There was a lot of "made work. They felt that their work had little significance, and they got no satisfaction of accomplishment. Some of this is due to lack of information, to lack of explanation, but a great deal of it must be due to general slackness also. There are a number of contributory causes for slackness in command--inexperience or lack of interest on the part of officers, the indifference of old-timers, both officer and enlisted, who are merely passing the time until retirement, laziness on the part of young men who want to ride and produce as little as possible in the process.
All can be corrected by tautening up the units. Tautness requires absolute fairness above all else. Commanders must distinguish between good and bad men and take action accordingly. This means that men who fail must be punished promptly at mast and that each man's record must reflect his conduct and ability.
It means that commanding officers must tackle the onerous problem of the relative fitness of officers, so that officer's fitness reports reflect faithfully the worth of the officer. There must be a clear differentiation between the excellent and the poor, or again the conscientious man is penalized and the poor man is favored.
Instability is always a contributing factor in serious cases of lack of discipline. The personnel instability in our fleets after the war was therefore a serious concern to the Navy. If command attention had not been exercised carefully the discipline of the Navy would have suffered much more than it did.
There are many times when transfers are most desirable or are unavoidable. The Navy, especially BuPers, has done well in reducing unnecessary transfers, but there are still too many men--and officers--being shifted. It takes time for a man to become acquainted with his job and time for a unit to shake down after receiving new men. Unless, through foresight and careful planning, the Navy can get some reasonable. The man hours lost to the Navy by men in transit is appalling.
Here again, BuPers is making valiant efforts to reduce time in receiving stations, time en route, and time waiting for ships. Until all commanders and all ships and stations do their best, there will be this great loss in manpower utilization. There should be great improvements due to long enlistments. Short enlistments preclude permanency of personnel--and seem to discourage men from selecting the Navy as a career. BuPers is trying to put through a plan for scheduled sea-shore rotation which will reduce the justified complaints of unfairness and favoritism.
That Bureau is having difficulty in resisting the continual pressure, mostly from senior officers, to give special and unjust consideration to their own people, especially Stewards, Yeomen, and similar ratings. A definite schedule of ship-shore rotation would be advantageous to the Navy and permit its personnel to make some sort of personal plans.
The present high rate of reenlistments will do much to eliminate the instability and rapid turnover due to the necessary training and schooling of new recruits. A high percentage of the manpower in the Navy is being used to train new men. The reduction in the number of trainees as well as in the number.
One of the basic causes in both the British mutiny at Invergordon and the "incidents" in the Canadian Navy was instability in the operating schedules. Ships either had no schedule or the schedules that they did have were changed frequently and without time to permit the officers and men to adjust their personal plans without inconvenience.
Frequent sudden changes in the operating schedules of ships after the war in the United States Navy was also one of the major sources of discontent. Even though the necessity of such changes was explained, the operating personnel could not understand why adequate planning and foresight could not have made most of the changes unnecessary. Naturally, the exigencies of the service preclude the maintenance of a rigid schedule. Changes will frequently be necessary and unavoidable.
On the other hand there is still insufficient realization among the shore based planners of the great inconvenience caused to many people when schedules are abruptly changed. It speaks well for the discipline and loyalty of naval personnel that these changes are accepted without serious consequences. Nevertheless unnecessary changes are an additional strain to discipline and usually result in some men being AOL because they are not big. Stability of promotion and advancement has also been a cross under which the discipline of organizations has broken.
The Bureau of Personnel is busily engaged in preparing career guidance plans for all Navy people. Heretofore written advancement examinations have been the most important factor in evaluating the relative worth of individuals, with some attention being given to the evaluation of the man's work on the job.
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Written tests, however, are only one measure of a man's effectiveness. They do not necessarily give a man's true aptitudes, qualifications, or achievements. BuPers is evaluating the performance of Chief Musicians and Musicians First Class with ten years' service in the spring, a work which will assist in the determination of the relative fitness of men for promotion. If this project is successful, evaluation centers will be established for all rates. These centers, it is hoped, will fulfill the need for obtaining accuracy and comprehensiveness in all of the qualifications.
The record of capabilities of the men who are evaluated in these evaluation centers will also be of considerable assistance in the proper detailing of personnel and in the selection of personnel for commissions in the event of another emergency. This situational testing to determine actual qualifications will do much to insure that the best men available are promoted and thereby. BuPers has also recently instituted a system of fitness reports for chief petty officers and petty officers first class in order that a continuous and comprehensive record may be obtained on performance of duty of each of these key people.
These, like any other system in which men mark other men, will be valuable in proportion to the conscientiousness with which the marking seniors act.
Here again, it is necessary that rigid adherence to high standards be maintained to assure that the men who actually reach those high standards are not discriminated against by less qualified men receiving high marks which they do not justly deserve. In a peacetime Navy it is important for each man in each rate to have some prospect of promotion even though that prospect may involve tough competition. BuPers has arranged for a steady flow of promotions for each rate. With so many reenlistments and with more and more people making the Navy their career it is essential that each man be confident that as his qualifications increase he will be advanced accordingly.
The officer promotion system was well established before the war. Since the war it has not been possible to reinstitute the entire system with the same degree of efficiency that previously existed, due to the much larger number of officers and the wide variation in. Nevertheless much progress has been made in the attempts to insure fair competition and adequate opportunity for advancement. In addition, the personnel acts prescribe the procedures required for promotion in considerable detail. Officers must have confidence in the promotion system or discipline will be jeopardized.
Unless the best officers are promoted, faith of other officers and enlisted men in the integrity of the system will be shaken. It is essential that officers be promoted who will be best qualified to lead in battle. They must have other qualifications, such as good administrative and technical ability and a wide array of knowledge also, but the rest of the Navy must have absolute confidence in those selected.
Should the less qualified personnel be selected there will come a time in battle in which the Navy will fail because of its leadership. Like begets like, and inadequate personnel, once they have moved up sufficiently to be on a selection board, will themselves be apt to select other inadequate personnel. Standards must be very high, they must be attainable, they must be equitable, they must be well known, and they must be maintained with integrity.
Otherwise the officer corps will decay and decay rapidly, and there will be no effective combat Navy if this happens. In addition to the four factors discussed above, there are others which, although they lack the critical nature of these four, are nevertheless important to discipline. Five factors of this sort are touched upon briefly below.
Increase in Navy Ashore. Instead of the 65 percent of naval personnel serving at sea, as was the situation before the war, 65 percent are actually billeted ashore now. Before the war there were very few small shore stations as compared to the multitude in existence now. These two changes have resulted in a relatively large number of less experienced commanding officers administering men. While there is nothing that can be done about the changes mentioned above, a great deal can and should be done in the way of stressing to officers ashore the fact that they have a most difficult job and a primary responsibility to insure that the discipline, spirit, and effectiveness of their commands meet the high standards which the Navy must maintain.
Shore Patrol. Untrained shore patrolmen cannot handle minor infractions satisfactorily. Personnel assigned to shore patrol duty should be specially trained. Fleet Employment. It may be that we have too much concentration on grand exercises and not enough on training of individual ships and units; and too much.
Marriage and Discipline. Early marriages in the case of naval personnel sometimes result in worry, frustration, and despondency. They cause a divided loyalty between family and the Navy which often leads to serious derelictions. Assistance with personal problems of this sort is the responsibility of the division officer, whose duty it is to inspire the trust and confidence that lead his men to consult him.
Creature Comfort. This is not a Bureau problem but a command responsibility. It is not as satisfactorily handled as is commonly believed. Much more can be done by many commands to provide good food, messing facilities, living quarters, and general environment. It has always been highly desirable to reduce the number of courts martial for a number of obvious reasons. Upon the placing in effect of the Uniform Code of Military Justice what was formerly desirable becomes a matter of absolute necessity. One of the effects of the new Code will be a formidable increase in the amount of time and paper work involved in connection with courts martial.
Without a decrease in the number of cases, the workload will become prohibitive. The major reason for the increase in the number of courts martial over prewar days is the decrease in the amount of "command attention" being exercised as compared with those days. Commanding officers are using courts martial as a corrective device more frequently than in prewar days. They apparently fail to realize that a large number of courts being given is actually a reflection upon the officers' command ability.
When this is correctly done, less punishment will be required. Results of such studies would be used by recruiting officers to screen out troublesome types before they get into the service. Naval History and Heritage Command. Open for Print. Social Media. Toggle left navigation Nav. Published soon after Burke's retirement from the Navy in , the book has remained a standard reference for four decades.
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Jordan Vause. Mitsuo Fuchida. Clay Blair. Walter Lord. Thomas J. Martin Clemens. Douglas MacArthur. Mitsuru Yoshida. Edward P. Carl Boyd. Richard C. Sandy Woodward. Victor H. Robert Frump. Edward L. William T. Herbert O. Leonard F.