19 August 2005

Multiple Changes of Command

In the past few months, almost every aspect of my upper Chain of Command for submarine aquisitions has changed. As this is of some interest to the rest of y'all, I thought I'd give you my breakdown:

Program Executive Officer (Submarines)
The head of all submarine aquisition and procurement. A previous post of mine wished fair winds to RDML Butler as he retired from this post. His replacement is RDML(s) Willy Hilardes. He was formerly the head of the SSGN program office. He is a career submariner (the PEO spot can be occupied by either an EDO or an acquisition-trained submariner), and has been playing the DC game for a long time. He has been instrumental in keeping the various sub programs on the same page, by doing things such as organizing the "Sub Bubba" monthly meetings in DC, in which all the sub program managers get together to ensure they are pursuing similar strategies and not stepping on each other's toes. This experience should be a big plus in his new job. On a personal level, while I have not worked for him, those that I know who have almost universally like him. He sounds like a great guy, and a good man to head up our sub development area.

COMNAVSEA
VADM Balisle recently retired, and VADM(s) Paul E. Sullivan took charge of NAVSEA. NAVSEA, for those of you who don't realize it, is enormous. If it were a private company, it would be a top 500 corporation based on size and budget. So the head of NAVSEA has an large, underappreciated affect on the entire fleet. VADM Sullivan started out a SWO, went EDO, got sub qualified as an EDO - a hopeful note! Even if EDO sub quals are not as rigorous as 1120's, at least it means he has a better understanding of us. Even better, however, is his string of billets after that: Deputy Ship Design Manager for the Seawolf class submarine; Ohio Class Project Officer and Los Angeles Class Project Officer at Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Groton; Director for Submarine Programs for the ASN (RDA); Program Manager for the Seawolf Class Submarine Program; Program Manager for the Virginia Class Submarine Program.
So, while VADM Sullivan started out as a SWO (Surface Warfare Officer), he has been sub heavy ever since. He has overseen two of our flagship programs. Hopefully, he will be good for the sub community. He will definitely be more approachable for submariners than Balisle was - of course this is not saying too much. The only notes of caution I have here are from his first All Hands Message, in which he calls out the Aviators as doing things the right way (ack). This and NSPS (another post on that at some other time) are the only things he singles out in the All Hands - maybe to placate the only major community he has little experience with? I am not sure, but I am still hopeful.

Chief of Naval Operations
Admiral Michael Mullen relieved as CNO at the end of last month. After ADM Clark, and his submarine budget-slashing ways despite his insistence that ASW is the #1 priority of the Navy, hopefully ADM Mullen will be a step up for the submarine fleet. The new CNO, no suprise, however, is a career SWO. Very little community crossover in his postings, so I am still unsure how he will treat submarines. As I said, though, he can't be much worse than ADM Clark. Here's hoping he is significantly better. His introductory message to the fleet can be found here. The NAVSEA summary stated:
His top three issues are:
1. THE NEED TO SUSTAIN THE CURRENT READINESS
2. THE NEED TO BUILD A FLEET FOR THE FUTURE, ONE OF THE PROPER SIZE AND MIX OF CAPABILITIES TO DETER OR DEFEAT THE ENEMIES WE MAY FACE TOMORROW.
3. THIRD, NO LESS IMPORTANT THAN THE PRECEDING TWO, IS THE NEED TO TRANSFORM OUR PERSONNEL SYSTEM.

Naval Reactors - NAVSEA(08)
Adm. Kirkland H. Donald is new enough that I still have trouble remembering that it isn't ADM "Skip" Bowman calling the shots in Hades anymore. There is too much I could say about this post to fit it all in here. Instead, I will direct folks to check Bubblehead's post about them - which is unfortunately no longer the #1 Google result for "Naval Reactors Gestapo"

UPDATE: Added CNO's intro message.

5 Comments:

At 8/23/2005, Blogger Bubblehead said...

It looks like it has dropped off the Google radar screen; it's still the #1 result from Yahoo though.

 
At 8/23/2005, Blogger Bubblehead said...

It looks like it has dropped off the Google radar screen; it's still the #1 result from Yahoo though.

 
At 8/23/2005, Blogger Bubblehead said...

Sorry for the double post. I just checked, and I'm still #1 at Google if you put quotes around "Naval Reactors Gestapo". Victory is mine!

 
At 8/25/2005, Blogger Chap said...

Mullen was Clark's N8 and then his VCNO, so don't expect a whole lot of change of direction.

The submariners, on the other hand, are beginning to understand how badly they screwed up in 1998-2003 by putting the 1120s only in submarine-related billets. Beginning, not completely smart about it, but better than they were in 2002 when no flags with dolphins were in the E ring (any there now? Probably not) and no submariner on track for flag had a billet filled outside the community (guaranteeing no ability to know who to play with when it's time to work with the rest of the Navy).

Also, one has to argue differently about acquisition when only five ships were in this year's budget for the ENTIRE Navy...

 
At 8/25/2005, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

CHap-

Nope, still no 1120's in the E-ring last time I checked. We still have not gotten smart. Highest ranking sub bubba was N77 - Undersea Warfare, go figure. We are, however, at least allowing submariners to diversify their career a little, at least, that is how it appears from the outside.

And yeah, only 5 ship aquisitions? If we are so hurting for assets that we are willing to expend untold effort and capital to resuscitate a hull that ran into a mountain, then I think it is hard to overstate how badly we need new boats.

 

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