Posts Tagged ‘NG36B’

ChatGPT says…sue the schools!

Posted: January 21, 2023 by navygrade36bureaucrat in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

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.

Image from Wikipedia

When the Black Plague hit Europe in 1350, it ravaged the area and killed millions of people, especially in the lower classes. But afterwards, the labor shortage caused a working class revival in the peasantry. Day laborers could demand more money for their goods and better working conditions. From the Medievalists:

After the ravages of the Black Death were finished in Europe, however, there were suddenly far fewer people to farm the lands. Egyptian scholar Ahmad Ibn Alī al-Maqrīzī, described what this looked like after the plague had passed through Egypt: “When the harvest time came, there remained only a very small number of ploughmen.” There were some who “attempted to hire workers, promising them half of the crop, but they could not find anyone to help them.” The same was true in Europe, and crops remained unharvested and great revenues were lost for the local landowners because they couldn’t get anyone to do the work.

Egyptian scholar Ahmad Ibn Alī al-Maqrīzī

Not surprisingly, some people didn’t like these uppity peasants not knowing their place.

Many and various attempts were made by local governments and officials to block this upward movement. An Ordinance from Castile in 1351 condemns those who “wander about idle and do not want to work” as well as those “demand such great prices and salaries and wages.” It orders all able to do so to work for a set, pre-plague price. Another from Sienna condemns those who “extort and receive great sums and salaries for the daily labor that they do every day” and sets a fixed price of six gold florins a year. …
The English poet John Gower lamented in his Mirour de l’Omme that labourers who were used to eating bread made of corn now were able to eat that made of wheat and that those who had previously drunk water were now enjoying luxuries like milk and cheese. He also complained about their new, fancier attire, and their choice to dress above their station. His attitude was common among some in the upper and middle classes who lamented the social improvements of the lives of peasants and the loss of the good-old-days before the plague when the world was “well-ordered,” and people knew their place (as Gower says).

The Medievalists

The similarities to today are interesting. While the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t kill nearly the same number of people (especially in the US), it did lead to a massive revolt in the working class. Now truck drivers for Walmart make $100K a year, and there are plenty of people wanting these modern day versions of “peasants” to remain in there place (typically by using mass illegal immigration and inflation to suppress wages). The hardest hit by far is the military, because it relies on a large number of cheap, easy to enlist, (mostly) men to fill its ranks. While it is somewhat of a stereotype (as analyzed in 2020), its not entirely false either.

Stuck between rising prices, a loss of patriotism, an increasingly smaller subset of the population it can recruit, the military is now in the same personnel crunch as 1370’s landlords. It even has its own versions of complaints against uppity peasants, which I call the “appeal to patriotism” and “suck it up,” and are best explained in an example.

A few years back, I sat on a panel discussing the manning problems related to a specific set of submarine Sailors. Because serving on submarines is voluntary, we didn’t have a lot of Sailors in one particular rating, and we had to put an OPHOLD on a Sailor. An OPHOLD basically means we canceled that Sailors orders to another duty station and kept them in their current job. It’s supposed to be a rare thing, so the fact that we had to do this to meet minimum manning was concerning.

On the panel I suggested that we authorize a special bonus for these Sailors of around $150 a month. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of money, I had seen bonuses of that size bump up volunteers before, and I figured we could easily raise it again in the future if needed. I had at least two civilians, both retired master chiefs, scoff at this notion. “These kids should be volunteering for submarine duty out of patriotism!” one said (yup, literally his words). Another lamented that kids these days couldn’t “take it” when it came to the hardships of submarine duty.

The senior most officer (a Captain) asked why we couldn’t just keep OPHOLDing Sailors. Frustrated, at this point I jumped in and said “Your OPHOLD means nothing if Sailors start saying they’ll commit suicide, which guarantees you can’t assign them to a submarine.” The room got pretty quiet, and eventually the Captain agreed we should pursue a bonus. Ultimately the bonus did help and got us out of the manning jam, although it took a while and put the Navy in a pretty risky position at the time.

If you wonder why I’m never surprised at the horrible conditions onboard the GEORGE WASHINGTON and why Sailors commit suicide, well, now you know. Retired senior enlisted and officers sitting in cushy desk jobs that feel their funding might get cut if they provide more morsels to our young Sailors doing the hard work are all too common in our force today. Sadly, this class of bureaucrat is so deeply entrenched I’m not sure the military will survive before they can be uprooted.

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.

Don’t forget to read the previous two posts:

Part 1: Navy Community Outreach

Part 2: HYT+

To round out the last portion of NAVADMIN messages that tell us the Navy is in bad shape all around, let’s start with the Basic Needs Allowance. On initial reading, it doesn’t seem too bad. It basically says we’re going to pay Sailors that fall below 130% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines an additional amount of money:

2.  In line with reference (a), reference (b) established Department of Defense policy for BNA.  Reference (c) authorizes the Chief of Naval Personnel to implement BNA policy.  The BNA program provides a monthly allowance to Sailors whose gross household income (GHI) and household size place them below 130 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) for their permanent duty station (PDS) location.
BNA provides additional income to address the difference between GHI from the previous calendar year (CY) and 130 percent of the FPG for the current CY.  BNA is payable to eligible Sailors who voluntarily apply beginning on or 
after 23 December 2022.  These references, frequently asked questions, templates, and other BNA resources can be found here:  https://www.mynavyhr.navy.mil/References/Pay-Benefits/N130C/.

OK, so what IS the Federal Poverty Level? You can conveniently find them here:

Now, if you’re thinking “That looks like a really, really small amount of money…” you’d be right. A little bit of Excel magic brings us some insight:

So, what do we learn from this? Well, if you’re a married E1 and your spouse doesn’t work, you might meet the threshold. If you’re an E2 or E3, married with a baby at home, you’ll probably meet the threshold. If you’re anything else…probably not. For this chart, I’m only counting basic pay, which means that if you got some sort of bonus that would count towards your income, you’re probably above the cap.

Here’s the other catch too….you don’t sit at those junior ranks for very long. Sailors can promote relatively quickly to E-5, which by 4 years of service is making over 3,000 a month. So unless you have three kids by then, you’re not meeting these guidelines.

At best, this is helping super new, dirt poor Sailors, who are likely living on the ship, eating at the galley for free and are unlikely to be married. But for the vast majority, this does nothing. Maybe in a week when they release the new federal poverty guidelines I’ll be proven wrong, but I don’t see this making a big impact. And given that advancement is getting easier with everyone leaving, that makes it even less likely to be impactful to the average Sailor.

Speaking of more things not worth the paper they are written on…NAVADMIN 290/22. This NAVADMIN offers a Flag Letter of Commendation for each person you sign up for the Navy. Sounds like a good deal right?

4.  In order to incentivize Sailors to assist in this effort, CNRC has authorized a Flag Letter of Commendation (FLOC) (max of 2) for any Sailor who provides a referral that ultimately leads to a future Sailor contract.  These 
FLOCs are worth one point each towards advancement and can make all the difference when final multiple scores are calculated.

Except…one point doesn’t normally do that much. Answering one more question correctly on your advancement exam, which probably requires less time then it takes to recruit someone, would be worth more. FLOCs are nice gestures, but they are relatively meaningless in terms of actual impact compared to actual awards. Worse still, they offer zero incentives to officers, so the Navy hasn’t done anything to stem that tide.

Where does this leave us? Honestly, in no better shape. While the Navy plans on a community outreach blitz to bring up its image, its not addressing many of the systemic problems inside its ranks, whether its low pay, unaccountable leadership, or a lack of strategic direction. People are smart enough to see through the shiny veneer and gift wrap, so these measures aren’t going to bump up Navy numbers.

Long term, unless the Navy gets a grip on how far its fallen and why people don’t trust it anymore, its not going to persuade people to join.

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.

Part two of a post from a week ago:

Post 1: Navy’s Community Outreach

I want to start by saying I don’t understand why everything is “+” now. We have Disney+, ESPN+, Daily Wire+…seriously? Is there some marketing guy driving around in a beat-up car telling everyone “You got to add a plus-sign at the end of your logo and then, THEN you make the BIG MONEY!”

Well, whomever that guy is, he must have talked to the Navy, because they rolled out High Year Tenure PLUS! Now, you might wonder, what the heck is High Year Tenure? In the military, the service only lets you stay a certain number of years at a particular rank. For example, if you’re an E-5 in the Navy (a Second-Class Petty Officer), you can normally only stay in for 16 years. At 16 years, if you don’t promote to E-6, you have to leave the Navy because you’re over High Year Tenure. Some military members call this the “up or out” program, which is probably the best simple description.

HYT has been around forever, and it gets changed over time. For example, HYT for E-4s used to be 20 years, so years ago you could theoretically do the same job in the same rank for 20 years, retire as a fairly junior member and get a small retirement. But over time, HYT bumped up so that members had to be at least an E-6 to get a 20 year retirement, and on the officer side at least an O-4.

Part of the point of HYT was to bring in new talent. The military relies on bringing in lots of young, talented individuals at the low end and then grows them over years into more senior leaders. HYT helps ensure that you either promote or leave, thereby opening holes for others to advance into. But when you can’t recruit, kicked out a ton of people over the COVID vaccine, and can’t draft people (at least not yet), then you have to resort to something else, in this case, HYT+!

Right out of the block, we get a contradiction: the first paragraph says HYT+ “offers a new opportunity for talented and experienced Sailors to continue their Navy careers beyond the HYT limits listed in reference (a). This pilot also offers additional looks for advancement and more time to build retirement benefits, to include E5 retirement.” Yet two paragraphs down, it essentially makes it mandatory:

b.  In order to facilitate this pilot program, all AC and TAR enlisted HYT dates occurring between 1 March 2023 and 30 September 2024 are hereby suspended, with the exception of CMDCM, CMDCS and nuclear trained master chiefs.  HYT Plus eligible AC and TAR Sailors with a HYT date in that time frame will no longer be involuntarily separated or involuntarily transferred to the fleet reserve due to reaching HYT as prescribed in reference (a).  The decision to remain on active duty beyond the normal end of active obligated service (EAOS) is voluntary and will not require the submission of a HYT waiver request.  Sailors who otherwise would have reached HYT between 1 March 2023 and 30 September 2024, but opt to transfer to the fleet reserve, or separate at their EAOS will be deemed a voluntary separation.

So….you get opted in by default? We assume everyone in the military is “talented and experienced?” Uhm…I call hogwash on that. We have a lot mediocre people that can’t promote because they are mediocre. But hey, let’s keep them around for numbers right?

What if you’re slated to retire? No problem! “HYT Plus eligible Sailors who are approved for HYT-based separation or retirement on or before 28 February 2023 may opt into the HYT Plus pilot any time prior to their separation or retirement date.”

We’ve seen suspensions of HYT like this before. When COVID impacted recruit training in 2020, the Navy allowed people to stay an additional year, even if they had an approved retirement. This worked because many companies weren’t hiring, so Sailors looking at a crappy job market got another year of pay and a guaranteed salary for their family. But that’s gone now. Any Sailor with skills will get snapped up in this incredibly competitive job market. The Navy already struggles to retain expert cyber expertise, and is at the point of recruiting people in the lowest percentile scoring on the ASVAB, the mandatory (at least for now) entrance exam into the military. Because nothing says “recruit more cyber people” like bringing in people that can barely write their name on the entrance exam!

So is this going to work? Not as intended. As my logo above indicates, it will keep mediocre people in that would normally struggle to find civilian employment because they don’t have competitive skill sets. Since you don’t have to promote and stay competitive, you’ll have more people doing just enough to get by, get to 20 years for a retirement….oh wait, we got rid of that, so people will simply leave anyway, typically when they have the skills needed (paid by Uncle Sam) to find a better job. Worse still, when you fill up with mediocrity, it pushes out those that want challenging assignments or want to push the envelope. We’re going to have less Mavericks in the service, since they get frustrated with the system and leave for companies that place more value on that skillset.

In short, HYT+ is going to drive the military to mediocrity. Rather than actually assess why people aren’t joining and fixing those systemic issues, the military is using a full bag of internal tricks to try and stay out of hot water. But its not solving the problem. It’s the equivalent of stopping a brush fire while the forest burns in the background. You might get a small improvement in the short run, but the big systemic problem is going to crush you in 2023-2024, just like I predicted years ago.

So, good luck with HYT+! Maybe it’ll be better than Disney+ in the New Year!

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.