The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspecialty

The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspecialty

Postby 12345qwert » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:56 pm

BLUF: The new Naval Strategy Subspecialty Code includes only URLs as part of the CNO’s plan to develop a “cadre of naval strategists, with the requisite educational backgrounds and experience tours, to help formulate and carry out naval, maritime, Joint, and National strategy in the 21st century,” but “the naval strategist subspecialty may evolve over time to include elements of the Restricted Line communities”

There was some discussion on CAPT Lambert's blog (http://navycaptain-therealnavy.blogspot ... about.html) about the new naval strategy subspecialty (http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/r ... V15011.txt) and how the program was only open to URLs. Admittedly, this discussion resonated with me since I went through the PMM program last year (along with an intel officer and a FAO) and all three of us currently serve in the JDAL “strategy” billets required by the PMM program (the two requirements for the Strategy Subspecialty Code). So, I reached out to the POCs on the msg to get some clarification and wanted to pass the answers on. The below are the pertinent sections of the emails exchanged with the OPNAV POCs (the answers from their team are embedded in the questions I asked):

"I am writing about the recent NAVADMIN released announcing a new Naval Strategy Subspecialty Code (http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/r ... V15011.txt). Since I completed the POL-MIL Program last year and am currently serving in a JDAL billet at the State Department, I thought that I might meet the requirements, but since this new subspecialty billet applies only to URLs, realized I would not. I can tell you (with all honesty), that the program I went through last year was INCREDIBLY valuable to me as an IW officer - and as a member of the IDC/Navy (and think it will be even MORE important for IDC officers to have this understanding in the years ahead as we continue to develop the "vision" and strategy for the IDC) - so I am trying to figure out "why" we are making this cadre of strategists that seems to exclude those of us that are not URLs and why we are allowed to complete the training/educational requirements and required to serve the follow-on "strategic" tour without being included with our fellow URLs in this new subspecialty.
‘The responses to your questions are embedded with the questions below:’

(1) Why does this new subspecialty code apply only to URLs - and not the 171X, 181X, and 183X officers that are allowed to apply for and complete both the PMM and FEF programs?

Answer: The initial emphasis for the Naval Strategy subspecialty will be on URL officers in order to develop strategists within the warfighter communities. The Foreign Area Officer and Information Dominance Corps officers to whom you refer have a vital role in support of the warfighting/URL community. The naval strategist subspecialty may evolve over time to include elements of the Restricted Line communities. The FEF and PMM programs will remain open to all URL and 171X, 181X, and 183X officers, but only the URL officers will receive the 2300 subspecialty code. The non-URL officers will receive the 2000 subspecialty code.

(2) What is the difference between the subspecialty code associated with the "new program" and the subspecialty code that HAD been applied to both URLs and RLs that completed the PMM and FEF in the past (this is according to last year's PMM announcement msg: http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/r ... V14164.txt - "3. Naval Strategy Community. Graduates will earn the 2000P subspecialty code and serve at least one tour in a validated subspecialty billet in either politico-military affairs or strategy and policy as soon as possible, but not later than the second shore tour after completion of the PMM program.")?

Answer: The Naval Strategy subspecialty code (2300) has a specific set of Educational Skills Requirements (ESRs): (http://www.nps.edu/Images/Docs/ESRs%20f ... rategy.pdf) which are different from and more detailed and rigorous than the ESRs assigned to the National Security Studies (2000) subspecialty: (http://www.nps.edu/Images/Docs/2000P%20 ... 20ESRs.pdf). In addition, the Naval Strategy Subspecialty did not exist before 14 November 2014, when the Navy Manpower Analysis Center (NAVMAC) formally approved and announced the establishment of the 2300 subspecialty code.

(3) Why was a "new subspecialty code" even needed? All of these same people (plus the RLs) had already been given the other subspecialty code?

Answer: The CNO made the decision that the Navy needed a cadre of naval strategists, with the requisite educational backgrounds and experience tours, to help formulate and carry out naval, maritime, Joint, and National strategy in the 21st century. The new naval strategy subspecialty, with additional and specific educational skills requirements and with specific strategist experience tours, will serve as the Navy's pathway towards building this cadre of specialists.

(4) Do you plan to remove 171X, 181X, and 183X officers from the list of officers that can apply to the PMM and FEF programs this year (since they don't fall into the URL subspecialty cadre)? If so, why?

Answer: No, we will not remove the 171X, 181X, and 183X officers from the list of eligible officers who can participate in the PMM and FEF programs. The only difference, for the moment at least, is that the URL officers who successfully complete either the FEF or PMM programs will receive the 2300P Naval Strategy SSP code while the RL officers who successfully complete the FEF and PMM programs will receive the 2000P National Security Studies SSP code."
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby Sum1 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:16 pm

I'm adding this to my personal collection of "Dumb Things the Navy Does." I keep a note on my iphone with ironic or downright stupid things we do for when I need a little chuckle or a reason to get a little heated. It never fails to deliver!
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby COMEVIL » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:51 pm

Warfighter --- by far the most abused and misused word in the military lexicon.
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby O-4's hate me » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:52 am

12345qwert wrote:Answer: The Naval Strategy subspecialty code (2300) has a specific set of Educational Skills Requirements (ESRs): which are different from and more detailed and rigorous than the ESRs assigned to the National Security Studies (2000) subspecialty.

Answer: The only difference, for the moment at least, is that the URL officers who successfully complete either the FEF or PMM programs will receive the 2300P Naval Strategy SSP code while the RL officers who successfully complete the FEF and PMM programs will receive the 2000P National Security Studies SSP code."


So being a URL equates to "more detailed and more rigorous" ESRs?
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby Sum1 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:42 am

I fail to comprehend how people at OPNAV can look at phase 0/phase 1 of joint operations and not see major strategic implications for the IDC. Reality is, the "strategy" learned in these programs are phase 0/1 stuff meant to keep us OUT of major armed conflict, and is of limited value once operations progress into phase 2-4 and bullets are already flying (where the "warfighter" typically resides).

Poor justification and probably a poor interpretation of a CNO requirement. When I asked my Army COL boss during my recent FITREP debrief what I could do to develop into a better officer, he told me that when progressing past O-3 and O-4 its no longer enough to simply implement commander guidance... you now have to take that guidance and grow/develop it before you (or someone else) implements it. This sounds like a case of someone running to implement without taking a larger look at the implications.
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby COMEVIL » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:32 pm

O-4's hate me wrote:
12345qwert wrote:Answer: The Naval Strategy subspecialty code (2300) has a specific set of Educational Skills Requirements (ESRs): which are different from and more detailed and rigorous than the ESRs assigned to the National Security Studies (2000) subspecialty.

Answer: The only difference, for the moment at least, is that the URL officers who successfully complete either the FEF or PMM programs will receive the 2300P Naval Strategy SSP code while the RL officers who successfully complete the FEF and PMM programs will receive the 2000P National Security Studies SSP code."


So being a URL equates to "more detailed and more rigorous" ESRs?


The answer doesn't say that. It compares two subspecialty codes -- 2300 and 2000. URL's and RL's alike currently earn 2000 through JPME. The ESR's for 2300 are reportedly more "detailed and rigorous."

What is disturbing, and makes your question relevant, is that by completing the same program Officers are assigned different SSP codes based solely on the silly URL - RL construct.
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby 12345qwert » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:40 pm

If you read the ESRs, we're actually included. I sent the following note to the OPNAV POCs earlier today:

"Sorry to keep bothering you with this, but just re-read the ESR for 2300 – and it says that “eligible officers” include 171X, 181X and 183X (http://www.nps.edu/Images/Docs/ESRs%20f ... rategy.pdf), so can we earn the 2300 subspecialty but not be a part of the Strategic cadre? I can’t find any language in the ESRs indicating that this is only for URLs and there’s even an 181X and 183X POC (CAPT Richardson – who is the senior intel detailer and cc’d).

Again, I don’t mean to create any issues for you – but it seems like the intent was to make this open to the RL community.

Thanks again for your help!"

Let's see if we can solve this!
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby Wolfpack » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:52 pm

Good conversation. I am an Intel officer who had a FEF assignment. I also have the unfortunate luck to have had to work manpower. there is an important piece here that has no been brought out - there are certain billets that are coded for FEF grade (and strategists also now). There are no (zero/none/nada) billets within the IDC that are coded. That means the IDC nor the gaining commands have identified this experience as valuable or necessary to the assignment. When I worked at OPNAV, I raised this, and there was not interest at the senior levels to pursue this. Part of the reasoning is that it creates limitations on assignment to those billets. Unlike the URL community, we do not have a large enough officer base to create the flexibility needed to support these types of limiters on billets.

The opportunity is a great one and I STRONGLY encourage anyone to apply and participate. Do not let a the subspecialty code become the main thing. The billets with the codes are URL billets in the N/J3/5/7/9 of the staffs. There is more than enough way IW (and intel) can influence and participate in the conversation and development of strategy. You cannot create a strategy (well, not a good one), without what the IDC brings.

BTW, I looked at getting IP and OCEANO eligible for the FEF - the issue was that they do not have billets that translate into strategy - they remain so very technical, even in a joint environment.
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby yoshi » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:44 pm

I think IW community focus is also becoming increasingly more technical, or at least more specific regarding desired skill set, and could be less broad in potential applicability across higher staffs. I do think our efforts as an IDC could run into jeopardy if we become so narrowly focused we sequester ourselves from the strategists and from each other. This is, however, why we have Flag officers, and they arguably possess a wider field of regard than do we. In the end, the Fleet needs what we bring and I think our standing in the Navy is solid, at least until those communities find a way to do it without us (enter discussion of EMWC versus IWC or discussion of IWC held by other than cryppies on CSGs).

While I agree we can influence strategy in ways other than being labeled a strategist, the "warfighter" response posted here (which explicitly indicates a supporting role for every non-URL) points to a parochial view which makes influencing difficult. Every community warfights and every community supports efforts of other communities. I think everyone knows we don't live in the same world in which the URL/RL concept was born and made sense. Today's world has moved beyond that, although I don't think the Navy has. I remember a couple years ago when some wanted IDC to be URL, others did not. I don't think it matters either way, because the world does not align to that construct. It does perhaps matter where power, money, and influence are concerned, but it doesn't, in my mind, change my level of responsibility or those things and people for which I am accountable. Not sure if the explanation provided is a result of antiquated culture or just clumsy word choice obscuring a more understandable rationale.
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Re: The reason RLs excluded from New Naval Strategy Subspeci

Postby COMEVIL » Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:37 am

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” -- Sun Tzu

How do you write a strategy without knowing your enemy?

Who knows the enemy best?

I would argue an Intelligence Officer, a subset of the IDC.

One example of many.
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