Unofficial Retention Survey

Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby COMEVIL » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:24 am

Schlag wrote: Ultimately, my point is this - are we doing enough to train and develop those that are under us? If not, what are we doing at our level to change that?


I disagree with most of your previous statements about "cherry picking" prior enlisted folks. Hell, maybe the SWO community could learn from us and pick more folks with prior enlisted experience. Regardless, I think the key point is your question quoted above. My answer is "not much." Short of initial training, we seem to provide very little "continuing education" specific to SIGINT, EW, and Cyber along the way. In my 13+ years of commissioned service I have been afforded two opportunities for such training, and only able to complete one. That one course, Afloat Cryptologic Management, was less than optimal. I have not yet attended the IDC Mid-Career Course but will this summer, so I'll reserve comment for now.

What are we doing to change this? Can't say for sure. This is a hard problem that requires major attention from the TYCOM. I'd love to see a mid-career course specific to our community, vice what seems to be an "intro to the IDC" presented at the O-4 level. Or how about a technology refresh offered locally at the CID learning sites. How many IW Officers can explain the differences between 3G and 4G? We can also leverage online course and NCS offerings.

v/r

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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby yoshi » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:45 pm

I think it is important to point out we won't have an interim TYCOM until 01 October, FOC on 01Dec. I suspect the effort to resolve, or at least address, shortcomings might not be seen for a year, probably two. The money for those efforts does exist (MTE dollars), of course, but not at the TYCOM (yet). Also, it is important to keep in mind: although there is money assigned to address training, equipping, and personnel related issues, that money is programmed for existing requirements. So, you have to step through the process of articulating the requirement and then get it approved. Secondly, the resource sponsor (OPNAV) has to find the money for it by looking in the bag of money they are given (they have to approve it) in a given FY. If it doesn't line up with the priorities, it ain't happening. I will let you ponder how well training stacks up against programs, at least where OPNAV priorities are concerned:-) To be fair, the list of training required for cyber operations (NCUs) is quite expansive and does have priority. However, building out IDC synthetic training for FST events doesn't. Want to build something positive? Learn and use the unfunded requirements (UFRs) process and all the documentation needed by your RM folks. Go from nothing to teaching whatever course you want in 12-18 months (assuming you can convince the seniors who control the money).

TYCOMs manage what is programmed to make immediate positive impact for the Fleet, and those discretionary decisions are almost always going to address larger, more immediate problems emerging in the Fleet, such as ensuring compliance with FCC/C10F directives, paying for more METOC collection gear/survey teams, or sending ISs through an NEC producing school to satisfy an emergent demand for deployment. The point is, the type of training our community needs so much (professional development) is unlikely. Even if the TYCOM did ask for it, get it programmed across the FYDP -- what about the other 3 communities? This is one of things I don't understand about IDC vs its communities. OPNAV N2/N6 is in charge of the IDC and there is a flag in charge of ID FOR, which is eventually supposed to provide representation for "the community". The question is - for which community? VADM Branch refers to the IDC as the community, but the 1860s refer to their former designator as the community, and the IDC as the Corps. This is inconsistent and will be until the IDC community leader is doing man, train, and equip - executing the shepherding functions necessary for his/her IDC to provide FFC, CPF, and C10F full up, operational rounds. Any other arrangement is needless confusion at best, destructive and wasteful at worst. Training for other communities is generated by their TYCOMs, through their WDCs (former COEs), and it makes sense. IDC should follow, as we will eventually have to stop defining Navy information dominance and start providing it in a manner the rest of the Navy understands.

PS - What about the idea of combining the IDC basic course with the IDMCC? This would serve to make wider the officer's knowledge base (of other IDC communities/functions) as they approach those career points where they need it. The way we do IDC basic now is as an intro (inefficient as those officers are going to a community specific job and some will get out). I'm not sure it is needed as a separate course at the beginning of one's career. There exists a model for this in other services.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby arvizo » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:29 pm

yoshi wrote:Seems like the reasons for continued service are primarily intrinsic and compelling enough to overcome what this survey contends is a disconnected senior level leadership and a ranking system in which merit doesn't figure.

There's also a poor job market, those who are afraid of uncertain employment, those who lack transferrable skills to the civilian world, etc.
I know quite a few people who have retired or separated in the past couple years and are having a very difficult time finding employment.
Of course, things may be a little different for IDC folks with cyber skills. Anyone with some cyber experience, a clearance, and willing to live near Ft. Meade should be able to find a decent job.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby arvizo » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:37 pm

yoshi wrote:Additionally, after 20+ years of service, increasingly complex family/life dynamics can impact this decision (should family continue to sacrifice, knowing there are fewer options going forward, and with shorter tours?).

Shouldn't life be getting simpler once you have 20+ years of service? By then the kids should be grown up. Well, I guess by then the grandkids are coming around.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby yoshi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:34 pm

If you have kids, your life does not ever become simpler. Most people have children in their late 20's, early 30's. 20 years of service, for most people, usually means they are between 42 and 50 years of age. Kids would likely be in the 12-24 range. Plus, it isn't just kids. What about the spouse, what about the servicemember's desire to do something else? What about the smaller tour lengths? For most, leaving or staying at 20 isn't an easy decision. I don't know many who regretted leaving at 20, but I also don't know many who regretted staying well past 20.

I think the job market is not much of a factor for officers in our community. Folks who stay in due to the job market are likely not prepared to leave even if there were tons of great jobs. Those who leave at 20 years+ usually figure something out, especially those in our community. There are always jobs in the DC area for those willing to suffer.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Mjölnir » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:06 am

I don't necessarily know if the community needs to make any larger of or less of an effort to commission prior enlisted officers as personally I think we have a good mix of those with prior experience and those without and I see highly intelligent, capable and motivated people with both backgrounds.

Schlag wrote:I've had a lurking suspicion (but haven't seen numbers to back it up) that given the large number of prior enlisted officers that our community has that we have a tough time retaining a lot of great officers through the O-4/O-5 paygrades. My belief (again, no data to support) is that a lot punch out as O-4, maybe as a junior O-5, just because they've put in 20-25+ and are running out of gas in the tank. Does this mean that the officers we promote don't deserve their promotion? No, but it does mean that we have a lot of otherwise talented leaders that have significant experience that we lose to the civilian sector.


I will say, this point (whether supported by numbers or not) has been a source of frustration for me. I commissioned with 12 years of enlisted experience and have more than once had it explained that the 'typical' or preparatory path to get me to my goal (command) was probably not in the cards since I would likely not stay long enough to compete for the slot. Did this play into 3 separate times being denied an opportunity to attend NPS? The second time cited my time in service as the main consideration and the third cited me having finished a graduate degree on my own time and dime and that the community needed to hold those spots for officers who needed to get a Masters. The particularly chaffed since I managed to get mine on back to back DIRSUP (subs then air) tours and for my third tour did PCS afloat -- IMO if I could get one with a very high OPTEMPO many others could to. Now I am working on completing JPME Phase I since I did not get the post-graduate billet as an LTJG or LT.

Add in to that is that fact that in many ways we do (should) start over as an ENS and “what have you done for me lately” comes into play. In 24 years I have 18 deployments of 6 months or more & in 13 years of marriage she has put up with 8 deployments, the 3 month TAD's enroute to the next duty station, the workups etc. and I know it wears on her and convincing her to tolerate more frequent moves (with little prospects of retouring in the same geographic location) and potentially stalling her career for the sake of mine is beginning to feel selfish.

I have more than once stated that since I am an RL officer and not an LDO I be developed as a “regular” officer; I needed to be a DivO and Department Head to acquire the skills and institutional knowledge I will need as an XO. I need to get post graduate education and the same opportunities as my non-prior peers so that does not become a discriminator down the road. Overall, I think we as a community do a solidly average job of properly guiding or mentoring folks in my situation: the non Warrant/LDO 8-12 year prior, and maybe it is in part as pointed out earlier – the perception that we are just trying to get to retirement eligibility. Some are, some aren’t but I think the perception is larger than those who are trying. When I tell people I am at 24 years of service I constantly get asked why I am still in uniform, and my answer on why I have not been a retention loss ... I simply like what I do and the people I do it with.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby COMEVIL » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:35 pm

Stalwart wrote:I don't necessarily know if the community needs to make any larger of or less of an effort to commission prior enlisted officers as personally I think we have a good mix of those with prior experience and those without and I see highly intelligent, capable and motivated people with both backgrounds.

Schlag wrote:I've had a lurking suspicion (but haven't seen numbers to back it up) that given the large number of prior enlisted officers that our community has that we have a tough time retaining a lot of great officers through the O-4/O-5 paygrades. My belief (again, no data to support) is that a lot punch out as O-4, maybe as a junior O-5, just because they've put in 20-25+ and are running out of gas in the tank. Does this mean that the officers we promote don't deserve their promotion? No, but it does mean that we have a lot of otherwise talented leaders that have significant experience that we lose to the civilian sector.


I will say, this point (whether supported by numbers or not) has been a source of frustration for me. I commissioned with 12 years of enlisted experience and have more than once had it explained that the 'typical' or preparatory path to get me to my goal (command) was probably not in the cards since I would likely not stay long enough to compete for the slot. Did this play into 3 separate times being denied an opportunity to attend NPS? The second time cited my time in service as the main consideration and the third cited me having finished a graduate degree on my own time and dime and that the community needed to hold those spots for officers who needed to get a Masters. The particularly chaffed since I managed to get mine on back to back DIRSUP (subs then air) tours and for my third tour did PCS afloat -- IMO if I could get one with a very high OPTEMPO many others could to. Now I am working on completing JPME Phase I since I did not get the post-graduate billet as an LTJG or LT.

Add in to that is that fact that in many ways we do (should) start over as an ENS and “what have you done for me lately” comes into play. In 24 years I have 18 deployments of 6 months or more & in 13 years of marriage she has put up with 8 deployments, the 3 month TAD's enroute to the next duty station, the workups etc. and I know it wears on her and convincing her to tolerate more frequent moves (with little prospects of retouring in the same geographic location) and potentially stalling her career for the sake of mine is beginning to feel selfish.

I have more than once stated that since I am an RL officer and not an LDO I be developed as a “regular” officer; I needed to be a DivO and Department Head to acquire the skills and institutional knowledge I will need as an XO. I need to get post graduate education and the same opportunities as my non-prior peers so that does not become a discriminator down the road. Overall, I think we as a community do a solidly average job of properly guiding or mentoring folks in my situation: the non Warrant/LDO 8-12 year prior, and maybe it is in part as pointed out earlier – the perception that we are just trying to get to retirement eligibility. Some are, some aren’t but I think the perception is larger than those who are trying. When I tell people I am at 24 years of service I constantly get asked why I am still in uniform, and my answer on why I have not been a retention loss ... I simply like what I do and the people I do it with.


Sorry to hear this, Stalwart, although I honestly don't think this is the norm. I was commissioned with 13 years of prior enlisted service and am now at 26 YOS. I have been afforded milestone tours, NWC, and will soon be considered for an XO tour. I never asked for NPS because I am simply not that smart....in math anyway. I fully expect to be considered for future milestone tours, as well as command. I can also point to many folks senior to me, with my exact upbringing, who have had the same opportunities. Two of them are in command now and one is an OIC. Not saying what has happened to you isn't true. I simply don't think it is the norm.

v/r

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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Sum1 » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:02 am

I was told NPS wasn't in the cards for me because my APC wasn't good enough for one of the only three curriculum we send IW officers through at NPS. This was before I mentioned I was two classes away from finishing an MBA with a 3.93 GPA. Getting an opportunity to attend NPS was one of the goals I had when I commissioned, but I've been told again that at the conclusion of this tour I, too, will be "too senior" for NPS. When I asked about NWC opportunities I got the run around, and it was suggested I do JPME I on my own (just like I did my MBA) via the web. I'm not in a fleet concentration area, so I can't do the seminar and get a masters degree out of it, so I'd be doing it just for a check in the box (and, of course, learning the joint stuff). I, also, sometimes wonder if my prior enlisted time in service skews what opportunities I'm afforded, but have no proof or evidence to suggest it actually does.

I'm choosing right now to not do JPME I. I may change my mind a year from now, but I'm in a place with amazing opportunities for personal growth, and I plan on taking this time to pursue some of the things I didn't get to riding subs or PCS'd to a ship.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Mjölnir » Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:30 am

COMEVIL wrote:Sorry to hear this, Stalwart, although I honestly don't think this is the norm. I was commissioned with 13 years of prior enlisted service and am now at 26 YOS. I have been afforded milestone tours, NWC, and will soon be considered for an XO tour. I never asked for NPS because I am simply not that smart....in math anyway. I fully expect to be considered for future milestone tours, as well as command. I can also point to many folks senior to me, with my exact upbringing, who have had the same opportunities. Two of them are in command now and one is an OIC. Not saying what has happened to you isn't true. I simply don't think it is the norm.

v/r

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I do not think my situation represents the norm, but it does skew my thinking that as a community people in my situation are in an odd place: significant experience, older/more time in service than my average RL peer, not an LDO etc.

Exacerbating the frustration was to have a peer, nearly same amount of prior time who negotiates for orders two weeks after my second attempt to go to NPS who gets orders. He was1 month senior, had the same NPC, both coming off back to back DIRSUP tours. I know there are people like us, many in fact who get to do the "typical officer" things. I am just at a loss why I got the explanations I got.

At the same time, I have had really great experiences, I think I have had good tours and have worked with incredible people. I just came off a very interesting and edifying program and started a staff tour and hope to do a milestone tour next. I won't call the past experiences negative, but it does make me wonder how we manage, mentor, guide and get guided in our careers.
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