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AUSN Blogs


Well we certainly had a good time in Las Vegas and more importantly a lot of good work was accomplished. We now have a new slate of elected officers and our first seven Board members. More on that later.

If you are receiving Irons for the first time it is because you attended the conference. Originally begun as communications between the Executive Committee and me three years ago we now also send Irons to our most active members and that is those who attend conferences. The idea is to give all a heads up on important things going on here in Washington and around the Force. It is direct communication intended for leaders so occasionally there is a bit of frank information included. We now have a version on the web site as well.

From the perspective of your Executive Director the conference in Las Vegas could not have gone smoother and I want to thank Kathy and Joe Quaglino and their Southwest Region team for all the hard work that makes such things possible. The tour at Nellis AFB was a big hit with thirty-nine members attending on Wednesday. The Air Force provided a motor coach to pick us up, tour us around, and return us to the hotel. That made the day very easy on all of us. After a tour of the flight line we had a great briefing at the Predator training facility. Many were amazed at the small size and light weight of the aircraft. After a great lunch we received a briefing on the Red Flag exercises and then had a detailed tour of former Soviet aircraft, missile systems, tanks, etc. All in all, a great day.

The Executive Committee met to pass a lot of changes to our C&BL and the Ops Manual to align those documents with the new Board of Directors governance model. There were about 24 changes in all which were approved with some modifications.

The President’s reception was great as the Anchors outdid themselves again with decorations for that and for our banquet. Look for pictures in the October magazine. Also on the social agenda was the dinner show – Tony and Tina’s Wedding, attended by 42 of us.

Highlights of the conference business meetings were the presentations by Craig Williams of Lockheed Martin on the F-35, CDR William Bailey Jr. on the Navy Safe Harbor program (very well received by our group) and of course, VADM Dirk Debbink, Chief of Navy Reserve. The C&BL changes were approved, we elected a new slate of officers and the first seven members of the Board of Directors. Congratulations to RADM Tim Moon our new President and RADM Steve Israel, Chairman of the Board. Newly elected officers include: DKCM Charles Bradley (Executive VP), ISCS Jon Altman (Enlisted Affairs), CAPT Elaine Allen (Reserve Affairs), LCDR Dave Bradley (Government Relations), CAPT Joe Valenta (Retired Affairs), CAPT Bill Loockerman (Budget & Finance), and CAPT John Lindell (Treasurer). LCDR Rogers, CDR Aaron Bresnahan, and CAPT Loren Page were reelected to their same positions. Other Board members are: CAPT Dave Mitchell (Vice Chair), DKCM Charles Bradley (Financial), CDR Aaron Bresnahan, CAPT Mileva Hartman, President Moon, and CDR Joe Quaglino. The Board held its first meeting Saturday afternoon and is already very engaged in selecting the outside members on which all of us will be voting in November.

As we get ready for the Labor Day holiday weekend we are busy here in Alexandria with conference wrap up, thank you letters, etc. President Moon will be aboard next Wednesday and we look forward to that. CAPT Puzon is very busy working on the west coast Navy Now Forum and we have our first sponsor – VetJobs on board. This is an important event for us to continue the plan for increased visibility for AUSN in the community and in front of the Active Component.

On Wednesday this week I attended a dinner at VADM Debbink’s for the retired Reserve Flag Officer community. More importantly, yesterday was the all day Retired Flag Conference at the Navy Yard conference center. I received a number of compliments on our magazine from our new Active Component members. This annual event is always a good information session and the CNO’s kickoff presentation was worth the day all by itself. Budget wise the “story” is that the Navy is well positioned, while at the same time everyone is very concerned about the 2011 and 2012 submissions. (The spin was positive but AUSN remains very concerned about future budgets.)

The Chief of Naval Personnel is probably the person with the biggest smile on his face as the manpower accounts are in the best shape we have seen. Retention and recruiting for both the AC and the RC are at all time highs. Retention among female officers has almost doubled in the past two years due in part to programs which make it easier to have a family and a Navy Career. Here’s a sound bite – 20% of CNP’s staff telecommute at least one day a week! The Navy is very aware of the impact of the economy on this and figures that when unemployment reaches 7.5% again that recruiting will have to ramp up. I have never before seen us thinking ahead like this. CNP has done his homework.

Perhaps the biggest take away for me was that the CNO is very comfortable in his skin at this point and clearly has laid out his plans on a big picture scale for the Navy of twenty years from now and beyond regarding ships, planes, and unmanned vehicles. That may seem obvious but in this town the day to day pressures often prevent long term thinking. This is what the Service Chiefs are supposed to do while the Combatant Commanders fight wars.

Another take away is that the Navy is making plans for a change in law to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The Senate has yet to pass its legislation but the House already has. As a point of reference here is what CNP had to say on the matter: When he holds town hall meetings he asks for a show of hands from those who think that they have known or worked with someone in the service from the Gay/Lesbian community. He says he gets more than 90 % hands raised. Then he asks for a show of hands of those who think that they have been negatively impacted on the job by this. He only gets one or two hands. His point, a younger generation is much more tolerant than we older folks. I’m not preaching here one way or the other, just passing on information.

Next month we will launch our monthly theme for the magazine which will be repeated each year. For October we focus on the Navy and its Birthday. We will also launch our new regular column titled (I think) “The Enlisted Voice.” MCPON will be our lead for this column. Our feature will be an interview with SECNAV conducted by CDR Bresnahan. Also next month we will have a four page center section from our Ship’s Store. Please take a look and shop with us for the holidays. It is important.

That is where we are today. Have a great Labor Day weekend.


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