PCS afloat

PCS afloat

Postby O-4's hate me » Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:19 am

Not really a question, more of a whiney rant....

So floating out here in the Pacific, I can't help but think that I'm of little use to this SWO navy. Despite outranking a significant portion of the wardroom, I'm of little more use than a newly reported ensign. I?m not even qualified to stand OOD in port (with the E-6s), much less take any responsibility for the ship underway.

I took a look at the OOD underway PQS (200 pages) and thought, ?Oh this isn't too bad.? Then I realized that there were 3 prerequisite PQSs (250 additional pages), and that I have not completed the schools and PQSs that are prerequisite to those. A momentary lapse in judgment flashed through my mind: why in the world am I out here driving a ship anyway?

I just departed a NIOC earlier this year, and was doing some really meaningful work. The results were tangible; bad guys were dying. Out here, I'm of little value unless we are attacked, and it seems like the chances of that are pretty slim (I pray they are at least). I can't help but wonder why am I here? My division has received praise from the XO exactly two times since I reported last month: for their painting the ship and for their line handling pierside. Vital skills for a CT. He has taken both the YN and the ITs out of my division, and placed them where they can do more meaningful ?in-rate? work.

I'm certainly attempting to dive into this SWO thing full force. I will continue to report to my LT Dept head and keep trying to convince the ENSs and LTjgs to sign my PQSs. It is frustrating to remain out here where we are not respected and under-utilized. It's definitely a lesson in humility, and so far my only success has been in keeping my mouth shut.

I have no doubt that in two years, I will have a SWO pin and this tour will have been a success career-wise. I just have to wonder, is the Navy futilely attempting to get a return on its investment, and wouldn?t we be more valuable to the nation doing something else?

Thoughts?
  • 0

O-4's hate me
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:19 pm
Reputation: 3

Postby IW OCM » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:17 pm

PM sent...
  • 0

User avatar
IW OCM
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 276
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:13 am
Location: Arlington, TN
Reputation: 1

Postby COMEVIL » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:13 am

O-4's hate me wrote:Not really a question, more of a whiney rant....


Well, you were right. This is a whiney little rant. Not sure how long you have been in the Navy, but there are different types of tours, with different challenges in each. And they can't all result in the "bad guys" dying... unfortunately.

But Cryptology afloat, especially in the Pacific of all places, plays a key role. And your role as the Ship's Cryptologist is to find it! Whether it is I&W or routine collection, there is a niche cryptologists to fill now...and there has been for years.

Furthermore, I can't imagine what the morale in your division is like if this is your attitude! You need to look past this tour as a so-called "smart career move," provide the men and women in your division with the leadership, training, and equipment they need to get the job done, and get on with it!

PM me if you like. I have done PCS afloat and can give you plenty of guidance, if required. Actually, I would be happy to if it would help turn this situation around.

b/r

Comevil
  • 0

User avatar
COMEVIL
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 846
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:54 am
Reputation: 36

Postby LIVINGIW » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:19 pm

I doubt you were forced into this tour and hopefully you had talked to someone to find out what PCS afloat entailed. It should not have been a surprise.
Rather than whine about how things aren't fair and you aren't happy, think about how your attitude negatively affects your Sailors, the Wardroom, and ultimately the IW community. You are representing the 1610 community to your fellow JO's, as well as the XO and CO, all of whom are basing their opinions solely (for the most part) off of you.

A couple thoughts...

Swallow your pride and learn from the Sailors and more junior Officers that have more surface experience.

Figure out how to better integrate IW into the everyday life and ops. Provide training/education for the Wardroom on all our community brings to the table.

Pick up the thick JQR and get started. The sooner you get started and hit it hard, the sooner the qual process is over.

Two years go by fast and this is your chance to learn surface IW/cryptology. Don't waste it.

Swing by and talk with the CMC and tell him your feelings you expressed here... please post and let us know how that goes...
  • 0

LIVINGIW
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:36 pm
Location: CA
Reputation: 12

Postby O-4's hate me » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:39 am

COMEVIL, LIVINGIW,

Thanks for the replies. Actually morale is pretty good in the division. I learned long ago to keep my head down and my mouth shut. Multiple CRCs have congratulated my SSES as being among the best on the waterfront. I can always be thankful for excellent chiefs. I'm playing ball here. I stand my watch on the bridge and integrate with ship's company.

I have no doubt that deployment will be a whole different story, but my guys are currently being used to chip paint and handle lines. Somewhere in there, you have to wonder if we couldn't be better utilizing these highly skilled individuals. Is the best place for a CTR1 with 15 years experience really as a line handler? Can we find nothing better for a CTTC to do than supervise 5" ammo onload? It's not necessarily that my Sailors are better than everyone else, but they definitely have a very valuable skill set that is not currently being utilized. Is this really the best way to make this whole thing work?
  • 0

O-4's hate me
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:19 pm
Reputation: 3

Postby COMEVIL » Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:20 am

Now that you put it that way, I understand your concern....although it wasn't very clear in your first post.

These concerns are legitimate. CT's have a unique skill set, and one which is not typically utilized unless the ship is deployed. (I remember telling my division early on in deployment that now is the time to perform, because there will be no other time in their tour where they will matter to the ship as much.) Maintaining these skills in port, or on local underways, is a challenge. A gainfully employed CT in port is typically working in some other capacity. A YN's job never changes, regardless of the situation. The same can be said for a BM or even an IT. CT's, however, are simply unique.

So what is the answer? Upon completion of my PCS-afloat tour I nearly concluded that a small det of CT's could have checked aboard during workups, turned the lights on in SSES, and gotten down to business. And upon completion of deployment, they could have turned the lights off and returned to their DIRSUP shop to do it all again on another go.

Is this the right answer? I simply don't know. CT's contribute to the ship's mission in many ways, whether in port or underway. And CT's learn a lot about the Navy and its primary mission while permanently assigned to ships. We at least must consider what might be lost by removing them altogether and utilizing DIRSUP teams to accomplish the mission.

For what it's worth, I have heard this argument for years now. There was even a rumor that all PCS afloat billets would be abolished. I suspect that the surface Navy pushed back due to the potential loss of manpower.

b/r

Comevil
  • 0

User avatar
COMEVIL
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 846
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:54 am
Reputation: 36

Postby yoshi » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:56 am

All,
Valid points on all sides. I am also PCS afloat and feel, in many ways, the same way Hatedby0-4s feels. The paradox I see is that the only platforms (surface) which have permanently assigned cryppie personnel are least likely to benefit from their presence. I personally believe this is directly attributable to the culture and traditional purpose of surface ships/SWO community. The mission is to drive ships from one place to another, everything else is secondary, at best. Other platforms (planes and subs) exist for a different reason - to service a specific mission setISR, MARPAT, etc. Surface ships have cryppies as an add-on, something which may be helpful, but not something necessary (otherwise we would have CTRs, IWOs on every surface vessel). Theroretcially, the CTs aboard are there for I&W, but I think that is changing, as all SSES efforts are to be fed to the plot, vice ship's TAO. Perhaps this is a big deck distinction, but I think it is more indicative of the way things are evolving. The prevalent mood of the IW wardroom at the midgrade level (based on my interaction with a few) is that a SSES should not ever talk to the TAO (although this contradicts the training we provide our afloat personnel). I was taught differently, so i am back to square one when it comes to figuring out how things should be while at sea. This said, I still train my guys to talk to the TAO regarding I&W because it makes sense in my head and in the heads of the TAOs I have talked to (its also necessary if afloat CTs want to pass their scenario requirements).

As I look at the CNO's/IDC's vision of the future in a "netted" world, it seems clear to me that the future will be one of remoted efforts, with little physical presence on board ships. The idea seems to be to snap things up before they are released, I suppose. While I think this is a fantasy (our targets aren't netted in such a cohesive manner, as we would like to believe), it is likely a strong indicator of where we are headed. So, when I consider a SSES that only feeds staff personnel and remoting possibilities, it really is hard to answer the question - why are CTs (and by extension IWOs) at sea instead of at an NSA site or a watch floor talking to the staff on a ship? Personally, I feel there is great potential for CTs on a ship, but the CO, XO has to be interested and has to make understanding a priority. This isn't currently the case on most ships. I view my role as making sure the CO/XO are apprised of what is at his/her fingertips, what can be expected, what cannot be expected. The rest is up to them.

I think we are eventually going to be coming off ships. It seems to me to be a matter of time. Previously, I used to think they would be upset without our level of I&W, but judging by the way things run on this ship, I don't think it will make a difference. The types of missions currently conducted by surface ships are not generally compatible with or assisted by the functions of a SSES. Guess thats what happens when we convince ourselves to use billion dollar ships to chase leaky skiffs, run maritime patrols, and demonstrate presence in a 4W grid.
  • 0

yoshi
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 427
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:10 am
Reputation: 19

Postby O-4's hate me » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:37 am

I can brief the CO/XO until I'm blue in the face, but I can only see them listening to 2 things.

1) Results: We actually provide significant I&W to the ship. Unfortunately that would also require a threat, of which there are not many in the waters of southern California.
2) Certification Authorities. ATG SD currently doesn't have a 1610 or CTR on staff (my LPO has orders there now). As a result, there is no attention payed to the operations in SSES and any manpower located there is up for grabs. I doubt this deficiency is limited to ATG specifically, but I specifically saw my leverage drop when they suggested that SSES was overmanned on our Cond III watchbill.

Realizing that COs tend to listen to the third party investigation teams, I feel that our presence in those billets needs to be of greater priority.
  • 0

O-4's hate me
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:19 pm
Reputation: 3

Postby COMEVIL » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:50 am

This is truly a great discussion. It seems as if we only teach our operators how to operate the gear, not evaluate, correlate, or diseminate information in an effective manner.

Regarding reporting information to the TAO, I believe this is ABSOLUTELY essential regardless of what ship you are on. I had to break this mold on my ship shortly after arriving and just prior to deploying. The ship had trained to report information to the staff only. My point - we are ship's company, working for the CO. Our primary mission is to support that ship. Needless to say, the TAO's loved the pertinent and timely intel.

As for ATG, these evaluations are utter BS and in no way prepare a SSES for deployment....not in my experience anyway.

As for remote/netted ops, I hear you. But I have also been hearing of this effort for years. Maybe even over the entire span of my 22 year career. Anyone remember BGPHES? Known as big feces to anyone who worked with it. If it was good at one thing, it was catching fire!

But I get it. Remote sensors are the way of the future. I still think having someone on the ship to evaluate, correlate, and diseminate the information will be key. Not to mention the fact that they will have a vested interest in the ship's survivability...unlike a watchstander back in the States who needs to get off watch early to pick his kids up from daycare.

Finally, I won't argue the issues regarding the current mission of our Navy. Although I will say those operating in the Gulf or Western Pacific may beg to differ....
  • 0

User avatar
COMEVIL
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 846
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:54 am
Reputation: 36

Postby O-4's hate me » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:02 am

COMEVIL wrote:As for ATG, these evaluations are utter BS and in no way prepare a SSES for deployment....not in my experience anyway.


I don't think that you will find anyone below the XO-level on a ship that thinks ATG evaluations are worthwhile. Nonetheless, they control certification and are designed to be the objective 3rd party observers for COs. That means they automatically have more say than I do, at least in predeployment.



And certainly agree on communications with the TAO...just need something relevant on a tactical level.
  • 0

O-4's hate me
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:19 pm
Reputation: 3

Next

Return to Surface Warfare

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron