USN: A review of changing traditions, and call for more!


Some Traditions are NOT needed! Back in the day… the process to transmit Navy messages included strict accountability and control and were hugely labor intensive. But as official information exchange technologies become more prevalent, DoD transitioned to other means to accomplish the task. Organizational messaging services are prevalent throughout DoD now. And as of this week, Navy has just announced that they can send messages in Upper and Lower Case! Fleet Cyber Command made the change to make the messaging more readable. And today’s younger sailors will be relieved to get “normal sentence” communications. When I text my teenager to COME HOME NOW, the capitals are conveying a tone. Most certainly!

Another tradition to bite the dust this week is the vehicle decal program. When there is less money to go around, folks take a hard look at what they are paying for. Tough decisions have to be made. Sometimes, it’s a good thing! There are plenty of programs out there in DoD that should be killed, and we all know it. Last week, the Chief of Naval Operations issued a new Navy Message (upper and lower case, of course!) titled “ELIMINATION OF DEFENSE (DOD) VEHICLE DECAL PROGRAM”.

Anyone who has been around the military knows that getting the right decal on your car is really hard to do. It requires actually going to the pass and ID office, waiting in an incredibly long line, showing them all the right paperwork (translated: the paperwork you actually don’t have in your hand at the time), and then some how magically getting the decal into the right position on the vehicle. How many of us have timed our car-replacements to the cycle of decal expirations? Effective 1 July 2013, you just need your ID and a car that is licensed, registered, inspected and insured, and you are in. (For rental vehicles, the contract is enough.) Common sense solution to a problem that only a budget cut could have forced to fruition!

Now I’d love to see the old base access system (Defense Biometric Identification System) be as soundly and thoroughly kicked off base! This government program has defied every opportunity to modernize and make use of available technologies to provide useful information to the gate guards. I can count on the fact that, regardless of what base I am accessing, the guard will be holding that old ID-scanner but won’t actually be USING it. New systems that make use of big-data technologies, current biometrics and scanners and modern decision tools would go a long way in improving this legacy mess. Someone needs to write a message ABOUT THAT!

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