Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, March 09, 2014

USS Connecticut XO Relieved

From the Navy website:
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The executive officer of the Bremerton, Wash.-based fast attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) was relieved of his duties March 8 due to a loss of confidence in his ability to serve as executive officer.
Lt. Cmdr. Brett J. Sterneckert was removed from his position by Rear Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
An NCIS investigation into the circumstances leading to Lt. Cmdr. Sterneckert's relief is ongoing.
Sterneckert, who had served aboard Connecticut since June 2012, has been administratively reassigned to Submarine Group 9 in Bangor, Wash.
This kind of news always sucks, but especially when it's one of your old boats. I haven't heard any "off the record" stuff on this firing, but it is interesting that LCDR Sterneckert has been on the boat for about 21 months; back in the day, the XO tour length was about 22 months, and I think I remember reading recently that it's down to about 20 months (nominal) now, so this publicly-announced relief happened near the end of his tour. I'm also interested to see the Navy announce that NCIS is involved in "investigating the circumstances". Hopefully McGee and DiNozzo can do a good investigation.

177 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck Brett!

3/09/2014 4:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My only interaction with this guy was when he was on the NPEB. He came off as a total jerk, but no worse/better than any of the others. The NCIS piece is pretty intriguing.

3/09/2014 5:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That boat loves to get rid of people. My last deployment on her (WESTPAC '07), some of the other senior guys and I made a spreadsheet of everyone we had kicked off / wasted or otherwise gotten rid of and it averaged out to 29 per year, from E1's to O4's. The captain was not happy when he found in on the CCC folder on shared drive with a points system assigned to it.

3/09/2014 5:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, was Capt Jablonski the CO at the time of the firing?

3/09/2014 5:41 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nominal XO tour is 18 months. Did they extend this guy just to fire him?

3/09/2014 5:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

XO tour lengths depend on the flavor. Post NAV/WEPS tours are typically around 18 months. Post ENG tours (as in Brett's case) are around 22 months.

3/09/2014 6:25 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capt Dan was not happy about that

3/09/2014 7:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. And its in the middle of a long DMP. Not much for the XO to have to 'XO' ...other than people, provisional quals, and training. His load is certainly one of the lightest...compared to the Eng or CO.

3/09/2014 8:29 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one of the guys that served under him, I can say I am glad to see him get removed. His Child like behavior and irrational decisions would have killed someone if he had made it to command.

3/09/2014 8:51 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone dropped a dime on his ass is what happened here. His habitual ways of acting out emotionally is what got him fired and someone(s)decided to take direct action. I'm sure this whole D**ked up situation took time to piece together, but hopefully his antics will serve as a lesson of what not to do for future XOs and COs.

3/09/2014 9:29 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"..., but hopefully his antics will serve as a lesson of what not to do for future XOs and COs.

3/09/2014 9:29 PM"

Unlikely, as I doubt that we'll get any specifics or actual lessons learned out of this. Maybe, just maybe, it'll turn into a case study at leadership school, but I doubt it, the Graf case wasn't.

Sarcasm, an aloof dickishness, and a propensity to speak before thinking aren't that rare in the submarine force...it'd be interesting to see where a line was drawn in this case.

3/09/2014 10:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you.

But on the Holy Graf case a couple of years ago...why wouldn't that situation come to light and serve as a negative regarding leadership?

Oh wait a moment, I almost forgot, we're an all PC Navy nowadays aren't we?

In raw reality, it only depends on what you can actually prove. Any further conjecture is completely immaterial.

3/09/2014 11:02 PM

 
Blogger KellyJ said...

Interesting that CSP relieved the XO and not the Group 5 Commodore.

3/09/2014 11:58 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's next!

3/10/2014 8:35 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Engs,Navs, XOs and COs all get fired by SUBPAC or SUBLANT unless there is a cut and dried violation (like DUI). This works both ways in that it protects the Navy's investmentin the guy and the guy's career. NCIS is not called for immaturity and lousy leadership. THe C in NCIS is Criminal. He did or is suspected of doing something illegal. My guesses would be spouse/child abuse or repeated unwanted sexual advances on a female member of the service.

3/10/2014 8:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... why would you guess that? Personal favorites of yours? I see no reason to wildly speculate to that degree, with absolutely no basis... that just begs for rumors to start spinning out of control. You, sir, are an asshole. Let me guess - you'll now tell us something like "that's usually what it is..." or "in my experience...". Doesn't matter - each case stands alone. Let the process work. When actual nuggets of truth start to leak out, you and the other gossip-whores will have plenty to drool over without making things up...

3/10/2014 9:07 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading all about the firings of just about anyone makes me very glad to have served a long time ago. At least prior to all this PC shit that is getting everyone fucked over. True some people deserve to be fired but....is the Submarine service so overloaded with flag rank, that it becomes necessary to fire them. I don't know what happens to their pension when that axe comes down.

3/10/2014 10:25 AM

 
Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

I am surprised that XO tours are only 18-22 months. Back in the day, we spent three years as a DH, three years as an XO then three years as a CO. As an XO in a shipyard period, I disagree that an XO does not have much to do during an overhaul. As a DH who worked for an XO that was ultimately "fired" for incompetence, I feel for the Wardroom officers. The XO in question was not relieved until the major DHs under him were detached (The ENG and I would raid his in box on our duty nights and determine what action items were pending and get them prepared so that by the time they officially were distributed to us, we had the answer already to send back up to the CO. That kept the sub's late reply rate in the normal range. After my detachment, I suspect my relief was not able to do this so the XO's deficiencies were made more public. He was quietly relieved and sent to a "less stressful" billet to await out his twenty years. He was very successful in the new billet. The fact that NCIS is investigating raises all sorts of questions that hopefully be answered in the near future.

3/10/2014 11:14 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

XO tours have nominally been 18-22 months for quite some time. This length tour length allows for a reasonable XO screening rate and also allows for some selectivity for CO rate. I would imagine that back in your time that if you survive your DH tour(s), you move on to XO and the same for CO.

That has not been the case for many years.

HD tour length is set by the retention rate of JOs - how many stay in to serve as DH. I think nominally the ideal DH tour length is around 36 months.

3/10/2014 1:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember "Lt" Sterneckert over 10 years ago over in NPTU. Had a bit of a hubris. I didn't have a bad relationship with him at all but my feelings was that he would've been jerk. Maybe I should call him up and give him a job offer at my high-tech big-name company as a manager. HAH, not a chance. As a janitor, sure.

3/10/2014 3:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NCIS is gathering evidence of a surprising ethical lapse. Why surprising? Apparently the heat has been "turned up" to make someone's responsibilities easier to manage.

Now that is pretty iorinic, wouldn't we think?

Wait and see...

3/10/2014 3:08 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had a couple of interactions with him when he was a JBM. Not very impressed. Will not lose any sleep over not having to worry about him as a CO.

3/10/2014 4:28 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"After my detachment, I suspect my relief was not able to do this so the XO's deficiencies were made more public."

Thank God for your relief, otherwise the incompetent XO might have screened for Command and we'd be reading about him on this blog!

3/10/2014 4:34 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I don't know what happens to their pension when that axe comes down."

The overwhelming majority of the time, (ie. provided they avoid court-martial) they retire and start drawing it.

This guy was the 2nd-biggest asshat JBM I encountered in about a dozen exams over my career. Snotty, combative, arrogant....I would almost say bully, if I wasn't so sick and tired of that word getting thrown around lately. Complete dickhead, from my interactions. Even bigger jerk than the 22 CO that got fired a few years ago, who was my ENG once upon a time.

3/10/2014 4:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew LCDR Sterneckert back at NPTU 10 years ago. Some people thought he was a jerk. I personally thought he was normal, in hindsight, compared to other people at NPTU. I wish him well in his next pursuits.

3/10/2014 4:57 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew LCDR Sterneckert back at NPTU 10 years ago. Some people thought he was a jerk. I personally thought he was normal, in hindsight, compared to other people at NPTU. I wish him well in his next pursuits.

3/10/2014 4:57 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kind of remember NCIS specializing in three lines of investigation: Drugs, gays and ship's store break-ins.

So nowadays, it'd be #1 or #3....

3/10/2014 8:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The XO tour is short to keep CO screening competitive and to push submarine officers into major command billets at a time that coincides with other designators' career paths.

Depending on orders timing, a LCDR who FTS x 3 for O-5 may not actually make it to retirement. If that last set of orders expires before 20 years, he needs a waiver to stay in on another set of orders -- probably a little tougher in today's climate of budget cuts.

3/10/2014 8:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a good indication as to why it could be wise to slow the hell down. As an 03 and 04, it isn't entirely an illogical method of madness to take an extended tour as a DH along with a shore tour thereafter as an instructor or serving on an Admiral's staff.

Take your time in receiving your silver oak leafs. 01 thru 04 are almost automatic for any career officer. Unless you've been convicted of a DUI, rape, murder or running your boat aground, you should be okay. It's at the 05 level when life becomes political. Making LCDR is the highlight for a lot of guys out there. They have some say in the wardroom and they have full control of their JOs. It's a magical convenience on both ends of the table.

I feel that one of the biggest sins for those destined to command is that they act and react too quickly as they make their climb up the latter.

Another reason why I wrote this post is because what the Gent above me said about needing a waiver if you get caught fucking up either operationally or politically. Enjoy what you have now and expand your horizons...because eventually you too will have to retire or get out after your DEVO tour and become a contractor or go to work for an entity like GE or Northrop Grumman.

3/10/2014 11:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That is a good indication as to why it could be wise to slow the hell down. As an 03 and 04, it isn't entirely an illogical method of madness to take an extended tour as a DH along with a shore tour thereafter as an instructor or serving on an Admiral's staff.

Take your time in receiving your silver oak leafs. 01 thru 04 are almost automatic for any career officer. Unless you've been convicted of a DUI, rape, murder or running your boat aground, you should be okay. It's at the 05 level when life becomes political. Making LCDR is the highlight for a lot of guys out there. They have some say in the wardroom and they have full control of their JOs. It's a magical convenience on both ends of the table. "


This is exactly what not to do.

Extending a DH tour and getting to an XO tour behind your YG will make you less competitive for O-5, not more. Working for an ADM will offset that; instructor duty will not. You will go in front of an O-5 board when statute says so, regardless of where you are in your career.

More likely is that if you're behind your YG, you just get short cycled on post DH shore duty.

Also, last FY O4 board selected 70% overall of officers and some communities were as low as 60%. Not the most competitive screening board, but also not what I would call 'automatic.'

Also, hasn't anyone ever told you that the two most useless ranks in the Navy wear gold?

3/10/2014 11:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

having known and served with sterneckert, I can validate all the negative comments already posted.he thought his stuff didn't stink...well guess what, it does. glad he's not going to be a CO.

NCIS involvement triggers a different set of "relievable" offenses, because as one poster noted the 'c' stands for criminal.

the former CO of 22 who was relieved was also tangled in an NCIS investigation due to mishandling classified. I've heard this is in the same vain. it's not sexy, but obviously a low tolerance for that in the navy these days.

3/11/2014 12:24 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its funny that someone linked NCIS to "criminal" behavior because the C in their name is Criminal. NCIS is/was investigating the cheating fiasco at Nuke school in Charleston... Not necessarily criminal, stupid maybe but not necessarily criminal yet NCIS was called to do the third part of their name "Investigate"...

I can hear it now, "what you in for man?... I cheated on a test... SHit man what kinda school did you go too?" LOL

3/11/2014 9:57 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon said:

Not necessarily criminal, stupid maybe but not necessarily criminal ...

I guess it depends on how you define "criminal". In the case of military personnel, "criminal" means you violated the UCMJ in some way. If you think cheating on a qualification test isn't a UCMJ violation, or that mishandling classified material isn't a UCMJ violation, you'd be wrong.

Commands conduct their own investigations all the time for NJP-level UCMJ infractions, but if it gets too serious or too complicated, they call in NCIS. NCIS doesn't get involved in "investigations" unless they are "criminal", making that term somewhat redundant.

For example, while I was an NPTU instructor, I discovered one of our students had cheated on an outhull exam. The resulting "investigation" revealed other incidents as well (he had in fact been cheating since "A" school and NPS). The student went to mast and got what you'd expect: de-nuked, 1/2 month's pay for 2 months, RiR. We didn't need NCIS for that one.

3/11/2014 1:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its funny that someone linked NCIS to "criminal" behavior because the C in their name is Criminal. NCIS is/was investigating the cheating fiasco at Nuke school in Charleston... Not necessarily criminal, stupid maybe but not necessarily criminal yet NCIS was called to do the third part of their name "Investigate"...
Dereliction of duty? Conduct unbecoming? I'm sure you can find a few other UCMJ articles that cover the incident, and violating the UCMJ is, in fact, a criminal act.

You can joke all you want about someone going to jail for cheating on the exam, but think of how many tax dollars that individual has wasted by choosing not to follow the rules. The Navy doesn't spend all this money to train students and maintain prototypes just so that they can get de-nuked for failing to follow simple instructions.

Perhaps a more fitting punishment would be that he owes the expected cost of his nuke training plus his salary for that time period, but that would be just as effective as ordering a shipyard painter to pay $400 million for arson.

3/11/2014 1:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that NCIS is investigating the cheating scandal because they were taking classified material home, not the cheating itself. NCIS isn't a random collection of words, they conduct the criminal investigations for the NAVY because they have a specific skill set the regular commands do not have.

I agree, probably something to do with classified material..."working from home" maybe.

3/11/2014 6:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"His Child like behavior and irrational decisions would have killed someone" sounds like my old COB on the Alabama. Piece of shits are everywhere in the fleet.

3/12/2014 1:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given recent events, it's rich that Prototype would punish students for cheating.

Glad we have Prototype to uphold standards for the fleet! Oh wait...

3/12/2014 6:46 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I comment on the actual topic, I need to share my two cents with the juvenile Anon poster above at 3/12 6:46AM:

What exactly are you suggesting? That a command condone cheating because personnel at the command had cheated? That we as a Force should rationalize and allow a student or staff member to skate because what? Because the CO sheared on a history exam in high school once and how dare he hold some accountable?

Do you have a set of dolphins? Do you understand the concept of accountability or is that a cliche for you?
Hopefully you are a blog-trolling civilian...



On topic though...

This thread was about an XO being relieved and the issues that may have lead to that event. I have never served with this guy, but if whatever it is that happened actually happened the Sub Force just took care of a problem. The system, in the end, worked.

After three boats and plenty of brothers on other subs I can say that I have seen more good than bad and my buddies can say the same and the bad usually end up like this guy. It just doesn't make for a juicy comment or a good b!tch session at the bar. We complain about the giant idiots and the crazy ones the most because it is the best stuff to BS about.

The system does not work every time, but it seems from my experiences that it works often.

Perhaps if more of us went to these guys EARLY in their career and called them A-holes and suggested they change their ways or risk being reported, unsupported or hamstrung we wouldn't be bemoaning the status of the Force. Maybe if the Goat Locker got involved...or the COB...or the Wardroom. Usually one of those entities can make a difference.

I think many of us kept our mouths shut and kept plodding and b!itch'n behind their backs assuming that the "command" or the "navy" wouldn't do anything or "they" wouldn't listen to us. Maybe some of you guys stood up, but I haven't seen many guys manning up and doing it. The ones that do, made a difference. A certain MMCS that rolled into the new CO's stateroom a fews weeks after change of command and told him what he thought of his crap leadership style comes to mind. I don't think it was a comfortable conversation for either of them, but the CO heard some of it and got a bit better.

Oh yeah, let me save you a round of GFY comments- I am no better than anyone. I kept my head down more than I raised my voice. I am not innocent.


Joel, as always, this blog is awesome.

3/12/2014 7:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you that it would be great if we could filter out bad apples sooner, but it's a numbers equation, too.

He did an Eng tour and passed his inspections. From the statutory board's perspective, he already succesfully did an O-4's job so it's auto-select for permanent promotion (not that it would have mattered much with an 80%+ selection rate among sub officers for O-4). Likewise, from the bird's eye view of the sub force he's sat for XO.

So where does 'likeability' factor into an Eng's ability to plan an availability or get a crew ready for ORSE?

3/12/2014 9:26 PM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/13/2014 9:52 AM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Hey, can our ships, subs and other stuff pick up the pings from a airplane's submerged black box?

3/13/2014 9:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, our subs have helped find black boxes before. So have French and UK submarines.

But detection range is quite limited (10 miles or so), and it is a big ocean.

This will be a new challenge for Chinese ASW forces (submarines and surface), and they probably won't ask for our help.

3/13/2014 11:47 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Midnight rats for thought:

“Woe to the land whose king is a child and whose leaders are already drunk in the morning. Happy the land whose king is a nobleman, and whose leaders work hard before they feast and drink, and then only to strengthen themselves for the tasks ahead”. (Eccl 10: 16-17)


"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat



"Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God." – Archbishop Chaput

3/14/2014 7:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I comment on the actual topic, I need to share my two cents with the juvenile Anon poster above at 3/12 6:46AM:

What exactly are you suggesting? That a command condone cheating because personnel at the command had cheated? That we as a Force should rationalize and allow a student or staff member to skate because what? Because the CO sheared on a history exam in high school once and how dare he hold some accountable?


The comment was glib, but what I should have said is something like "The sub force has a really big cheating problem, and is only addressing it at the margins." I would argue there are no real standards, because more or less everybody cheats, and it only becomes an issue when it can't be hidden.

The fact that the people that TEACH the importance of not cheating is indicative of the system as a whole. People cheat on departmental exams, people cheat on qual exams, people cheat on the PNEO exam, people cheat on the ORSE exam. Not everybody cheats on everything, but I don't know of any exam in the sub force that I don't know multiple people that have cheated on it. The Navy is the only place in my academic history that *I* have personally cheated on an exam, I expect it is the same for many other. In fact, I got written up for not cheating on a qual exam for EOOW by my Eng in the olden days.

They were mostly all good guys that felt pressure to cheat to pass exams that seemed unfair (or potentially unfair... it's hard to say for sure how hard it really is to pass or fail PNEO).

3/15/2014 6:55 AM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

That's what I am talking about:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/15/science/earth/us-navy-strategists-have-a-long-history-of-finding-the-lost.html?ref=science&_r=0

3/15/2014 7:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one cheat on the PNEO exam? NR hasn't released any keys and the "instructor" grades on what he thinks the answer is on the practice exam.

3/15/2014 12:45 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Academic purists need to give it a rest, me-thinks.

Once worked for a then-future DANT who was also a then-future COMSUBPAC as well back when I was his Eng and he was CO of a fast boat.

While at the time it seemed a bit too non-collegiate and boat-school-ish ("what's the gouge?") of an attitude, I eventually came around to his view of exams.

And it was this: "provided a person knows all the answers to the (fairly created and protected) exam, does it really matter how they came about their knowledge?"

And he was right. If you have a 1,500-question exam bank, and a test-ee can pass a 50-150 question exam based upon that bank, does anyone really give a shit how they 'got that smart'?

The measurement for minimal competence with respect to being on a watchbill should not be confused with operational strength, which of course comes from experience and one's own internal drive to perform well...not academic purity.

BTW, if you scratch any major civilian licensing examination (medical, aviation, financial securities), you'll find an industry behind it that serves to get the tested folk up to speed by way of running them through practice exams that amount to their version of a submarine/nuclear exam bank.

Why? It just works. "Studying" alone does not. Miss a question from a you-need-to-know-this bank of questions, and it will burn a brand in your brain in a way that simply reading it (and trying to remember it) does not.

3/15/2014 2:40 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the ofhsr oc pfroof that we has become irellavent and show totk the preposter of budget cut probably.. thanks

3/16/2014 1:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one cheat on the PNEO exam? NR hasn't released any keys and the "instructor" grades on what he thinks the answer is on the practice exam

It's not entirely uncommon for people to make "cheat sheets" that they keep in their pocket to look at in the bathroom. I really have no idea how many people do it, but I know of at least three or four that did from my boat alone a few years ago. Considering that is about half of the officers that took the PNEO exam while I was there, I am assuming that we were not the only boat on the waterfront that figured out one could do that.

Anon @ 2:40 PM
I would agree with what you said, but if you really think that's the extent of the "cheating" that is commonplace then you have your head in the sand. I would say it's relatively common for boats to straight up take the test with an RPM in front of them. I did it on my boat and so did basically the entire engineering department under one of our ENG's, because nobody could pass the tests otherwise.

3/16/2014 10:18 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not entirely uncommon for people to make "cheat sheets" that they keep in their pocket to look at in the bathroom. I really have no idea how many people do it, but I know of at least three or four that did from my boat alone a few years ago. Considering that is about half of the officers that took the PNEO exam while I was there, I am assuming that we were not the only boat on the waterfront that figured out one could do that.

Yea, well, never in my academic or professional career have I ever been escorted to the bathroom during an examination. If people are determined to cheat, they will cheat. This example doesn't support your point that the Navy institutionally endorses cheating.

Also, when I took the exam no one did this.

3/16/2014 11:23 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did it on my boat and so did basically the entire engineering department under one of our ENG's, because nobody could pass the tests otherwise.

Poor root cause analysis there. No one could pass the exams because either A) Your Eng and EDMC were too lazy to create robust exams (to be a little fair, this is a HUGE time suck that NR should have standardized for the fleet by now) or B) the department's training program was in the shits, and your Eng and EDMC were too lazy to fix it. Probably a combination of both.

3/16/2014 11:26 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, when I took the exam no one did this.

100% agreed here. Honestly never saw nor even heard of someones stuffing a cheat sheet in their pocket for the PNEO, and IMHO that is simply conduct unbecoming. Not passing the PNEO on the first try would suck. Getting fired from the Navy for being a cheat is...well...a lot like the title to this blog.

In the professional exams in the civilian world I mentioned earlier -- and this includes such modest hurdles as GMAT, GRE, etc. -- those taking the test get a chance to empty and show their pockets, and get wanded for electronics as well. If personal moral character is truly on the decline (surely the Navy monitors this?), then maybe it's time to treat bad apples in kind.

3/16/2014 1:51 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the professional exams in the civilian world I mentioned earlier -- and this includes such modest hurdles as GMAT, GRE, etc. -- those taking the test get a chance to empty and show their pockets, and get wanded for electronics as well. If personal moral character is truly on the decline (surely the Navy monitors this?), then maybe it's time to treat bad apples in kind.

I would say it's a symptom of the Navy or these people's commands. For perspective, the same Eng that trained these people pulled essentially the same thing as the Alaska did without getting caught. He also had a policy of having people rewrite their logs if there were too many typos (which is not exactly per instruction). I certainly wouldn't defend the practice of bringing a cheat sheet to PNEO, but think its symptomatic of the current submarine culture that multiple people actually consider it.

Technically, studying using somebody else's notes is "cheating" in PNEO, but practically EVERYBODY does that without anyone blinking an eye.

There probably is merit in starting to kick more people out for cheating, but I think the Navy could solve more by NR dictating the exams to the boats with some form of reasonable standard.

Now that I have some perspective, I think what happened is that boat exams got progressively harder until very few people could pass them legitly. Exam keys for ORSE followed. Cheating starts to become commonplace, because standards were not achievable anymore. If you cheat on ENG Dept exams, and your ENG cheats on ORSE Exams, why not cheat on PNEO?

I've been out for several years now, so hopefully all of that has changed. But... given the recent scandals I'm guessing it hasn't changed that much.

3/16/2014 10:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, I have taken both the GMAT and the LSAT. I was wanded for neither, though for the GMAT they do record the test on video, probably to make sure you aren't using a graphing calculator (only way I could really think one could cheat).

I'm not really sure how one could cheat on the LSAT, based on the nature of the test itself.

3/16/2014 10:26 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 10:24PM:

I still don't think that your personal anecdote about PNEO is indicative of institutionally endorsed cheating. Putting answers on a piece of paper to look at in the bathroom is blatantly cheating by all standards, those guys knew it, and I'm fairly sure that if they were caught then they would have been de-nuked and ad-sepped from the Navy.

And we were told not to look at other people's notes because it is detrimental to your learning at PNEO, not because it's 'cheating.' You have no way of even knowing if those answers are 100% correct. But with the 8 week timeline now, there really isn't enough time to generate your own notes AND commit them to memory with 3.2 knowledge, hence a lot of the failures were guys coming from S9G boats.

3/16/2014 11:21 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never said there was institutionalized cheating in the sub force. Maybe that was somebody else? To be clear, I don't think the Navy literally endorses cheating, but that it's very commonplace in different degrees and is treated with a wink and a nod at more commands then it should be. I had polar opposite leadership on my boat on the issue during my time so have seen it done wrong and done well.

3/17/2014 5:36 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Someone please inform the sandcrabs posting here that it's called a 'head.' Aaarrrgghhh...

3/17/2014 8:59 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A 'head' is what it is called on a ship/boat, in reference to the old days where the toilet was in the most forward belowdecks area.

A 'bathroom' is what we use ashore. Since the PNEO exam is taken ashore, 'bathroom' is the proper term.

The more you know :).

3/17/2014 9:16 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Duck is correct, sandcrab. Even shore installations use the term "head" to denote waterclosets.

Propulsion monkeys from the ass-end (stern) of the boat who justify using cheat sheets on tests have probably gundecked some of their logs with similar justifications and will continue until getting caught.

But officers who cheat are another story, far worse.



3/17/2014 10:09 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Annon 3/16 11:23 When I took the Certified Health Physicist exam I was escorted to and from the stall.

3/17/2014 11:21 AM

 
Anonymous RidX said...

It is an institutional failing that exam banks haven't been standardized from the shore side. They have the resources and they have the time... Engs and EDMCs fighting for their lives to make ends meet have neither.

3/17/2014 7:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Duck is correct, sandcrab. Even shore installations use the term "head" to denote waterclosets.

You can call it whatever you like. Won't change the simple fact that 'head' is the lavatory on a waterborne vessel.

3/17/2014 9:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely concur with RidX. Why doesn't NR provide an exam bank? Each CP/OP/OI could have an associated bank of questions and answers, provided to the ENG/EDMC via CSS. Each boat could make modifications if they wanted/needed to - NPEB could review any changes to see if they were reasonable. If you think about how many exam questions are written (or at least recycled/reviewed) each month, with reviews up through the ENG - that's a lot of man-hours across the sub force. Same argument for qual exams.

If you provided exam banks to each boat, this would significantly unburden the ENG/EDMC/EDTA, and everyone else in the department who helps prepare exams. ENG/EDMC could spend more time on the deckplate enforcing standards as opposed to hours sitting somewhere reviewing exams.

Curious what others think - why is this a bad idea?

3/18/2014 10:27 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea. I think there is a lot of churn and unnecessary pressure around the idea that nobody really knows what NR expects people to know. So the default is "KNOW EVERYTHING". That's obviously not achievable.

I had a strange moment in my PNEO interview where I spouted off some list of numbers to my interviewer (I think it was half lives or TCD coefficients or some other completely useless thing that I would never use from memory), and the interviewer's response was "Why would anybody ever memorize that?"

The answer is because some asshole somewhere thinks that you MUST memorize this to pass PNEO.

3/18/2014 11:52 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NR does not expect anyone to 'know everything. They expect the operators to have the minimum level of knoweldge required to safely operate a nuclear reactor. They require PNEO students to have the minimum level of theoretical and operational knowledge to make intelligent decisions on how to operate and maintain a nuclear reactor.

NR's standard is far below the commercial standard. But commercial operators don't also have to be proficient at submarine driving and tactics; submarine officers do.

No offense to the guy who memorized half-lives, but did someone hold a gun to your head to make you memorize them? Because if not, the only asshole who thought it was worth the effort is you.

As for standardized exams, the possible drawbacks are 1 - not having a robust enough bank to cater to every training topic 2 - ensuring you have enough versions to ensure exam security and 3 - it's a huge up-front time investment and moderate long-term time investment to generate quality exams that are frequently updated. The cone has standardized exams through the FXB, they lacking in several categories.

Finally, the other half of the equation is the subjective grading that comes from free-answer exams. Standardized banks and keys won't ever fix that unless you move to multiple choice.

3/18/2014 1:47 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"Why doesn't NR provide an exam bank?"

They do. It's called the Reactor Plant Manual. Or am I missing something???

3/18/2014 2:56 PM

 
Anonymous RidX said...

@RD,
What you’re missing is
1) Turning the RPM into gradeable exam questions is a tremendous time commitment that is better handled in an office somewhere for ~70 different submarines than by ~70 different Eng/EDMC/EDTAs who have 1000 closer alligators to the proverbial boat. It is a HUGE misallocation/duplication of manpower.
And
2) Saying STUDY THE RPM is tantamount to saying STUDY NOTHING because in real life nukes have too many time management dilemmas to devote time to efforts that will most likely not bear fruit. If you constrain the problem to a bank of things they really need to know, you massively increase the odds that they will actually study.

3/18/2014 6:37 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I believe that NR doesn't publish an exam bank because they want leaders and operators who THINK. Think about THEIR situation, their needs, what is coming in the future for their boat. With something like 100 crews in the fleet, the few hundred or so people at NR can't figure it out for each crew. We in the fleet need to man up, use our training and experience to design a program that meets requirments and adds value, then stand up for what we believe. If someone tells you it's wrong, take the punch and get back in there. When the "higher headquarters" tried to hand out the answers in WWII, it didn't go as well as when the boats took charge of their own destiny to lead their ships and solve the problem. We need to do the same.

3/18/2014 8:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, that's all well and good except that the Navy doesn't hire anyone to write exams, collect statistical data on every question, throw out bad questions, re-write new questions, repeat. I certainly don't remember to going to training on how to generate robust exams, do you? Do you know how to calculate whether a test question is a good question because no one I've met in the fleet does (including me).

The Navy hires people to operate and maintain warships, and anything that takes away from doing that or training to do that is a detriment to our mission readiness. Period.

3/18/2014 8:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Duck is just kicking sand on anyone who'll take the bait. It's called "trolling." Probably had nothing better to do at 3pm in Cocoa Beach.

I'm guessing that either a Piña Colada was either directly involved, or should have been.

As an ex-Eng, I can only cheer on the notion of improving nuke exams and dramatically reducing the many reinvented wheels by way of NR involvement, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

The SORM and EDM make it very clear who's responsible for training the crew, and regrettably the initials "NR" are not involved in any way. I very much doubt they'll stick their neck in that noose -- neither voluntarily nor otherwise.

It's regrettable. It's stupid. And it's the way it is.

3/18/2014 9:08 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. BTW, getting NR involved in ship's training would definitely ring a wrong-direction alarm. NR used to run all the boats' ORSEs. Seen that happen lately?

As one writer above alludes, the fleet could solve this problem with a little thing called leadership. Corral all the exam banks for S'x'G, write something called a computer program, and Voilà -- progress.

The current, long-stewing situation is a stinking mess and a waste of nearly everyone's time...but it's also just not that hard to fix at the fleet (TYCOM) level.

Let NR get all dweeby with the next-gen reactor plant, etc...but you don't want to let these guys set the standards on what you want your people to be trained on. Seriously.

3/18/2014 9:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one writer above alludes, the fleet could solve this problem with a little thing called leadership. Corral all the exam banks for S'x'G, write something called a computer program, and Voilà -- progress.

You just went full retard. How many programmers do you think exist in operational submarines, and even if you could find one or two how many so much free time that they are willing to take on the daunting project of compiling every ship's CTEs and qual exams into a single program?

Bonus question: How do you even get the programming language shell onto the classified LAN to do the project, then build a GUI and teach everyone to use it?

This can fixed with leadership? You actually said that? Leadership doesn't magically endow subordinates with spare time and programming language skills to take on massive side projects like this.

3/18/2014 10:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fleet has resources other than the sailors on its boats. They don't need magic, just contractors. The same contractors who develop SKED and SNAP and whatever other software the fleet uses. They know how to do this kind of stuff. Why the hell would sailors have to do it?

3/18/2014 10:44 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's time to bring back standardized multiple choice Scantron exams. Simple, efficient, and effective. Current exams do not create more educated sailors; just more works, stress, and problems. Counter argument?

3/18/2014 11:51 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok - I asked this initial question, so here are a few thoughts on the responses. Overall, I am now even more convinced that a NR-generated exam bank is a good idea:

1) To RD: The RPM is not an exam bank - I submit that one major reasons why people cheat on engineering exams is because the guys on the boats don't have the time it takes to go through the RPMs and develop good questions that capture what you NEED to know. It is faster to prep an exam by cutting and pasting from the RPM, and then just evenly distributing points - instead of weighting the point breakdown to give more credit for the stuff that is important. How many people have taken an exam where the essential actions get the same points as the trivial ones? Bad exam writing - but that could be fixed with a consolidated exam bank. BTW - the RPM is a lot bigger now than it was when you wore the pin...

2) To Anon at 8:39 - NR can provide an exam bank and the boats can still THINK by choosing which topics and questions are applicable to their needs. Your point is invalid.

3) To Anon at 9:20 - Wow. "getting NR involved in ship's training would definitely ring a wrong-direction alarm" - you don't think they are involved now? You've never sat through a training review between the SBM and the ENG/EDMC. Spoken like either a non-nuke, or someone that has been retired or on shore duty too long.

Thoughts?

3/19/2014 4:21 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"The Duck is just kicking sand on anyone who'll take the bait."

Not quite. Extracts from baseline guidance always involve interpretation and expatiation, with opportunity to expand meaning and application beyond the plain words of the guidance and in a non-authoratative way. But when the guidance is in play in the real world, it's there all by itself and relies on the operators to give it meaning. So the interpretation and mental processing in actual operations have only the original baseline guidance — RPM in this case — as their basis.

"I did that because that's what the RPM says" strikes me as vastly better than "I did that because I think I remember a quiz question that had that as a right answer." If the two actions are identical, the one based in the RPM and the one flowing from a quiz, all good. But it they're different, I'd back the action that flowed directly from the baseline guidance and the operator's trained application of it.

And... I think 'learn your job and do it right' is better guidance than 'learn the quiz and remember it.'

The KOG and his empire have had 60 years to arrive at conclusion that NR should provide quiz questions and other crutches to Forces Adrift to help make training less effort. They haven't done so — none of these great ideas above are new — suggesting that NR thinks that a bad idea. So do I. As to trolling and pina coladas etc. ... bite me.

3/19/2014 4:57 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the #1 reason NR wouldn't provide an exam bank is because they would be held accountable if a LOK deficiency were to be found sometime later & traced back to NR. Its kinda like asking them directly "What should I do?" The answer you get is "Tell me what you're going to do and I'll nod or shake my head."; a subtle difference that retains responsibility and accountability with the Fleet.

NPEB is a Fleet entity, so the SBM (tho blessed by NR & all that) is still a Fleet guy. If they let the standards slip on the boats they're examining, its a reflection on the Fleet, not NR. (any NPEB members care to clarify?)

Creating a computer program exam bank wouldn't be that hard; I've seen plenty of MS Access & Excel macros used onboard that were clever. Maybe IT security has clamped down on that recently but letting a contract to create the program and leave detailed user manual so ships ITS' can edit and maintain wouldn't be too hard. Its just another database.

I've seen both spectrums on the cheating; sometimes we got a qual exam back from a senior JO with "Try again, in a quiet place, alone, and pass this" but generally it wasn't encouraged in my view. Wouldn't have even thought of cheating on PNEO, no way, but I was also too proud to consider it either (plus the radcon section is what most guys failed in DC back in the day, kinda hard to cheat on that one other than writing down thumbrules maybe). There's also no time to hit the head/watercloset/toilet/bathroom/loo/washroom :-), too busy wriiting!

3/19/2014 6:23 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ RD,

If NR provided qual and CTEs, they would still be based on the RPM. If the answer key conflicts with the RPM, there ought to be a mechanism for the Eng/EDMC to correct that and send feedback to NR about it. In no case should the answer to a CTE conflict with RPM guidance.

Now, on the flipside, I have taken/graded CTEs and qual exams that are keyed for 'using your own words,' e.g. summarize the steps for starting up a SSTG. So this sort of practice is already happening.

I think NR does not want to take on this project because 1) It's a huge time-suck and they don't have the manpower for it 2) they don't want the responsibility for bad exams, it's easier to just wag fingers at Engineers and 3) The questions are only half of the problem, as long as the answers are in essay form you have subjectivity in grading, and the supervisors on the boat have a vested interest in being as lenient as possible.

The thing many here may not realize is that the new generation of EDMCs are actually being trained to increase the robustness of exams. It's a pain in the dick, but at least the fleet has recognized a problem and is moving to fix it.

@anonymous 10:44:

Where is this money going to come from to hire a contractor for something that is a 'nice to have?' Where is the money going to come from to pay them for continuing technical support? Or in your little world, do you think someone can create a flawless computer program on the first try that ITS3 can be trained to fix?

Do you really think 1 stars and above are worried about how to save a department head a little time?

This is one of those cases where everyone realizes it could be better, but it requires a big up-front cost to fix and a minor long-term cost to maintain. It also requires people who have long stopped giving a shit about how sucky it is to be an Engineer on a boat to sign off on it.

3/19/2014 8:43 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

NR does engineering. The Fleet and the training establishment do training. Never the twain shall meet....

3/19/2014 9:17 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then the TYCOM should do it. The point is to consolidate the effort. Put a top-shelf served-ENG into the Force Nuke's office as the Force Nuclear Training Officer or something like that, and probably a couple solid Chiefs. They could farm out most of the work to the CSS N4 staffs and then collect everything to make up exam banks. It doesn't have to be as shitty as the FXB done for the coners...

3/19/2014 10:10 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The shore should exist to support the fleet, not the other way around.

Is there anyone out there who actually believes that there are enough hours in the day to meet every written requirement?
Is there anyone out there who doesn't believe that part of being a successful naval officer or chief is choosing wisely which requirements to let slip?

If there is some clear cut way we can bring the reality on the deckplate into alignment with the theory in the books, then for fucks sake we should do that, because its when they diverge that good sailors feel the need to compromise their integrity to make ends meet.

If there's some burden that shore side office dwellers can assume from the fleet, then they should do that.

RD is afraid of ships losing autonomy to NR. He comes from a time when men were men and the RPM was enough. Well RD, the ships lost their autonomy long ago, but they kept all the accountability.

3/19/2014 10:43 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

I come from a time when cowboys didn't cry...

3/19/2014 11:16 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah that's pretty much the beginning and the end of your argument.

3/19/2014 11:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is advocating taking the training planning and execution away from the ship.

They are advocating taking the exam writing and keying process away form the ship.

Think of how much time it would save just to have a bank of say, 10 qual exams per watchstation and 10 BEQ exams, multiple-choice with 'all of the above' and 'none of the above' answers on every question to make it difficult. No one would have to spend hours generating an exam, no one would have to spend hours grading the exam 'for understanding,' and no one would sit there and question whether these exams were adequate or graded fairly. The rest would be up to the boat to ensure that exams are controlled securily and proctored correctly.

I have yet to meet an EDMC who thinks submarine written exams are anything more than a monumental waste of everyone's time. These are experienced, smart deckplate leaders. It's time the senior officers listened to them.

3/19/2014 12:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disagree with "all of the above" or "none of the above" or any other scantron style multiple choice. I'm all for some shore-based exam bank process, but it still needs to be geared toward "understanding". You're not going to get that with multiple choice.

3/19/2014 1:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do realize that the doctor who examines you passed a licensing exam that uses multiple choice questions? That the lawyer who defends you passed his exam that uses multiple choice questions?

Multiple choice exams are used in a lot of industries and they do a good job of ensuring that their professionals have an a baseline level of competency. They are used precisely because the tradeoff of difficulty is more than offset by fast, objective grading mechanisms available for multiple choice examinations.

In fact, multiple choice only favors test takers if the questions are solely based on rote memorization. And you could make those sections free-answer if you really wanted to (e.g. specs, definitions of terms).

A multiple choice exam will not save you if the questions are phrased in a way that tests understanding.

3/19/2014 3:08 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same contractors who develop SKED and SNAP and whatever other software the fleet uses.

Thanks I was trying to remember the name for that POS program. I remember SNAP being promised and promised and every year it getting half way implemented and then pulled back because of computer upgrades on shore that were not happening in the fleet rendering the program useless. You think the same thing wouldn't happen with a test bank? Even at the slow rate of change technologically in the nuc world the boats in the fleet now would be long gone before that was a reality

3/19/2014 3:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The person suggesting that I memorized half lives of my own volition must not have taken PNEO anytime recently. The reality is the PNEO "instructors" think that you must memorize all half lives. They, in fact, teach you that in the water chem course. Then they give you the water chem test, which you will fail if you just make shit up of all of your half lives. Then they will recommend to your command that you are not ready for PNEO, and your CO then will not send you to DC because if he goes against their recommendation and you fail, Squadron will send him a big 'WTF?' There is no way for the lowly O3 to really know what NR wants to see because NR doesn't tell anybody what they expect.

Realize also that from the beginning of a nuke career, the Navy treats nuclear learning like one big memorization test. Understanding is not a part of Power school at all, and barely is a part of prototype. This attitude is basically carried into the fleet, so all of these nuclear trained people make exams that say "what are all of the set points on such and such piece of equipment". Except, it has to be somewhat obscure because otherwise it is too easy and everyone will pass it. So instead of detailing protective action set points you get the salinity alarms on the 3K or some other shit that isn't really very relevant most of the time.

Also popular is list all of the secondary actions or prerequisites on such and such OP/CP even though you will never do any of those things without the RPM sitting in front of you. Our collective nuclear experience to that point then teaches us that the only "correct" answer is basically a 90% verbatim answer to said question.

Most of the "understanding" portion of nuclear training happens outside of any official training or testing on the boat. Some boats do this better than others... But why leave any variability in it at all? You could probably crowd source a great deal of the quality training from what is already in the fleet. Why not just have professional exam writers write the exam one time to test understanding, and write standardized training that teaches understanding?

Does anybody else get tired of boat "training" that relies on a PowerPoint from 1995 lists all of the actions associated with some procedure that some O2 or Chief reads verbatim in crews mess so that it can be "documented"?

Good training does happen, but a lot of training on a lot of boats actually does suck. This is a fixable problem that would likely result in boats with better trained operators, that have more time to focus on more important shit. There is some upfront cost, but investigating cheating scandals, firing COs, and incident reports are not free either.

3/19/2014 6:24 PM

 
Blogger Henson said...

They had a fleet exam bank for tactics. Probably still do. You may remember some kerfluffle from around 2009/2010 when 60% of qualified sonar sups and 90% of qualified FTOWs failed exams using questions from it. And do you know why they all failed these tests? Because the grading keys from the fleet test bank (which was assuredly not multiple choice) were wrong. Demonstrably wrong. Obviously wrong. One might argue disastrously wrong, given the subject matter and the fleets comical lack of tactical aptitude at that point.

3/19/2014 6:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Disagree with 'all of the above' or 'none of the above' or any other scantron style multiple choice. I'm all for some shore-based exam bank process, but it still needs to be geared toward 'understanding'. You're not going to get that with multiple choice."

Wrong. You've obviously never taken an NRC RO/SRO licensing exam. They are strictly multiple choice and are light years more difficult than any technical exam ever given in the Navy.

3/19/2014 7:18 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Slightly) off-topic - there is a disturbance in the force - evidently the entire fleet leadership (TYCOMs, Group Commanders, Commodores, etc) is being hauled into NR HQ tomorrow for a discussion with ADM Richardson. Anyone have details?

3/19/2014 7:40 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also popular is list all of the secondary actions or prerequisites on such and such OP/CP even though you will never do any of those things without the RPM sitting in front of you. Our collective nuclear experience to that point then teaches us that the only "correct" answer is basically a 90% verbatim answer to said question.

Yea, you don't want a casualty to be the first time that someone has read the supplementary actions to the procedure. While you'd never execute the procedure without using the book, you should know the general path toward restoring the plant so you can do so expeditiously.

To do otherwise is like taking an open-book timed test without knowing any of the material. Yeah, you can look up answers, but you're going to run out of time and fail if your strategy is to wait until the test to thumb through a 2" textbook and a bunch of notes.

3/19/2014 8:27 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8:27:

I would argue that "being familiar with/ generally knowing what the actions do" is quite a bit different than being able to write steps 1-29 essentially verbatim.

In my experience, we test the latter more than the former.

You seem to imply that if you can't write them verbatim then you are not familiar with them or that I am suggesting that we don't train on secondary actions at all. Neither of those things are true.

At the end of the day, your average nuke should be able to pass eng dept tests without cheating. Asking people to write or paraphrase each step from an entire OP or the primary and secondary actions of most CPs (some are obviously pretty short) is just not achievable for most people.

Even if it was, is that what the sub force really even wants? I would rather have a crew that understands why the purpose behind each action.

3/19/2014 10:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right -- my eng and edmc were sane so I never had to regurgitate 20 supplemental actions verbatim.

Now here's food for thought: We can rag on NR all we want, but no eng is ever required to give a test like you took. In fact, the EDOM gives very broad guidelines to the eng/edmc that gives them a lot of freedom on how to train the crew. The things that they prescribe are relatively simple:

-You'll do dept and small group training every week, along with supervisory training.
-Provides guidance on how to conduct supervisory training (must be scenario based simulating a watchteam).
-All nuclear trained personnel will partake in engineering dept training in some form.
-You'll administer a monthly CTE that will cover the training topics from that month.
-You'll conduct drills and monitored evolutions as practical training for the crew.
-You'll track the results of these exams/evolutions in order to figure out what needs to be retrained.
-You'll develop a long range and short range training plan.
-You'll train on remote operability.
-And you'll train on this list of ~10 topics at least annually because people have really really screwed it up in the past.

And that's pretty much it. That is what NR prescribes. And all of it makes sense and gives a lot of control to the boats to run their own training programs.

Designing exams to fail X% of people? Nope, not in the EDOM. Designing exams to regurgitate obscure procedures? Nope, not in the EDOM. Reading bulleted power points from 1995? Nope, not in the EDOM. Those were entirely fabricated by poor leadership in the fleet. So if we're going to hem and haw over these things, and they're worth hemming and hawing over, then we need to hem and haw toward the right people -- boat Engs and COs, squadron Engineers and nuke staffs that have frontal labotamies when they go to shore duty and make reports consisting of stupid fucking hits everytime they go down to a boat.

Where boats start to believe they have to do such silly things is when they get dinged by the SBM on ORSE, so they lose sight of the forest for the trees. But that's not NR, that's a fleet 1120 O-5 making those comments.

3/19/2014 11:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point. And who isn't in favor of railing against the NPEB...

The NPEB could solve this with an easy comment: "The effectiveness of the engineering department training program was reduced by exams requiring responses that were excessively detailed."

Can you have standards that are too high? You betcha. Requiring ridiculous level of verbatim regurgitation on exams means time is spent studying material that should not be required to get a passing grade on an exam.

And why does the exam bank need to be kept secret? The PNEO exam bank isn't. If there was a Fleet Engineering Department exam bank, we should let everyone see it - if you can memorize the answers and demonstrate LOK, then who cares? They key is to make the exam bank visible - not the exams. The guys that prepare the exam would pick from the bank, and that would be kept secure.

3/20/2014 3:12 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, counterpoints:

1) The NPEB's job is to evaluate the boat, not make training suggestions. And the effectiveness of the training program is evaluated through the ORSE written exams and drill sets.

But even waiting for the NPEB to write a comment is too late; the problem could be fixed by giving prospective Eng's some additional training in SOAC regarding how the fleet expects them to manage a training program. As someone mentioned earlier, EDMCs are learning this and there is a noticeable difference.

2) My boat had a binder of past CTE questions that the engineer required everyone to study and write 4.0 answers to -- similar to the PNEO exam bank -- because unless you're one of the lucky few to get a specialized exam (which, by the way, the BOAT WRITES THE KEY FOR), the ORSE exam consists of failed CTE questions. And the EDMC wanted everyone's training to include 'objectives' that essentially were the 3-5 things that he could ask about the training topic. So essentially, you'd memorize the answers to 20 questions a month to take a 10 question exam.

So again, this boils down to the fact that the individual boats have control over their own training program. It's not the NPEB's fault if the Eng/CO dick it away.

Saying that the process of making individual qual exams is time consuming and would be better off if consolidated by a single entity is a valid criticism. But when you start to go after ridiculous CTE questions and exams written to fail people, the buck stops at the Eng. It's his red ink on the bottom line of most of those things.

3/20/2014 9:08 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cont'd...

And that is probably why Rubber Ducky responded the way he did; as a served CO, he understands how much autonomy boats have under the guidelines. Most of the things people are complaining about come from the boat, not NR's direction and not tycom's direction.

Engs make ridiculous exams because that's how they perceive they will pass an inspection. When no one knows dick about the reactor safety principles the ORSE board wants them to know, the Eng can point at his training program and say "oh, but look my failure rate matches that. I have already assessed my dept as lacking in knowledge and this is my plan to fix it." It's better than having to explain to the NPEB why he has a 95% pass rate and 40% failed the written ORSE exam. Nevermind the fact that that's not the point -- the point is that your department is supposed to be knowledgable enough in reactor safety principles to pass, period.

Writing exams is a huge time suck, but it's going to be a huge time suck no matter who does it. While I'd like the exams to be generated by a central organization, the Navy (including Naval Reactors) doesn't have the inclination to hire a separate test generating company, so any product that comes from squadron or tycom or whoever is not going to be significantly better than the boat.

3/20/2014 9:16 AM

 
Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

I know that my experience is from the "Dark Ages" before computers and the Internet, but I found that the questions that were asked were the same from sub to sub and year to year, the answers were often very different because of subtle design differences even among subs of the same class but built in different yards or years and even more difference over the years as standards changed and understanding of operations and impacts of events became clearer. It might be possible for CSF or CSP to develop the questions, but each sub would need to develop the answers to be sure that it was correct for each sub in that year and time. I doubt that has changed in the past thirty plus years since I was involved in Engineering and shipboard training. That is why NR only sets guidelines and the NPEB judges performance as a result of training. My personal example is the PNEO exam I took as a JO and the one I took during PCO training. The questions were the same but the answers I gave were very different because I was being tested on a different class of sub and ten years later.

3/20/2014 9:45 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You've obviously never taken an NRC RO/SRO licensing exam. They are strictly multiple choice and are light years more difficult than any technical exam ever given in the Navy."

Very true. 21 years Navy nuke and 5 years commercial SRO; when written well, multiple choice exams are very challenging and do test understanding.

3/20/2014 11:36 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was ENG, I remember the NPEB evaluating degree of difficulty of the exams solely on the grades. Exams were just too hard to meet those grades, so I "cheated". I wrote exams that had the people knowing what I wanted them to know. My smart nukes did well on the Exam which would have been bad for an ORSE. Therefor, I "cheated" and had the EDMC grade on a bell curve. Caused some nuke's written score to be lower than they deserved, but it worked. OPS ruled back then...straight Excellents on the next ORSE.

3/20/2014 12:04 PM

 
Anonymous RidX said...

"Writing exams is a huge time suck, but it's going to be a huge time suck no matter who does it. While I'd like the exams to be generated by a central organization, the Navy (including Naval Reactors) doesn't have the inclination to hire a separate test generating company, so any product that comes from squadron or tycom or whoever is not going to be significantly better than the boat."

Sure, but that doesn't address the massive wheel-reinvention operation we are running, stupidly. I like the idea of a central authority generating a bank of exam questions (use 'em or not, up to you) and the ships generating the answer keys based on local conditions-- kinda like the PNEO bank. That costs nothing to implement, and would take at least some load off of the boats.

Hell, if we could just get someone to organize it, we could set up a SIPR-side database where boats could share their training materials. Costs essentially nothing, and conserves man-hours.

Man-hours are a precious commodity, no matter how many times we repeat "cowboys don't cry." We piss them away at our peril.

3/20/2014 12:12 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've obviously never administered exams.

Writing 10 questions takes less than 5 minutes. Generating a correct answer key, weighting points, routing it, grading everyone's chicken scratch, and recording the scores takes up the massive amount of time.

You just replaced "type 10 sentences" with "Fish through this massive database of pre-existing questions to find the ones that meet your needs." It's not worth the payoff if you're not going to provide keyed, multiple choice exams.

3/20/2014 12:27 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last statement is moronic. Exam banks include answers, with weighted points. You're saying that it is faster to write exams than to go through an exam bank and pick out questions (with answers and weighted points)? Again - moron.

3/20/2014 2:18 PM

 
Anonymous RidX said...

This forum is comically antagonistic.

"You know, I was thinking X"
"Fuck you! Anyone who thinks X has clearly never been to sea!"


3/20/2014 4:08 PM

 
Blogger Aught Severn said...


This forum is comically antagonistic.

"You know, I was thinking X"
"Fuck you! Anyone who thinks X has clearly never been to sea!"


If you think that this forum is antagonistic, then you've CLEARLY never been to sea...

3/20/2014 5:34 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back at the XO relief thread ...

3/20/2014 6:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't heard any results from the investigation. Meanwhile, you can't get to me...

3/20/2014 6:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really comes down to the CO keeping his foot on his ENG's throat, so the ENG doesn't try to reinvent the wheel and show up at ORSE record review ith "Original" ideas.

For those current and future COs, make sure the training record review occurs after you finally get to submerge and be continually present, not during the maneuvering watch where you may be "required" to go to the bridge if your bridge team sees a contact ;)

That said, the above post has relevance to the thread as a NPEB served XO should be able to help lead a ship through a shipyard period, unless he has leadership issues as was hinted here. You 80% serving NPEB and SQENG guys waiting for XO tours, you'll be next unless you fix your "defect identification and walk away" mentality and make it a "find it and fix it" way of life.

3/20/2014 9:27 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^ Does not have any grasp the massive scale of reinventing the wheel which is ***required*** of the Eng and anyone involved in nuclear training and - particularly - examinations.

3/21/2014 5:35 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" the grading keys from the fleet test bank (which was assuredly not multiple choice) were wrong. Demonstrably wrong. Obviously wrong. One might argue disastrously wrong, given the subject matter and the fleets comical lack of tactical aptitude at that point."

Oh c'mon, you make it sound like those keys were written by rejects stashed at Squadron and TYCOM staffs after they'd been fired for incompetence in the very profession for which they were producing an exam bank. And then the keys were signed off by some served CO who didn't care enough to actually check the answers for correctness.

We wouldn't be stupid enough to do that, would we? I refer back to the title of this blog.

3/21/2014 6:28 AM

 
Blogger Henson said...

The true hilarity of the tactical exam bank answer keys lies in the fact that the answer keys were in direct contravention of their own guidance on tactical subjects. As a thought experiment, one JO quoted articles of the A&A Manual in response to a question based on the topic they covered. Got it wrong. Didn't miss points on incompleteness - GOT IT WRONG. You do the math.

Learn from your tactical brothers and realize that maybe a stagnant, ancient test bank at the TYCOM level which never gets maintained or looked at after it's written isn't the best solution for dynamic training problems after all...

3/21/2014 8:18 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Gotta wonder how the submariners who won the Second World War handled their exams...

3/21/2014 8:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The FXB answer keys are copy/pasted out of a manual. They may be copy/pasted out of a manual that has been revised 5x since the test was made, but they were copy/pasted out of a manual nonetheless. If you're taking a FXB with wrong answers, it's probably because your SWO or XO picked questions that do not apply to your ship's configuration. Which might be because there was only 1 question in the entire FXB that covered that topic for your configuration, so they made due with others. Finally, smart people will realize when the key is wrong and will adjust it for the right answer, since you're not required to keep the graded exams, only the scores and the exam keys.

My issue with the FXB isn't that the keys are wrong, but that the keys are generated for everyone to think like an OOD. For example, a navigation question that asks someone what their actions were. The QMs will write their actions to tell the OOD, ANAV and NAV and recommend a course of action, which is what they are required to do. What the FXB keys for is how the OOD is supposed to tell the CO and all the actions the NAV is supposed to take to correct the problem or mitigate the risk. This is a 'one size fits all' solution that simply doesn't work. Another example is sonar questions that place a significant weight on ship driving decisions instead of the technical aspects of accurately interpreting/manipulating/reporting what they see on the display. They also don't break down points on the free answer questions, so you'll have a key that has a 10-line typed paragraph and no guidance as to how to award partial credit.

Back to eng dept exams: If that's the product that would come from centralized exams, I don't want it. I don't think anyone really does. I think that we're all under the assumption that there would be more pressure from regulatory agencies (e.g. NR) to ensure that exam keys were correct and questions were applicable to each rating if tycom or NR ever undertook such a project.

3/21/2014 9:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky, I don't think they even took written exams. They just drilled. A lot. And then they put it to practice shooting town tons of ships.

They didn't worry about ensuring they trained on some extraneous mission set once a year and they certainly didn't worry about doing a horizontal audits of an audit program to an audit program. In some sense, military life is easier when you have a defined enemy because everything else simply becomes unimportant. It's when we have to be 'ready for everything' in peacetime that it gets ridiculous.

3/21/2014 9:05 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Perhaps we should listen to Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

3/21/2014 9:20 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this thread when it started going in the direction of how to take some of the burden off the guys on sea duty. Disappointed at how many people have basically said "screw em... it would be too hard to have someone on shore duty pick up some slack... and when I was on sea duty I didn't think nuclear training sucked because I was so good, so their just a bunch of babies now".

Cue RD to make a snarky comment that will demonstrate how detached he is to what nuclear training has become in the past few decades... oh, to be a nuke in his day! Nuclear training is a ballooning burden on the sub force. More is not better. But the "more is better" culture is institutionalized, Force-wide... this is not just COs and ENGs gone crazy. The nuclear training program needs to be pushed back in the direction of what it used to be. It's not like we were melting down reactors and needed to ramp up the training program - everything was fine...

3/21/2014 10:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be centralized, but it is a massive undertaking in order to ensure that the exams are robust and organic. The concern that the nukes get a product like the FXB is valid, and knowing the nuclear Navy they won't give engineers the latitude to just not use it the way that forward training guidelines do. It would take a lot of resources to create a quality product to make all of this effort worth it -- resources that the Navy simply doesn't have. It's certainly not something that's on a 1-star's mind and even if it was, that only centralizes each submarine base.

It should be done, but it takes more than just wishing it to happen. You need to be able to stand up a group of people who are going to write over a thousand questions and correct keyed answers to cover every imaginable topic, then you need to permantly have a billet for someone to keep them updated when mistakes are found.

I personally think that this is doable with qualification exams, which ought to have a more standard baseline LOK, but not with CTEs. So would that save some engineers and EDMCs some time? Yep. Is it worth the massive effort and resources? Not from the perspective of the guys who would have to take on that project.

3/21/2014 10:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Cue RD to make a snarky comment that will demonstrate how detached he is to what nuclear training has become in the past few decades... oh, to be a nuke in his day!"

RD has been detached for decades AND he was not a nuke!

But he is correct. I would bet that Dick O'Kane and Mush Morton did not spend a lot of time anguishing over written exams for their crews. The only admin they spent any time on was their patrol reports - nothing else mattered.

3/21/2014 11:06 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the Duck was right...about the distant past. Give the man a lollipop.

As to the above, "boil the ocean" approach, you'd have to be one dumb squadron weenie to try that approach.

Best: give the fleet's Engs the ability to share their training programs and exam banks electronically, and then stand back and watch while they make it all happen. Prediction: we'd see a prompt jump in quality and actually productive training.

3/21/2014 12:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he wasn't a nuke, then he definitely should STFU regarding the burdens of nuclear training. But - pretty sure he was on a nuke boat... as skipper... and if so, all officers are nukes...

3/21/2014 12:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Duck is of the era when there was a career path for boomer missile officers, including command. He was not a nuke, and certainly never an Eng. But he can sturm und drang with the best of them.

3/21/2014 1:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has become possibly the most played out thread in the history of this blog.

3/21/2014 1:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But - pretty sure he was on a nuke boat... as skipper... and if so, all officers are nukes... "

Close, but no cigar. RD is not and never was nuclear trained. There was a time when we had a program for General Service Officers (GSOs) that filled strategic weapons related billets on SSBNs. There was also a time in the not so distant past when not all of our submarines were nuclear powered - we needed COs for them, too.

3/21/2014 1:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I come from a time when cowboys didn't cry..."

Whatever you say, Brokeback.

3/21/2014 2:58 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD can mark off his D-1R PM (prod a nuke and elicit a response) as complete.

3/21/2014 3:07 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/21/2014 3:11 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Fascinating. All this criticism of the Duck from you boots who profess to know all about me ... but none of you with enough courage to identify yourselves. You don't need exams, you need balls.

My points are serious. Victory through examinations is a bullshit concept. And whining is not manly.

3/21/2014 3:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's whining if the criticism contains no constructive elements, but there are several good ideas here that are actually achievable.

YMMV.

3/21/2014 4:55 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I really don't get are the comments about how it would be "too difficult" to "near impossible" to keep up with.

I suppose it would be somewhat difficult, but the NRC somehow manages to manage 65 nuclear power plants, write tests for CTE and Qualification. I'm willing to wager that there is more equipment variability in the equipment of those 65 reactors than there is in the entire submarine fleet, given that there are 1) more reactor designs and 2) more custom equipment around them.

Yes, it would be difficult, but it's certainly not unsolvable.

NR presumably is already relatively familiar with the differences in boats within a class, how hard is it to swap questions in and out for what's appropriate for that boat?

As someone mentioned, you can probably crowd-ource good questions and answers from serving ENG's, have NR refine/sign off on the keys, and have a pretty good start at it. Maybe NPEB or TYCOM would be a better organization to do this, but it could be done.

And Duck has proven time and again that he is incredibly unfamiliar with serving in the modern era.

3/21/2014 8:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to the submarine flags: to a large extent, the system is the problem when it comes to both discontent and malpractice in nuke exam world. Lift a finger to improve the "we've always done it this way" system, and everyone benefits. Good luck. I know that escaping the paradigm that one has trapped oneself in is no small task.

3/22/2014 8:29 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"And Duck has proven time and again that he is incredibly unfamiliar with serving in the modern era."

What is this modern era of which you speak? New laws of physics? A new ocean? New operating standards? I really doubt it. My old skipper, the late Don "Cruncher" Kniss, often noted that 'in the Navy there are no new problems, just new people.'

What's really out of touch is the whining in this string about matters entirely in the hands of the fleet — you guys — and the seeming distrust of everything mandated from higher authority. That might be a good way for non-submariners to behave but I'm not sure it will boil water better or do better at keeping the ocean out of the people tank or hitting the target MOT. At some point it might be useful if someone were to say shut up, suck it up, do your fucking job.

3/22/2014 8:50 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The job has changed a lot since you were in, Duck - so have the training requirements. The nuclear gods demand more sacrifice now, and they grow hungrier for the souls of more submariners. Stop pissing on those carrying the load now, assuming that it is the same as when you were in. Maybe their "whining" is justified - you have no basis for comparison.

3/22/2014 9:05 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were fine with arguable points of view right up until that last sentence there, RD. All too often, it's all the Navy ever does say...even when offered some good ideas on how to fix real problems that have lately garnered some unappreciated national headlines of problems in sub nuke exam world.

To me, it's more than a bit humorous that one of these headlines came by way of a nuke-trained female pointing out the alll-too-obvious to her male counterparts.

Filter out the submarine-nature elbow-jabs, and there are some good ideas here which are do-able -- and have been for a long time. It's too late for, say, a once-upon-a-time Seawolf Eng that took to drinking Draino when perhaps someone was telling him to just do his fucking job...but clearly our points are serious, too.

When it comes to sub nuke training, do the flags have a fucking job, too...or not? Second to that elbow jab, who is really responsible for the problems (with multiple examples) in sub nuke exam world?

I personally have no doubt -- as I knew the man, as did you -- that Rickover would answer that question in a heartbeat. He would say that HE was responsible. Period.

3/22/2014 9:17 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What's really out of touch is the whining in this string about matters entirely in the hands of the fleet — you guys — and the seeming distrust of everything mandated from higher authority." - Rubber Ducky

Your sentence by and large nails the current situation. Unfortunately, the "modern era" is one in which often subordinates command authority (i.e. good order and discipline) can often be trumped by political correctness.

Thus whining and undue notions of entitlement that would never have been tolerated in our era may at be as problematic as technology, navigation and operating standards.

If the trend is allowed to fester, our superior force will wither from the inside, exactly as many internal and externals proponents of a much weaker U.S. military are hoping. - Ted Sled

3/22/2014 11:39 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There have been several comments on here that show peoples ignorance of modern technology, or that show you have not been around for a while.

1. There is software that is NR approved, and is either on your ship or will be soon that helps generate exams. It does not make everything from scratch for you. You still have to put questions in, and make sure they are written well, and keyed well. Overall you have to make sure that your training program is legit, and you are teaching the guys what they need to know to execute all facets of their job.

2. The requirements for training, and qualifications haven't really changed in the past 20 years. Some of the words have changed to make them more clear due to recent issues with PORSEs and RSEs, but the requirement is still the same. The more PORSE's and RSE's that we conduct, the more likely we are to find out that the requirement isn't clear and could be left up to interpretation. That is not a place that headquarters wants to be. That being said there are a lot of things that can be left up to interpretation with regard to Provisional Quals, but that is for a different venue.

3. Any one who states you have a study guide, it's called the RPM is a loon, and does not remember what it was like when they were in, or they are the smartest individual in the world. I have been on several different classes of submarines, and I will tell you I like to read the RPM, S&EPM, and various tech manuals, but no one could memorize all the information out of them. What you can do is remember where significant information exists so when you come across a need to utilize that you know where to go look. Immediate actions for casualties, hard and fast maintenance rules, and required annual training topics are what is the most important. If you were a nuke at some point in your life time you know what topics are important, and what topics are ridiculous. If you do not know the I/A for a casualty you cannot be an effective watchstander, and if you do not understand the basis behind each one, you will be able to make an informed decision when it is time to take that action(s).

4. There have been several great ideas that have been brought up here by people that are not "whining" but want the program to continue to exist for the next 60 years. Things change, If you were part of the program when Rickover was NR that was at least over 30 years ago, most likely longer. Although most of us still appreciate your continued advice, and perspective on various topics you have to remember some things. The world is completely different. Submarines of today are designed to never be refueled (Virginias, and 21's). There are no overhauls, you do shorter docking periods more frequently. Equipment must last significantly longer due to the simple fact your maintenance periods are significantly shorter. Due to the shorter and maintenance periods sailors are required to do more. Not the Chiefs, but the younger sailors. They still have to quailify like you did, but there is more maintenance on equipment now, to ensure it will be able to last longer. I have watched the PMS decks grow over 20 years for the exact same equipment I did maintenance on when I was a baby.

Lastly, things change and so do people. What worked for you as a LCPO or a 1st or as a CO 20 years ago might not work now. So don't assume that your way is the best, that is called arrogance, and there has never been a place for that in the program.

3/22/2014 11:45 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I suppose it would be somewhat difficult, but the NRC somehow manages to manage 65 nuclear power plants, write tests for CTE and Qualification."

Wrong. The only tests the NRC write are for Generic Fundamentals four times per year, and those tests are 75% repeat questions. The license exams, job performance measures, etc. are developed by the individual sites and reviewed by the NRC.

3/22/2014 1:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record: the duck is not a loon.

Loons compose a genus (Gavia), family (Gaviidae), and order (Gaviiformes) all their own, completely separate from ducks.

Staying with the Origin of Species metaphor for a moment, you have to keep in mind that RD comes from an era where GSOs were in the process of becoming extinct. He's sort of like the last of the Mohicans, but not (IMHO) a bad fellow. Just a bit hard-headed...and too long on shore. Takes one to know one, I suppose.

3/22/2014 1:18 PM

 
Anonymous PolitixSux said...

Back to the original topic of this thread, has any new info come out concerning the reason for this XO being canned or the reason NCIS is involved?

3/22/2014 2:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the trend is allowed to fester, our superior force will wither from the inside, exactly as many internal and externals proponents of a much weaker U.S. military are hoping." - Ted Sled

How could anybody actually know that?

Whining and poor discipline may have doomed some unit sometime, somewhere, but orders are still handed out and regulations obeyed by everyone alike. So, drop it, Ted!

Betty P

3/22/2014 2:12 PM

 
Blogger Dadfish said...

@ 11:45:

That was actually a useful comment; I wish we had the ability to "upvote" in this forum.

Regarding the software you speak of, I've seen it and must say that unlike 99% of the clunky, horrid software products DOD comes up with (CTQS anyone?), it actually is a decent and useful product.

3/22/2014 2:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is software that is NR approved, and is either on your ship or will be soon that helps generate exams. It does not make everything from scratch for you. You still have to put questions in, and make sure they are written well, and keyed well.

I haven't run into this software and I'm actually curious about what it does that is so helpful. Since you still have to write the questions and key, which takes up the vast majority of exam development time, does the program just perform formatting and score tallying? Does it come up with topics to write questions toward? I recall that the CTEs were based off of training conducted during the month, so I don't see how the software could help much with that...aside from more bookkeeping.

What are the time-saving features in this product?

3/22/2014 3:07 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For the record: the duck is not a loon.

Loons compose a genus (Gavia), family (Gaviidae), and order (Gaviiformes) all their own, completely separate from ducks."


loon

1.
a silly or foolish person.

synonyms: fool, idiot, ass, halfwit, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, moron, imbecile, simpleton;

The number one definition of loon. I think the use of it was proper.

3/22/2014 6:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@1816:

RTFM? RTFQ!!!

RD never said use the RPM as a study guide, genius. That was your idea of what you thought he meant. Read again more carefully. (Hint: Reflect on his use of the word BASIS in reference to the RPM). Try to see if you come up with something closer to what he was actually saying before needlessly insulting someone who's BTDT before you had any clue that there were higher forms of expression than lumpy diapers and drool.
Although I could agree with your statement "Anyone who states you have a study guide, it's called the RPM, is a loon", I cannot agree that that is a "proper" response to what RD was really saying. Secure venting all main frustration tanks, get some sleep and try again.

3/22/2014 8:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why doesn't NR provide an exam bank?"

They do. It's called the Reactor Plant Manual. Or am I missing something???


Try again. Don't start a war unless you know how to win the fight.

3/22/2014 9:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I will say about RD's response is that he is "technically" correct that the problem is at "the fleet", in that the EDM has lower requirements than what most boats actually implement. But what he does not understand is that the boats are railroaded into stupid training plans even if they recognize that they are stupid. Group, Squadron, etc layer on a shit-ton of stuff into the EDM that the boats have to follow. Maybe it's technically correct that it's a "fleet" problem, but I don't think it generally originates at the DH level or CO level.

I remember a few years ago when the EDM was changed to make it so that Division level training plans were optional. Immediately after that group basically took the the old guidance and just reissued it under as an order from them. For a practical purpose on the boats, the guidance didn't change, it was just a different issuing authority.

3/23/2014 2:33 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what I learned from this thread:
SSN-22 XO is fired for unknown reasons. Rubber Ducky is a complete fucking retard and/or troll. The nuclear testing program requires improvement with most people gravitating towards standardized testing. Did I miss anything?

3/23/2014 2:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing: some people prefer to mock others' conversations because they are incapable of participating in one without being a dickhead.

3/23/2014 6:24 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned that exam bank and study guide are not to be considered interchangeable terms in the context of test development. And that RD is getting blasted for trying to help for encouraging a useful mindset in tackling the approach to the problem.

Other than that, I'd say you nailed it. Appreciate the reset. {BZ}

3/23/2014 7:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I suppose it would be somewhat difficult, but the NRC somehow manages to manage 65 nuclear power plants, write tests for CTE and Qualification.

Wrong. The only tests the NRC write are for Generic Fundamentals four times per year, and those tests are 75% repeat questions. The license exams, job performance measures, etc. are developed by the individual sites and reviewed by the NRC."

Actually the NRC doesn't even write the Generic Fundamental Exams either. A contractor does.

3/23/2014 8:34 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"Rubber Ducky is a complete fucking retard and/or troll. "

Maybe so, but my boat won eleven unit awards when I had command. How'd you do, sport? And I'm not hiding behind 'Anonymous,' which I think in English means 'pussy.'

3/23/2014 9:45 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I will say about RD's response is that he is "technically" correct that the problem is at "the fleet", in that the EDM has lower requirements than what most boats actually implement. But what he does not understand is that the boats are railroaded into stupid training plans even if they recognize that they are stupid. Group, Squadron, etc layer on a shit-ton of stuff into the EDM that the boats have to follow. Maybe it's technically correct that it's a "fleet" problem, but I don't think it generally originates at the DH level or CO level.

I remember a few years ago when the EDM was changed to make it so that Division level training plans were optional. Immediately after that group basically took the the old guidance and just reissued it under as an order from them. For a practical purpose on the boats, the guidance didn't change, it was just a different issuing authority.


Yes, and ADM Richardson as COMSUBFOR pointed this fact out in his exposition. However, the only thing I think that his paper effectively did was create a semi-annual command audit requirement. Which is the opposite of his goal of reducing administrative burden on boats.

Too much institutional inertia, and sometimes even well-meaning officers simply don't hold billets long enough to see things through.

3/23/2014 10:35 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Rubber Ducky, there you go again! It's funny how you immediately respond with pulling your dick out desperately wanting to measure it with others. Combine that with your snarky over the top rebuttals when your position is challenged makes others perceive you as a complete fucking retard and/or troll. In the future, recomend toning down your responses and stop calling others pussies for discussing perceived weak areas in the fleet. And for the record, you're the only one on this thread who gives a shit about your command days. We've all served and comparing unit awards is ridiculously juvenile.

3/23/2014 12:12 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For RD:
In all due respect, I do not believe that poster was aiming that at you. I think he was merely providing an objective mirror to the group as to the "substantive" content of the current thread. An "If you could only hear yourself" gesture, if you will. That was my read anyway. Ymmv, and considering the circumstances, quite understandably so.

Myself, I like the option of anonymous posting so that the focus is on merit of content rather than on one's credentials. (A debating tactic which is the hallmark refuge for "intellectual pussies", in my view). Yeah, it can result in cheap shots being taken that otherwise would be better off left unsaid, but it can also bring out a gem which otherwise would have gone unexpressed.
There are some good ideas in this thread, and some good snapshots of the current state of affairs albeit somewhat roughly phrased. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Find it and fix it.
That is all.

(No credentials, just fish)

3/23/2014 12:17 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Disagree. Anonymous posting is invitation to irresponsibility and poorly thought out comments. No serious journal allows correspondents to post anonymously. The blogosphere is split on this, some blogs ripe with anonymous bullshit and some well policed to prevent such drivel.

Joel's indicated in the past that he's torn on this, concerned with blowback against a poster from some twit in higher authority who's never read the First Amendment. Myself, having published under my name over 100 article in US Naval Institute Proceedings while on active duty, I can sympathize with those who want to remain nameless and I know that signing an opinion piece may take conviction and courage, but in the end hiding behind 'anonymous' is a gutless position,

3/23/2014 12:33 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD you are the biggest hypocrite on here. You have yet to reveal your real name. I am assuming that is because you were an ass CO who just BS'd his way to the top "with all your unit awards." Why don't you put your real name down so we can verify your "amazing career" in the sub force? Otherwise get off this blog and let the real sub guys vent.

3/23/2014 12:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed! Rubber Ducky: Your next post better include your full name. No name, no more posts for you!

3/23/2014 12:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rubber Ducky... Why don't you provide a link to some of your 100 articles in "US Naval Institute Proceedings." What was the boat/time frame where you earned 11 unit awards as CO? You are so full of shit. You're probably some E-4 FT on a duty day just passing the time trolling.

3/23/2014 12:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did your 100 articles consist of "cowboys don't cry" every time someone challenged your position?

V/R
Some guy who isn't interested in inviting career complications from whatever buddy network you may have.

3/23/2014 12:58 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hint for those who haven't been following Joel's blog as closely as some: "Foul-weather Jack."

3/23/2014 1:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't look now Latex Loon, but you just got hoisted by your own petard. By your very own definition of gutless and what constitutes being a pussy. Oops. OMG! You just called yourself a gutless pussy. Now isn't that just, well... "Ducky"!

Seaman(SU) Beaumont
USS Dallas (SSN-700)
Mess crank/Sonar striker.

3/23/2014 1:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After further review, I've come to the conclusion that Rubber Ducky replies using anonymous postings as well. Some anonymous posts are written with similar diction as Rubber Ducky. Nice try RD (FT E-4 on a duty day)!

3/23/2014 2:14 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"Don't look now Latex Loon, but you just got hoisted by your own petard. By your very own definition of gutless and what constitutes being a pussy. Oops. OMG! You just called yourself a gutless pussy. Now isn't that just, well... "Ducky"!"

Long time visitors to this blog know me well by name. Boots, maybe not so much.

3/23/2014 2:27 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"After further review, I've come to the conclusion that Rubber Ducky replies using anonymous postings as well. Some anonymous posts are written with similar diction as Rubber Ducky."

Not true. Joel will back me.

If I were going to post under a nom de plume, it would be as Sam Kotlin. Unfortunately not many would catch either the connotation or the rich history of the use of this name.

You guys are so easy...

3/23/2014 2:30 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disagree. Anonymous posting is invitation to irresponsibility and poorly thought out comments. No serious journal allows correspondents to post anonymously. The blogosphere is split on this, some blogs ripe with anonymous bullshit and some well policed to prevent such drivel.

You can disagree all you want, but in the year 2014 the only reason for one to post with a name is to pat himself on the back rather than argue the topic at hand. Not that a screenname actually makes your real name known, mind you.

Yes, anonymous posting leads to 'shitposting' on occassion, by and large it allows people to argue controversial topics without being judged as "just a TED" and without fear of repercussions from the CoC. Anyone serving in the nuclear Navy today has to deal with the exam process and rank/billet does not make their perception of the program any less valid.

Based on RD's responses, those reasons are legitimate. It's also indicative of a larger problem among senior officers in the Navy -- they don't really want to actually listen to anyone unless they are equal or greater rank.

3/23/2014 2:31 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

There've been some great ideas and sound proposals in this thread. They'd have far more strength were their sources known.

The instances of actual blowback for Navy writers critical of the status quo is much more rare than feared. One year I had the Canadian CNO after my scalp. Another, the head of our surface navy wanted me fried. And have been in running gunfights with a fair number of folks many times in the past. No real damage, no actual harm. Scary maybe, but mostly made up worries.

3/23/2014 2:37 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real value of anonymous postings lies in the acorns (or oak trees) of good ideas or simple yet profound truths that get presented...not chickenshit, low-brow abuse language, regardless of the occasional entertainment factor (which doesn't appear as often as some appear to believe).

Yes, of course...the Duck is clearly trolling for an emotional reaction all too often. I've reacted in kind myself. But we'll all look better, feel better, and learn better to take the high ground in responding...anonymously or otherwise.

Remember -- we're the good guys. Let's live up to our potential, or risk being easily miscast as what the Duck -- in his too-often worst, anger-filled moments -- would have others think of us.

In brief: don't take the duck bait -- it's laced with estrogen, nor testosterone. Just sayin'.

3/23/2014 3:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...not testosterone."

3/23/2014 3:14 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said shipmate!

3/23/2014 3:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There've been some great ideas and sound proposals in this thread. They'd have far more strength were their sources known".

What an utter crock of shit. So the quality/strength of an idea is diminished without knowing who authored it? In whose eyes? That would only matter to whom? Perhaps someone more concerned with pecking order/turf than substance?

A great idea is a great idea is a great idea no matter who gives it voice. By your interpretation Tesla was an imbecile with Edison apparently the real genius - instead of the conniving cutthroat that he was. How Machiavellian can you get? Don't answer that - I really don't want to know the answer. What seems evident is that in your lexicon a tree falling makes no sound unless someone who "matters" hears it AND decides to consider or not (or endorse/retaliate) based on the identity of the source.
Gag... Retch... Hurl.
Wow. I feel better now, thanks. We now resume your local program in "progress". (Sausage factory tour at 1900).

3/23/2014 4:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would suggest that this thread has run its course if the Duck is now, as happens all too often and as usual at his instigation, the center of attention...rather than more good ideas.

Again...just sayin'.

3/23/2014 4:23 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also point out that the duck is STILL anonymous.

Real name: Mike Mulligan

3/23/2014 5:15 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Mike Mulligan... He is a whistleblower who fucks people/businesses over. Do not... I repeat... Do not give this guy your name. He will throw you under the bus without hesitation!

3/23/2014 5:30 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD: just bought your Kindle book. Yer welcome. Spend it all in one place. I recommend something with Tequila. One could do worse.

3/23/2014 8:23 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's RD's book if anyone wants to check it out:

http://www.amazon.com/Stand-Fight-Feral-Sephrian-ebook/dp/B00I2R5GCU/ref=sr_1_14?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395634126&sr=1-14&keywords=gay+navy

3/23/2014 10:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite being extremely juvenile that did get a chuckle out of me, though now my "we recommend for you" list on Amazon is permanently warped...

3/23/2014 10:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.warwickonline.com/stories/CDR-Barry-F-Rodrigues,91061?category_id=20&content_class=1&town_id=1&sub_type=stories

3/27/2014 8:26 PM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Yes -- Everyone who's been around awhile knows Duck's identity. Likewise, even though I post as "Bubblehead", everyone knows my name.

3/30/2014 11:53 PM

 

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