Another look at the O-4 Selection Board Debacle.

My previous posts about the O-4 aviation LCDR selection process:

1. How to research the O-4 selection process.
2. The FY-15 Active-Duty Navy LCDR Line Selection Board.
3. Comments on the FY-15 O-4 Selection Board & final list of promoted officers.
4. My comments on the O-4 selection process & outcome.
5. My thoughts on how the military can better retain its best & brightest of all ranks.

From my perspective, it seems like people of all backgrounds and ranks understand that something is terribly awry with the promotion process in the aviation community. I hate to sound like a complainer or whiner, but the truth of the matter is that I think that people who have a vested interest in fixing the problem need to continue talking about the problems as a way to gather support and, thus, apply pressure to the people who can actually create change.

The bloggers who continue talking about this matter have been noticed by our higher-ranking officers, and the higher ranking officers are NOT pleased. I imagine that in “their day”, there was less unrest in the lower ranks. However, in “their day”, they did not face back-to-back 8-10 month deployments that were punctuated by an unexpected year-long individual augmentation to Afghanistan during their “shore tour” slot. Their commanding officers were not publicly humiliated on the front pages of the Navy Times and fired for “moral infractions” that are not, from our perspective, a cause for being fired. Simply put, our highest ranking officers have deployed less often and for shorter amounts of time then their most junior officers, and they had far less “moral” stress put on their personal lives.

I do not expect this to be my last post about the selection boards, and I imagine that I will continue urging the military to do better for its people.

So, in that vein, here is the latest and greatest iteration of blogosphere discussion about this topic:
http://www.askskipper.com/2014/08/06/making-lcdrs/

Here are a few highlights from the post and discussion:

“I would argue that changing the structure of the board would be hard for about 1 month. In that time PERS would have to coordinate the requirements from every community, colate [sic] them, and incorporate them into the board precept. I would be shocked if community managers couldn’t produce this info in between their morning coffee and lunch. Could this breakdown of tank requirements be seen as advantaging warfighters first, who operate forward, in billets at sea? Potentially. Does anyone have a problem with that? If so please explain.”

“The second part is the law. Admittedly this could be much tougher. But in the current fiscal environment there may be no better time to highlight the waste and abuse that is the O-4 board. A weapons school and TPS grad who was the #1 MP, #3 overall, in a JO tour doesn’t get promoted to O-4? That is waste. Literally millions of dollars of waste. Thankfully the paste-eating-no-load-1XXX-who-couldn’t-get-the-quals-but-lat-transfered-to-Info-dominance picked up O-4. We need them. More importantly, our leaders should be addressing the statutory promotion laws because they do not support the current and future needs of the fleet.”

“To convince a 30 year old aviator with their whole life ahead of them to give the next decade to the Navy you had better have a real reward at the end. In the absence of that prize, you will need to make the path to get there somewhat rewarding. You can’t expect these very smart and capable JOs to stay on our team without showing them something to look forward to. Most importantly, the Navy needs to demonstrate that its values are aligned with the values of its people (are they?). When you cut short the careers of inspiring leaders you are in fact demonstrating to the masses that a delta exists between their values and that of the organization. Speaking of Delta, they’re hiring.”

“BUPERS needs to wake up and realize that being the Commanding Officer of a VFA squadron is not the pinnacle tour they believe it is; at least from a JO’s perspective. The current ends simply do not justify the means. How have we allowed the level of harassment between O3 and O5+ rise to its current level while at the same time the prestige of becoming a CO, CAG, Flag O has fallen? Maybe publically humiliating good people on the cover of Navy Times wasn’t such a grand idea after all. Perhaps all the ‘intrusive’ leadership from above was just micromanagement by a different name. Maybe CAG and DCAG telling bagex stories in CATCC with their feet up on AIROPS O’s console isn’t inspiring leadership.”

“… Whatever happened to leadership? What happened to taking care of your people? My opinion only, buttttttttt our leaders are. out. of. touch. Their JO experiences did not consist of back to back 8+ month deployments followed by an IA in the middle of what should have been a shore tour. Neither did mine. That’s not even to mention the adverse climate of fear created by the zero-defect mentality. Add to that the stress of having to worry about losing your job (through no fault of their own), and it isn’t whining. It’s an explanation for why people are choosing to walk away from what many once considered their “dream job”.”

****
My husband and I made the “final” decision this week to stay-in. Ever since the moment we made that final decision, I’ve been second-guessing it and wondering if dedicating the next 10 years of our lives to this Navy is worth it. I think most high-ranking officers would read that statement and call me a “quitter” or some other derogatory term. However, those high ranking officers are sitting in their comfortable chairs in their private office in the Pentagon. They’re not facing back-to-back 10 month deployments during a 2.5 year tour. They’re not wondering if their husband will return from deployment. They don’t wonder if their dedication to “the Cause” is worth 10 years of stress and if it is an undue burden to place on themselves. They don’t worry about the health and wellness of their marriage during those long months apart. They don’t worry that another (unnecessary) war will break-out.

Perhaps someone of importance will read this blog post and roll their eyes. They’ll think that I’m the only one with this opinion. To that person, I’d just like to say that I’m not alone. I’m just one of the tens of thousands of spouses who share my concerns and opinions. True story.

2 comments

  1. COW and I were talking about this. How in the past it’s been dumb luck, and some great people were passed over. But now, they’re going to be so short there’s no saying what might happen. Broken system, indeed.

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