Military says vaccine refusers can come back!

But don’t worry, most won’t be coming back.

The military changed its rules on the COVID-19 vaccine because the science showed it didn’t actually work Congress passed a law requiring them to do so. Now that this has changed, the military wants the members that it kicked out to come on back…or at least, some people do. Others still cling to the “You disobeyed orders and should be punished!

With the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine order lifted, troops can refuse to take the shot without risking ending their careers. But those who refused it in the past could still be booted for “disobeying a lawful order,” Defense Department officials warned lawmakers Tuesday. “It’s very important that our service members follow orders when they are lawful, and there are thousands that did not,” Gilbert Cisneros Jr., Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel, told members of the House Armed Services Committee. “The services are going through a process to review those cases to make a determination what needs to be done.”

So, in other words

Remember, we aren’t talking small numbers either:

Defense Department leaders said about 16,000 individuals refused that order without making any requests for exemption or accommodation. About 8,400 were separated from the services as a result.

I’m sure they will be coming back in droves. Remember this?

And this?

I give the Navy credit, at least all the individuals kicked out received honorable discharges. The Army was not so nice. A general discharge can impact the benefits you receive from the VA. It’s a choice by the service, and as the majority got a General Discharge, it defnitely means the discharging authority was angry over the refusal to obey orders, despite the fact the science was questionable at best on the vaccine.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again, this was NOT a good hill to die on for the military. Encouraging vaccines is one thing, but until there was a few years of data, you were just going to piss people off with mandates. Add a few young people dying after the shot, whether it was vaccine related or not, and you have a massive PR crisis on your hands.

Lawmakers are hoping many of those discharged will come back:

They did note that the vaccine refusals make up a small fraction of the total force, and said they hope that most service members continue to get the COVID-19 vaccines even without the mandate. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers on the panel said they hope to reinstate all dismissed individuals to the armed forces with full benefits and back pay. Cisneros said officials are not looking into any such move at the present.

Fat chance. The emphasis on “small fraction” misses a key point: every single member kicked out is going to tell all their friends to not join. The military just created 16,000 influencers, a portion of whom will take to social media and create a recruiting nightmare for the military. Worse still, this doesn’t count the many members that chose to retire early or voluntarily separate rather than continue service. Remember that “unprecedented” rise in military retirements and separations noted in the Health of the Force survey? That’s not random. You can only beat down on people for so long before they start to vote with their feet. Even among people who took the COVID vaccine, there is a fairly large number that didn’t think the mandate was a good idea. I make plenty of choices that I think are smart, but I wouldn’t mandate them on others, and I’m not alone in this thinking.

The military created this mess, and its spilling over into recruitment and retention. Expect it to get worse, despite anything that Congress will do.

The post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you enjoyed this post, consider donating to DaTechGuy or purchasing one of the authors books.

Rules for the Dynasty 1996 Short Season Draft League

Here are the rules for our new 1996 short season draft league. If you’re in my draft league that started in 1969 the rules might look familiar.

How the league is to be played

We will be playing the 1996 season We will be playing under 1996 rules with two exceptions. There will be at least one interleague play to allow each player to play each other player at least one home and away series. There will be no wild cards.

The schedule

We will be playing an 80 game schedule with two series against each opponent.

  • 2 Two game series vs interleague opponents
  • 2 Three game series vs teams in the same league but different divisions
  • 2 Four game series vs division rivals

Frequency of games

There will be one series per week. This will make it easier to get in series vs division rivals and to prevent conflicts with my other leagues.

Number of teams

We will have a fixed number of teams 16.

Division setup:

2 leagues, 2 divisions in each no wild cards.

Trades and waivers.

After the fifth series of the season teams may trade. Any player on the current roster may be traded along with any of the first seven draft picks for the next season If a trade is made that increases a roster beyond the 40 man limit a player must be released before the next series is played. Any trades agreed will not be executed until all the teams involved have the same amount of games played.

Waivers takes place after the sixth series. Teams make waivers picked based on their current record and are made from the undrafted players not on rosters.. If a pick brings a Roster over 40 a player must be released or an injured player not on the DL must be placed there to make room.

Note: Any player who is planning to leave the league at the end of the season is encouraged NOT to trade as it is unfair to both the other teams and the player who will replace him or her.

Early Waivers:

Teams who drop out of the draft early (before round 36 in 1996 season) can qualify for Early Waivers

Early waivers begin after week 1 and end after week 4

  • Players who leave the draft before round 36 may pick early waivers after week 4
  • Players who leave the draft before round 31 may pick early waivers after week 3
  • Players who leave the draft before round 26 may pick early waivers after week 2
  • Players who leave the draft before round 22 may pick early waivers after week 1

During Early Waivers the following rules apply

  1. Players may choose up to two players
  2. Order depends on when the player left the draft the earlier you left the higher you are in the order
  3. If two teams picking early waivers left the same round the team who drafted later in the base draft has priority
  4. Unlike regular waivers teams with a worse record can’t “counterclaim” you get who you pick.

The DL:

The DL WILL count toward your roster but to make up for it we will have a maximum 40 man roster. We will still only draft 35 but players may expand their rosters via trade and waivers.

Playing Games.

All games must be completed before the next scheduled series. the Dynasty system will take over and auto play any games that are not completed one hour before the next scheduled game (even if said unfinished game is in progress) Players are encouraged to use the chat room and the Dynasty message system to reschedule games if needed and are also encouraged to make a manager profile in case a game has to autoplay. Instructions on how to do that are here.

Be aware that if you have your team on AUTO and your opponent requests a rescheduled in the system Dynasty will automatically allow it so keep this in mind when or if you turn auto on. Also be aware if both team are on auto and you reschedule the game will be played automatically so make sure your team is not on auto before you do this.


This league will not have expansion. It is designed as a short season to contract with the 1969 league and to give me an easy schedule to make. If you want a longer season and / or a bigger league check out my 1969 league currently playing 1971.

Selecting a franchise:

Players picked from existing franchises keeping two batters and two pitchers the rest go in the draft

Franchise locations and parks

Every team is presumed to have the park their team played in during the season they entered the league.

Franchises whose teams move in real life are not required to relocate their teams. So the Montreal Expos are not required to move to Washington but they retain the option to do so at any time.

Franchises are NOT required to build new stadiums and my continue to play in their old stadiums if they wish. So Houstony can stay in the Astrodome if they wish but they retain the right to move into Minute Maid park at any time If a team chooses to move into their new park in the same city the old park is considered demolished and no other team may use it from that point on.

A team may NOT move into a park that in a different city because the Dynasty system bases the weather on the park used NOT the city that a team’s label claims it is in. .Example from the 1971 league: If the Seattle Pilots want to play in Country Stadium they MUST move to Milwaukee

A team may NOT move into a park in the same city that belongs to a future franchise. Example from 1971 league: If the Seattle Pilots choose to remain in Seattle rather than move to Milwaukee they may NOT move into the Kingdome because it is reserved for the Mariners franchise when it becomes available.

Old parks

A team MAY move into an old park from the same city under the following conditions:

  1. The park was once the home park of the franchise OR
  2. The franchise that once owned the park is now located in another city


  • the Seattle Pilots move to Milwaukee the Mariners if taken MAY move into Sick Stadium.
  • The Cardinals may move into sportsman park because it was once their old stadium.
  • Both the Yankees and the Mets may move into the Polo Grounds because the park is in NY and both teams were once based there.

Franchise Moves and or Replacement players or teams

A player may decide to take a different franchise after playing one season under the following rules

The player who movies will get the city and park of the new franchise at once but will NOT get the rookies for said new Franchise until the season AFTER the move

Example: Boston decides to move to California after the 2010 season. he does NOT get the rights to Mike Trout but retains the rights to any RedSox player who has their first card in 2011. If Boston makes the move to California in 2009 then after keeping the Boston rookies for 2010 in 2011 Mike Trout is his as a rookie (see rookies below)

If due to circumstances in the real world a player has to temporarily drop out of the league their team will be put on auto until a substitute can be found. Said substitute shall take over the team and play games until the original player can return but may not make trades or drop players from the roster (excepting for injury).

If at the end of the season the base player can’t return the substitute has first rights to the team and gets full control over it.

If a player has to drop out permanently the team will go on auto until a substitute or replacement player can be found. Said player will get full rights to the franchise unless they declare that they will only be a substitute till the end of the season.

If no replacement player is found during the season a new player will be recruited for the next season. Said player will retain the franchise and draft picks of the player he is replacing. If said new player wishes to move the franchise he can per the limitations listed above, namely he retains the rookies of the current franchise for his first season and then get the rookie rights to the new franchise the following year.

Example The Yankees drop out of the league due to illness. A substitute is found to play their games. The sub places the games until the Yankees recover. If they do not recover sufficiently to return to the league the substitute may over the Yankees franchise permanently

Example 2: A replacement player is found for the Yankees in the above example but is a big Texas fan. Said substitute can move their franchise to Texas but will retain the Yankees rookies for the 1997 season. Starting in 1998 they will have rights to Texas rookies.


A “Rookie” is define as any player who did not have a card for the previous season.

A rookie is considered to be part of the team listed on their card regardless of who they actually played their first game for (Dynasty lists cards based on who a player finishes a season with thus any rookie that was traded by an MLB team in his first season will have their card listed for the team they were traded to NOT the team they played their first game with.

All teams retain rights to their rookies prior to the draft and rookies for a franchise are not eligible to be drafted in any expansion draft.

A Rookie becomes a part of a team after said team names their protected players for the draft. They count toward the 35 man roster

Any team that doesn’t want to retain a rookie may release them before the draft to open up a roster spot but once release all rights to said player are surrendered.

Players retained list

At the end of a season teams may retain a number of players based on their finish in the previous one The players retained list for 1997 is

  • World series winner 4 players 
  • World series runner up 5 players 
  • Division winners that don’t go to the series 6 players
  • Teams with the 5th and 6th best records that didn’t win a division 7 players
  • Teams with the 7th and 8th best records 8 players
  • Teams with the 9th and 10th best records 9 players 
  • Teams with the 11th and 12th best records 10 players
  • Teams with the 3rd and 4th worst records 11 players 
  • Teams with the worst and 2nd worst record 12  players 

NOTE: If a player on your current Roster does not have a card for the next season due to injury, military service etc but WILL the following year a team may choose to retain the rights to said player but will have to spend a protected spot for it and will have to keep a space for him all season.

Example: Rheal Cormier was out the entire 1998 Season. If a team has him after the 1997 season and wants to keep him they can choose to hold his rights when his season ends and keep a roster spot for him. He will play 1998 with 39 players and in 1999 will hold the rights to Cormier.. If at any time he chooses to release him Cormier will be considered a rookie for Boston because

  1. He had no card the previous year
  2. No team held his rights
  3. His 1999 card says “Boston”

The draft order of teams for each season will be based on their finish the previous season. Any team that is not retained will of course not be drafting BUT If a team holds the draft pick of a team that is no longer in the league he will draft those picks as if that team was still in the league in the round that he holds them.

  1. Worst team (12) 
  2. 2nd worst team (12) 
  3. 3rd wort team (11) 
  4. 4th worst team (11) 
  5. 5th worst team (10) 
  6. 6th worst team (10)
  7. 7th worst team (9) 
  8. 8th worst team (9) 
  9. 8th BEST team (8)
  10. 7th Best team (8)
  11. Team with the 2nd Best record that didn’t win a division (7)
  12. Team with the best record that didn’t win a division (7)
  13. Division winner not in WS with worst record (6)
  14. Division winner not in WS with best record (6)
  15. World series loser (5)
  16. Word series winner (4) 


If there is a tie the advantage will go to the team that drafted later

The first tiebreaker for non-playoff teams with identical records is head to head matchups

The 2nd tiebreaker if teams had identical records AND split their season series is draft order for the previous season

For our 1st season the actual records of the teams will determine the order of the picks

  1. Pirates worst record of teams selected one game worse than Bluejays 
  2. Blue Jays 4 games worse than Twins 
  3. Twins two games worse than Marlins 
  4. Marlins one game worse than Reds 
  5. Reds one game worse than Astros 
  6. Astros Three games worse than Red Sox
  7. Red Sox Tied for best record of remaining teams with worst finish in division 
  8. Mariners tied for Best record of remaining teams with best finish in division who joined ahead of Chicago) 
  9. White Sox tied for Best record of remaining team with best finish in division and last to join
  10. Dodgers division series loser with the worst record of league teams)
  11. Padres Division series loser with 2nd best record or finish in division
  12. Indians Division series loser with best record or finish in division
  13. Orioles LCS loser with worst record or worst finish in division
  14. Cardinals LCS loser with best record or best finish in division
  15. Braves World series loser
  16. Yankees World Series winner

The rest of the teams aren’t filled in because we don’t know what team the final player will pick but 11-16 will not be affected by the pick made

Examples: If San Diego traded the NYY their 3rd round draft pick last season but are not an active team in 1997 then during round 3 the Yankees would get a pick in the sport where SD would have been had they played..

When all teams have drafted that will be considered the end of a round and the next round will commence.

Teams will continue to draft in this order until:

  • Their team reaches 35 men OR
  • A team with 25 or more players on their roster voluntarily drops out

Once a team has dropped out of the draft they may not re-enter it and must increase their roster either through trades or waivers.

Draft on designated Draft day(s):

A date and time will be set for the initial rounds of the draft. It will almost certainly be a Saturday or Friday as those are the days I have off. Because my schedule is particularly full till April 16th this may be delayed. If/When a designated draft day is set All teams will be expected to be either:

  1. Available in the slack chat room (preferred)
  2. Available by phone
  3. With me in my home at the time of the draft
  4. Have a list of players to be drafted submitted

All currently players are presumed to have looked over the card(s) for 1996 online or at least looked up stats by draft day. All teams are encouraged to start doing so at once.

  1. There will be one designated draft day per week.
  2. On a designated draft day a strict 5 minute limit will be allowed to make a pick.
  3. If a team misses their pick will be moved to after the next player on the list who will be considered on the clock and allowed to pick. Example San Diego misses their pick and Cleveland is next, Cleveland is allowed to pick and San Diego picks after them
  4. If a team who has been skipped has to be skipped twice their pick can be made any time before the end of the round. Example San Diego is scheduled to pick 11th They miss their pick If they figure out who they want they can make a pick or submit a list any time before the end of the round and that pick will be valid.
  5. If a team that has been skipped has not picked by the end of the round then a pick will be made for them by me. Said pick will be the player from your franchise who played the most games that season based on their card. Example: Boston does not pick or submit a list for round 5 I will look at the Roster for the actual 1996 red sox to see who is available. If John Valentin has the most game played among unpicked players he will be Boston draft pick. If Boston already has 2 shortstops that will not matter Valentin becomes the pick.
  6. The opening Scheduled draft days will go on for 100 picks. Other scheduled draft days will be 60 picks. Once the number of picks is reached the clock is turned off


Picks off the clock and on non-draft days

Because of my hectic schedule until April 17th this draft will begin as an “informal draft” which will mimic the system that takes place after a the formal draft with the clock is turned off or 100/60 picks are made

During the informal draft a team has 24 hours to make a pick. Picks can be submitted in the draft room or via the Dynasty message system or in person if the person picking is local or via the phone to me.

Once the pick is made and recorded on the draft sheet and the player moved to the roster I will announce the pick in the slack chat room and inform the person up, the person on deck and the person in the hole to be prepared to pick. Until you see that announcement the pick is not official.

The season will begin one week after the draft is complete.

If you have any questions not covered here please let me know.

Update: Casual / Informal draft now gives people 24 hours to make a pick or provide a list before the rules of the timed draft apply

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Family doesn’t lay you off

I have five living kids at home, and the comments I get from strangers when they first hear this is telling. If someone tells me “That’s awesome,” or “Sounds like a beautiful family,” they are most likely Catholic or Muslim. But that’s not most people. Most of the time I get asked “You know how babies are made, right?” or “Sheesh, did you run out of condoms?”

I’m not sure when it became weird to have large families, or actually like having kids, but its painfully obvious that we have oriented our culture around mostly childless people. When I see ads for Disney parks, they feature young or old couples, and typically at least one gay couple. But there are more gay couples than kids in these commercials now. Disney, a theme park once totally oriented for children, is quickly becoming a childless playground.

Everywhere the advantage of childlessness is touted. People with large families are bad for the environment. We are made to suffer through inflation, because it’s harder to feed our kids when the price of eggs quadruples due to bad monetary policy. And try going to Disney, or fly to Hawaii, or get a hotel to provide you two rooms next to each other to accommodate your large family, because you’ll often get little to no sympathy or help.

The big advantage of family finally became apparent to me this last week. Almost 4 years ago, the Navy accused me of a crime I didn’t commit. I provided all the evidence to show this, but the investigator, a corrupt official in the Defense Department’s Investigator General, wrote a biased report to try and punish me. I’ve had to defend myself at a Court Martial, an Article 15 proceeding, and this last week at a Board of Inquiry, which finally found me 100% innocent of all charges. During this process though, I watched many people that I served with abandon me. The Navy went from telling me I was one of their best officers, to “You’re horrible scum,” to now saying “Hey, since you’re innocent we have this great assignment to get you back on track!”

Honestly, it’s pathetic. I was reminded every day of how fickle people and organizations are. I have read plenty of articles about people getting cancelled at work because someone made an accusation, but now I actually lived it.

The one constant I had during this process was family. Every time I came home after receiving bad news, I had a wife and kids that still loved me, still believed in me, and encouraged me to take on the next challenge. While the true friends I have were encouraging, it really was family that kept me going. It makes me feel bad for the childless couples out there, because as I see companies laying people off, I wonder “Who do they turn to?”

It’s telling that the same government that makes it difficult to have large families is the same government that wants you to worship it, make it your religion, and then cancel and kick you out once you are no longer useful. I’ll write more about the whole process later, but for now, I’ll be having dinner tonight with the best group of people I know.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. Because honestly, after multiple years of serving, I have no idea what their views on darn near anything are.

Navy manpower train wreck

Damn I hate being right.

Remember last week when I spelled out the Navy’s way to stop bleeding people:

  1. Not kicking people out for physical fitness test failures
  2. Waiving darn near everything, from age to non-violent felonies
  3. Asking people to pretty-please stay around a few more years
  4. Opening OCS and other admissions
  5. Raising bonuses
  6. Make life better for officers
  7. Reduce opportunities to leave early
  8. Op-Hold people
From last weeks post

I said the Navy was already doing items 1 through 5. Item 6 won’t happen because the Navy doesn’t actually care about its Sailors. So…we’re now on item 7. From NAVADMIN 064/23:

4.  SkillBridge is intended to provide transition assistance and skill development for Service members leaving the Navy.  However, it is not an entitlement and participation does impact readiness.  As such, the time allowed for program participation is now based on paygrade.  If approved, SkillBridge must occur prior to any terminal leave or permissive temporary duty associated with separation, fleet reserve, or retirement.  The following limits indicate the maximum amount of time prior to the actual separation, fleet reserve, or retirement date that SkillBridge participation can commence. 
    a.  Tier one (enlisted E5 and below) - 180 days or less. 
    b.  Tier two (enlisted E6-E9) - 120 days or less. 
    c.  Tier three (officers O4 and below) - 120 days or less. 
    d.  Tier four (officers O5 and above) - 90 days or less. 

In case you don’t know, SkillBridge is a program where military members that are retiring or separating get to spend the last 90-180 days being trained in a civilian job before retirement. This helps military members get a jump on gaining practical skills before transitioning to civilian life. It happens at the end of their service, so theoretically they are already one foot out the door, and the Navy should already be planning to replace them.

As I pointed out before, plenty of Sailors have been denied SkillBridge because the command “can’t afford to lose them.” This is very prevalent at the junior enlisted levels. Now Navy is cutting the benefit for anyone that is retiring (it’s nearly impossible to retire below the rank of E6), and since junior Sailors already struggle to use SkillBridge, the end result is more erosion of the benefit.

I give it 6 months before Navy just starts OPHOLDing people. An Operational Hold (OPHOLD) is permitted in MILPERSMAN 1306-120. Basically, the Navy can keep a Sailor on sea duty for up to 12 months. I’ve seen this happen, and in general, it’s almost always a bad idea. The big problem is that while the Navy can force you to STAY, it can’t force you to WORK, so Sailors on OPHOLD simply do the bare minimum and the command doesn’t get the hard-working Sailor they once had. I’ve told at least one knucklehead in HR that “Your OPHOLD is only good until the Sailor says they are going to hurt themselves,” because saying you will commit suicide is the quickest way off sea duty.

Denying SkillBridge won’t work. You can’t make people work. Workers have to want to work, and unless they are motivated or fear punishment, you can’t make them work. By denying SkillBridge, all that will happen is people will purposely do less work in the time they should have been on SkillBridge. Anyone retiring was ALREADY not doing that much, SkillBridge simply recognized that and let them go early. A better option would have been to declare that SkillBridge participants have vacated their billet, so you can get a replacement in sooner. Denying SkillBridge is also a recruiting loser, because as the word gets out that Navy won’t actually uphold SkillBridge, fewer people will sign up to be in the Navy.

I continue to hate being right.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. Please support the author by purchasing one of his books or donating to DaTechGuy!

The Navy still doesn’t understand what makes SWOs tick

GULF OF OMAN (Feb. 20, 2023) The guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) approaches the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) in the Gulf of Oman, Feb. 20, 2023. Paul Hamilton is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Elliot Schaudt)

Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) have been a part of the Navy since…always. Our Navy started out on surface ships, and surface warfare continues to be important, no matter what an Aviator, Submariner or SEAL will tell you. Yet increasingly I have to wonder, does the Navy understand why it is so hard to keep SWOs? You would think with hundreds of years of history this would be obvious, but given its latest actions, I’m not so sure, because the US Navy is facing a SWO manpower crisis, and is dealing with it in ways that simply won’t work.

Let’s go back to my original rules for Navy manpower. When times are good and we have too many Naval Officers, the Navy does the following:

  1. Kick people out for failing physical fitness tests, even if they are otherwise good Sailors
  2. Make it hard to get waivers for things like antidepressants and other medical issues
  3. Begin nicely asking older Naval Officers to retire to make space for younger officers
  4. Lower the number of Officer Candidate School admissions
  5. Reduce bonuses
  6. Make life increasingly difficult, so that more people naturally quit
  7. Conduct a Reduction In Force (RIF) and simply remove people

This is a pretty good strategy to reduce numbers, slowly ratcheting up the pressure to ensure we don’t have too many officers hanging around. Naturally, if we have too few officers, the Navy turns this around by:

  1. Not kicking people out for physical fitness test failures
  2. Waiving darn near everything, from age to non-violent felonies
  3. Asking people to pretty-please stay around a few more years
  4. Opening OCS and other admissions
  5. Raising bonuses
  6. Make life better for officers
  7. Reduce opportunities to leave early
  8. Op-Hold people

In the past, the Navy has done everything on the first list to bring down numbers. Now, they are doing…almost everything on the second list, but it’s not working, and it’s becoming glaringly obvious in the SWO community. If you listen to Admirals speak (and I don’t recommend that), you would think we’re doing OK on SWO retention. But a brief glance at the Health of the Force survey shows that disaster looms around the corner:

Future force structure increases outside the future year defense plan (FYDP) require DH billet increases, requiring increased retention. This compares unfavorably with a declining billet base across the FYDP as the Navy divests legacy platforms. Year groups 2015-18 require an average retention rate of at least 37.3%, exceeding the 10-year average. If fleet size projections remain accurate, Surface Warfare requires a retention rate of 44% in YGs 19-22 to meet future afloat DH requirements.

Health of the Force Survey

So we’re not making the retention rate we need now, and we have to increase this by 10 percentage points in the future, but retention is plummeting.

All the Manpower people in the Navy right now…

The Navy is already overlooking physical fitness failures, waiving medical conditions and opening up OCS admissions…which are now having a higher-than-expected failure rate. I would think most people would understand that lowering admission standards will likely lead to more failures in a difficult program, but apparently “most people” doesn’t include Navy HR.

So what to do next? Raise bonuses. And boy did they raise them.

NAVADMIN 045/23 discusses continuation bonuses for SWO Lieutenant Commanders (LCDRs). SWO leave after their first Navy tour at a fairly high rate, and it’s hard to persuade them to stay in long enough to promote to LCDR around their 8-9 year mark. So why not pay them $22K a year IF they stay in after promoting to LCDR? It’s certainly worth a shot.

NAVADMIN 046/23 establishes a payment schedule for SWO Department Head bonuses. If a SWO screens for Department Head and agrees to stay for two Department Head tours, they can get bonuses up to $105K in total over 6 years. Conveniently, that would put them right at the point of getting a continuation bonus as outlined previously.

Now, normally this would work. Throw enough money at people, and you can normally get them to stay. But it’s not going to do that, and the reason is hinted at in the Health of the Force Survey:

Improving retention requires a multi-pronged approach. First, community managers are allowing more individuals to lateral transfer and re-designate. This will divest end strength in year groups with smaller DH requirements, freeing inventory for future accessions. Second, several monetary and non-monetary efforts are underway to improve Surface Warfare retention. Surface Warfare Officers now have a career-long continuum of monetary incentives with the introduction of the SWO Senior Officer Retention Bonus (SWOSORB) in FY22. Third, the community offers improved education opportunities including: postgraduate education opportunities, tours with industry, and fleet-up options for increased geographic stability. Fourth, Surface Warfare recently modified the career path to incorporate multiple family planning opportunities for career-minded SWOs. Finally, SWO released the junior officer survey, senior officer survey, and junior officer exit survey to solicit retention feedback.

Health of the Force Survey

Two things stick out:

  1. Family Planning opportunities? I thought Navy was all about killing babies, or at least circumventing existing laws to do so? Guess that’s not so popular when retention is on the line?
  2. The Junior Officer Exit Survey results.

I’ve read the JO Exit Surveys. They’ve existed for years, and they say the same things over and over:

  • We don’t train people enough
  • The job is thankless and people treat JOs like dirt
  • JOs find Navy life is incompatible with having any outside life or family time

That’s every survey, ever. Pay doesn’t make the top three retention issues in almost any survey. In the past though, enough money would make people overlook how bad the job is. But when truck drivers make over $100K a year, or companies pay project managers $150K or more a year, that $105K spread out over 6 years starts to look really small. The Navy caps officer bonuses at $330K over a career. Civilian companies don’t. Pay isn’t going to fix this crisis.

The ONLY hope for retaining SWOs is to increase quality of life. This would mean closing the sea duty billet gap, addressing the shipyard maintenance problems, and make driving a warship fun again. These are all inside the Navy’s wheelhouse, but it seems increasingly incapable of taking these actions. I suspect that the top SWOs are looking down thinking “You young officers are pathetic, back in my day we worked 16 hour days on shore duty and we BEGGED FOR MORE!!!”

Given that pay won’t fix it, and Navy won’t address quality of life issues, I predict we get operational holds on people leaving in the next 6-12 months. I’d like to be wrong, and maybe next year you can repost this and laugh at me, but I have a bad feeling I’m right about this.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you like this post, why not donate to DaTechGuy, or purchase one of the authors books?

The Navy’s Health of the Force survey says we are…


I know you wouldn’t guess it by the cover pictured above. If you didn’t see “NAVY” plastered in the center, you could be forgiven for thinking this was referring to firefighters or some other group of people. More on that point later…

The Navy conducted a survey called the “Health of the Force” to gauge how well it was doing in the areas of Sailor retention, healthy behaviors, and other longevity areas that concern the “people” side of things. You can read the survey here. Full disclosure, I took this survey. If you’ve been following this blog for sometime, you can guess that the results of the survey reveal a Navy in trouble, especially in terms of recruiting, and well, the first major graphic of the survey sure seems to indicate just that.

Sailors increasingly think that the Navy isn’t committed to them? Even the surveyors agreed that “The negative trend for all four of these protective factors is statistically significant.” But wait, it gets worse. When Sailors were directly asked if they would stay in or get out of the Navy, we get these numbers…


In the course of five years, we went from over 60% of young men intending to stay to retirement to just under 40%. This is really bad considering that men make up about 80% of the Navy. Female retention is always difficult, because the Navy is not family friendly (no matter how often they lie to themselves about it), so women are often stuck between “Have a family” and “Have a Navy career.” Seems like many are increasingly picking the former.

So I wonder what happened in 2018 that caused this dip? The top reason people cited for staying in was “benefits.” Hmmm…didn’t we change the retirement in 2018? Didn’t someone blog about that and said it was a bad idea? Who could have seen that coming?

Nahh, I bet cutting retirement benefits had nothing to do with the young people deciding that the military wasn’t a good long term fit for them.

But at least we’re doing well in the DEI arena, with all our mandatory training, right?

Ouch. Now, these graphs look bad, but I noticed an interesting paragraph above them:

I’m wondering how much of the high number in the graph an aggregate of many smaller numbers. Like, if sexism is a “problem” in the Navy, is it a big or small problem? Is it better now than before? The survey text and the graphs shows very different results, so I think too much is aggregated to get the finer details. The reality is though that for all the focus on racism and sexism training, we don’t seem to be getting better, or at least we aren’t perceived as any better.

Same goes for suicide. For all the money spent on prevention, its not making a difference. Normally people are fired for this, but instead we’ll keep pouring money down a drain while young people continue to kill themselves.

Apparently Navy Sailors like using drugs that aren’t just alcohol…who knew! The rise in cannabis use will impact recruiting in two ways. First, you’ll have to issue more marijuana waivers to get otherwise qualified people to join. Second, if anyone wants an easy ticket out of the Navy, they can just smoke a few joints and pop positive on a drug test.

Long time readers will remember when I predicted that to make numbers, Navy would turn off all the “early out” taps, extend contracts, lower standards and throw money at the problem? Well, this survey confirmed all of that. Here’s a section from the “enlisted retention” portion:

Remember when the Navy made headlines saying they “made their recruitment numbers!” this past year, and I said that was a prop to hide a big problem? Well, I was right. The Navy drained its DEP numbers (essentially a reserve of Sailors signed up but waiting for boot camp) to make that short term goal. Now future Sailors “are shipped to boot camp withing weeks or even days of contracting to serve.” See below.

The officers are no better. Here’s a few snippets from various fields:

The last graphic sums it up the best.

If you can’t fully man, or overman, the billets that we have at sea, then you’re not doing your job. Has anyone been held accountable for this mess? It’s obviously been going on for a long time. Why was nobody fired?

Here’s the sad truth: Health of the Force told us that despite all the efforts of our “manpower heroes,” we still perceive ourselves as racist and sexist (and remember that perception doesn’t have to match reality), we emptied our coffers to keep people in, nobody wants to stay to retirement age, and we can’t man the most critical jobs we have.

It’s going to be a bad few years for the Navy until they figure themselves out.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you liked this post, why not donate to DaTechGuy or purchase one of my books on Amazon?

Traditional Catholics and traditional terrorists

So I don’t know where to even start with this one. Obviously I’m referring to the FBI memo from the Richmond, VA office that indicates growing concern over terrorism people not worshiping the state in so-called “Traditional” Catholic parishes. When I first saw this article appear, I gave it the ole’ 72 hour wait to see what ends up being true.

After having the FBI confirm it, I went ahead and read the memo. I have read many, MANY FBI memos in the past. I’ve read plenty of intelligence memos from various agencies, and I’ve written a fair number of memos myself and with others. I also wrote a 100+ page masters thesis that was read by some very smart and important people in our government. I know that writing well is important because you never know how far something you write will travel, whether its an email, memo or 100 page analysis. Since its that important, you should learn to write well, cite good sources and be ready for criticism if you’re going to make points that are controversial.

Does this paper do that? Nope.

Seriously, go read it. First, it starts with an interesting statement: that RMVEs are interested in RTCs. As a network guy, I immediately confused RMVEs with NVME solid state hard drives and RTCs with the people that yell at you at boot camp. But no, RMVE is Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremist, and RTC is radical-traditionalist Catholic. OK, lots of acronyms, which tells me this is legitimately from a government agency right off the bat, because we know that government loves its acronyms.

Reading the first few paragraphs, its actually kind of bland. The memo states that the FBI is seeing an increase in RMVEs reaching out to RTCs, attending services and engaging more on social media, and that the RMVEs are trying to recruit RTCs. That’s not a crazy assertion. If all you see at more “radical” Catholic churches is women wearing veils and priests speaking out about the evils of homosexuality, and especially if that group of “radical” Catholics thinks the world is on fire because of sins like homosexuality, then yeah, it might seem like a great place to recruit people that would be OK bombing a gay nightclub.

But that’s where it all starts to break down. When I hear Racially Motivated Violence, I think people that hate black people, or white people, or Asians, or immigrants, or something like that. I suspect most people do too. But I have yet to see the Catholic church, including more traditional churches, argue that racism is good. There are lots of Catholic positions that homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion and sex outside of marriage are bad and causing problems in society. These same Catholics vote and protest against the governments attempts to impose these views on people, which is probably the more likely reason the FBI doesn’t like these people.

Saying that the Catholic Church, and more traditional Church followers, appeals to racist terrorism is even more dumb when you think of the extensive Catholic Church in Africa and the Caribbean that is full of…wait for it…black people! The Catholic Church, even the more traditional portions of it, represents people from all walks of life and all skin colors.

If the FBI memo said they that violent extremists were recruiting traditional Catholics to bomb abortion clinics and gay nightclubs, I might, MIGHT believe it. But that’s not what the memo says. It’s specifically about race and ethnicity, and it makes no sense whatsoever. Heck, even the Huffington Post argued that the Catholic Church lead the way to decriminalize mixed-racial marriage.

Probably should have cited that article over Salon…but I digress.

The next part is though: the FBI referencing “tripwire and source development.” I read that as:

  • Place snitches in churches
  • Develop a list of “trigger” words
  • Wrap up so-called “radical” priests when they say mean things
  • Threaten a “radical” churches tax-exempt status if they say mean things about the state

Sheesh, does this sound like the Tea Party? Or Waco, TX? Or Trump’s home in Florida? Or the dude that got thrown in jail over defending his kid in PA? If I’m drawing this conclusion, so are a lot of other people.

The analysis in the notes section does an OK job of breaking out SSPX vs FSSP vs Norvus Ordo. Honestly, style point here: put in a side-by-side comparison in the future. One nice graphic would make it a lot easier on the reader.

Further down, the memo admits it conducted no Analysis of Alternatives, fancy speak for “what other conclusions could we draw.” For an example, imagine a memo saying “War with China imminent in X years,” linking the increase in Chinese military activity to a desire to invade Taiwan. An alternative analysis might be that China is simply posturing to distract its population from domestic problems. Not having an alternative is another indication of sloppy detective and writing work on the part of the memo’s author.

The memo cites the Southern Poverty Law Center and a Salon article, which is what most conservative news agencies are jumping on. But the issues are deeper then that. There is no analysis of any of the RTCs, not even a basic open source analysis. The “Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” a scary sounding organization, is a bunch of nuns at a monastery. I doubt that they receive tactical weapons training on their campus, but maybe I’m wrong. If so, that might make for a cool addition to Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter science fiction series. But even a cursory review online shows that most of the organizations aren’t engaging in anything resembling violence.

The most disturbing thing to me is that this memo was even created and published. I’m sure the FBI gets thousands of leads every year, most of which end up being garbage. This looks like someone created an extensive memo over a single, unreliable source that was likely one racist person trying to recruit people that attend a Latin Catholic church. How did the Richmond station supervisor not read this and think “This looks dumb?” How did he or she not tell the author “You’re gonna need at least another source before we bother publishing this.”? That would have been my first comment.

So the FBI allows a poorly written memo attempting to tie racially-motivated extremists to members of the Catholic Church that attend a Mass said in a foreign language. It’s poorly researched, poorly sourced, draws crazy conclusions without data, all in what seems a blatant attempt to connect “white supremacy” to the Church. Much like the “white supremacy” nonsense that was tied to the military early on, this is only going to build more distrust in the FBI while doing nothing to fight actual terrorists.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Roman Catholic Church, or any other government agency.

Full of hot air

High Altitude Balloon at the Natl Air and Space Museum Washington DC 11/13/2017

Balloons are nothing new. When I was stationed in Pensacola, I saw pictures of Naval Astronauts that went up in high altitude balloons to help us determine the effects that altitude would have on the human body. This helped us prepare astronauts on future space missions to safely live for extended periods at that altitude. Hot air balloons were used in warfare as far back as the U.S. Civil War. Heck, last year the U.S. was testing out steerable balloons off the coasts of California and North Carolina. So when China floated balloons out last year in international waters, it wasn’t a big surprise.

Flying a balloon 12 miles off the coast is fine, and we’ve been (mostly) consistent in our approach to accepting international norms on airspace and territorial waters. That’s why we don’t ram the Russian intelligence vessels that park off the coast in the Atlantic…or shoot across their bow, or any other nonsense that the crusty drunk guy at the bar will tell you we should absolutely be doing to maintain our honor as a nation…or something like that.

Oddly specific, I know, but I’ve had more than a few of those conversations.

But flying it over U.S. airspace? That’s a whole new level of brazen. I would be quite happy if we shot it down or otherwise captured it.

Do I think China would start WW3 over it? Nope. China will launch its war on its own terms. Yes, they would absolutely protest and try to impose consequences, but it wouldn’t involve WW3.

Why is China doing this? Intelligence from a camera or other devices is going to be better the lower in altitude you are, and balloons are far lower than satellites. But I think it goes further than that. China thinks it can get away with this violation. It’s not dissimilar to the U.S. driving two aircraft strike groups through the Taiwan Straits in 1995 as a response to China’s military exercises near Taiwan. The difference here is we never sailed in Chinese waters, but the balloons are obviously over U.S. territory.

What should our response be? It should have been to fire warning shots at the balloon when it crossed into airspace, give it a chance to leave, and if not, take it down as safely as possible. Following that, I propose hosting Japanese, Korean, Australian, Canadian and Taiwanese military leaders to discuss combining air space pictures to prevent this in the future. Since we already share air space pictures with each country in some way, getting them into a NORAD-like agreement in response to Chinese airspace violation is the perfect tit-for-tat response that would show real consequences to China’s military and government while not punishing the average Chinese citizen that doesn’t get much say in the matter.

What will actually happen? Nothing. The balloons will float away and the media will bury this story, like they buried the balloon story from last year. Unless a balloon hits a plane (unlikely) or malfunctions (I mean, it IS made in China!), there won’t be consequences for this at all, which will just encourage this in the future.

UPDATE: Well this post didn’t age well…two hours after posting and one balloon is shot down. Nicely done.

This post reflects the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

If you’re rusting at the pier now when nobody is shooting at you…

You’re gonna have a bad time


Somehow I missed this lovely picture from the beginning of the new year:

US Navy Photograph

If that looks bad to you, its because it is. That is absolutely terrible rust. Rust is a fact of life on a metal ship in a salty ocean…

Except that’s not true. Or it certainly doesn’t have to be. The Navy would like you to think that its all about lazy Commanding Officers and deck plate Sailors, and if they’d just try they could find time between their mandated diversity training and extremism training to scrub the decks a bit more and eliminate this problem. Am I exaggerating? Nope. Go read it off the official “Get Real, Get Better” page. The opening says it all:

Get Real, Get Better is a call to action for every Navy leader to apply a set of Navy-proven leadership and problem solving best practices that empower our people to achieve exceptional performance.

From Navy announcement on 13 Oct 2022

That right there is the problem. The Navy is pretending that its “proven” leadership style still works. It doesn’t.

Think about it for just a minute. Does it make sense that any Commanding Officer of a Navy destroyer, or any other ship, wants a rusty ship? That doesn’t make a lick of sense. What makes more sense is that they get forced into the position of not having enough time or resources to stop the rust they have. When ships and crews get run into the ground doing routine operations, and shipyards are incapable of doing anything on time or on budget (and face no consequences for doing so), guess what? Something has to give.

What might make sense is to use some technology to give Sailor’s time back. In industry, specialized coatings like Nano-Clear keep commercial vessels clear of rust for significantly longer periods of time. Heck, even the Army, which does operate some ships, uses them, as shown on Strategic Visionary Solutions’ website:

Nano-clear guarantees their product for 10 years. Even if the Navy got half of that, how many thousands of man-hours would be saved? How many Sailors would enjoy not using a needle gun to chisel of rust and paint?

I mean seriously, does this look like what you joined the Navy for? From

How does the Army get this and the Navy doesn’t? Are we surprised when people don’t want to join?

And then when we shame people into replying, we get this:

No acknowledgement of how hard the crew worked. Just a mild threat of holding them accountable.

And we’re surprised we’re in a recruiting crisis? Why?

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency, because those people want to do more of the same and obviously the author does not.

ChatGPT says sue the schools!

If you haven’t heard of ChatGPT yet, or don’t know what it is…well, I’ll let ChatGPT tell you:

I am a computer program that can understand and respond to text in a way that’s similar to how a human would. Think of me like a robot that can have a conversation with you, but instead of talking, we write messages back and forth. My creators have taught me a lot of information and I can help answer questions and understand what people are saying.

So I asked it the following question:

There was a scandal announced recently where seven schools in the County of Fairfax, Virginia, purposely withheld the results of national merit scholarships from their students. This was likely a racist action by the school principals at those high schools, and probably hurt the affected students by denying them the opportunity for college scholarships. Can you write a 250 word blog post that describes what the parents of these students should do to seek justice for their students?

ChatGPT says…sue those bastards!!

The recent scandal involving the withholding of national merit scholarship results from students in seven Fairfax County, Virginia schools is a deeply troubling and unacceptable injustice. The alleged racist actions of the school principals involved in this scandal have likely hurt the affected students by denying them valuable opportunities for college scholarships.

As parents, it is important to take immediate action to seek justice for your students. The first step is to contact the school district and demand an investigation into the matter. The school district should be held accountable for the actions of its employees, and the parents should demand that those responsible be held accountable for their actions.

Additionally, parents should also reach out to local and state representatives and demand that they take action to address the issue. The state government should also conduct an investigation into the matter and hold those responsible accountable.

In addition to seeking justice through official channels, parents should also consider taking legal action against the school district and the individuals involved. A lawsuit can help to hold those responsible accountable and provide financial compensation for any harm caused to the students.

It is also important for parents to advocate for their children and ensure that they have access to the resources and opportunities that they need to succeed. This includes providing support for their children’s education and working to ensure that they have access to college scholarships and financial aid.

Finally, parents should continue to stay informed about the issue and advocate for change. This includes staying in touch with other parents and community members, and working together to make sure that such injustices never happen again.

In conclusion, the recent scandal in Fairfax County, Virginia, is a serious injustice that must be addressed. Parents of affected students should take immediate action to seek justice, including reaching out to school officials, representatives, and local authorities, and considering legal action. They should also support their children by providing resources and opportunities that they need to succeed. Together, we must work to hold those responsible accountable and ensure that such injustices never happen again.

Not bad for a computer that stopped processing information in 2021!

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.