Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Spencer For SecNav?

The Trump administration is, apparently, set to announce that they will nominate Richard Spencer for the position of Secretary of the Navy (SecNav).  Mr. Spencer is a former Marine Captain (1976 – 1981) and has since held various positions in the private financial sector mostly dealing with venture capital and investments along with serving on some military advisory boards.  Some reports indicate that he was a Marine aviator though I haven’t been able to confirm that and his short service time may indicate otherwise.  Helo pilot, maybe?

In any event, his nomination would be curious.  A Marine with limited service time and a private sector financial background seems like a weak resume, on the surface, for the position of Secretary of the Navy.  At this point, let me say that I know nothing about Mr. Spencer other than what I’ve just described.  He may be an outstanding candidate.  This post is not about his suitability for the job but, rather, the seeming oddity of choosing someone with such an apparently marginally relevant background given the tens of thousands of former Navy people out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a former Admiral because, if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I think Admirals, serving or retired, are worthless.  Surely, though, there must be some mid-level former Navy personnel who served for an extended period, have a good understanding of naval matters, and have a private background in something a bit more relevant such as technology, defense, electronics, computers, business management, etc.

I’m also not against a non-Navy person who has a strong management background in a large organization.  After all, the Navy is a large bureaucratic organization and an experienced, outside person who could cut through the traditional Navy games would be an invaluable asset in the SecNav position.

The point is that there must be thousands of people with better qualifications for the SecNav position.  This choice seems odd.  I’ll be curious to learn more about Mr. Spencer.

10 comments:

  1. Good Post. I agree about the Admirals and the wondering if an outsider with good experience might be the right pick to get the Navy back on track. Not sure about the mid-level because they might not have the large organizational experience. But as you say there should be people with better Resumes out there.

    Seems as though people with good resumes either do not want to go into this swamp (pun intended), or can't pass the WH screening. Just look at the huge number of next tier appointments with no nominees.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It seems he has some recent connections to the Navy:

    In service to the Federal Government Mr Spencer served on the Defense Business Board from 2009 through 2015 where he was most recently the Vice Chairman. He presently serves on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel.


    Does anyone here know how much of a preparation for his new job these positions would have been ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I noted that. I just have no idea what those entailed. A lot of those kinds of positions are more for show than anything substantive. As I said, the post is not about Mr. Spencer, personally, but the seeming weakness of that type of resume compared to the kind of people that are potentially available. I'll withhold judgement on Mr. Spencer until I find out more about him.

      Delete
  3. Here is a link to something Mr. Spencer tried while being on the Defense Business Board:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/commissary-plan-backlash-show-difficulty-of-cutting-military-personnel-spending/2013/06/01/15fb6c12-c922-11e2-9245-773c0123c027_story.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So ... he's got a spectacular failure on his resume!

      Delete
  4. We need someone with the vision and toughness of a TR as Navy Secretary.

    However, they aren't around often and I doubt they would get past the political appointment process without getting hamstrung.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why not Lehman in a pinch? He has experience. He is far from perfect but seems better than the recent crop.

      Delete
    2. What about Jim Webb? He's tanned and rested ...

      Delete
  5. From what I read about him: Supposedly he was a Marine Naval Aviator. 1976-1981. Of my vintage. That means he went to Quantico first and then attended 6 moth TBS training all Marines OCS/ROTC grads had to go through even if selected aviation. That is small unit field training leadership.. The on to PNCLA- select helo/jet/prop and then RAG training. Don't know what he actually flew... Getting out and wanting to be an investment banker means he wanted to make bucks...and he did (nothing wrong with that). As far as the boards he served on since becoming super rich" billionaire?" (again- nothing wrong with that) he was on the Defense Service Board and supposedly came up with the idea to commercialize the Dod commissaries..... I didn't like that idea and neither did SECDEF Gates..... Mr. Spencer was obviously smart and let that bad idea drop... That shows he will listen... He lives in Jackson Hole and that ain't a bad thing either- a rich but tiny little blue zone in the state of Wyoming... Now he's Trump's nominee....

    Hey, I like jim Whall's idea above about bringing back J. Lehman but I remember that when Mr. Lehman was nominated everyone said "who is this guy"? ...They probably said the same of TR when he got the job...Don't like the idea of Jim Webb though- loose cannon.

    Bottom line is, this is President Trumps pick and his prerogative. Nearly ANYONE has to be better than Mr "Green Jet Fuel", Ray Mabus and all the BS he pushed for years under Obama... Maybe, just maybe the Navy Department will get a real executive not just a cheerleader type... Another Marine though bothers me somewhat..... What do marines really know about the real reason the US Navy exists or about the US Navy's role in strategic war and what is truly needed to conduct "War at Sea".. that's my only concern. As CNOPS said, no active duty Admiral can advise him about what we need to do either- they have all screwed the pooch for years...

    Fingers crossed ain't a strategy but its all we got...

    b2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point about anyone being an improvement over Mabus. On the other hand, I thought anyone would be an improvement over CNO Greenert and that hasn't proven true yet!

      My concern is the same as you noted - that a 5 yr Marine probably doesn't have much of a grasp of navy matters. Still, if he'll read this blog and surround himself with good people he could do okay.

      Delete