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The following is an excerpt from the ceremonial pamphlet of the most recent change of command for USS HAW AD (SSN 776). It describes the professional biography of the outgoing commanding officer, CDR William Tiberius Dorr, who was in command of the USS HAW All from April 2032 to June 2035.

“CDR W. T. Dorr received his commission from the United Stales Naval Academy in June 2014 after earning a Bachelors of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Following nuclear power training and the Junior Officer Tactics and Seamanship (JOTS) School in Charleston, South Carolina he was assigned to the Strike Squadron (CSS-7) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii onboard USS CHEYENNE (SSN 773), where he served as Sonar Officer, Main Propulsion Assistant and Communications Officer. In June 20 I 9, he was assigned as a staff officer to the Commander Submarine Force Pacific Fleet at which time he earned a Masters in Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University.

In July of 2021 he attended the Advanced Submarine Tactics School (ADSTAC) in Groton, Connecticut and graduated with distinction before being assigned as Weapons Officer to the Expeditionary Squadron (CSS-6) in Norfolk, Virginia onboard USS FLUCKEY (SSGN-24). His tour on FLUCKEY was highlighted by a deployment in support of OPERATION SNOW where FLUCKEY conducted strike operations, including the insertion of a company of Special Operations Forces, to neutralize a notorious paramilitary drug cartel with ties to South American terrorist organizations. CDR Dorr was instn1mental in coordinating the logistics of weapons and supplies to the SOF Company and its allied forces for over a 5-week period. His creative management of the ballistic delivery system allowed allied forces to extend their reach well into the jungles of enemy territory, ultimately assuring mission accomplishment, and selling a new standard for Sea Basing.

In February 2025, CDR Dorr was assigned to the Joint Research, Development and Tactics Center (JRDTC), Counter Asymmet1y Division. In August 202 7, after attending the Submarine Executive Course (SEC), he was assigned as Executive Officer to the SOF Squadron (CSS-11) in San Diego, California onboard USS ARIZONA (SSN-782). In August 2029 he attended the National War College at the National Defense University, Washington D. C. earning a Masters of Science in Foreign Policy Strategy. He was then assigned to the Operations Directorate of the Joint Staff until he started the Commanding Officer training pipeline in September 2031.

111 May 2032 CDR Dorr took command of USS HAWAI/ (SSN-776), attached to the Strike Squadron (CSS-15) in Guam, and led the ship on a very successful deployment in support of the Southeast Asian Campaign ill Myanmar (Burma) last year. After successful reco11nais-sance and strike missions in support of the war, he Jed USS HAWAII on a four-week counter-piracy operation near Indonesia that prevented the capture of 5 major supply ships.”

CDR Dorr’s biography sheet is typical of today’s submarine commanding officer in that it bears the fruit of military transformation that began at the tum of the century following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Though it could be argued that the true seeds of military transformation were planted in 2006 with the rewrite of the National Military Strategy (NMS), it is safe to say that the Department of Defense (DOD) recognized that it needed to transform the way it conducted business as a result of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Nevertheless, historical evidence demonstrates that the sudden and rapid transformation of the military from a late 20th century force of attrition to a 21st century force of flexibility began in 2010.

The catalyst of transformation in 2010 was the result of budget deficits, improved operational tempo efficiencies, restructuring of the active and reserve components, and the full implementation of the global communications grid (GCG). The budget deficits placed political pressure on the President and Congress to take actions to reduce the spending of the government. Fortunately for the politicians, the Secretary of Defense had been forcing the Service Chiefs to incrementally develop new initiatives that would improve operational tempo without stressing the personal lives of the service men and women under their responsibility. Some of these initiatives resulted in the improved system readabilities and logistical efficiencies that we take for granted today. Additionally, the restructuring of the active and reserve components of the armed services in 2007 ensured that the right numbers of people were being trained with the right combination of skills. This particular initiative reduced the reserve components by 40 percent since nearly all of the low demand skills were phased out of the reserve programs. The GCG started out as a system based on the old binary computing systems and was viewed as a panacea to the military’s information systems of that time. It was not until the advent of the quantum computer in 2010 that the full potential of this system was finally realized.

It should come as no surprise then that the military officer who best personifies the past 25 years of military progress is CDR Dorr. His appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 2010 juxtaposes his entire professional development with that of the military of the 21″ century. Analyzing CDR Dorr’s career demonstrates the many initiatives within DOD during the past 25 years that not only affected the transformation of the Submarine Force, but that of all the services.

It should come as no surprise then that the military officer who best personifies the past 25 years of military progress is CDR Dorr. His appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 2010 juxtaposes his entire professional development with that of the military of the 21″ century. Analyzing CDR Dorr’s career demonstrates the many initiatives within DOD during the past 25 years that not only affected the transformation of the Submarine Force, but that of all the services.

The Formative Years. When CDR Dorr was admitted into the Naval Academy on July 1″ 2010, the military services were held in high esteem with the American public. After the successes of Afghanistan and Iraq, and with the help of an aggressive State Department international public relations program, the American military was viewed as a noble profession that made great sacrifices not just for the good of the United States, but also for the good of the world. A new culture was bred within the U.S. military that lives to this day: we are the defenders of freedom, protectors of the weak, and the first in line to halt the progress of evil. After the pull out of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq in 2008, many of the world’s political leaders grudgingly admitted that the United States was not abusing its superpower status to expand an empire. By 2010, American popularity had gradually risen around the world, which resonated in renewed American patriotism on the home front. The average citizen viewed joining the U.S. military as becoming part of special club of noble warriors who excelled in their skills defending freedom and the American way.

The Academy itself had already been two years into its new academic and professional education curriculum. Starting with the class of 2012, all of the service academies were required to roll many elements of their summer professional education programs into the academic year in order to make room for a joint service professional development (JSPD) program. The JSPD program started out with each of the academies hosting a four-week program that educated the cadets and midshipmen on the specifics of each service. It has since expanded into a six-week program that includes a week of joint leadership forums focusing on case studies of effective military leadership and a week of joint war-gaming via the secure GCG.

The Submarine Force shifts a paradigm. Until 2009, the Submarine Force continued to present itself as a multi-mission force that was uniquely qualified to perform many missions vital to national security interests. While this was, and still is, very true, the problem with the Submarine Force was that it was a victim of its own Silent Service mentality. Only a handful of congressional representatives fully grasped the potency of a submarine in support of reconnaissance, strike, maritime warfare, and sea basing. To make the Submarine Force’s capabilities more apparent without compromising the classified (and stealthy) nature of operations, the Commander of Naval Submarine Forces directed a realignment of submarine basing predicated on specific submarine missions. This was a leap from the traditional home porting of a submarine based on its design as a SSN, SSGN or SSBN. The result of this decision gave us the submarine squadrons that we have today; the strike squadrons, the expeditionary squadrons, the special operations force (SOF) squadrons, and the strategic deterrent squadrons. CDR Dorr’s first assignment was to a strike squadron based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The other strike squadron is based out of Groton, Connecticut.

The benefits of this realignment have been tremendous. Each squadron is able to focus its training and material support on delivering a specific effect to the theater commander. With each squadron training its submarines to a core competency of strike, expeditionary warfare, special operations warfare or strategic deterrence, the submarine force has been able to generate an economy of scale from a platform specific standpoint. Instead of training on a multitude of missions that the President, Joint Chiefs, Combatant Commanders or Congress may find overwhelming, the Submarine Force now has squadrons of submarines that are constantly ready to perform specific missions with very little workup time required. This has made it very easy for campaign planners to assemble the maritime component of the Joint Modular Force on short notice. The submarine force has been able to surge deploy itself on short notice for over twenty years now. The modular design of the VIRGINIA class and the subsequent FLUCKEY class SSGNs has been crucial in keeping construction costs down since each ship is built to support a squadron’s core competency. Each sensor package, weapon configuration, UUV/UAV load out, and size of the lock-in/lock-out chamber is tailored to meet the specific needs of the squadron’s mission tasking. Needless to say, the Submarine Force continues to hold itself to higher standards and routinely trains outside of the squadron core competencies as a hedge against the unpredictable nature of maritime combat.

Sea basing as a core competency of all naval ships. When CDR Dorr reported aboard USS FLUCKEY (the lead ship of our new class of SSGNs) sea basing was already a core competency of all naval ships, regardless of size. This concept had a rocky start after it was first introduced in 2002. It took many years for the Navy to effectively communicate this concept to Congress and the military leadership. Many of its critics argued that it was a new name for existing capabilities while others argued that it placed the sea-base at risk due to the dependence on sea lines of communication. An adversary would simply have to disrupt the line between the ship and the shore to adversely impact the effectiveness of such an operational concept. These concerns were well justified, but they were formulated without regard to what was once called the Sea Shield concept. As described in the original Sea Power 21 document, the Sea Shield concept provided sea control, assured access in all of the world’s littoral areas, and projection of defense overland. It essentially assured that the sea-base would be able to maintain its logistical effectiveness while in support of amphibious operations. The Sea Shield concept has since been absorbed into the Joint Theater Defense System (JTDS).

The advantage of sea basing has been demonstrated over the years, but it wasn’t until the Navy developed improvements in delivery systems and established the Tailored Logistics System (TLS) that the sea basing concept became a requirement of all naval ships. The Naval Ballistic Delivery System (NBDS), UUVs and UA Vs have been instrumental in delivering supply payloads to ground forces, coastal patrol units, and other naval vessels. The payloads have ranged from munitions and weapons to medical supplies and food. The TLS was brought on line in 20 I 5 to facilitate rapid delivery of personnel, equipment and supplies to units in need of immediate relief. The objective of the TLS is to extend the military reach of our forces from the sea to points inland using all dimensions of space. It allows the on scene commander to request a wide range of payloads, via the GCG, based on the standardized load outs that we place on every deployed ship of the fleet. The versatility of the system is that it allows the host ship to put together a tailored package for the on scene commander without wasting valuable payload space. It has been instrumental in sustaining the operations of our marines and SOF as they conduct various operations around the world. The sea basing capabilities have been folded seamlessly into the Joint Modular Force (JMF) concept that was born in the rewrite of the 2006 NMS.

A new way of force structure. CDR Dorr’s deployments on the USS FLUCKEY and the USS ARIZONA were typical of any submarine that had a role in a Joint Task Force (JTF) created under the JMF concept. The JMF structure was the result of a shift in campaign planning theory in 2007. The 2006 NMS placed threats to U.S. national interests into four categories: conventional, irregular, catastrophic and disruptive. It was well recognized that the U.S. military could respond to any conventional threat, but it was less certain that the military was structured to respond to a wide range of threats on a moment’s notice. The 2006 NMS attempted to address these concerns by shaping the military force into an expeditionary organization. The problem with this initial approach is that it required a vast amount of resources to equip, train and deploy the full complement of a JTF. The services were still very parochial with respect to predeployment preparation and training of their oversized units, consequently, there was an inefficient duplication of effort. Addition-ally, it was inevitable that there would be stovepiped efforts that ultimately had to be worked out in theater, detracting from the readiness of the JTF. The Joint Chiefs concluded in 2008 that there needed to be a better way to build a joint force able to respond to the wide range of conventional and non on ventional threats. The result of this conclusion was the Joint Modular Force.

The JMF allows Combatant Commanders (COCOMS) to build a made-to-order JTF that takes advantage of explicit skill sets within each of the services. As a result of the shift to a capabilities based procurement process in 2003, each of the services has been able to refine its specialties in a complementary fashion. Each service has been able to efficiently use all of their limited resources to structure their forces to a specific set of effects, vice trying to structure to an all-purpose capability. The services no longer need to duplicate efforts to build the all-purpose tool. That responsibility belongs to the COCOM who now has a deep chest of finely honed tools that he can use in any combination or number. The ability to piece together five Army battalions, three Marine battalions, five SOF companies, three fighter wings, three bomber wings and an assortment of ships and submarines has become a matter of routine for the COCOM. What used to take nearly a year of planning with significant retooling in theater is now done in 90 days. The GCG, the Joint Logistics Command and the Joint Forces Training Command have made it possible to assemble and prepare the units mentioned above in only 13 weeks. Since each unit is always ready to deploy, the only pieces of the puzzle that need to be inserted are those pertaining to communication plans, logistics plans and coordinated rehearsals. The universal application of the GCG with its unlimited bandwidth has simplified coordinated operation from the operational to the tactical level.

After the 13 week work up period, the JTF is prepared to respond to its specific crisis. Second and third echelons of units are trained in parallel in order to support sustainment of operations in the unlikely event that the crisis turns into one of attrition. Because each service maintains smaller and more specialized units than they used to, they are able to prepare more of these units while leveraging economies of scale in both training and supplies. The JMF has made our military fast, coordinated and lethal. This combination has allowed the United States to respond to any threat, in any medium, at any time.

Listening to the customer. CDR Dorr’s post department head shore tour at the Joint Research, Development, and Tactics Command JRDTC) signifies one of the greatest advancements of the military in the past 20 years. The JRDTC was established in 2019 in response to the West African conflict of 2016. U.S. forces found many pieces of their equipment faltered in the harsh environment and some of the adaptive tactics taken by the fascist militia neutralized some critical electronic systems. Despite the standardized sea-base combat load out of the ships in the region, the on scene commanders actually needed rapid modifications to their gear. It was during this conflict that one of the Navy’s Admirals recalled an old reality television show called “The Apprentice” where contestants vied in a series of business challenges. In a few of the episodes, the contestants were tasked with designing, producing and marketing a product in one week. Given direct access to machine shops and design studios, it was rather simple to build just about any product in a week. If the television show contestants could do this in a week, why couldn’t the most potent military in the world? The Admiral convinced the Joint Chiefs to establish the JRDTC the following year.

The objective of the JRDTC is to develop new equipment and tactics based on recent operational experience. This ensures our military personnel are equipped with the latest technologies, tactics and equipment while standing in harm’s way. The GCG provides real time feedback from the theater of operations to ensure that the JRDTC is listening to the customer. The JRDTC has direct links to the industry with a budget sizable enough to start immediate production of new equipment until congressional supplementals can sustain production for the current conflict. The JRDTC is networked with all of the service specific labs and the university applied research labs to maximize development of solutions. During the conflict in Southeast Asia last year, the JRDTC was able to modify our military’s thermal imaging systems to overcome a new thermal coating applied by the adversary. The turnaround from initial detection of the adversary’s countermeasure to delivery of the upgraded systems was six days.

The future looks bright. The United States military has seen many improvements in capabilities over the past 25 years but it was the shift in military preparedness and force structure that had the most impact on transforming the military from an organization based on 201h century attrition to one based on flexibility and efficiency. CDR Dorr’s career is a testament to the changes within the submarine force and how they mirrored those of the other services. The popularity of the U.S. military, as advertised by the Department of State’s international goodwill pubic relations campaign, assured we would get the best and the brightest volunteers to stand for all that is good in the world. CDR W. T. Dorr is one of those volunteers. The maturation of the Navy’s sea basing concept moved beyond the large deck ships to the smaller Littoral Combat Ship and the stealthy submarine force. To this day, submarines are the most effective platform for the sustainment of clandestine operations, particularly the FLUCKEY class SSGN. The restructuring of the submarine squadrons was a bold step towards the JMF concept that ultimately helped reshape the structure of the military. The continuous refinement of the JMF doctrine will provide many more decades of fully deployable assets and flexibility for the COCOMS. The JMF has demonstrated that it is the ultimate multi-purpose tool that takes on many shapes and sizes depending on the assigned mission.

BUBBLEHEAD IN BAGHDAD Commander Eric Jabs, U.S. Navy Reserve with thanks to Major Dave van Dyche, USAF

CDR Eric Jabs is a (full time) Reserve Submariner. He is NATO’s Exercise and Operational Support Officer at Allied Command Transformation, in Noifolk, VA.

Maj Dave van Dyche is a USAF Intelligence officer and former Army infantryman, currently assigned to Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, in Mons, Belgium.

“what the heck is a submariner doing in the desert?” is what many people asked me and my wife during the last quarter of 2004. Well, this situation is not as Unique as it first appears, and in my opinion such deployments will become more common in the future, as the Navy shoulders a larger land mission in the Global War on Terrorism. In any case, I offer a snapshot of potential challenges and rewards that await in an Iraq assignment. Included in this tale are some thoughts on how Navy experiences and Joint Professional Military Education can help when operating in a multi-cultural, joint, and interagency environment. So, this is the story of my transit to and time on station, in Baghdad, where mortars and rockets fell with unpredictable frequency, small arms crackled constantly, and suicide bombers rocked the world with deadly blasts.

Setting the Stage

Reporting aboard NATO’s Allied Command Transformation in August 2004, the place was abuzz with talk about a pending order for staff members to deploy for three months to Iraq. This was previously unheard of in that Alliance strategic command and it certainly upset a lot of old paradigms about what NA TO duty entailed. Those perceptions were soon shattered as the opportunity to deploy was real, and NA TO expanded its security role outside of Europe to include Iraq as well as Afghanistan. I volunteered for the mission, justifying it by: a recent trip to the Gulf States, Middle East specialization at National War College, and extensive field deployments as XO of US Southern Command’s Deployable Joint Task Force Augmentation Cell. It didn’t hurt that I had just reported and could request that another Reserve Commander take on duties as Operational Support Officer.

The Mission

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization came to Baghdad at the behest of the Iraqi Interim Government in August 2004. The group was titled NATO Training Implementation Mission-Iraq (NTIM-1). Our mission was to assist in the training of lraqi Security Forces, along with some equipping and technical assistance. This mission was to be distinct from that of Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I), but working closely with that coalition. No combat or combat training was involved. The objective of NATO’s support was to help Iraq build the capability of its government to address the security needs of the Iraqi people. The timing of this mission corresponded to the ramp-up of numerous events leading to Iraqi national elections in January 2005. About 20 NA TO personnel from I 0 nations started the mission on 18 August 2004 in Baghdad. It truly was an Implementation mission, as everything still needed to be established, and there were many lessons yet to be learned.

Deployment Preps

Preparing for Individual Augmentation to Iraq is quite different than preparing a warship and crew for deployment overseas. I highly recommend any folks in similar situations use the invaluable NAVCENT gouge built from veteran sailors’ experiences:

While NA TO deploys as a team, each nation is responsible for the pre deployment training of its own troops. U.S. service members were routed through Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX. For those who have never experienced the Anny way of doing things, it can be a bit of a shock. It is comprehensive preparation built to accommodate the lowest common denominator-including civilian contractors headed to that theater of operations. I emerged much better prepared, and equipped, for Iraq. Additionally, as our unit went through together, it was a great team building experience to triumph over adversity in getting validated to deploy. Finally, the contacts made during those days in Bliss became valuable networking nodes during my time in-country.

With our national training complete, the larger team assembled in Naples, Italy, home to NATO’s southern Joint Forces Command-operational commander for NTIM-1 and for the (then) ongoing Bosnia operations. There, we met our colleagues with whom we would share the next three months in a combat zone. The group started to find its feet as a team as we went through the familiar first stages of development: forming and storming. 1 The Naples time was meant to focus us on the Iraq training mission, plus adding additional instruction that would be beneficial. It was also important here to fill gaps in equipment needed to enter the theater, especially as our team would deploy directly into Baghdad, instead of entering Iraq through the usual U.S. ports of entry, where body armor and ammunition are typically issued.

Into Theater

Our team lifted off from Naples on a USAF C-17 and landed at Balad airfield, northwest of Baghdad. Rapidly descending in a military aircraft into an environment where shooting can be expected is thrilling, to say the least. Upon deplaning, we were immediately assaulted by the absolute intensity of September temperatures in Iraq. Dry heat, we kept telling ourselves. We were met by a protocol officer toting an M-16-first time I’ve seen that particular combination. Ushered into an air-conditioned staging tent (thank you, Air Force!), we awaited nightfall for the helo lift to the International (nee Green) Zone. Distant thumps marked our first mortar attack-we were all glad they were far-off.

A CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawks were staged for our departure. (Having a flag officer with your group certainly helps in laying on helos.) Once it was dark, bags are loaded center line in the CH-47; we lined its sides plus available Blackhawk seats. We sat idling on the tarmac for 45 minutes -waiting for clearance to take off. The heat of the desert, combined with the turbines’ exhaust, was unbelievable -at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. I was certainly glad I brought so much water, which was rapidly consumed. I said to myself: “Self, wear goggles on any helo ride.” The helo’s open hatches allowed a lot of fine sand to blast inside.

Contemplating the huge stack of bags that towered over us, we wondered what would happen if the helo banked hard. We also wondered: why the delay? Was there firing going on? Were we going over Sadr City, or some other hot spot? What if we went down-we hadn’t yet received any ammo for our side arms. Locked and loaded machine guns point out into the darkness from the hands of veteran side gunners. Many thoughts fill all our heads as the rotors turned, and we awaited lift off. One younger member launched into a monologue of comic baby-talk: interesting reaction to stress.

Finally, upward motion-airborne! Off we wisked, close to the ground and feeling the G’s of a combat takeoff. The aircrew was pushing the envelope of their machine, ensuring we were a difficult target. We strained to peer out the side hatches-some areas were void of electrical lights, the city seemed huge. Then there was a river-must be the Tigris! We were going into the land of so much history, of Adam and Eve, and of Ali Baba. We landed at Washington LZ, and sure enough, a few of those bags tumble on top of us. A thud and an expletive proved the wisdom of wearing helmets inside fast-moving rotor-winged aircraft.

The International Zone

The International Zone (IZ), formerly known as the Green Zone, was an area of palaces, parks, and parade grounds during the Saddam years. Nestled in a major bend of the Tigris, it is now a fortress maze of high concrete barriers, concertina wire, and third-country-national guards. The guards are mostly Ghurkas and Filipinos, many ex-military, all perpetually vigilant, courteous and cheerful. These fellows paid their dues too, as shortly before Thanksgiving, an insurgent rocket attack killed four Ghurka guards when a round struck their tent-a grim reminder that indirect fire has little discrimination.

You can still see some of the lushness of the area when you look at all the trees and plants -most especially when compared to the area outside, commonly referred to as the Red Zone. Once principally the playground of the rich and privileged, the IZ now contains the US Embassy to Iraq, and many supporting organizations. These myriad outfits employ some fascinating people. One of my colleagues referred to the constant parade of quizzical looking individuals, all armed in some fashion, as very much like the “Mois Eisley Cantina” scene in the first Star Wars movie. It really was an apt analogy, as the cast of characters in Baghdad have various reasons for being there, not necessarily well-intentioned, while all the while a light barroom music seems to be playing in the background. The International Zone also has little corporate memory. Almost everybody was there for a relatively short duration. For example: Army personnel were normally on a one year {plus) tour, Navy deployments were usually six months, while the Air Force was expeditionary at four months. Such tour lengths made us NA TO folks rather sheepish about admitting that our deployment was only 90 days.

Sandbagged living trailers surround the Presidential Palace, which houses a large part of the Department of State organizations. Behind the palace is Saddam’s pool, which still sees a fair amount of use. But even with all these good things, the first mortar attack leaves one wishing for mortar screens on top of your trailer to pre-detonate and deflect incoming shells. It’s kind of hard to enjoy a cigar while wondering where the next round is going to land, although the risk of both activities seemed appealing to many that come to live and work in the IZ.

Overhead, choppers of different makes and nationalities are in motion during all hours, flying low and fast without lights. Driving in and outside the lZ can be both exhilarating and draining, for adrenaline is a very powerful drug! There are no signals, few signs, and seldom traffic police. Always on the lookout for suspect vehicle-borne IEDs, you share the road with traffic: MI tanks and Bradleys, humvee convoys, and innumerable SUVs of the Personal Security Details in convoy. You drive fast, and plan how you would “get off the X” when an attack occurs. It’s been said that “War is the ultimate competition.”

The dynamics of life in the IZ, and particularly with our small crew, had similarities to deployment on submarines, albeit not always as fast moving. The repetitive food choices, how you get to know everyone’s stories by the second month, how little nervous tics or personality traits will start to grate on you (or yours on those around you!). Small problems become unnecessarily magnified. Tempers got short when the frequent impacts of attack and all-clear sirens interrupted the routine (somewhat similar to the drills and real events underway.) A thick skin certainly is a valuable character trait to have during these times. And of course, there’s always the counting days ’til redeployment (Anny-speak for return to port).

The Task at Hand

NATO came to Iraq to train that country’s leaders, and we soon set to work to do just that. I was fortunate enough to be named chief of a team that would provide training at the Iraqi National Joint Qperations enter, or NJOC. The NJOC serves as an inter-agency body responsible for taking operational reports from both the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior, and joint command centers in all of Iraq’s 18 Governates, or provinces. These reports are analyzed, condensed and fed up to the Prime Minister’s situation room, as well as the Iraqi National Security Council. Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-1) also had a cell there, for coordination and combined missions.

NATO’s mission to provide training, “separate and distinct” from Coalition efforts, was ideally suited to the NJOC. MNF-I would deal with all operational issues, NA TO would provide training. The Iraqis manned two NJOC shifts in a port and starboard rotation, with OS’s as shift directors. This group of about 25 individuals was headed up by a two star general, himself a combat veteran-wounded four times. We came to know this group of officers very well over the next three months, as we strove to connect with them, and determine what topics would best benefit their needs. Understanding Arabs’ was an essential book to help us westerners better interact with our training audience. It takes considerable time in the Arab culture to build up a level of trust sufficient to train effectively. We found that pictures of one’s family were great to induce animated discussions, in which we were ably assisted by our Arabic-language interpreter, from the NA TO country of Romania.

The first team of NTIM-1 had set the stage for my group by introducing the concept of the 26-nation alliance providing training. Straining to remember all the Navy Nuclear Power methods of instruction, as well as latter education experiences through National War College, I started to build a program based on: what our predecessors told us, what coalition leaders expressed, and most importantly, what our Iraqi audience felt was required. We started by drawing on our team talents, which collectively included: joint command center experience, computer skills, intelligence matters, command and control, as well as ground, air, and maritime warfare.

Meeting the Iraqi’s urgent request, we started training on basic computer skills. While some NJOC officers already had this knowledge, it was generally not shared. During the previous 35 years under Saddam, information was power, dangerous, and not readily available outside your lane. We eventually unearthed a real computer expert from among the NJOC officers-but he was keeping his skills to himself, by habit or inertia. So, Left click, right click training was our beginning, from the General on down. This soon blossomed into bi-weekly training sessions until our computer skills were exhausted. It was time to pass that mission on to more knowledgeable professionals better versed in all aspects of computers, as well as Arabic. We eventually convinced the NJOC leadership to use the above mentioned individual’s talents for organic training.

As the weeks and subjects rolled by, it came to a point where our team’s own skills were about tapped out after topics such as strategic affairs, operational planning, information management, and problem solving techniques. It was time again to look elsewhere-to the other 50 plus members of our Training Mission. Resident in these folks (from I 0 different countries) we had more than enough experience and aptitude to bolster our schedule, and audience interest. We brought in many of our colleagues to teach on subjects like civil-military relations, command center development, HF radio operation, Force Protection, and more. One of the secondary benefits was showing the Iraqis how non-commissioned officers are absolutely critical to western militaries, and that officers indeed can learn much from them. This concept was very foreign to our Iraqi friends.

We also strove to ensure that our training was not directive in nature, that is, we did not present it in the manner that this was the only way to solve a problem or deal with complex issues. We presented material as this works for some NATO nations. perhaps similar methods will work for Iraq. This concept was borrowed from Lawrence of Arabia, who wrote: “Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them.”


I drew on many previous leadership lessons, especially when asked to lead people who were older in years, but nominally junior by rank. It reminded me of what Junior Officers must do when leading much more experienced Chief Petty Officers. When leading peers, or more experienced subordinates, one must make a solid plan based on logic and principles that will stand up to criticism, plus be effective in execution. Also, the method of leadership by negation, proved to be very effective in standing up the nascent NTIM-1. Navy leaders are often expected to forge ahead with a set of rules telling us what not to do, thereby giving freedom of maneuver to reach a goal. In a place where the rules haven’t even been spoken, much Jess written, being comfortable with this style goes further than leadership by direction- that is, tell me what lo do, otherwise I do nothing.

The instruction methods ingrained from years of submarine service, as well as running multiple training programs as CO of a Reserve Center, were put to good use in setting up and executing NJOC training. One key was looking for objective quality evide11ce that the education was being internalized. Examples of this were when the Iraqis started doing real-time monitoring of open sources (internet, TV) for Intel and battle damage assessment, or when they incorporated operational planning techniques in follow-on events. Also, you could tell by the scope of their questions and terms used that the Iraqis were building on past lessons.

Joint Military Professional Education provided the foundation and familiarity with our sister services: operations, terms, and culture so necessary to be successful on a joint/multinational mission. A previous Joint tour taught this sailor about deploying to a land battlespace where there were few set rules and a lot of autonomy for reaching an objective. Finally, the National War College curriculum plus classmates earlier Iraq experiences, helped shape my thinking for the multicultural and interagency setting that was Baghdad in the fall of 2004. While this deployment experience was only one small part of a much larger campaign in Iraq, it offers a lens through which to view what a Baghdad deployment is really like, and to better prepare personnel for what lies on the horizon. For in the future, some sailors will be seeing more sand than sea.

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