Monday, May 5, 2008

Military Monday: I'd rather not have an ethos...

I read about this in a professional forum I peruse. It seems the Navy has posted a draft "ethos" online and has a survey that active duty personnel can fill out. Since I can't reach the website where this drivel is posted from my home computer, I have to wait until I get into work tomorrow and waste YOUR TAX DOLLARS to let the Navy know what I think. But I'm going to let you know what I think now.

Let me start by saying I value diversity and recognize the need to implement it in order to succeed, and I know that good leadership involves getting everyone on the same page and setting some part of themselves aside for the advancement of the organization.

But the Navy is a WAR-FIGHTING organization. It is manned by WARRIORS. And WARRIORS need a WARRIOR ETHOS.

And a warrior ethos, this is not:

We are the men and women of the United States Navy -- guardians of American sea power and maritime security.

We are Active Duty, Reserve, and Civilian professionals -- a diverse, elite and agile force who aspire to the highest standards of service to our Nation, at home and abroad, at sea and ashore.

We are a disciplined and well-prepared team, committed to mission accomplishment on sea, land, air, and space. We are unwavering in our dedication and accountability to our fellow Sailors and Civilians.

We are patriots, forged by the Navy’s core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Our proud heritage, tradition and deep resolve serve as our battle anthem.

Integrity is the foundation of our conduct; respect for others is fundamental to our character; bold leadership is crucial to our success.

We will prevail in the face of adversity with strength, determination, and dignity.

We are the United States Navy!

These speak to a warrior ethos:

The Navy's words are the battle cry of an organization with no sense of self, that has attempted to take mankind's most destructive and wasteful endeavor - war - and prepare for it and conduct it using "enterprise models" and "business efficiencies" and "human capital strategies". It is an organization that is risk-averse to the point of being ineffective, that would rather appear "competitive in today's job market" than "ready to visit death and destruction on the enemy".

And I am about fucking fed up with it.

Really..."We are the guardians of American sea power and maritime security????" This is so freaking stupid, I want the name of the jackass who thought this up! We are sea power. We provide maritime security. For 210 years we have been sailing the world's oceans, protecting our nation, it's citizens and it's ships. WE WON THE RIGHT TO SAIL THE WORLD'S OCEANS FROM THE BRITISH, WE PRESERVED THE UNION FROM CATASTROPHIC FRACTURE, WE SAILED HEADLONG INTO BATTLE AGAINST THE BLOODIEST AGGRESSORS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AND DEFEATED THEM. IN 210 YEARS NO ENEMY HAS EVER BESTED US IN WAR ON THE SEA. NO ENEMY EVER WILL.

Oh, wait...war at sea? I'm sorry, does the Navy do that? I dunno...let's read some more.

Hmmmm, we have the highest standards, we all love each other no matter what our backgrounds or means of employment, we do these mission-thingies on land, sea, air, and space (! I saw Star Trek once!) hmmmm, nope, no mention of...

OH WAIT! We have a battle anthem! Battle against whom? I'm sorry, is there an enemy that needs defeating? I can't find one in there. Maybe we'll prevail against people who don't like government civilians. Which means I should shoot myself now.

Oh, and about that battle anthem...heritage, tradition and deep resolve? Puh-LEEEEZE!!!! Again, think about that statement. What the feh-heh-heh-HUCK does that mean? "Tessie is the Royal Rooters' rally cry" would fit least I uderstand what it's getting at!

I mean, the whole goddam thing reads like an award citation for someone who doesn't deserve an award in the first place. Long on nebulous, bombastic, feel-good words with little or no action to emphasize.

Preble, Decatur, Hull, Bainbridge, Stewart, Perry, Farragut, Dewey, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, Sprague, Burke, Momsen, and yes, John Paul Jones, too ... they are turning in their graves.

So, as I said, tomorrow I am going to take some of my time, and a small portion of the government's discretionary spending, to do my part to make sure this piece of shit never makes it out into the fleet.


briwei said...

Oh come on. You don't want to "prevail in the face of adversity with strength, determination, and dignity". ;-)

Heh. Prevail with dignity. Doesn't that bring to mind the old British depictions of war where officers drank tea and discussed battle plans?

Dr. Momentum said...

Good luck in your efforts.

Stickthulhu said...


I reviewed the website and other public forums, and learned two things...

1. There are a great many others who feel the same way I did, and worse.

2. This "ethos" has nine components and six guiding principles. They overlap, so there are a total of TWELVE "tenets" so to speak. each principle/component has a descriptive paragraph. Not to sound arrogant, but if I can't get my arms around that, what's to say a 19-year old out of high school will?

3. This train is leaving the station no matter what. We are getting an "ethos".

Since I got all the "rage" out of my system last night, I took a different tack. I decided that if this is coming no matter what, I can at least do what I can to point it in the right direction, and did just that; with every line.

Overall, I explained that an "ethos" that only vaguely addresses our "raison d'etre" while explicitly pointing out twelve supporting concepts is worthless. As respectfully as I could.

Brian - speaking of "prevailing etc etc" I specifically stated that "adversity" means a state of hardhsip or misfortune and since we are not a band of victims, we need to find a better way to say defeat our enemies, such as, "Defeat our enemies". Sounds crazy, I know. This whole thought of a military training and being ready to fight...