How the Navy handles reductions in force

How the Navy handles reductions in force

Postby yoshi » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:30 pm

I was fortunate enough to receive this link from someone at work, and it seemed to identify one of the major issues I have with the Navy - the impersonal manner in which it passively and cowardly deals with its personnel (not just with this issue, but with others, as well). The ability to handle things in a remote, "clean" manner by removing the human factor encourages incredible hubris when combined with the Navy culture and its proclivity for insulating its decision makers from reality.

http://blog.usni.org/2011/12/06/navy-noir/
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Postby atn » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:39 am

yoshi wrote:I was fortunate enough to receive this link from someone at work, and it seemed to identify one of the major issues I have with the Navy - the impersonal manner in which it passively and cowardly deals with its personnel (not just with this issue, but with others, as well). The ability to handle things in a remote, "clean" manner by removing the human factor encourages incredible hubris when combined with the Navy culture and its proclivity for insulating its decision makers from reality.

http://blog.usni.org/2011/12/06/navy-noir/


This article does highlight the gut-wrenching nature of ongoing personnel reductions, but in many areas it appears the author either doesn't
have all of the information, or at worst uses faulty first-order analysis to support his rant against the machine. The article covers a
wide range of issues - from ERB and PTS to administrative and statutory boards - and while nearly all manpower actions are interrelated, they
are not necessarily related in the way that the author would have us to believe - he has access to just enough information to make him dangerous,
and in some cases erroneous.

Even if the economy weren't suffering, we should not be surprised to see draw-downs in a time when we are reducing our involvement in places
like Iraq. The fact that the Navy is drawing down and unemploying folks when the unemployment rate is 9% is heartbreaking.

But yoshi, once again, you're just plain wrong. Having worked in one the organizations that implements some of these policies and others, to
apply the labels of "passive" and "cowardly" show your misunderstanding of the policy and the people who work hard to get it right when very
difficult decisions need to be made. Is the system perfect? Clearly, no. Do good people have to go home? Sadly, yes. Are sub-par performers
hanging on? Most likely.

If we agree with the premise that personnel cuts (both officer and enlisted) need to take place due to current fiscal pressures, should we then
place the responsibility for determining who should go home on the unit CO's? Would the unit CO come to a different conclusion than the board
members on who should go home? What would be the CO's basis? FITREPs and EVALs? Are these inflated? Last hired, first fired?

The Chief of Naval Personnel is looking at several courses of actions related to personnel cuts. Not all of them can be enacted immediately
(especially options that involunatarily separate officers) because they cost money - money that has to be included in the budget. Make no
mistake, officers are being involuntarily separated from the Navy every single month:

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=58161

It's not easy to tell our people that their service is no longer required - but these decisions aren't being made by heartless robots.

One of the best things that the Wardroom can do is to get educated on these manpower processes so that we can speak from an informed basis
to our people.

V/r,

atn
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Postby yoshi » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:04 am

Don't believe there is any dispute over the fact people have to go. I perceived the article to be pointing out the impersonal nature of how this is happening, rather than whether or not it should. With regard to PTS, I'm not sure who the people are which are involved with figuring out who can stay and who should go, but I thought it was essentially quota based. With the ERB and PTS, I fail to see how these aren't impersonal processes. There is no advocate for each person and no one making that decision (whatever hard worker that may be) has any contact with the sailor affected. So - I still think its impersonal and it does seem to me to be a bit cowardly, in that, as fine an organization as we may be (owing directly to those people working at the lower levels), we can't engineer a process which gives them a face to face or even a phone call with the one pulling the trigger.

Q - "should we then place the responsibility for determining who should go home on the unit CO's?"
A - Well, considering the fact we place responsibility for Sailor's lives with their CO's, and the fact that many COs have to determine who will be put into harm's way - yes, there should be some way for a CO to have input. I'm pretty sure they could handle it. I would be unsure of a CO who can handle the responsibility of sending someone to die, but can't handle laying them off.

I don't think the tone of the article written was really focusing on the process, anyway. It seemed to me he or she was questioning the moral courage of the calculus leading to the processes, maybe even the leadership. I think its healthy to examine, as the services have a long term interest in maintaining their integrity when dealing with their personnel. What we are going to continue doing (cutting personnel) is not questioned. What is and should be questioned is how these cuts will be presented to the affected members.
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Postby Schlag » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:19 pm

We sent our Dept LCPO to Millington to advocate on the Dept/Command's behalf many of our manning woes. Before coming to us he was the GSA Detailer on the enlisted side, so he knew pretty much everyone there already.

In Engineering, our divisions were manned at 80% or less and the projections weren't looking good (lots of prospective losses, no prospective gains - not even penciled in). We also were trying to get a hold of the PTS code and advocate some specific cases because we felt that Sailor's retention was in the best interests of the Service but also because it would mitigate some of our prospective losses.

Unfortunately, all of the the PTS processors were behind locked doors and great efforts were made to make sure that nobody except PTS processors were allowed in or out. He pulled every string he could and he literally couldn't even get in the door to advocate for our Sailors. To me, if you can't even appear in person to advocate for your Sailors, then the entire process is designed to be as impersonal as possible.
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Postby Sum1 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:20 pm

I ran across this recently:

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petition-tool/petition/review-how-sailors-are-being-involuntarily-separated-us-naval-service-fy-2012-enlisted-retention/mMmDRqWV

Essentially, you are petitioning the government to look into certain issues, and the Enlisted Retention Boards/PTS is an active petition until Jan 17th. It needs 25,000 signatures to reach the threshold where the President's office takes a look at the issue and addresses it (in one way or another).
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