New Commandant?

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by nadofr8dog, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    I understand the new Commandant has been selected. Nothing on the Academy or Alumni site. My guess is it's the Acting Commandant. If so, is this good or just more of the same?
     
  2. aooga15

    aooga15 Parent

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    good thing

    I think that would be a good thing.:smile: The kids love him... I beleive he's "filled in" many times in the past and if that's so, he should know "the ropes". In fact, I stood in front of him at the USMMA vs SUNY Hockey game last weekend... kids were so impressed that he (and his wife) went to the game.
     
  3. aooga15

    aooga15 Parent

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    ??

    wait- I've asked a few people (we wouldn't know anyway) but now we are all confused... did you hear they possibly picked a new Commondant or do you mean a new Superintendent?
     
  4. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15'

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    Capt. Bob DeStaffney (current acting commandant) was brought to the academy to be the deputy commandant, when the commandant resigned Capt. DeStaffney filled in. A few months ago at lunch Capt. DeStaffney announced that the permanent commandant has been selected, he's a marine corps colonel and will be coming to the academy in march when he retires from active duty. Capt. DeStaffney will return to his role as the deputy commandant when that happens.
     
  5. aooga15

    aooga15 Parent

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    thank you for the clarification


    beyond,
    thank you for the clarification. :smile:
     
  6. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15'

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    Though the hot rumor is that the Commandant has been walking around campus to get a feel for things...
     
  7. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    And so we continue down the path of the militarization of KP. "Merchant Marine" and "Marine Corps" are NOT the same thing! This actually hurts graduates who choose to sail and is continues to do damage to the schools reputation.

    Thank you, someone else can have the soapbox now.
     
  8. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    One, we don't know that he's not a KP grad who spent a career in the Marines, and two, while I initially had the same feeling, after giving it some thought, I'm not so sure I agree with you. Prior to Adm Greene's selection, I had a back and forth with Jasperdog where he convinced me the Supe needed to be a KP Grad well connected in the industry to represent KP to the outside world.

    From the KP website "Leadership" page: "The Commandant of Midshipmen is akin to the dean of students and handles all midshipmen affairs of a non-academic nature, including military organization, conduct and discipline". Numerous discussions on this forum concerning problems at KP can be directly attributed to the Academy Leadership and, as far as I'm concerned, most of those point to the Commandant's Office. I am a USNA grad and I have a DS in 2013. It took most of his plebe year for me to come to the realization that KP is not the USNA even though both are Federal Schools. From what I've observed as a parent, KP has been sorely lacking in the "military organization, conduct and discipline" department. I'm sincerely hoping the Colonel will fill this void and, hopefully, he'll last longer than Adm Greene did.

    That said, the selection committee did not select an applicant who was a early-90's KP grad, currently a 2nd Mate with a large shipping company who is also active in the Naval Reserves. Knowing this individual, I was really hoping he would have been selected as he would have been an ideal Commandant.

    It would be nice to know who some of the other applicants were.
     
  9. RevenueCutterService

    RevenueCutterService Revenue Cutter Academy

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    I fail to see how discipline and leadership can damage a school's reputation, especially when many of the nation's top MBA programs are fighting for business leadership professors with military backgrounds.
     
  10. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    I believe his point is if KP continues to encourage/promote the "military" aspect of their school instead of the "merchant mariner" aspect, there could be some who would see it's existence as unnecessary and unneeded.

    After all, we already have a Coast Guard Academy, a Military Academy, a Naval Academy, and an Air Force Academy - why should another school duplicating their efforts continue to be funded?

    KP is needed to train merchant seaman, they need to stay true to that mission.

    Yes, the option for the mids to go into active duty is one of many good reasons to attend, but it certainly does nothing to help them in their quest to justify their necessity.

    :cool:
     
  11. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Leading your peers and leading people who can say screw you without having to worry about the UCMJ is vastly different from leading subordinates in a hierarchal institution like the Marine Corps. If a new 22 year old 3/M or 3A/E walks on a ship and starts to try and throw around his/her KP/USMC leadership style he/she will get nowhere with it. Like our tankerman just said to the 2/M yesterday, "son, I got grandkids your age". Go read on other boards and see the impression most people have of KP and you will see it is not so bright and it is directly related to the militarization of the school.

    Train your people for the mission you are given ... thats good leadership. Training military officers should be secondary to training shipboard officers, not the other way around.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  12. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I hesitate to ask this but will anyway. What exactly is the justification in 2012for a Federal Merchant Marine Academy? It provides federally funded College graduates at a very high cost per head for a private and rapidly shrinking industry. The State Maritime Schools already duplicate the mission of KP at a much lower cost per head to the Federal Government and the union does as well. Would anyone argue that we should have the Federal equivalent of Embry Riddle for the Air transport industry? No, I don't think so. KP has to bring more to the table than just a trade school mentality for a perpetually shrinking industry. I personally believe that the KP alums who are barking about making KP less military are pretty shortsighted- the only justification I can see for KP is because they can say that it produces simultaneously licensed Merchant Marine Officers all of whom are also competent and trained military officers. Cut that tie and I think you are a budget cut waiting to happen. So personally, if my interest was in the long term well being of KP, I would make that argument with extreme caution.
    I'm not trying to rain on KP- but I think that are multiple sides to every argument and the "industry is our mission so lets train sea-going shop foreman because they deal with union employees not military personnel" approach has some serious drawbacks especially in a time of real budget stringency.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  13. noworries

    noworries Banned

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    Interesting point. China can do it cheaper. Is that what is being said? I'm not following.
     
  14. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    What?
    You need to understand that there is a shipping industry and it is not principally a government function other than the government owned/chartered ships of the Military Sealift Command. Almost all of the US flag ships still in trade are either protected by the Jones Act cabotage laws that mandate that US built and crewed ships only can carry cargo from one US port to another, or are MSC owned/chartered ships . Virtually all of the rest of the US seaborn trade is carried now on foreign flagged ships without US crews or officers. I believe that the current number is >96% of American cargo is carried on non-US ships, because it is a straight forward economic question. American ships are far more expensive to build and operate than ships registered in flag of convenience states like Liberia/China/Malta/ etc... Is that unfortunate? Yes. Is it a reality that is going to change? Not without changing the laws to force preference for American ships when carrying cargo to the US and nobody is suggesting that happen. So it is a shrinking industry and isn't likely to change. So it's not a question of "can China do it better- it's a fact that they already do it cheaper now and do it for us now for the most part.
    So having said that- in my opinon the future of USMMA is tenuous unless it has more to offer than strictly as a trade school mentality for that industry. When people argue that the military aspect doesn't enhance their direct employment conditions after graduation- I would say that KP won't continue to exist if it eliminates that aspect of the school because at that point- there are other state Maritime colleges, plus a Union run school that have more than ample capacity to train officers for the US flag shipping industry at a substantially lower cost to the US taxpayer. BUT- IMHO what KP offers is a combination of producing licensed officers who are also commissioned military officers trained in a military academy environment. Get rid of either of those legs and I think that you are setting the place up for elimination. So I would not be buying into the argument to significantly demilitarize the training regimen at KP, or deemphasizing the number of guys going on active duty if you are concerned about KP's long term viability. It's an opinon and I may be wrong, but it's something to consider.
     
  15. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Bruno, I would be interested to hear what you believe the value of having licensed officers that are commissioned military officers that are trained in a military academy environment. I would like to hear why you and others believe that this combination is a better "product". The product of course being the graduates.
     
  16. kpbaseballmom

    kpbaseballmom Member

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    While the state schools do an excellent job, a recent article a maritime magazine showed that the state schools are graduating less than 50% of their graduates with licenses. Some are graduating far less than 50%. In addition, a little known statistic is that of that 50% getting licenses at the state institutions, the state graduates are far more likely to be "Deck" officers. In fact, Cal Maritime is trying to actively recruit engine students since most of their graduates are deck. This is typical at most state maritime schools.

    About half of KP's graduates are engine officers - all with licenses. No other school comes close to that statistic. The lack of licensed engine officers is one reason that engineers command such high starting salaries. Eliminate Kings Point and the pool of licensed engineers diminishes greatly fairly quickly. The state schools have no mandate to graduate a certain percentage of deck vs. engine students, nor do they have a mandate to graduate everyone with a license. Texas A & M is graduating only a handful of licensed engineers every year, with most of the other schools not far behind.
     
  17. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    KP receives approx 300 new plebes every year from throughout the country. As parents, we all like to think our kids are honest, ethical young adults who do not lie, cheat or steal, they are perfect young adults. There is absolutely no way my DS/DD would ever accept a copy of a stolen test to study by, or "borrow" a classmates homework to copy or (fill in the blank). How many young adults do you know who are raised to accept responsibility for their actions? I can tell you the Naval Academy is having trouble with violations of their Honor Concept because lying and cheating has almost become a fact of life in HS. Simply telling an incoming Plebe they shall not lie, cheat or steel doesn't instantly change them into little responsible adults.

    The Academies do the best job that they can to screen all applicants/candidates to ensure they receive the best, brightest and morally upstanding, e.g. being an Eagle Scout adds significant weight to an application because of the responsibility and leadership training received. Letters of recommendation are another tool used to weed out candidates. Now, if your neighbors son or daughter asked you to write them a Letter of Rec, and in your heart you knew they were not KP material, would you write them a negative letter, honestly stating your feelings? I sincerely doubt it.

    When an officer comes aboard your ship, you should have some reasonable assurance that they are not only qualified for the position, but they are an honest, responsible individual whom, until proven otherwise, you can trust trust to do what they are told and not to lie or gun deck the work. I do not believe universities/colleges instill this sense of responsibilities in students. The military academies, as well as the military itself, are very good at doing this.

    Though not advocating KP should be a military recruiting program, I do believe having a military structure teaching responsibility and moral character are a must.
     
  18. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    KPMama- Those are pretty good points (though you could also argue that the reason the State Schools don't graduate more is that there is a relative glut on the market now in part because of the the existence of KP. If there were more positions or more opportunities they would graduate more licensed personnel ) But- my point is not to denigrate KP- but to point out that I think it owes it's continued existence to the fact that it services more than just the industry. If you ignore that, I think that you may very quickly find yourself arguing with a not very strong hand that you are just a government handout to what is a largely subsidized industry. Guys graduate with a free education and then stop sailing shortly after their obligation is up -and their obligation isn't so onerous- sail on your license if the jobs are available and make a ton of money doing so. That's a hard sell to make on its merits given the state of the economy, given that there are nonfederal alternatives that produce the product for cheaper, and the industry is quite obviously turnign into a very small one. But KP has more to offer because of its current structure and it needs to make sure that it continues to do so in my opinon. I really think that those who are arguing that KP should be less military and more of a tradeschool specific environment should think long and hard about the implications of what they advocate. Like I said it's an opinion and it's being expressed in somewhat rebuttal to the argument that the Commandant shouldn't be a retired Marine because that's not the environment those 3d Asst Engineers or 3d Mates will encounter when sailing on the MS Union Rustbucket dealing with sailors of the SIU.

    Packer- I believe absolutely that a highly regimented, stressful environment prepares people better than the alternative. Most guys are pretty darn quick to pick up that a regimented world doesn't exist outside the 4 walls of the Academy- whether you are in the military or business (and I have spent 20 years in the military world and about 15 managing in the manufacturing world in union and nonunion shops so I think that I understand both pretty well). But learning to function in that stressful, regimented, absolutist environment teaches the belief that devotion to a task and your team, really hard work and personal integrity are essential to success in any field. That's why the business world has such high demand for Service Academy grads now for management positions. So personally I think KP ought to embrace the new Commandant if he's coming in from the USMC, be exceedingly glad that you have a rigorous regimental system and that you are sending a pretty high % of grads onto active duty, especially in the sea going professions. I think that mix is your saving grace.

    I'm not trying to kick up a fight- if you disagree that's ok- just think about it a little.:wink:
     
  19. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I like your explanation and I agree with you. I really don't know that much about KP but did investigate it a fair amount while my son was considering it. My son is focused on a military carreer and decided KP was not a route he wanted to take to get to his destination. I developed a positive view of KP (inspite of the belly aching) and am continueing to try and learn more as I have another son that is a couple years younger and is interested in the academies.
     
  20. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    Although a little bit of thread creep, I felt this falls in line with the current discussion. Hope I'm not duplicating it from another post:

    STRATEGIC SEALIFT OFFICERS - THE NEW MERCHANT MARINE RESERVISTS

    The Merchant Marine Individual Ready Reserve Group has recently become the Strategic Sealift Readiness Group (SSRG). Largely the inspiration and work of RADM Mark Buzby , USN ('79), Commander of Military Sealift Command (MSC), the new program takes Merchant Marine reservists in a new direction. Our graduates who do not go on active duty are now designated as Strategic Sealift Officers (SSO). The Program in total involves approximately 2400 officers, 10% as Selected Reservists regularly drilling and 90% as Individual Ready Reserve Officers. The basic requirements and involvement as Individual Ready Reservists remain similar to those in the past. The new structure, with 12 Strategic Sealift Detachments, is designed to give the SSO's better access to the Navy Reserve Program and for the SSRG to better track every SSO in meeting their reserve obligation. Offices are in Norfolk, Ft. Dix (NJ), Ft. Lauderdale, NYC, Boston, Charleston, Houston, Tampa, Miami, LA, San Diego, and Everett (WA). The chain of command is directly through the SSRG structure to the MSC Commander. The program is guided by the national needs delineated by Military Sealift Command. SSO's are primarily employed in support of MSC when performing active duty or in the case of recall. The Military Service Obligation of 8 years remains the same, as well as the obligation to maintain valid USCG licenses, STCW requirements and TWIC. A portion of the SSO Program's Mission Statement sets the Program out as "a guaranteed source of licensed mariners via military recall for assignment to unfilled billets on RRF ships in extreme emergencies affecting national defense" and "Officers who are familiar with MSC operations .... qualified to carry out operations effectively in concert with U.S. Naval Forces." The Merchant Marine Officer's insignia, commonly referred to as the "sea chicken," has been redesigned. It retains the eagle and crest from the USS Constitution. An anchor and crossed swords were added. The crossed swords signifies that the SSO's are "surface line" officers, not "staff" officers.
     

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