The North Korea Thread


#1529

#1530

Things are tense on board the USS Shiloh warship with morale at an all-time low, according to surveys obtained by The Navy Times.

One sailor described the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan, as a “floating prison” while another crew member said it was “only a matter of time before something horrible happens,” the documents revealed.
[…]
The pacific command’s mission is to deter North Korea but members on board the vessel are concerned about how the crew’s compromised morale would affect this.

“I just pray we never have to shoot down a missile from North Korea,” a distraught sailor said, “because then our ineffectiveness will really show.”


#1531

7th Fleet needs a serious overhaul.


#1532

Wisdom and Aphorisms from President Trump: Great Leader, Great Teacher, Great Supreme Commander, Great Helmsman of our Nation
#1533

Holy shot that last sentence is an absolute bombshell. I can’t believe a guy on the ship said that! That should be headline news.


#1534

Obligatory disclaimer: It’s Newsmax. Edit: better source:


#1535

That crew survey story seems legit, though, as it’s been in a lot of reliable places, with apparently confirmation from Navy officials off the record.

Pretty awful stuff, but then, if there ever was a place on this planet where poor leadership and bad decisions can make life hell for people, it’s on a warship at sea. Combine near-Godlike power in the captain, isolation, and close quarters and you have a real mess.


#1536

The nitty-gritty:

It’s not just ship condition, it’s leadership.

And here’s my anecdote. In my entire career from high school jobs until now, I never have had bosses that were as overwhelmingly bad as -some- that I had while in the military. It starts at supervisor levels, but continues up to mid-management. Higher management, (CO, XO, Engineering lead) are usually of a better caliber, but not always.

All of it stemmed from my observation from the way the military advancement works. The whole point is to make it a career, to KEEP you in, to PREVENT loss of personnel. Now, you might say this is what companies should do. But these are armed forces. They need to be the best of the best. They need to get the job done in high stress and when there might be no opportunity for someone to pat them on the back. They need to encourage the elite, and weed out the chaff.

And the common thing I saw was that someone who was really great at something left the military to go make an actual pay day with it elsewhere. Military pay at most levels is atrocious. But that whole, “make it a career,” thing ensured that the people who weren’t as great … well, they stayed in. And then they were supervisors, or department heads, or even Captains on a ship.

This is what the environment was like: yelling, screaming, treating people like absolute shit, making bad decisions and throwing the blame on other parties, backstabbing, scheming, overworking people to make yourself look better, etc. There was no getting away from that. For most (some officers excepted) there is no quitting. You can’t, not without going down the line of a possible bad conduct discharge from the armed services. And so morale plummets, and efficiency plummets, and people just say fuck it and check out of doing their jobs.

This was 20 years ago, but this article reads the exact same now.


#1537

I think this is spot-on. The idea of the military as a career was at one time synonymous with being a professional soldier or sailor. That is, the “career” meant spending your life perfecting the art of war in some fashion; the career was defined by the function. Today, career is defined by the bureaucratic status of an individual, as in long-term employment by one organization. It is, in too many cases, not defined by actually making the profession of arms your personal long-term focus.

Leadership in any field is a mixture of knowing something and being something. You can teach people what they need to know, in terms of management and the like, but you can’t teach them or train them easily to be something they are not. And leadership is independent of technical expertise, though expertise can very often supplement and reinforce leadership. When an organization becomes totally focused on its bureaucratic, organizational existence, and uses narrow technical expertise as its primary metric, it pretty much insures that it will have a harder time identifying actual leaders within the organization. For one thing, while it is really easy to rate people on how they perform on tests, or how they budget their divisions, or on other technical, quantifiable tasks, it’s devilishly hard to quantify and measure ability to lead, motivate, and inspire human beings, especially if you are measuring more than just how the led perform on quantifiable technical tasks as an indicator of how well they were led.

Part of the problem, though, may well be that organizations have to have something to measure and keep tabs on, and in peacetime, the military lacks the one task they are in existence to perform, and hence has to invent surrogate metrics. How do other military forces deal with this? Do other military forces have similar issues? I suspect that some do, but I also think the sheer size of the US military, and the amorphousness of its mission these days (deter who? fight who? project what power where and why?) tends to exacerbate our own issues. But ultimately, militaries are functions of their parent societies; what we see in our own military is a reflection of our own corporate, bureaucratic, dehumanizing culture of commodification in some ways.


#1538

What in the what??!!??? This is terrifying.


#1539

I imagine that the war is portrayed as some glorious decisive strike to end the NK threat forever with no repercussions on Fox News so this actually makes sense.


#1540

This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.

This book should be required reading for the military and any other corporate-heavy organization.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1591143365/


#1541

Indeed; it’s part and parcel of the modern mindset in many ways.


#1542

Aaand, ordered. I’m a sucker for good military books.

This is very true as well. In peacetime it is geared toward certification levels of a ships crew, the ship within the fleet, etc. There are no wartime measurements to correlate, but they are attempted within drills, which are scored.

Quals are really all that many can be reviewed on, that and bureaucratic performance.


#1543

#1544

Not sure that is all that…reassuring…as phrased.


#1545

46% of Republicans - which is about Trump’s primary base - don’t know what they hell they’re talking about. It’s literally just ooh rah yea let’s whoop some commie ass lol yee haw! This is why they voted for Trump and continue to support Trump.


#1546

This is like how it was in my time, until we got new leadership in my last year- but I had enough by that point.


#1547

Trump big talk on Iran managing so far to get Iran to come off like the wronged party. France, Germany, and the UK all extending hands.


#1548

Strangely I remember being so full of hatred toward the ordeal by the time I left, but now fondly remember things that I had forgotten. Time dims the harsh bad experiences, so that those few great things you remember stand out more.