Innovation in the USN and may be a lesson for the RN


War Hero
"To try to achieve the seemingly contradictory goal of making a very large organization agile by using parts of that same organization, in January, I established the Navy’s Task Force Innovation: a group from across the department comprising thinkers, experts, and warfighters with diverse backgrounds and from every level. We have a long tradition of creativity, and we have exceptionally talented people in the Navy and Marine Corps. I’ve charged this Task Force with harnessing that creative energy of our Sailors and Marines and infusing the ideas that come forward into our operations." AS PREPARED (2).pdf

I like some of the work they are doing, the intent is good but would it work with the RN????

Should we start at unit level? Would engaging the sailors and marines at sea make a difference? Do we need to teach them critical thinking so that it becomes not a drip session but a somewhere that new ideas are worked on?


We need to change the perception that lower ranks won't be listened to before this would work in the RN as even if invited to partake many I feel would just keep quiet. Dripping in the mess vociferously rarely leads to constructive, eloquent ideas being put forward when asked by big gold.

Secondly, as noted in that paper, we need to look at the way we deal with risk. Post Haddon-Cave we are making strides forward but it's slow. Not risk as in risk to life but risk as in reputational and career risk. There is still an issue with embracing a just culture and getting people to take on risky programs and projects because of fear of the reputational damage failure can have and the career shortening it's felt that creates.

I think it's brilliant idea, but we need a huge cultural change to do it.
And you also need to dis-aggregate 'innovation' from 'shiny new technical toys', which what innovation has quickly become about in the USN.

Cultural change is a huge task, and the only one on the table at the moment is the return to fully formed Carrier Strike Groups in the RN.


War Hero
Encourage individual initiative and taking personal responsibility. It isn't just for combat and COs. We could call it Mission Command.

Booties practise it and understand, the RN has forgotten and will reinvent the wheel.
Encourage individual initiative and taking personal responsibility. It isn't just for combat and COs. We could call it Mission Command.

Booties practise it and understand, the RN has forgotten and will reinvent the wheel.
Which is fine when you just have 120 blokes and f*ck all in the way of kit. It's quite easy to Mission Command them, not least because there isn't a huge demand on them out of their CoC. Ships, on the other hand, have about 3 different 1*s in charge of various bits of them (and the money that goes with it), with another couple trying to achieve 'strategic effect' from the same visit, all whilst a 3* is trying to play smoke and mirrors with presence.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Pah! they'll be wanting steam instead of proper sails next.

It takes a Fisher at the top to change the direction of a large organisation. Always plenty of Beresfords trying to stop it happening.

As the Commander of the Tiger once said to Sub Lt Seaweed, "You don't tell the king his crown's on crooked".


War Hero
There was an essay/paper written for the Naval Review in 2007 that addressed the redundant/duplicated layers of management , the obsession with gathering operating data, and process. For those with access it's worth a read ( it's a well written easy read) the rest will have to wait until 2017 - when still, nothing will have changed.

My comment reference Royal and Mission Command was largely in respect of their use of Corporals as pivotal to recruit and All Arms training. It sets up the corporals in the chain of command at a level, at a time and in a manner that leading rates can only dream about.
Pathetic and this from the largest Navy in the world , that in a few short years postwar , developed the Naval Nuclear Reactor and put it successfully , first go in a submarine , then Polaris , the ALABACORE project really intended as a fast target that has become the shape of all submarines . And on the side in case nuclear didn't work they were working on HTP propulsion in a shore set-up. And so it goes on with carriers adopting all the ideas the British dreamed up , but in the end couldn't afford into the future . Marines continue with the jump jet . Take the WW2 U-Boat sonar and built a US version to get their intensive ASW work progressed. It goes on on with a variety of missiles and radar .Everybody knows all this and much,much more . And there's the other services!

So what has happened ---- well I don't think you can prepare for a major nuclear war for decade after decade at huge expense without creating almost insurmountable problems across the board for generation after generation of leaders ,political and naval and the address reveals there are deep-seated problems in the USN and the inability of the politicians to decide firmly what to do and in a panic , so often doing the wrong thing . Such they are prepared to talk about consulting the lower deck about solving problem --- is it just a politician saying something he thinks the person in the street will approve on the basis the average person relates to Jack --US style?


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