CO of Momsen gets 42 months in brig

CO of Momsen gets 42 months in brig

Postby webmaster » Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:34 pm

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Postby yoshi » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:37 pm

You are correct - this guy sure does deserve the 10, at least. In my opinion, this sort of thing highlights serious failure of the Navy's promotion and screening (for command/milestone) process. The system currently cannot reliably differentiate between criminals and those of solid character. Right now, it seems we look at what schools they have sat in, what jobs they held, what their FITREPS say, and how well they are liked by someone quite senior to themselves (the approving authority). I fail to understand how this criteria is inherently connected to leadership ability. Do we believe leadership and associated morality come part and parcel with experience, education/training, and rank achieved? They obviously help in some ways, but they don't make a quality leader. I believe leaders cannot be manufactured, they are born first and then developed. Some require more development, some less, some never will be a leader. Maybe I'm wrong...

While relief of those in command occurs infrequently overall, there are still FAR too many inexplicable instances of obviously wrong behavior. Its too bad, really, as I thought the Navy was better than this before I joined. Thankfully, we as a community have not experienced this type of thing as frequently as other communities.

This has been mentioned before, but an intelligently implemented 360 degree evaluation process would be far more likely to identify this kind of trash before they show up in 'navycrimes'. We're smart enough to identify the good from the bad, but unfortunately our system for screening and promotion doesn't allow that knowledge to be introduced into the selection process.
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Postby Sum1 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:50 am

yoshi wrote:I believe leaders cannot be manufactured, they are born first and then developed.


I 100% disagree. Leadership is a skill, not a genetically inherited trait. You learn leadership throughout your life, and if it appears that good leaders tend to breed other good leaders, it's a result of the offspring's environment (being around their parent and learning directly from them) rather than his or her genes.

This has been mentioned before, but an intelligently implemented 360 degree evaluation process would be far more likely to identify this kind of trash before they show up in 'navycrimes'. We're smart enough to identify the good from the bad, but unfortunately our system for screening and promotion doesn't allow that knowledge to be introduced into the selection process.


What did this particular person do prior to this to give the Navy any indication that they were a rapist? A 360 degree peer review process wouldn't catch this unless you allow rumors or (frankly) unlawful if anonymous accusations to be entered into an officer's official record. If he did something wrong earlier then he should have been held accountable THEN, and the screening process we have in place for command would have seen that documentation and passed him up. I hope I'm articulating my point here, because as heinous as I think this crime was and how happy I am that he's going to be making big rocks into little rocks, due process has to be followed.
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Postby O-4's hate me » Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:24 am

Let's not lie to ourselves and say that the SWO community is healthy in its current state. They're offering $70K to sign up for a DH tour, they're flooding wardrooms with 25+ ENSs trying to convince 5 to stay beyond a minimum commitment, and I've seen O-3 DHs fired off my ship pick up O-4 the next year. The current state of the SWO community highlights the benefits of our community's more competitive selection boards.
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Postby Sleeper » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:26 pm

O-4's hate me wrote:The current state of the SWO community highlights the benefits of our community's more competitive selection boards.


Is "ironic" the right word to describe the fact that those SWOs are the ones sitting our selection boards? ;)
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Postby yoshi » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:55 pm

I don't know if irony is the word i would use to describe SWOs on promotion boards - but you are right, they are having a tough go of it. The SWO community is the Navy. I don't believe this is likely to change, so long as we float ships.

@ Sum 1:
I do believe aspects of leadership can be learned and skill improved through the developmental process. Can we put someone in a leadership position and expect a minimum result? Sure, we do it all the time, our system runs on it. I don't believe leadership is genetic and using the word "born" was probably a mistake on my part. The point to be made is most everything required of a successful/unsuccessful leader is already in place before one enters the military, often times before one becomes an adult. The way one interacts with others, the level of respect demonstrated, the ability/willingness to listen, the ability/willingness to learn others' roles and jobs, sound reasoning and judgement, etc, etc. I believe they are in place well before one enters the service. These items, while they can be modified later on in life, are crucial to the success/failure of someone in a leadership position. Some people will benefit from leadership training/development and improve their leadership skills. However, I am content to disagree with you in that I believe true leaders possess intrinsic qualities prior to the military which are more likely to generate leadership success. It seems to me all branches of the military believe this as well, as we take great pains to identify those people with leadership qualities prior to selection for commissioning (we did when I went through the process, anyway). in the end, it doesn't matter whether leaders are manufactured, born, or grown on trees. We have what we have, for better and worse.

The crucial aspect is our inability to detect and remove the cancer before it requires invasive surgery (such as relief of CO). How can you say a 360 degree review process would not catch indications of a future leadership disaster without letting rumors rule the day? You can't. It can be done. Yes, it takes a little mental effort to figure out how pitfalls associated with such a program might be overcome. But, to simply sit back with folded arms and say it can't be done without exploring it in any way is to guarantee the problems of the status quo. Believe it or not, you can be an accomplished, successful leader while earning the respect of others, as long as you understand you serve the cause and mission of those you are charged to lead. In any case, the status quo is certainly not effective in identifying future criminals in command. I understand the fear many current officers have of the Navy figuring out an effective way to evaluate its officers, but it should be done, unless we are content with relieving the same numbers of officers into the future.
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Postby Sum1 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:16 pm

yoshi wrote:How can you say a 360 degree review process would not catch indications of a future leadership disaster without letting rumors rule the day? You can't. It can be done. Yes, it takes a little mental effort to figure out how pitfalls associated with such a program might be overcome. But, to simply sit back with folded arms and say it can't be done without exploring it in any way is to guarantee the problems of the status quo. Believe it or not, you can be an accomplished, successful leader while earning the respect of others, as long as you understand you serve the cause and mission of those you are charged to lead. In any case, the status quo is certainly not effective in identifying future criminals in command. I understand the fear many current officers have of the Navy figuring out an effective way to evaluate its officers, but it should be done, unless we are content with relieving the same numbers of officers into the future.


Lets be clear - I did not say it couldn't be done. I actually think the 360 review process is a good idea, but I do not think it is the panacea we are looking for, particularly in this case (which is what I was addressing). How do we report officer indiscretions right now? You go through official channels (criminal reporting, EO reporting, etc) or it comes out in a command climate survey.

At the end of the day even in a 360 degree review system the people choosing the next CO are the people above them (O6s, flags). The only people who really have any idea what it's like to be a CO are those who've done it, right? A peer or subordinate might say all the right things in a peer review, but at the end of the day the only one who truly appreciates the position and are in a place to assess whether someone might have the skills to succeed are those who've experienced it for themselves. The rest of us are just guessing.

*edit*
Directly clarifying my position on the peer reviews in THIS case (and my argument why it likely wouldn't have caught this guy)...

Lets say he did hit on someone or make inappropriate advances earlier in his career. We have a 360 review process in place and it's anonymous (not sure if it would be in real life). Woman X decides she doesn't want to come out and officially say anything about it, for one reason or another. She's scared of personal repercussions, or doesn't trust the military system to take care of the problem (a mindset many have currently, which is a HUGE problem). So rather than use the traditional methods of reporting, she gets this 360 review thing on her desk, and decides to describe the issues she had in this document because she knows its 100% anonymous and doesn't want someone else to suffer the same fate. This statement is now potentially accessible to screening boards, part of an official public record, etc, etc. The issue is the accused officer has not been afforded his right to confront his accuser on the allegations that are now being utilized in part to determine his future.

Obviously, there are means and methods to hash out that could make the 360 review work in this case (what they are, I don't know, but I'm sure smart people could figure something out). My point, however, was to argue that you can't just say that "if the 360 review process was in place we'd catch all these bad CO's before they got themselves fired." It's not that easy, especially when you're talking about legal problems vice straight-stick ineptitude.
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Postby yoshi » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:31 am

Sum1 wrote:Lets be clear - I did not say it couldn't be done.


True enough. What you actually said was, "A 360 degree peer review process wouldn't catch this unless you allow rumors or (frankly) unlawful if anonymous accusations to be entered into an officer's official record." I viewed this statement as tantamount to believing it can't be done.

Sum1 wrote: Obviously, there are means and methods to hash out that could make the 360 review work in this case (what they are, I don't know, but I'm sure smart people could figure something out).

I agree with you on this one, and feel as though we should probably begin investigating better methods than what we currently use.


Sum1 wrote: My point, however, was to argue that you can't just say that "if the 360 review process was in place we'd catch all these bad CO's before they got themselves fired." It's not that easy, especially when you're talking about legal problems vice straight-stick ineptitude.


You are right, one can't say that - and I didn't. What I actually said was:
"This has been mentioned before, but an intelligently implemented 360 degree evaluation process would be far more likely to identify this kind of trash before they show up in 'navycrimes'. We're smart enough to identify the good from the bad, but unfortunately our system for screening and promotion doesn't allow that knowledge to be introduced into the selection process."
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Postby Arkad » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:28 am

Look at our respective peer group and ask yourself who you would like to see in command and who you would rather not see. How do you share those opinions constructively? Our seniors choose not to document things in FITREPs that should be and as a result character flaws are not considered. Did the board know that one of the people they selected for IW CDR Command punched a member of his wardroom in the face during his XO tour? Yes, but it wasn't on paper and couldn't be considered. What happens when the same officer loses his temper while in command? His peers will be left saying "I saw that coming" while our seniors will tell us the process didn't allow them to consider that fact. I agree, let's change the system.
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Postby O-4's hate me » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:26 am

Arkad wrote: Did the board know that one of the people they selected for IW CDR Command punched a member of his wardroom in the face during his XO tour? Yes, but it wasn't on paper and couldn't be considered.


I don't know who you are referring to, so I can comfortably ask: "Isn't this a leadership failure on that CO's part for failing to document a subordinate's shortcoming?"

Would 360 feedback be needed if leaders did their jobs in the first place?
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