Podcast Episode 2…convo with Bryan McGrath

By Chris Servello

In our Navy Birthday edition of the Bullit Points Podcast, we talk with Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group LLC, retired naval officer and well known navalist Bryan McGrath (@conswahoo). Bryan makes the case for strong American seapower as a central component of the United States national security strategy.

Additionally, he discusses his concern that the American public doesn’t understand the value of seapower and the necessity for a strong Navy. Bryan suggests several ways to increase  and improve the Department of the Navy’s communication effort…seeing that success as central to growing a 350-ship Navy.

Key Quotes:

I came away from my six month speaking tour somewhat disheartened at the level of understanding in those rooms about anything other than a sort of a superficial patriotic appreciation for the Navy. The wasn’t much of an understanding how the Navy protects and sustains our economy.

“I come away from it thinking Navy leadership has a relentlessly and continuously educating the american public about seapower.”

“My pitch was that the security and prosperity of the United States of America was disproportionately reliant on strong American Seapower.”

“At the SECNAV and CNO level a relentless advocacy has to be the minimum standard that we demand of these decision makers.”

“The communication function in the department of the Navy could deal with a lot more rigor.”

It is the Department of the Navy’s job to create that case for why those additional ships are required…and why the Navy’s role is different than the Air Force and the Army because of the degree to which naval forces regulate a peacetime environment.”

13 OCT 17 Weekly Wrap

Thanks for checking out Bull-It Points. Happy Friday and Happy Birthday to the United States Navy. Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs who outlasted the Nationals to move on to the NLCS…thought it might actually be the Nats year…no such luck.

Be sure to send your tips, criticism or compliments to chris@bullitpoints.org .  Let us know what you like or how we can get better. If you would like to receive BULL-It Points via email drop us a quick note.– Chris Servello

Tomorrow…Podcast Ep 2. This week our guest is navalist Bryan McGrath (@conswahoo). In a phone conversation with BULL-It Points, Bryan gives his views on the importance of talking to national leaders and the American public about the necessity of seapower and the value of a strong Navy to national security. Additionally, he lays several thoughtful suggestions on how the Department of the Navy can improve it communication efforts. 

Key Points:

The world’s most powerful man–Xi Jinping has more clout than Donald Trump. The world should be wary

  • The fate of the Soviet Union haunts him, and that insecurity has consequences. He mistrusts not only the enemies his purges have created but also China’s fast-growing, smartphone-wielding middle class, and the shoots of civil society that were sprouting when he took over. He seems determined to tighten control over Chinese society, not least by enhancing the state’s powers of surveillance, and to keep the commanding heights of the economy firmly under the party’s thumb.

China congress: Military facelift a sign of bigger changes

  • Just as military reform aimed to assert civilian control over the military and spur its modernisation through initiatives like structural transformation and a strategic overhaul, the upcoming congress will likely pursue some structural changes, which can move toward improving governance.

Pentagon to shift ‘bulk’ of major defense programs to services, and people may go, too

  • “Congress been very, very clear in the last few NDAAs that they want to shift oversight of most programs back to the services, and I entirely agree with that. In fact, there were some programs that were transitioned back earlier this year,” Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L).

U.S. Navy Secretary Foresees ‘Cultural’ Shift Among Sailors, Officers

  • Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said the “stress and strain” on Navy crews in the Pacific from the high pace of operations clearly played a role in the accidents in Asia.
  • Mr. Spencer said in an interview that he will include recommendations about cultural changes in his review of what happened. That review comes on top of one ordered by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, which is expected to be completed in the next few weeks. Mr. Spencer’s review will follow 30 days later

Rebalancing US Navy 7th Fleet towards training, preparation is key, says new commander

  • Speaking to the media on the third day of a five-day visit to Singapore, Vice-Adm Sawyer said: “I think, over time, the balance shifted too much to the operational side, and not enough to making sure that our teams were rested, were trained, were able to go do the things we were asking them to do.”
  • “If I had the entire US Navy out in Yokosuka, Japan, I still would not be able to do all the things that everybody would want me to do.”

The Future of the U.S. Navy—Greater Partnership with Private Industry

  • The Secretary of the Navy’s (SECNAV) September 1, 2017 direction to conduct a Strategic Readiness Review of the force is an important first step in fostering new and greater relationships between the U.S. Navy and the private sector.
  • The U.S. Navy must seize on the momentum of the partnerships created in this initiative, as well as senior leadership’s recognition of the value and potential that private industry expertise, experience, and resources can have on Fleet issues and challenges.

Mattis to Generals: Start Talking to the Press

  • “Communications is the job of the commander, not just the PAO,” Mattis told a roomful of 4-stars, according to a description of the meeting by Pentagon press secretary Dana White.

eMarketer Updates US Time Spent with Media Figures

  • Individuals in the US still manage to spend the equivalent of half a day consuming media. eMarketer estimates that adults will spend an average of 12 hours, 1 minute per day with major media in 2017. People have become more efficient at multitasking, thanks largely to mobile devices (excluding voice), which will take up more than one-quarter of total media time.

Clips of Interest:

Navy Birthday

My Navy Birthday Wish…POSTER01 Twiter Instream 820

This Friday the Navy will celebrate its 242nd birthday. Like many of our own “off-year” birthdays, few people outside of the immediate family take time to mark the occasion. Please reconsider.Link

National Security

Inside North Korea, and Feeling the Drums of WarRIxd30fOt1l

(New York Times, 05 OCT 17…By Nicholas Kristof) PYONGYANG, North Korea — To fly into North Korea on an old Russian aircraft is to step into an alternate universe, one in which “the Supreme Leader” defeats craven American imperialists, in which triplets are taken from parents to be raised by the state, in which nuclear war is imminent but survivable — and in which there is zero sympathy for American detainees like Otto Warmbier.  Link

The world’s most powerful man–Xi Jinping has more clout than Donald Trump. The world should be wary

(The Economist, 14 OCT 17) His grip on China is tighter than any leader’s since Mao. And whereas Mao’s China was chaotic and miserably poor, Mr Xi’s is a dominant engine of global growth. His clout will soon be on full display. On October 18th China’s ruling Communist Party will convene a five-yearly congress in Beijing (see Briefing). It will be the first one presided over by Mr Xi. Its 2,300 delegates will sing his praises to the skies. More sceptical observers might ask whether Mr Xi will use his extraordinary power for good or ill. Link

China congress: Military facelift a sign of bigger changes

(BBC News, 09 OCT 17) Of the many noteworthy developments that have characterized Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first five-year term, none stands out as much as military reform, and this reveals a great deal about the coming political trajectory in China, writes political analyst Cheng Li. Link

China grabbed American as spy wars flare

(Politico, 11 OCT 17…By Ali Watkin) U.S. officials consider the abduction an unusually bold act in a long-simmering spy game between Washington and Beijing, one recently overshadowed by a newly aggressive Russia. But U.S. officials and China experts say the two countries are engaged in an espionage battle that may be just as fierce, if far less publicized. Link

Pentagon to shift ‘bulk’ of major defense programs to services, and people may go, too

(Defense News, 11 OCT 17…By Aaron Mehta) Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L), believes that her office has been given marching orders from Congress to push the day-to-day management of Major Defense Acquisition Programs, or MDAPs, to the three services. Link

Naval

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USNI News-CNA Fleet and Marine Tracker: Oct. 10, 2017

(USNI, 10 OCT 17) These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Oct. 10, 2017 based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the map reflects the location of the capital ship. Link

U.S. Navy Secretary Foresees ‘Cultural’ Shift Among Sailors, Officers

(WALL STREET JOURNAL 11 OCT 17) … Julian E. Barnes and Robert Wall LONDON—The secretary of the U.S. Navy plans to unveil potentially far-reaching changes in the wake of a deadly collisions at sea that led to the dismissal Wednesday of two top commanders. Link

Rebalancing US Navy 7th Fleet towards training, preparation is key, says new commander

(The Straits Times, 13 OCT 17…By Lim Min Zhang) SINGAPORE – The operational demands on the US Navy 7th Fleet were so high that not enough emphasis was placed on sailors’ preparation and training, said the new commander of the fleet on Friday (Oct 13). This was Vice-Admiral Phil Sawyer’s take on the preliminary findings of two collisions involving 7th Fleet ships this year. Link

South China Sea: Fourth US FONOP in Five Months Suggests a New Operational Rhythm

(The Diplomat, 12 OCT 17…By Ankit Panda) The Trump administration has accepted a higher pace of freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. Link

The Future of the U.S. Navy—Greater Partnership with Private Industry

(National Interest, 10 OCT 17…By Matthew Krull To improve readiness, capability and proficiency, the U.S. Navy must focus on deepening partnerships with private industry so that commercial expertise, experiences and efficiencies can be applied to the Fleet. Fostering meaningful relationships with private industry would provide a venue for innovative ideas and nondefense industry thinking to be applied to U.S. Navy challenges in areas such as safety, operations and readiness. Link

Navy Releases Final MQ-25 Stingray RFP; General Atomics Bid Revealed

(USNI, 10 OCT 17…By: Sam LaGrone) Last week, the Navy issued the RFP to four industry competitors for the air segment of what will be the service’s Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle ahead of an anticipated contract award by September of next year, a NAVAIR spokeswoman told USNI News on Tuesday. Link

Modernization Funds Slashed For Russia’s Notoriously Rickety Aircraft CarrierURQs30fOvaW

(THE DRIVE.COM, 10 OCT 17… By Tyler Rogoway) The carrier’s long delayed deep refit and modernization program has had its budget slashed in half putting in question the carrier’s future relevance. Link

Communication

Mattis to Generals: Start Talking to the Press

(Defense One, 09 OCT 17…By Kevin Baron)On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis instructed top commanders to speak to the media more freely, Defense One has learned.The secretary is hoping to end a misperception among some senior leaders that they should keep quiet, in part because he wants them to speak up on the looming budget battle in Congress, according to a senior defense official. Link

Media

eMarketer Updates US Time Spent with Media Figures

(eMarketer, 09 OCT 17) Individuals in the US still manage to spend the equivalent of half a day consuming media. eMarketer estimates that adults will spend an average of 12 hours, 1 minute per day with major media in 2017. People have become more efficient at multitasking, thanks largely to mobile devices (excluding voice), which will take up more than one-quarter of total media time. Link

Cyber Security Awareness Month

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WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 2017) An information graphic depicting the dangers of cyber attacks. (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)

Bonus

Axios Future Trendsb1G030fOtob

(Axios, 09 OCT 17…By Mike Allen) The Axios subject-matter experts — drawing on fresh interviews, and daily immersion in the topics driving change in business, society and the world — bring you this exclusive look ahead. Link

My Navy Birthday Wish…

By Chris Servello

This Friday the Navy will celebrate its 242nd birthday. Like many of our own “off-year” birthdays, few people outside of the immediate family take time to mark the occasion. Please reconsider.

While many of us will spend this week enjoying the baseball playoffs, watching football or taking in the changing colors of Fall, an important group of young Americans will be far from the comforts of home. They will spend the weekend doing what Sailors have done for the last 242 years–helping to keep the United States safe and protecting American interests around the world.


Sometimes lost in headlines and commentary about mishaps at sea or on-going policy reviews is the awe inspiring work these men and women do day in and day out. From the Sailors conducting relief missions in the Caribbean, ships and aircraft beating back extremists in Syria and Iraq, to the units conducting missile defense off South Korea and Japan, the young Americans in your Navy are getting it done in a big way.

And so amidst the curveballs, kickoffs and color changes, please take a few minutes this week to think about these Sailors. Help celebrate the legacy of service and sacrifice to their fellow Americans that has gone for the last two and a half centuries. Don’t let their hard work go unrecognized, even if it’s only by a momentary smile or internal positive thought.

I am incredibly proud of the tens of thousands of Sailors standing the watch around the world this week…and hopefully you are too.

Podcast Episode 1…Convo w/ Chris Cavas

img_0187by Chris Servello

In this Episode of Bull-It Points, we talk to Chris Cavas  (@cavasships) about the intersection of naval operations and communication.

As a lead off, Chris discusses the crowded and a times degraded 24-hour news and info-tainment cycle…the decline of official comment…and then gives advice to senior leaders and professional communicators on how best to succeed in today’s environment.

“The pressure of the relentless, endless newscycle is wearing…there’s a lot of media doing great work right now, they’re also under great pressure to keep doing great work.”

“We have a generation of leaders now, just about everywhere you look,…that don’t live in a world of frankness, honesty and explanation. They are in a world of don’t say anything.”

In segment two we discuss the need and likelihood the United States will grow the Navy…the threat driving the need for growth…and the importance of selling that that threat if there is any chance to achieve the needed growth.

“I don’t believe we will ever get to a 355-ship Navy, certainly not in my lifetime…and I doubt in your lifetime. It just takes too long to build things and they are too expensive.”

“We are facing a range of threats that we have never ever faced before. And all of these things are on the rise…all of these things are aggressive and they are not friendly.”

Thanks for listening!

29 SEP 17 Bull-It Points

By Chris Servello

Key Points:

  1. “I think China probably poses the greatest threat to our nation by about 2025.”
  2. “Successful mission accomplishment cannot be our sole measure of effectiveness.” 
  3. “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.”
  4. “Connection happens when you see past the details of a task to its human consequences.” 
  5. “A PR perspective* can result in the rose-colored glasses version of company news.”
  6. “The crucial prerequisite of intelligent disagreement — namely: shut up; listen up; pause and reconsider; and only then speak — is absent.”

Clips of Interest:

Top US general: China will be ‘greatest threat’ to US by 2025*

(CNN, 27 SEP 17)… By Ryan Browne

“I think China probably poses the greatest threat to our nation by about 2025,” Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on his re-appointment as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Link

With Sweeping New Orders, Navy Vows to Focus on Seamanship and Safety

(New York Times, 28 SEP17)…By Eric Schmitt

More sleep and no more 100-hour workweeks for sailors. Ships steaming in crowded waters like those near Singapore and Tokyo will now broadcast their positions as do other vessels. And ships whose crews lack basic seamanship certification will probably stay in port until the problems are fixed. Link

Superintendent: Air Force Academy racists ‘need to get out’

(Colorado Springs Gazette, 29 SEP 17)…By Tom Roeder

At the culmination of his five-minute lecture the general barked: “Reach for your phones. I’m serious: Reach for your phones. … Grab your phones. I want you to videotape this — so that you have it, so that you can use it, so that we all have the moral courage together.” Then he said: “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.” The general turned and left. Link

Great Storytelling Connects Employees to Their Work

(Harvard Business Review, 25 SEP 17)…By Joseph Grenny

People’s feelings about their work are only partly about the work itself. They are equally, if not more so, about how they frame their work. Do they see what they’re doing as a mindless ritual? Do they see it as empty compliance? Or do they see it as sacred duty? If you change the frame you change the feeling. And nothing changes frames faster than a story. Link

If You Want Employees on the Intranet, Skip the Spin

(LinkedIn, 26 SEP 17)…By Elizabeth Baskin, CEO and Executive Creative Director of Tribe, Inc.

Taking a journalistic approach to content will mean thinking through the questions employees will want answered. Telling the whole story, without sidestepping the bits that might not be such good news, results in the sort of authentic content that employees crave. Link

The Dying Art of Disagreement

(The New York Times, 24 SEP 17)…by Bret Stephens

So here’s where we stand: Intelligent disagreement is the lifeblood of any thriving society. Yet we in the United States are raising a younger generation who have never been taught either the how or the why of disagreement, and who seem to think that free speech is a one-way right: Namely, their right to disinvite, shout down or abuse anyone they dislike, lest they run the risk of listening to that person — or even allowing someone else to listen. Link

For Fun…

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts: Link