very definitive limits on what they could say to their families, other service members, etc.
Today, most would agree that this 30-day line in the sand is too liberal. When the authors sought updated guidance from intelligence and operational communities, however, we were told only that, "You cannot discuss ship or squadron movement in an unclassified way," or "Just use proper judgment as to what and when you discuss schedule issues."
And yet, after several weeks of searching, we finally found specific, reasonable guidance in Navy Tactics Techniques and Procedures 3-54.3. The directive's Appendix J contains a December 2001 CINCLANTFLT message that permits the following:
* Disclosure of a specific date 48 hours in advance of arrival/departure of individual units to/from U.S. ports.
* Disclosure of a specific date seven days in advance of return/departure of CVBG/ ARG (carrier battle group/amphibious ready group) units from/to deployment.
* With respect to foreign port calls, there is no disclosure authorized until receipt of host nation approval, at which time disclosure should he limited to essential port services operations and other host nation support. General disclosure of a specific date is restricted until actual day of arrival/departure.
In all cases, the directive states: "The decision to release this information should he made only alter a risk assessment is done on the effects such a disclosure would have on forces involved." Perhaps we are poor researchers, but my guess is that we represent the fleet average. Few people we spoke with seemed to be aware of this guidance.
With regard to sensitive or classified discussions on hoard ship, our instructions appear to provide adequate guidance on specific secure space practices, but these are not necessarily adequate on board ship. SecNavInst 5510.36, Chapter 10, which governs secure spaces while DCID 6/9 and DoD 5105.21 (M-1), which address Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs), appear to cover all possible vulnerabilities. Carrier intelligence centers, however, tend to apply the loosest interpretation of these instructions. The result is security practices on board ship that make us vulnerable. For example, DCID 6/9, section 2.5.1-2 reads:
Access rosters listing all persons authorized access to the facility shall be maintained at the SCIF point of entry. Electronic systems, including coded security identification cards or badges mm be used in lieu of security access rosters. Visitor identification and control: Each SCIF shall have procedures for identification and control of visitors seeking access to the SCIF.
So while identification badges are not necessarily required, they should be considered; checking an access list every time someone enters CVIC is probably impractical considering the number of people required to visit regularly during the day.
Forget Lessons of 20 Years Ago
We must not forget the lessons of 20 years ago when John Walker was caught selling classified message traffic to Soviet spies after his family had been involved in spying on the Navy for more than a decade. If another Walker surfaced today-and it could happen-the consequences would he even more damaging. Remember, Walker was merely stealing discarded printed messages. Imagine if he could have used the secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPKNECT) or a flash drive.
That our ships have inadequate numbers of internal secure phone lines and SIPRNET connections exacerbates the problem. Directives prescribe that we pass secure information via appropriate means-even within the lifelines of the ship-yet we have limited means of doing so. The result is that secure information is routinely passed through non-secure means and in non-secure spaces. To make matters worse, these practices develop terrible information security habit patterns across our force when we operate ashore.
Finally, our means of disposing of classified material remain inadecquate, even though this is the very weakness that John Walker exploited. There are still limited numbers of shredders on board. Burn bags must travel the length of the ship to the incinerator (at least on board a carrier), which may or may not he open. Inevitably, there is a large buildup of disposed classified material. This, coupled with the almost uncontrolled access to our on board secure spaces, is a situation waiting to be exploited.
Spying is an asymmetric warfare technique very much in play and yet we operate as if it poses little threat. It might be more accurate to say it has only intensified in capability with the advent of high-speed connectivity and very small hand-held data-storage devices. The very technology that makes us flexible is available to an enemy intent on exploiting our increased connectivity.
What the Navy Should Do
At a land-based facility such as a Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC), one will find some very basic security procedures in place: An access list is developed and updated, identification badges are distributed, visitor badges are used, logs annotate who is in the building, random checks are done, etc. At land-based facilities, sensitive conversations normally end at the door of secure areas. People understand that there is a definitive line between what can be discussed in secure areas and what can be mentioned outside. Granted, the distinction between secure and non-secure spaces is more readily apparent than on board ships, and most players have ready access to a SIPRNET station, a secure phone, and working shredders. Nevertheless, we should adopt many of these procedures wholesale for our ships. The Navy should:
* Provide and advertise clear, realistic guidance on INFOSEC and OPSEC requirements, procedures and timelines. We need specific numbers and procedures that we can comprehend, work within, and explain and enforce with our Sailors. Much of this already exists in past messages and buried appendices. We must dust these off, update, and ensure widest dissemination and understanding throughout the Fleet. If the Fleet understands the limits and expectations, it will do a much better job of abiding by them.
* Provide adequate numbers of General Services Administration approved storage and destruction devices, secure phone lines, additional SIPR connections, etc. The realities of space, power, and bandwidth will prevail, and ships will frequently be at a disadvantage compared to land-based facilities. Yet we can and must do better.
* Accept that ships at sea have become as connected as land-based facilities. We must begin to treat access to information on hoard ship more like it is treated on land-based installations. Secure spaces, badging, knowledge on when, where, and with whom items may he discussed must become a part of our culture.
We must change to minimize our vulnerabilities for today's fight.
Commander Morley commands VFA-87, and Lieutenant (j.g.) Stanley is the squadron's intelligence officer.
Fusion Is More than Cooperation
By Commander Robert B. Watts, U.S. Coast Guard
Maritime intelligence, routinely limited in military and traditional law-enforcement applications, must now focus on potential threats to the homeland, a problem of enormous scope. Geographically, there are more than 95,000 miles of coastline and 3.4 million square miles of territorial seas and exclusive economic zones in the U.S. maritime domain. The vast bulk of our military power surges from our strategic ports, through which flow supplies for forces deployed overseas. As conduits for overseas trade, 21,000 containers-representing 95 percent of the nation's overseas cargo-enter U.S. ports daily; 100 percent of our petroleum imports come by sea. This reliance on the sea and the potential vulnerability is well known, but the defensive measures that sufficed during the Cold War will not serve us in the war against terrorism.
Neither the Navy nor the Coast Guard ignored maritime security prior to 9/11, but the wide range of potential threats that emerged after 9/11 made it apparent that a substantial increase in awareness of the maritime domain was required. This inevitably means fusion of all available sources.
Fusing law enforcement and defense intelligence is difficult, because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) focus on separate, albeit related, missions. Homeland defense, under the purview of DoD, deals with direct military threats such as weapons of mass destruction, while homeland security focuses on lower-end threats, prevention, and law enforcement. There are important legal, cultural, and procedural reasons for this division. Intelligence gathering for purposes of homeland security and defense is subject to U.S. law, specifically restrictions placed on DoD by the Posse Comitatus Act and Executive Order 12333 regarding the use of DoD forces in domestic operations. These concepts are deeply embedded in the American psyche, which generally resists military incursion into domestic law enforcement and, by extension, any apparent domestic intelligence gathering by DoD.
Separate and Fragmented Intelligence
Procedurally, these restrictions have taken hold throughout civilian and military organizations, which tightly control all maritime intelligence operations, generally restricting these aetivities to service-specific needs. So while some cooperation exists, maritime intelligence for security and defense remains separate and fragmented among services and government agencies.
Given the well-developed maritime intelligence infrastructure already in existence, fusion would seem to he a simple task. Operational intelligence at the Fleet or agency level was fairly well established prior to 9/11 at multiple levels throughout each service. The mission of Coast Guard and Navy intelligence centers varied according to the specific needs of respective combatant commanders, but generally focused on actionable maritime intelligence in direct support of operational units. In the maritime arena, these centers/groups include, hut are not limited to fleet/combatant commander intelligence staffs, joint inter-agency task force components, Naval Criminal Investigative Service offices, Coast Guard District Intelligence, Customs Border Patrol offices, and federal law enforcement centers.
Based on a long established history of joint operations. Coast Guard and Navy combatant commander intelligence centers traditionally enjoy a relatively high level of cooperation, stemming from common service operations and procedures. This cooperation was particularly evident in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and reached the highest levels of each service. Within hours of the attack, the Chief of Naval Operations called the Commandant of the Coast Guard and asked "What do you need?" for maritime security operations.
Cooperation is Not Fusion
Cooperation, however, is not fusion-and simply integrating the existing structure has a number of disadvantages. Navy and Coast Guard intelligence centers were designed to meet the needs of their parent organizations and remain largely focused on that need. While some modifications and improvements have occurred since 9/11, Navy intelligence is largely focused on specific military applications (fleet, air. special operations support, etc.), while Coast Guard intelligence remains centered on law enforcement. Navy combatant commanders are directly affected by application of Posse Comitatus and Executive Order 12333, which limit their intelligence operations in homeland defense and lead to compartmentalization and redundant operations.
While these centers do share some commonality in virtual technology that can be used as a common intelligence picture, the technology is not universal. The large number of these centers dictates a dedicated virtual link, which to date has not been created. Finally, the critical role of other agencies active in the maritime domain must he considered. Taken all in all. these factors require a new form of intelligence specialization.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Coast Guard established Maritime Intelligence Fusion Centers (MIFCs)-MIFCLANT IOr Atlantic (MIFCLANT) and Pacific (MIFCPAC) operations as distinct entities to focus on increased intelligence requirements for maritime homeland security, including the collection, analysis, and dissemination of operational maritime intelligence. These centers were designed to take advantage of the Coast Guard's unique Title 14 (law enforcement) and Title 10 (military) authority to bridge the gap between the Department of Homeland security and the Department of Defense. Personnel have access to intelligence at the national and combatant commander level, as well as that from law enforcement intelligence and experts in the intelligence community.
Linked Fusion Centers
Although designed-and staffed-by the Coast Guard, these centers are located with the Navy Shipping Coordination Centers that provide information to identify shipping anomalies or suspicious commercial vessel activity worldwide. In addition, the centers have established interagency liaison with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Customs and Border Patrol, the National security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Navy combatant commanders, and strategic intelligence sources. They are also linked to Joint Harbor Operations Centers, a Coast Guard-Navy effort for port operations that provides timely tactical intelligence.
As modern intelligence centers, they have full access to the Global Command and Control System and other national command components. Hach is staffed by more than 50 intelligence specialists and analysts. In addition to providing intelligence analysis, the centers arc capable of deploying personnel, equipment, and sensors to support tactical operations when required. In their formal charter, the centers focus on regional homeland security, migrant interdiction, counterdrug operations, defense readiness, living marine resources enforcement, and search and rescue. They can support tactical operations and conduct detailed operational level analysis to create the overall intelligence picture that is critical for planning and response.
Specifically this regional analysis focuses in the following areas:
* Collection/operations management: The fusion centers act as a focal point for collection of field intelligence, not only from operational Coast Guard units hut also multi-agency partners operating in ports and the maritime domain.
* Electronic intelligence fusion: This capability fuses supplements other intelligence sources.
* Combatant commander level: They are linked with Navy fleet commanders to share maritime intelligence, fusing this information in one common product.
* Coordinated operational intelligence production: they produce several intelligence support products, including tactical products for use by field units and operational/strategic reports and anaUsis based on input from the field.
There are some drawbacks. While the link with other agencies is well established, the centers ultimately work for the Coast Guard, an issue that must be addressed if they are to become truly multi-agency This effort is well under way. notablv in defining their role in the evolving strategy for maritime domain awareness.
But while the centers can coordinate intelligence fusion effectively, other existing organizations merit consideration. The U.S. Northern Command, established in 2002 as a unified command with the responsibility of homeland defense and civil support with strong links to homeland security agencies, has a well-established, high-technology infrastructure and proven analytical capability to focus not only on maritime intelligence but also to exercise awareness in every domain.
As DoD's primary homeland defense command, its area of responsibility includes defense of the continental United States (including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean within approximately 500 miles of the U.S. coast. Physically located with the North American Air Defense Command, its approximately 1,200 personnel are drawn from all DoD services and include representatives from the Coast Guard and other federal agencies. The command's responsibilities include not only homeland defense, but also Military Assistance to Civil Authority (MACA). This requires considerable operational expertise.
Obstacle to Northern Command
Its focus, however, makes its use as a fusion center for maritime intelligence problematic. As a combatant command, its primary responsibility is defense. Harking back to the legacy of Posse Comitatus, the implication that a large DoD agency is in charge of what is seen as largely a law enforcement scenario creates tremendous resistance among non-DoD agencies. Although largely bureaucratic, this is a considerable obstacle to using Northern Command as the center for homeland security/defense maritime intelligence. Finally, the command is responsible for the entire geographic expanse of the United States. Maritime intelligence Fusion Centers, however, remain focused on one particular domain-coastal waters-and enjoy multi-agency links to tactical operations in ports and coastal waters that do not exist at Northern Command. For purposes of operational intelligence fusion, especially given the asymmetric threat that is potentially far more localized, this is a tremendous advantage not available at the strategic level.
As intelligence centers that exercise established and growing links with DoD and civilian law enforcement agencies, MIFCs are the clear choice for developing this fusion. Using the Coast Guard's dual law enforcement/military authority, legal limitations on the use of maritime intelligence can be effectively addressed by the centers while promoting inter-agency cooperation within both DoD and DUS. As highly technical intelligence centers, they are capable of establishing a virtual link with all maritime intelligence agencies at minimum cost. Recognizing them as the natural center for homeland security and defense intelligence fusion and supplementing them with additional multi-agency expertise will effectively address the problem of coordinated maritime intelligence.
Commander Watts is chief of Drug and Migrant Interdiction at Coast Guard Headquarters. A longtime Proceedings author, he recently commanded the USCGC Steadfast (WMEC-623).