Pittsburgh Battalion of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Reply

Greetings

I had a great meeting today (January 17, 2016) with the staff of the Pittsburgh Battallion of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. This is a great organization sponsored in part by the Pittsburgh Council of the US Navy League. Because of recent changes in the security measures at their old location (Marine Reserve Building) they are seeking a new home in the Pittsburgh Metro Area. This program is a positive program for young people that supports leadership development, personal growth and service to the community.

The kids learn about inner discipline while they learn about first aid, search and rescue, real world problem solving skills in a setting that is both fun and challenging.

So the challenge will be to find a facility willing to host the group on its drill weekends (2 days a month) and training events for the combined units from Pittsburgh Erie and perhaps some of the local JROTC groups. Funds are limited since the money raised goes towards uniforms, materials and supporting kids with limited incomes. Looking for ideas … Thanks

Mister Mac, CWO2 USN Retired (AKA theleansubmariner)

 

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My Latest Reinvention 3

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January 1, 2016

It has been about 22,490 days since the moment of my birth. You would think with all of that time spent I would have a lot more to show for my efforts. I really can’t complain I suppose. I’ve travelled to many corners of the world and seen some of the most iconic sites imaginable. I have reinvented myself a few times along the way too. From a very poor student in high school I learned how to learn at a later age and graduated Magna cum Laude from college. As a young sailor, I fought against every rule until I won (?) yet still found a path later on to become a Chief Petty Officer and finally a commissioned Chief Warrant Officer. I have walls and shelves full of awards and medals and trophies of one kind or another. But even with all of the accolades and short term accomplishments, I still feel like I have missed something along the way.

Today starts the beginning of a new year in all of our lives. The odometer will not run forever and at some point the engine will cease operation. That is the only assurance in life that any of us has. So the question is, what will I do with the time remaining?

My Dad once told me many years ago to sit down and write a list of things I would like to do and things I would not. To this day, I still remember the first thing on my list of things I did not want to be: I did not want to be a bus driver. No offence to anyone who does that and enjoys it, it was just not something I wanted to do. What I can’t seem to remember is what was on the other side of the ledger. So it’s time to recreate my list and see where this year will be focused.

First, the things I don’t want to be. Bus driver still is on top of the list. I know now that I would not have the patience for rude people and the world is chock full of them these days. I hate bullies of any kind and I really dislike disrespectful young people. So being a bus driver would be the worst sort of occupation. With my luck, I would end up in prison and I am very sure I would not like that at all.

I have also ruled out being an inventor of things. While I do have a pretty active imagination, I don’t seem to have the kind of patience that a Thomas Edison would have had. Plus, most of the good stuff has already been invented so I would always be frustrated.

As much as I like politics, I would make a very poor politician. As I have gotten older, it’s harder for me to be tolerant of stupid people and we have no shortage of them in our country. How else could you explain that so many people are willing and anxious to vote for someone who is a congenital liar simply because she is a woman? No, I am afraid that I would never be successful as a politician because I can’t just tell people what they want to hear.

It’s probably too late for me to be a teacher. I think when you are younger, you are more tolerant of young people and I would constantly be frustrated that the students who are given a free education fail to actually appreciate what they have been given. Plus, with my luck, I would get a room full of young Mini-ME’s that failed to use their brains for anything other than devising their next scheme to get out of real work.

On top of the “Want to” list of course is retiring. After nearly 44 years of working in one occupation or another, not working seems like a desirable goal. Unfortunately, a few hiccups along the path make that financially impossible right now. Plus, we like to travel and we often engage in retail therapy to overcome bad days so pulling the plug this early is not realistic.

There are two things I like to do however. Both involve using all of my experience and my acquired skills. I do both with ease and with some degree of success when I apply them correctly. They both fit together really well and have shown to be a path for success for many people over the years. Most importantly, I am passionate about both of them.

Those two things of course are speaking and writing. I have been working for many years on developing both of these skills and maybe this is the year that I finally learn the way to make them work together and provide us with the means to be very happy. I recently did a survey on fears that people have and once again, speaking in public is high on the list of fears. Yet in my case, I not only don’t fear it, I crave it. There is nothing better to me than having a great story for a great audience and knowing they have received something of value from what I presented. Seeing the looks in their eyes as the story unfolds is a wonderful feeling and one that is hard to match.

The problem has always been time and focus. With all of the other work I have done, having the time and the focus to write the book that will provide the vehicle for my speaking has been very elusive. I have read dozens of books and been to uncounted success seminars but the weak link has always been my own inner drive to succeed. Then I look back on those 22,490 days and get pretty disappointed about the missed opportunities.

No more. This is the year. I am going to write the one book that I know will help me to propel my speaking journey from part time to full time.

The goal for this year is this: I will complete and publish the premier book that captures my passion about speaking and by the end of the year speak (and get paid) to a group of five thousand people. Since today is already half over, that leaves me 364 days to complete that goal.

Yesterday I spent some time with someone close to me who is starting a new reinvention of his life. We talked about SMART goals. I challenged him to make his goal Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. When I woke up this morning, I realized that I needed to heed the same advice.

I would ask one favor. If you are a praying person, put in a good word for me. I would really appreciate the help.

As for me… well, as a number of early warrior leaders once stated: time to burn the boats. No retreat and no way back. Only forward.

Mister Mac

 

Deming’s 14 Points 2

Some great reading on Deming’s 14 Points. Certainly worth the read for a lean practitioner or someone just starting out in the lean world.

Systems Thinking, Lean and Kanban

W. Edwards Deming’s 14 points are the basis for transformation of industry. Adoption and action on the 14 points are a signal that the management intend to stay in business. aim to protect investors and jobs. Such a system formed the basis for lessons for top management in Japan in 1950 and in subsequent years.

The 14 points apply anywhere, to small organisations as well as to large ones, to the service industry as well as to manufacturing. They equally apply to any division within a company and to it’s suppliers.

As you read through each of the 14 points below, ask yourself if they still apply today, either within your current organisation, or within organisations you have recently worked for. The answers may be surprising.

1. Constancy of purpose:

Create constancy of purpose toward continual improvement of product and service, with a plan to become competitive and to stay…

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Submarine Construction Update Reply

I was sent an article today that is very important to those who follow naval ship construction. The author is Hugh Lessig, a writer for the Daily Press at  http://www.dailypress.com/

I am reprinting his article with permission.

New Generation of Submarines Is Biggest Question for Huntington Ingalls

Hugh Lessig, Daily Press, Dec 3

“The biggest question facing the nation’s largest military shipbuilder is how will Congress pay for the next generation of ballistic missile submarines, the head of Huntington Ingalls Industries said Thursday.

Aircraft carriers and amphibious warships aside, CEO Mike Petters said the funding strategy for replacing Ohio-class submarines is the number-one issue for the industry, not just the company.

“That could become our greatest opportunity and could also become our greatest risk, if it’s not done right,” Petters said at the Credit Suisse Industrials Conference in Florida.

The Navy plans to replace its aging Ohio-class submarines with a new 12-boat fleet. It wants to purchase the first submarine in 2021. By 2026, it will buy one each year.

But the new subs come with a significant price tag, so Congress created a special fund to pay for them. The National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund is separate from the Navy’s annual shipbuilding budget, and two lawmakers are credited with pushing it: Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn.

They are major advocates for the only two U.S. shipyards that build nuclear-powered submarines: HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat of Groton, Conn.

Some questioned whether a submarine program should be funded outside the Navy budget. Supporters say the nuclear-missile-armed subs are a national asset because they constitutes the undersea portion of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

Newport News and Electric Boat are expected to share the work of building the Ohio-class replacement boats, although those details haven’t been worked out. Electric Boat recently cut the ribbon on a new facility in Quonset Point, R.I., to build components for the new subs. The company has added 600 workers in the past year, according to Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.

If Congress uses the deterrence fund like a savings account, socking away money for big bills coming due in the 2020s, the military shipbuilding base can stay healthy, Petters said. If it has to find the money for the subs in its annual shipbuilding budget, that could spell trouble.

At a Forbes-chaired hearing earlier this week, Eric J. Labs, a Congressional Budget Office senior analyst, laid out the sobering math in the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan.

The 2016 plan calls for buying 264 ships at $494 billion over three decades, according to the Navy’s numbers. CBO estimates those same ships would cost $552 billion — and the price is higher when mid-life aircraft carrier refuelings and other work is included.

In other words, if the shipbuilding budget remains static, “the service would not be able to afford its 2016 plan,” Labs said.

He also looked at how the Ohio-class replacement boats impact the 30-year plan.

The first Ohio-class replacement sub is estimated to cost $12.1 billion, including initial research, development and engineering, the Navy says. Boats that follow will cost about $5.7 billion on average. CBO’s estimates are even higher: $13.2 billion for the first in class and $6.8 billion for the 2nd through 12th ships.

Bottom line: With a static shipbuilding budget and a big-ticket submarine fleet, the Navy would end up buying 192 ships over 30 years, not its stated goal of 264, Labs said.

That’s a big concern for HII, which builds destroyers and amphibious warships at its Ingalls Shipbuilding division in Pascagoula, Miss. Those ship programs are more likely to be affected than the aircraft carrier program at Newport News, because the law requires an 11-carrier fleet. There is no such protection for other surface combat ships.

“If the decision is, we’re going to pay for (the new submarines) out of normal shipbuilding accounts, then many, many programs will be impacted over a long period of time,” said Petters. “That will have a tremendously negative impact to the entire shipbuilding industrial base.”

One thing is clear: The new submarines will be built.

“This is a national priority, and it will happen,” Petters said. “It’s a question of, will it crowd out anything else?””

Mister Mac

More…

If you want a Safe Space, here’s a thought Reply

SUBSAFE is a quality assurance program of the United States Navy designed to maintain the safety of the nuclear submarine fleet; specifically, to provide maximum reasonable assurance that subs’ hulls will stay watertight, and that they can recover from unanticipated flooding.

SUBSAFE covers all systems exposed to sea pressure or critical to flooding recovery. All work done and all materials used on those systems are tightly controlled to ensure the material used in their assembly as well as the methods of assembly, maintenance, and testing are correct. They require certification with traceable quality evidence. These measures increase the cost of submarine construction and maintenance.

SUBSAFE addresses only flooding; mission assurance is not a concern, simply a side benefit. Other safety programs and organizations regulate such things as fire safety, weapons systems safety, and nuclear reactor systems safety.

From 1915 to 1963, the United States Navy lost 16 submarines to non-combat related causes. Since SUBSAFE began in 1963, only one submarine, the non-SUBSAFE-certified USS Scorpion (SSN-589), has been lost.

History

On 10 April 1963, while on a deep test dive about 200 miles off the northeast coast of the United States, USS Thresher (SSN-593) was lost with all hands. The loss of the lead ship of a new, fast, quiet, deep-diving class of submarines led the Navy to re-evaluate the methods used to build its submarines. A “Thresher Design Appraisal Board” determined that, although the basic design of the Thresher class was sound, measures should be taken to improve the condition of the hull and the ability of submarines to control and recover from flooding casualties.

SUBSAFE certification is carried out in four areas; Design, Material, Fabrication, & Testing. The exact procedures are documented in the initial design & construction for new submarines, while undergoing routine maintenance in naval depots, and in the fleet maintenance manual for operating submarines. During each step, quality evidence is collected, reviewed, approved, and stored for the life of the submarine. This process is reinforced with external and internal audits.

ous Sub safe space

Something Meaningful 11

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Long time readers of my blog know that I have some very strong feelings about Veteran’s Day. As someone who served his country in times of war and peace, I am always humbled when another person recognizes me as a veteran and thanks me for my service. I have struggled for a long time with a quick response that would be meaningful and am gladdened to just have the ability to say “You are Welcome”.

I joined the Navy in 1972 and had every intention of serving someplace where the action was. Call it youthful ignorance, call it just plain naivety, or just call it a lack of understanding of the sacrifices many men and women actually endured. But I was convinced that I was supposed to serve and survive to a ripe old age. The service I actually did was  much less dramatic than I had imagined it would be. I became a submariner and served on five different boats with varying lengths of time in either a shipyard or at sea. While we sacrificed our time and endured some level of dangers, I am fully aware that the many years I spent under water paled in comparison to those who served in combat. I make a small joke from time to time about the aggressors we faced as being less personal; they were never actually aiming their weapons at me personally, just the sub in general (which makes it less intrusive I suppose).

My brothers and sisters who faced actual hostile fire knew combat as a much more personal affair. Someone with a gun was intentionally trying to kill them. Not very much about that is oblique or hard to imagine. The one with the better shot, advantage or opportunity was destined to be the victor. The combat was no longer about slogans or jingoes or flag waving. It was about survival. The men and women who found themselves locked in this kind of war more often thought about getting back alive or making sure they had their buddies six.

We as a nation, owe these people a lot. They were our hands and feet and placed themselves between us and people who want to do us harm. We will rely on their reliefs for a long time to come. The world is still a dangerous place and no amount of well wishing handwringing diplomacy has seemed to diminish that fact at all. Don’t get me wrong. I want the dreamers and the idealists to continue to try and find a way to bring peace to the world. I pray for them to do so. But I also pray that we will continue to have men and women willing to step up and do the things needed to protect all of us until that day comes.

For the restaurants and service companies who always line up to show their gratitude, I have a request. To all the restaurants that are offering me a free meal on Veteran’s Day, I want to sincerely thank you for your gesture. Its very nice of you to remember. I actually have plans that day. Here’s an idea though… maybe you can offer that free meal to one of my homeless brothers or sisters that really needs it. You don’t even have to wait until November 11, because I am sure they are pretty hungry tonight. While you are at it, can you have your corporate offices contact the White House and Congress and remind them they have a sacred obligation to care for the people who they sent off to fight the wars they engaged in? Imagine if everyone on that long list that always appears this time of year really did that for our brothers and sisters still trying to get all the way back home? God Bless You.

Special note: This is a personal request. I in no way would dishonor the men and women who really deserve the recognition like those who survived being shot at, bombed, gassed, taken prisoner, or depth charged. You are my heroes and you deserve so much more than a free meal once a year. But go ahead and enjoy the meal offered. God Bless you too.

To my country: It was and always will be my greatest honor and achievement that I was able to wear your uniform and provide one small contribution to your freedom. I would gladly do it again.

Mister Mac

submarine

90 Days to nowhere… Submarine Documentary 1977 4

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Another great video from a bygone era. The 41 for Freedom Boats were still in their glory and the USS Ohio was going through its growing pains at the shipyard at Electric Boat. While the patrol cycle is sometimes given short shrift by non-boomer sailors, it had a unique purpose and involved a large number of men in both operations and support.  The operations tempo and the transition to the newer subs is very nicely described here:

http://fas.org/blogs/security/2009/03/usssbn/

But for a closer look at what it was like to be a seventies boomer sailor, click on this link:

 

As veterans day once more approaches, I am reminded how great a price was paid by so many men and women in my lifetime alone to preserve the peace. I salute you all.

Mister Mac

Submarine Documentary 1971 2

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My, how quickly the past 44 years have gone by. This documentary shows a bit about nuclear submarines during the middle of the Cold War.

Description from the You Tube site:

“This outstanding U.S. Navy film from 1971 — “The Submarine Part II: Backgrounds, Characteristics and Missions of Nuclear Powered Submarines” focuses on the nuclear submarines of the 1970s. The film shows how the nuclear attack submarine and the fleet ballistic missile submarines, with their sophisticated technologies and nuclear weapons capability, can provide enormous deterrent power for the United States and its allies. Both SSN nuclear attack submarines and SSBN nuclear missile submarines are shown, including Polaris missile submarines firing the A-3 missile and Poseidon. The film also traces the history of the nuclear submarine in the U.S. Navy starting in the 1950s, including the USS Nautilus and the USS George Washington (see 18 minute mark). The USS Albacore is shown at the 5 minute mark, a boat with a unique hull design that ended up becoming standard for the Navy, including with the USS Skipjack. Some of the submarines featured include the USS Sturgeon, SSN-637, USS Greenling SSN-614, fleet ballistic missile submarines, and more. The Polaris A-1 and Polaris A-2 are also shown, as well as the Polaris A-3.

The SUBROC submarine rocket is shown at the 14 minute mark — predecessor to the submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missile.

Also shown in this film is the DSRV-1 (27 minute mark) deep submergence rescue vehicle and the Alvin (27:30) miniature submarine and AUTEC 1 and 2, as well as the Dolphin and NR-1 research vehicle.

The Polaris missile was a two-stage Solid-fuel rocket nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) built during the Cold War by Lockheed Corporation of California for the United States Navy.

It was designed to be used for second strike countervalue (CEP not good enough for first strike counterforce) as part of the Navy’s contribution to the United States arsenal of nuclear weapons, replacing the Regulus cruise missile. Known as a Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM), the Polaris was first launched from the Cape Canaveral, Florida, missile test base on January 7, 1960.

Following the Polaris Sales Agreement in 1963, Polaris missiles were also carried on British Royal Navy submarines between 1968 and the mid-1990s.

Plans to equip the Italian Navy with the missile ended in the mid-60s, after several successful test launches carried out on board the Italian cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi. Despite the successful launching tests, the US never provided the missiles, due to political convenience. Instead the Italian Government set to develop an indigenous missile, called Alfa, with a successful program, officially halted by Italian Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ratification and failure of the NATO Multilateral Force.

The Polaris missile was gradually replaced on 31 of the 41 original SSBNs in the US Navy by the MIRV-capable Poseidon missile beginning in 1972. During the 1980s, these missiles were replaced on twelve of these submarines by the Trident I missile. The ten George Washington- and Ethan Allen-class SSBNs retained Polaris A-3 until 1980 because their missile tubes were not large enough to accommodate Poseidon. With USS Ohio commencing sea trials in 1980, these submarines were disarmed and redesignated as attack submarines to avoid exceeding the SALT II strategic arms treaty limits.

Many new project management techniques were introduced during the development of the Polaris missile program, to deal with the inherent system complexity. This includes the use of the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). This technique replaced the simpler Gantt chart methodology which was largely employed prior to this program.”

How the US Navy almost missed “The Boat” 1

Holland and Amphitrite

Prior to World War 1, the General Board of the United States Navy was the primary instrument used for directing the strategic future of the U. S. Navy. This General Board had been instituted in 1900 as a way to provide expert advice to the Secretary of the Navy and was made up of nine admirals nearing the end of their time in service. The Navy leadership had already discounted, “by doctrine and experience” the need or importance of building submarines. Even the emphasis on the future use of submarines was questioned. In a report to Secretary Josephus Daniels in 1915, the General Board stated:

“The deeds of submarines have been so spectacular that in default of engagements between the main fleets undue weight has been attached to them… To hastily formed public opinion, it seemed that the submarines were accomplishing great military results because little else of importance occurred in the maritime war to attract public attention. Yet at the present time, when the allies have learned in great measure to protect their commerce, as they learned a few months earlier to protect their cruisers from the submarine menace, it is apparent that the submarine is not an instrument fitted to dominate naval warfare…

The submarine is a most useful auxiliary whose importance will no doubt increase, but at the present there is no evidence that it will become supreme.”

In 1915, the Office of Chief of Naval Operations was created and the General Board’s influence started a slow but steady decline in influence. It was eventually dissolved in 1951. Coincidently, the USS Nautilus was first authorized in August of 1951.

Mister Mac