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What Are You Listening To?

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
Always good to listen to Robert Kaplan. You might want to catch this on your drive into work (its about 38 minutes). Couple of good points he brings up are China's Belt and Road Initiative in regards to Iran and the future of Turkey.

 

hooflys

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
An hour, but my goodness....is this good.

Lying To Ourselves

This is great, but "where are the changes?". Does anybody give a shit? Do senior leaders watch this and have the humility or courage to digest and act upon it? Do JOs for that matter? This is a conversation thats been going on for almost a decade (if not more). Couple keywords that stick out: leaders, hubris, personal responsibility (#fatleonard). Why are all the rockstar JOs getting out? Weird...

(Whiskey promo: this rant was brought to you by High West and Woodford Reserve)
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
This is great, but "where are the changes?". Does anybody give a shit? Do senior leaders watch this and have the humility or courage to digest and act upon it? Do JOs for that matter? This is a conversation thats been going on for almost a decade (if not more). Couple keywords that stick out: leaders, hubris, personal responsibility (#fatleonard). Why are all the rockstar JOs getting out? Weird...

(Whiskey promo: this rant was brought to you by High West and Woodford Reserve)
FWIW, JOs are getting out in general, not just the rock stars.
 
Reactions: IKE

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
This is great, but "where are the changes?". Does anybody give a shit? Do senior leaders watch this and have the humility or courage to digest and act upon it? Do JOs for that matter? This is a conversation thats been going on for almost a decade (if not more). Couple keywords that stick out: leaders, hubris, personal responsibility (#fatleonard). Why are all the rockstar JOs getting out? Weird...

(Whiskey promo: this rant was brought to you by High West and Woodford Reserve)
Are/were you HSC? I ask only for context, because as a prior HS guy, I can tell you HSC is not representative of all naval aviation.

~2/3 of the rock star JOs who were my peers at HS-14 screened for CO or are still tracking for it, meaning they stuck around.

I'd estimate the same portion (2/3) of the awesome JOs I got to work with in my DH tour intend to stick around for a while, or at least aren't running for the hills. The most vocal NAE dissenters weren't really rockstars anyway -- great sticks and maybe even great tacticians, but not the whole package.
 

hooflys

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
I was and had an incredible experience. I was fortunate to have some great COs and DHs and my little diatribe was not meant as an indictment of that community, though my reference to hard-chargers bailing was absolutely couched in what I'm hearing coming from folks that went to the FRS for their shore tour. That's not to suggest that I don't know some incredible folks that have returned or are returning for a DH tour, CO tour, etc; maybe the picture isn't as bleak as its been painted and I'm overreacting.

Having said that, who's getting out (yes, I understand JOs are getting out in general) was not the issue I was trying to respond to, or bitch about, or whatever, but perhaps a consequence of it. I'm more concerned with the disconnect between the upper and lower ranks and the apparent unwillingness of senior leadership heretofore to solicit honest feedback (caveat- heard great things about Airboss' efforts to get info direct from JOs and I'm grateful for it; the fact that thats necessary speaks to the problem, though).

I'm not adding anything new to a conversation thats been had here and elsewhere, so forgive me. However, I'm tired of what seems like a consistent refrain of "just trust us" or "change is coming" (except when GMT went away for 5 minutes...) or "we want your feedback" from senior leadership with little to show for it. A little transparency goes a long way. A genuine desire to hear the truth would go even further. I know, things take time in a bureaucracy such as ours, but much of whats been presented in the past couple years feels like lip-service to placate the masses while the powers that be hang on until they can turn over.

The most vocal NAE dissenters weren't really rockstars anyway -- great sticks and maybe even great tacticians, but not the whole package.
Not trying to pick a fight here, but this seems to characterize the ego that impedes honest discourse, "Meh, they weren't players anyway, so fuck 'em and any useful feedback they may have provided." Maybe they weren't the whole package, or maybe they weren't the whole package because they dissented and upward mobility in our profession has little tolerance for dissent (which could also be characterized as honest feedback that was poorly received). This is exactly what the dude was speaking to in the video...
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
I'd estimate the same portion (2/3) of the awesome JOs I got to work with in my DH tour intend to stick around for a while, or at least aren't running for the hills. The most vocal NAE dissenters weren't really rockstars anyway -- great sticks and maybe even great tacticians, but not the whole package.
Eh, I wouldn't base everything on what your first tour JOs are telling you (or what you're hearing). Hopefully things are swinging the other way, but there were plenty of "hot-runners" (read: FRS) JOs who ended up bailing in some way throughout my time at both RAGs. There were several that were very cagey in keeping their plans to themselves. I usually would hear "the truth" at some point given my positions, but there were still one or two that wouldn't even talk to me about their options (one point blank lied to my face while sitting in the fuel pits...12 months later she was in VR, which was just weird).

That said, I also knew plenty of folks when I was a JO who were "totally getting out" that totally didn't get out when it came time to put their money where their 2.5 kids' mouths were, but that was a different time (and economy).
 

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
Not trying to pick a fight here, but this seems to characterize the ego that impedes honest discourse, "Meh, they weren't players anyway, so fuck 'em and any useful feedback they may have provided." Maybe they weren't the whole package, or maybe they weren't the whole package because they dissented and upward mobility in our profession has little tolerance for dissent (which could also be characterized as honest feedback that was poorly received). This is exactly what the dude was speaking to in the video...
1st: Great response.

2nd: That's not quite what I meant. I'm talking about people who honestly seem to not give a f*** about the organization beyond flight hours and tactics. I mean people who haven't figured out, and seem unlikely to figure out within a tour or two, that Naval Aviation requires officers capable of flying, fighting AND leading, managing, writing, planning, doing legal work, socializing, etc. Personally, I am extremely interested in change-makers, not whiners or party-liners, and I've been lucky enough to have two COs in a row who clearly rewarded that trait among JOs and DHs.

The ability to make lasting, meaningful changes in organizational processes requires time and a deeply fostered culture. You can't order it; that way leads to resentment, half-assed execution, and failure. It took me months as OPSO to get my team to really use SHARP for scheduling instead of the 1980s era whiteboard nonsense, and they were still sketching it out on the whiteboard for the weekly when I left. SHARP is objectively better than a whiteboard for 90% of what OPS/Training needs, but I needed buy-in for it to stick.

My DH tour turned me into slightly more of a company man than I was as a JO.
 

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
All that said, it truly is a travesty just how high managers without a visionary bone in their body can be promoted in a bureaucracy.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
1st: Great response.

2nd: That's not quite what I meant. I'm talking about people who honestly seem to not give a f*** about the organization beyond flight hours and tactics. I mean people who haven't figured out, and seem unlikely to figure out within a tour or two, that Naval Aviation requires officers capable of flying, fighting AND leading, managing, writing, planning, doing legal work, socializing, etc. Personally, I am extremely interested in change-makers, not whiners or party-liners, and I've been lucky enough to have two COs in a row who clearly rewarded that trait among JOs and DHs.

The ability to make lasting, meaningful changes in organizational processes requires time and a deeply fostered culture. You can't order it; that way leads to resentment, half-assed execution, and failure. It took me months as OPSO to get my team to really use SHARP for scheduling instead of the 1980s era whiteboard nonsense, and they were still sketching it out on the whiteboard for the weekly when I left. SHARP is objectively better than a whiteboard for 90% of what OPS/Training needs, but I needed buy-in for it to stick.

My DH tour turned me into slightly more of a company man than I was as a JO.
Agreed. I think there’s a big delta between what JOs think the brass can/should do and what they can actually do with the constraints of law, policy and resourcing. Everyone wants instant solutions to problems in an institution with tremendous inertia. I don’t want to rehash the litany of grievances, some of which are completely legit, but we’re experiencing a perfect storm with 19 years of continuous war fighting, deferred platform maintenance and abject mismanagement of the strike fighter fleet, shortsighted HR policies and airline draw. That’s a big hole to dig out from and it’s going to take some time before we see some positive trends.
 

hooflys

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
@IKE -
  1. Thanks. I don't love the idea of hanging things out for public consumption on the regular, but have certainly enjoyed the conversation.
  2. Fair, sorry I put words in your mouth. I'm with you, and would love to see leadership emphasized as much as tactics/stick skills/etc. I do think there's a way to do that and minimize some of the shenanigans that we all face on a regular basis with some smart, perhaps courageous (hyperbole in case it didnt come across...) action at higher levels.
@Brett327 -
While I appreciate and respect your experience and don't doubt thats partly true, none of what you described above precludes senior leadership from having frank discussions with their subordinates. It is interesting, and frustrating, to me that higher levels get to say to their subordinates, "We can't do it" (due to law, policy, resourcing), but at a squadron level subordinates would get crucified for saying the same to their superiors (due to 19 years of continuous war fighting, deferred platform maintenance and abject mismanagement, shortsighted HR policies and airline draw). Seems intellectually dishonest to me and again, relevant to Wong's presentation in the video.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
@Brett327 -
While I appreciate and respect your experience and don't doubt thats partly true, none of what you described above precludes senior leadership from having frank discussions with their subordinates. It is interesting, and frustrating, to me that higher levels get to say to their subordinates, "We can't do it" (due to law, policy, resourcing), but at a squadron level subordinates would get crucified for saying the same to their superiors (due to 19 years of continuous war fighting, deferred platform maintenance and abject mismanagement, shortsighted HR policies and airline draw). Seems intellectually dishonest to me and again, relevant to Wong's presentation in the video.
I don't know that I agree with that. During the tenure for CNAFs Miller and Shoemaker, their repeated guidance to COs and CDREs was if there were show-stoppers in their readiness, to report that via DRRS-N so it gets highlighted and CNAF can step in to direct resources appropriately. I know of two instances within my own community where this was actually used to get results on manning for deploying squadrons. Now, I fully realize that this doesn't solve every problem, but my experience was that CNAF was absolutely engaged and having those conversations with his O5 and O6 leadership.

There are clearly a lot of challenges right now within the NAE and I understand/share your frustrations. If you pay attention, you'll hear senior leadership talking about solutions they're applying. Some will be more effective than others, and some will take a decade to see real results.
 

SlickAg

Registered User
pilot
There are clearly a lot of challenges right now within the NAE and I understand/share your frustrations. If you pay attention, you'll hear senior leadership talking about solutions they're applying. Some will be more effective than others, and some will take a decade to see real results.
If there is a problem now, and it’s going to take at least a decade to see results (not even have the problem completely fixed)...doesn’t that speak volumes about how broken the process is?
 
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