Leadership Development On Board the Eagle
By Lieutenant Commander Jeff Janaro, U.S. Coast Guard
Leadership is a skill that must be practiced regularly to gain and maintain proficiency. Participating in challenging leadership opportunities is a valuable way to sharpen these skills. When used correctly, mentorship, an equally valuable tool, guides aspiring leaders to character-enhancing opportunities. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy and other maritime commissioning programs currently offer valuable leadership development opportunities—those that provide real-life leadership experiences that push participants to make decisions and be accountable to others, while facing the prospect of failure in a controlled environment—to aspiring officers.
In his 1995 book Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot, naval hero Admiral James Stockdale defined character as:
. . . more important than knowledge [in that the] sine qua non of a leader has lain not in his chess-like grasp of issues and the options they portend, not in his style of management, not in his skill at processing information, but in his having the character, the heart, to deal spontaneously, honorably, and candidly with people, perplexities, and principles.1
Character must be developed and strengthened through crucible opportunities. In his 2013 address to the Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Admiral Robert Papp spoke of the crucible-like environment of a military academy, saying, “I know it’s been hard, and we make it hard for a reason. As the old saying goes, the hottest fire yields the strongest steel.” Admiral Papp, the 24th Commandant of the Coast Guard at the time, went on to say, “What you are doing here is building a foundation. And for a strong foundation, you need strong steel.”2
Often, those who fail to develop into great leaders never sought out a mentor or took advantage of mentoring opportunities offered to them. In the U.S. Navy, mentored personnel report having better personal and career outcomes. Among midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, those with a mentor are significantly more satisfied with their education, show greater intent to make the Navy a career and are more likely to mentor others.3 Further, a 1999 survey of all retired Navy flag officers revealed that 67 percent reported having at least one significant career mentor.4
The service academies seem to understand that the compassionate leader of character that Stockdale describes is not only developed through academic pursuit of theoretical leadership and mentoring, but by character-building crucible moments. Such moments should stretch the bounds of classroom learning and place aspiring leaders in real situations where they have responsibility and must make decisions that have actual consequences. One program that routinely places aspiring leaders in this desirable environment is the Coast Guard’s training barque Eagle (WIX-327).
The Eagle Leadership Crucible
Today’s Eagle, the seventh cutter to bear that name, is the only square-rigged ship in active government service, a remnant of a bygone era where sail handling and celestial navigation were standard practice. Much like Stockdale believed in a crucible-type event that would forge character in young men and women, the Eagle’s 26th commanding officer, Captain Eric Jones, regularly said that “being cold, wet, and tired, often at the same time, was valuable in the development of future officers.”5 Coincidentally, he picked up the phrase when he served in the Eagle under the command of then-Captain Robert Papp. Eagle leadership forces trainees to think, decide, and act, and they learn to lead the personnel assigned to them through a trial-by-fire experience. The Eagle leadership development model has rising third-class cadets (sophomores) working in divisions led by rising first-class cadets (seniors), usually at a ratio of about eight third-class cadets per one first-class cadet.
While supervised appropriately, cadets receive a considerable amount of responsibility for themselves, their shipmates, and the cutter. There are very few places where young aspiring officers are placed in a position of authority over a division of junior people in a dynamic environment such as the Eagle. Not many institutions have senior trainees leading junior trainees in furling sails 130 feet above the water, on a pitching vessel, in storm-force winds, while 1,000 nautical miles from the nearest safe haven. The exhilarating feeling of successfully leading others through such daunting tasks is part of what makes the Eagle such a character-building experience.
From Trainee to Trainer
This program also offers value as a great equalizer among peers. As the operations officer (OPS) of the barque, on numerous occasions I observed a star-athlete cadet flounder in a line-handling assignment, only to be assisted by a less athletic cadet. Everyone requires assistance at some point. Those who excel at navigation fundamentals may be terrified of going aloft to handle sail. Great sail handlers might find out that they struggle with seasickness. Still others who find success working on deck might be terribly confused by the ship’s systems when they are assigned to the engineering department.
Having sailed the cutter as a cadet for six weeks, my perception was that the training program was designed to teach my classmates and me about “followership.” Ten years after my cadet experience I reported aboard as the OPS of the Eagle. My fellow wardroom members and I extensively mentored the first-class cadets in executing the training program while developing their leadership skills. As an officer, I believed the primary purpose of the Eagle to be the development of the first-class cadets, with the ancillary benefit of teaching the third-class cadets basic seamanship and navigation skills. Now I see that the leadership development on board the Eagle is critical at every level. The third-class cadets are not only learning followership, but they are each being challenged and put into positions where they are forced into a leadership role, be it as a line captain during a sail-handling evolution, or while out on a yard furling sail with their classmates. The first-class cadets are truly filling the role of a junior officer, and often fail to meet the lofty expectations of their officer mentor. However, that is the point; they are “in the fire” struggling, failing, getting back up, and getting better.
The Eagle is not only a crucible leadership experience for the trainees. I was guided toward this challenging assignment by the advice of mentors, and I am thankful that I had enough ambition to take on the challenge. There were other, more traditional (not necessarily easier) assignments available that would not have required learning the many intricate nuances of sailing a tall ship, in addition to the responsibilities, complexities, and challenges of being the OPS on board any military vessel. My two years on board the Eagle challenged me to an extent I had not been challenged before in my career. Just like the cadets, I too struggled, failed, got back up, and got better. I relied on my mentors, those on board the vessel and those serving elsewhere, and in the process became a better leader, navigator, and officer.
If an officer has not sought opportunities to forge his or her character and leadership skills through challenging experiences, he or she will not possess the necessary proficiency to competently lead others. A true navigator, one whom the crew can count on to keep their vessel in safe water, knows and lives by the fundamentals of navigation. From maintaining the ability to determine latitude by observing local apparent noon to being proficient at doubling the angle of the bow, a professional navigator does not rely on the convenience or reliability of GPS. Today one can navigate a naval vessel using only GPS, just as one can lead sailors from behind a desk by only sending out emails. Neither is the hallmark of a good officer or leader. Just as a navigator does not rely on GPS because it can fail him or her in a critical situation, a leader does not rely solely on academic leadership theory or introductory level leadership experience, as it may also fail him or her in a moment of crisis.
I recognize that the U.S. Coast Guard Academy is not the only service academy to provide an intensive crucible leadership development summer program to trainees; I offer the Eagle as an example because of my familiarity with the program. Personal experience has shown me that not every cadet or midshipman will grasp the tenents of leadership that those of us in leadership roles (not just training commands) try to instill in them. Often, it takes the better part of a decade for certain aspects of leadership to manifest themselves in our junior officers. (I include myself in this group of late bloomers.) But my eyes are now open to the solid foundation that was poured for me by my instructors, superior officers, and mentors as a younger man. So take heart, and continue to encourage your mentees to hone their leadership proficiency by studying leadership theory, self-analysis, seeking challenging “crucible” leadership opportunities, and routinely seeking the advice and guidance of mentors.
2. ADM Robert Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.), Annual Leadership Address to the Coast Guard Academy Corps of Cadets, New London, CT, 9 January 2013, www.uscg.mil/history/ccg/Papp/SPEECHES/2013-01-09%20CGA%20Leadership%20Address%20WEB%20POST.pdf.
3. Brett T. Baker, Susan P. Hocevar, and W. Brad Johnson, “The Prevalence and Nature of Service Academy Mentoring,” Military Psychology, vol. 15, no. 4 (2003), 273–83.
4. W. Brad Johnson and Gene Andersen, “How to Make Mentoring Work,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, vol. 135, no. 4 (April 2009), 26–32.
5. CAPT Eric Jones, USCG, in conversation with the author, July 2014.
Lieutenant Commander Janaro has served on board four Coast Guard cutters, commanded two, and notably served as the operations officer and navigator of the USCG Eagle. He also served as the Coast Guard’s liaison to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he taught seamanship and navigation. He was recently selected for the Coast Guard Judge Advocate program and attends the George Washington University Law School.
Dual-Hatting: A True Force Multiplier
By Captain Francis Molinari, U.S. Navy
In 2012 the Navy Maritime Operations Center (MOC) training team identified the dual-hatting of the Numbered Fleet Intelligence Director (N2) as MOC deputy director as an effective practice, highlighting that this construct reinforces cross-functional integration at the MOC leadership level, mitigates seams between operations and intelligence, and ensures that activities are executed with an inclusive perspective. Surprisingly, despite this recognition, currently only two of the eight MOCs (at 4th and 5th Fleets) are organized in this way.
The N2 as deputy MOC director reinforces the fact that intelligence activities at the operational level are operations and not simply a supporting operational function, and when rapid decisions are required within the MOC, they are executed by a consolidated leadership. The arrangement is also a model of the cross-functional integration essential at all levels, a foundational tenet of effective MOC processes.
Integrating Operational Activity
Certain recurring intelligence activities managed by the 5th Fleet and 4th Fleet deputy MOC director/N2s are examples of operations that dispel the notion of intelligence as a supporting role. At 5th Fleet, the Kinetic and Non-kinetic Integrated Fires Element (KNIFE), a standing cross-functional team within the MOC, is responsible for the integration of lethal and nonlethal effects planning and operations. The KNIFE includes an information-warfare planner whose expertise, as a graduate of the Joint Targeting School well versed in the kinetic targeting cycle, extends beyond his core competency of cryptology; he is an integral member of the cross-functional team, and drives the targeting cycle alongside the traditional kinetic targeteer.
From 2011 to 2013, I served as the N2 and deputy MOC director at 4th Fleet and managed a unique operational partnership between the MOC and NIOC-Texas, NCIS South East Field Office and Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) that integrated their respective capabilities to achieve measurable effects in countering illicit trafficking activity. Since January 2014, this model has been responsible for cueing approximately 85 percent of all successful interdictions by JIATF-S assets in the Eastern Pacific.
The recognition of the ops/intel linkage as an operational imperative is not limited to intelligence officers who have served as both the N2 and deputy MOC director, but is shared by many former fleet commanders and current and former unrestricted line MOC chiefs. In 2012, Vice Admiral Kurt Tidd, 4th Fleet Commander in 2012, reflected:
I am a firm believer that being fully invested in the operational side of the MOC, the N2 helps generate better operations. That develops better intelligence, [and] that supports better operations, and so on in a virtuous cycle. At the operational level of war, ops and intel are actually two sides of the same coin.1
Separately, retired Captain Pat Shea, MOC director at 4th Fleet from 2012 to 2013, highlighted the importance of a multidimensional, partnered approach to operations, observing that there are no longer any single or dual-dimension missions and that the speed of good decision making is essential to favorable outcomes. Captain Shea contends that a commander needs seamless information flow to achieve that speed, which is best achieved by marrying the operations and intelligence functions at the top.2
A former MOC director at 5th Fleet, Captain Jeffrey Trent, identified the risks when ops and intel are not cohesively wedded, explaining that since “they are inextricably linked at the execution (tactical) level, they should naturally be linked within the operational HQ. If not, we run the risk of delivering mixed messages and/or disrupting efforts to maintain unity of command.”3
Streamlining the Decision Cycle
Navy doctrine recognizes that a flattened, rather than hierarchical, MOC cross-functional team organizational structure can accelerate a commander’s decision cycle. This concept also applies to MOC leadership, where the equally relevant and mutually supportive functional expertise embodied in the unrestricted-line MOC director-with-N2-as-deputy partnership combines depth and agility, which can expedite the commander’s decision calculus and command and control.
Rear Admiral Andy Lewis, the 5th Fleet MOC director in 2011, recognized the partnership as instrumental in supporting accelerated decision making, and suggested that the model also has application at the high-tactical level:
The power of the MOC is that it is part of the weapon system. It doesn’t matter what warfare designations are worn in each position. The fusion of information, monitoring of the fight, making changes with a broader perspective and better situational awareness and quick decision making are the keys. I am applying the same concepts at the tactical level in the [carrier strike group] command.4
According to Captain Shea, the expertise and experience inherent in the MOC director/N2 partnership provides a filter to protect ideas or courses of action that may still need time to develop before reaching the boss. “Integrating MOC leadership with line operators and information dominance leaves little space for bad ideas to incubate, or worse, make their way to the commander, only to find out at the decision brief, ‘Wow, this was a bad idea.’ Instead, the commander has confidence he is getting fully vetted and supported recommendations.”5
A Model for the Staff
The Fleet N2, as senior Information Dominance Corps (IDC) officer on staff, oversees the fusion of the various IDC warfighting elements into MOC planning efforts and missions in execution. As the deputy MOC director, the N2 is the natural nexus for this integration, optimally postured to ensure both lethal and nonlethal options are considered as means to achieve intended effects. This is especially important now with the addition of defensive and offensive cyber tools in the commander’s warfighting kit. As the IDC senior and deputy MOC director, the N2 also has the bully pulpit to emphasize that network security is more than just information assurance; it assures mission success.
There is also a personal dimension to the construct that, though unquantifiable, is no less critical. The relationship between the MOC director and N2 deputy is marked not by subordination but mutual respect, trust, and constant collaboration. The two spend a significant amount of time together and, simply put, know how the other thinks. When not with the commander or providing guidance to the staff, the two typically can be found together, discussing operational focus and priorities, identifying potential seams and methods to mitigate, or coordinating the synchronization of MOC activities. This professional bond between the MOC director and deputy has a positive influence over the staff, as it tacitly transmits a signal regarding the value of cross-functional integration and underscores the importance of teamwork.
A Critical Eye
Some may question whether the additional responsibilities levied on the N2 dual-hatted as deputy MOC director usurps time from core intelligence responsibilities, unduly impacting the ability to guide the MIOC, manage the intelligence enterprise, or coordinate with interagency and component counterparts. Also at question is whether the model stands up during crisis, or simply elevates the ops/intel relationship during Phase 0 steady-state operations, and subsequently requires adjustments during a transition to crisis.
However, several years of operational experience at 4th and 5th Fleet MOCs employing this construct have proven effective and efficient during steady-state ops, and resilient and agile during crisis. The proactive leadership of an experienced O-5 as MIOC director—a milestone assignment—assures that this critical MOC component continues to function at its highest level of readiness, integrated within all MOC lines of operation, regardless of phase. Further, during a transition to crisis, a temporary crisis action team can be established, as is often the case, to augment identified shortfalls. Nonetheless, MOCs should recognize the N2 must still provide meaningful assessments for the commander and staff regarding adversary behavior; this remains the N2’s responsibility, and is a must-have to support operational planning and mission execution.
The operational efficiencies achieved by this dual-hatting construct may offset any concern that the N2’s core intelligence responsibilities would be otherwise diluted or diminished—the senior intelligence officer still provides strategic direction for the intelligence enterprise and remains synchronized with counterparts up, down, and across echelon. When dual-hatted as deputy MOC director, the N2 is actually better equipped to integrate intelligence activities throughout fleet operations.When the senior intelligence officer is designated as the MOC deputy, the N2 is recognized by the commander and staff as the principal responsible for managing fleet operations when the MOC director is unavailable, and is entrusted with essentially the same authorities and responsibilities. This represents a unique and welcome challenge for the IDC officer, who can now work outside a traditional comfort zone and in a key leadership role. Professionally challenged as never before, the N2/MOC deputy director constantly questions and learns from the functional subject matter experts on staff and becomes a more effective military professional and naval operator. This personally rewarding experience can even be fun.
Ultimately, an MOC’s structure is shaped to conform to the desires of the commander who knows the organization best, but who may determine that this model is not the right fit, or the timing with which it is introduced premature. But all fleet commanders and MOC principals are encouraged to consider the construct’s relevance and the advantages it brings, to include seamless integration of operational activity, streamlining of the decision process, and exemplary modeling of cross-functional teamwork. Captain Shea captured the advantages of designating the senior intelligence officer as the deputy MOC director best:
There are sound leadership fundamentals at work in the goodness of integrating operations and intelligence in the MOC at the top. It represents teamwork, it represents empowerment, it represents collaboration. It represents mission first: Leave your parochialisms at the door, and let’s get to work.6
2. Ibid., 11 November 2014.
3. Ibid., 6 December 2014.
4. Ibid., 6 November 2014.
5. Ibid., 11 November 2014.
Captain Molinari, a career naval intelligence officer, currently serves as the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff at the Naval War College (NWC); prior to assuming this position he was the NWC’s director of the MOC assist and assess team. Between 2011 and 2013, he served as the Director of Fleet Intelligence and Deputy MOC Director at 4th Fleet in Mayport, Florida.
The C-2 Greyhound: A Multi-Mission Workhorse?
By David Reimers
Since 1966, the Northrop Grumman C-2 Greyhound has safely and reliably delivered high-priority cargo to the carrier battle group in fulfillment of its carrier onboard delivery (COD) mission.1 The C-2A can transport up to 26 passengers or 10,000 pounds of cargo over 1,300 nautical miles, unrefueled, to and from the deck of an underway aircraft carrier.2 The current C-2 fleet consists of 35 aircraft, with most being over 25 years old, and they need to be replaced starting in approximately 2020.3
The current budget situation is driving the U.S. Navy toward multi-mission aircraft. The COD aircraft are one of the few remaining types in the Navy’s fleet to still conduct a singular primary mission. With slight modifications to the C-2’s subsystems, these large aircraft are capable of greatly enhancing the flexibility of the naval air wing by acting in the roles of aerial tanker and gunship. With the first COD replacement HV-22 not expected to be delivered until approximately 2020, and production continuing for years after, the C-2 fleet still has much service to give.4
The C-2 Tanker Variant
The United States is in the midst of a rebalancing of its military forces, moving servicemembers and equipment away from Europe and the Middle East with their dense clustering of military facilities toward East Asia and the vast Pacific Ocean. With bases few and far between, and potential adversaries deploying long-range anti-access weapons such as the Chinese DF-21 antiship ballistic missile, it is imperative for naval aircraft to have longer range—either by design or through aerial refueling.
Tankers, equipped with a hose-reel unit and external tanks, can refuel strike aircraft immediately after launching, which allows the aircraft to take off with light fuel and a heavier weapons load while still being under their maximum catapult launch weight. They can also refuel aircraft that have unsuccessfully engaged the carriers’ arresting wires and are low on fuel. Additionally, tankers can refuel strike aircraft before and after they hit their targets, extending the range and time-on-target of those aircraft. Multiple tankers equipped with aerial refueling probes can be used to send a subset of the tankers further downrange. Aerial tankers provide an enormously important force multiplier when naval aircraft must operate far from the carrier.
With the retirement of the S-3B, the role of aerial tanker within the carrier air wing is conducted by the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Clearly, burning valuable airframe hours as a fuel truck is not the best use for valuable high-performance aircraft when other options are available. A C-2A Greyhound equipped with a palletized hose reel and internal fuel tanks, such as the system recently demonstrated on the V-22, would be an ideal replacement for the Super Hornet in the tanker role. The basic C-2A tanker could deliver approximately 9,000 pounds of fuel from just the pallet bladder, plus an additional load from on-board aircraft tanks, depending on the distance of the offload location from the carrier. While the deployment of the palletized fuel drogue from the cargo area would require depressurizing the aircraft, the value of the tanker’s fuel would outweigh the operational inefficiencies of the crew operating on oxygen during refueling.
However, there is a solution to the need to depressurize the C-2 during refueling. Adding two wing hardpoints and a nose mount for an optical turret to the C-2A airframe would greatly enhance the flexibility of the modified aircraft. One hardpoint could be used to carry a refueling pod such as the A/A42R-1, while the other could carry an external fuel tank to balance both weight and drag from the refueling drogue pod, not unlike the configuration of the S-3 in the tanking role.
The C-2 Gunship Variant
Recent events in the Middle East have shown the importance of highly accurate close-air support (CAS) and air interdiction, and the need to keep civilian casualties to an absolute minimum in support of counterinsurgency operations. CAS roles include the kinetic support of ground troops in contact with enemy forces, and escorting convoys. Air interdiction is the act of supporting the overall ground combat operations by delaying, disrupting, or destroying enemy forces or supplies before they can be used against friendly forces.
Fighter aircraft such as the F-16 and F-15E, along with dedicated CAS aircraft such as the A-10 and bombers equipped with GPS-guided bombs (like the B-1) have traditionally conducted fixed-wing CAS missions. However, there is no equal to the AC-130 gunship’s ability to pour copious amounts of precision firepower on enemy targets at night or in adverse weather over an extended length of time. Jet fighter and CAS aircraft have notoriously short loiter times, while bombers have traditionally been less accurate. AC-130 gunships address both of these shortfalls. Variants of the AC-130 typically carry a combination of two small cannon (25-mm, 30-mm, or 40-mm) and a single 105-mm anti-tank cannon. Other versions are being equipped with a standoff capability using the AGM-114 Hellfire or other precision weapons. The long-endurance turboprop-powered cargo aircraft heritage lends itself to long loiter time over the target—critical when troops are in contact for an extended period.
Despite these potent capabilities, the Navy and Marine Corps do not own any AC-130 gunships. However, in 2010, the U.S. Marine Corps began taking delivery of Harvest Hawk armament kits for its KC-130J tankers, in effect creating a “poor man’s AC-130 gunship” to enhance overall CAS capabilities. Harvest Hawk Capability I involves the use of a roll-on/roll-off set of displays and fire control electronics, including Blue Force Tracker and the ROVER communications system. This capability could be rolled into the aircraft and bolted down within hours. In addition, an AN/AAQ-30 surveillance turret, also used on the AH-1Z attack helicopter, is attached to the rear of the inboard left external fuel tank to provide targeting and laser range finder and designation capabilities. Capability II adds an M299 missile rack for 4 AGM-114P Hellfires and/or 16 DAGR laser-guided 70-mm rockets on the left wing, replacing the left aerial refueling pod. Capability III adds a modular roll-on/roll-off palletized 30-mm cannon, linked to the fire-control electronics and fired out a modified troop door. Capability IV will add a new pressurized “derringer door” launcher that replaces the rear paratroop door with a 10-tube missile launcher, which allows missiles to be gravity-fed without having to depressurize the cabin.5
The modified C-2A could be utilized as a low-cost light gunship, leveraging work already done for the Harvest Hawk and other light fixed-wing gunships. An ATK-designed palletized 30-mm gun system could be inserted into the front of the aircraft, with the crew door replaced with a hatch equipped with its own “doggie door” through which the grommeted 30-mm barrel would fire, maintaining the aircraft’s pressurization while still allowing for emergency egress of the crew. A palletized set of displays and fire control electronics would be bolted down in the rear of the aircraft. A rack with 4 AGM-114P Hellfire missiles could be attached to the new hard point under each wing, and an optical turret could be attached to the aircraft’s nose mount to provide for targeting and laser range-finder and laser-designation capabilities. If depressurization of the aircraft was not considered an issue, tubes for launching precision mini-weapons (such as Raytheon Griffin missiles) could be attached to the rear ramp for additional firepower. All of this in an aircraft with a critical edge in loiter time over current strike fighters and rotary-wing attack helicopters.
The hardworking C-2 Greyhound is at a crossroad. It still has considerable service to give in the context of an ongoing Asian pivot, and the Navy is in desperate need of an integral tanking asset to free up Super Hornets to conduct air-to-air and strike missions and to extend the range of these strike fighters against adversaries equipped with long-range anti-ship missiles. The Navy also needs low-cost precision firepower for use against pirates, small-boat threats, and in a counterinsurgency role. A modified C-2A fleet, leveraging previous work conducted on light gunships, could quickly and cost-effectively provide the multi-mission aircraft the Navy desperately needs.
2. Northrop Grumman, “C-2A Greyhound,” August 2014, www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/C2AGreyhound/Documents/Data_Sheet_C2A_Greyhound.pdf.
3. Daniel Goure, “Greyhound Versus Osprey: The Choice Matters A Lot,” 19 April 2013, www.lexingtoninstitute.org/greyhound-versus-osprey-the-choice-matters-a-lot.
4. Megan Eckstein, “NAVAIR Details Changes in Navy V-22 Osprey Variant,” USNI News, 2 April 2015, http://news.usni.org/2015/04/02/navair-details-changes-in-navy-v-22-osprey-variant.
5. “The Right to Bear Arms: Gunship Kits for America’s C-130s,” Defense Industry Daily, 3 April 2014, www.defenseindustrydaily.com/harvest-hawk-aims-to-arm-usmcs-kc-130j-aerial-tankers-05409.
Mr. Reimers is an aerospace engineer by trade, and is currently a military issues and strategic programs analyst for the Department of Defense.