I haven’t been blogging lately only because it’s been a very busy three weeks. I’ve logged over 10,000 airline miles, had numerous court appearances, am preparing for two trials in the next two months and then have to do all the things a husband/dad does as Christmas approaches. I’m mainly posting right now because people have been reaching out to me to ask if I’m okay. Yes, I’m fine, and thank you to everyone who has shown concern.
And, since the administration has also been laying low lately, the usual target-rich levels of stupidity have been correspondingly low.
I’ve got an appellate brief due next week and then hopefully things will slow down a bit and I can finally get back to that long-delayed fourth and final post in the series on MARAD, LMI, and its motives.
And, speaking of LMI, what happened to that 60 day deliverable? The LMI report was delivered to the administration several weeks ago and since then . . . crickets. I think there are a couple of explanations for the delay, none of which reflect well on the administration. Perhaps the LMI report was relying heavily upon the 2013-14 DMDC SAGR survey data and the release of the preliminary findings of the Self Solutions study (which pointed out some of the numerous flaws in the methodology and implementation of that survey) made the administration and/or LMI realize that the credibility of the LMI report was undermined. Or maybe the bad publicity about the wired contract and conflicts of interest caused upper management at LMI (which overall has a very good reputation) to realize that its reputation was more important than delivering to a departing, lame duck, administration the pre-ordained results that the administration thought it had purchased. Or maybe that same lame duck administration, having encountered unexpected resistance from the midshipmen, parents, alumni, industry and Congress, has simply decided to drop the problem in the lap of the incoming administration.
Speaking of the new administration, I think the nomination of Elaine Chao to be Secretary of Transportation portends a new day for the Academy. The fact that she should be confirmed swiftly and taking over the reins quickly after Inauguration Day is also a good thing. The faster the new leadership takes the conn, the faster the entrenched bureaucracy can be brought to heel.
Finally, I hope to get up a post in the next week or so about the legislative changes affecting the Academy that made their way through Congress in the final days of its last session. There was a fierce, behind-the-scenes, battle against MARAD being waged for the last several months over language in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and the Continuing Resolution. On balance, I would say MARAD prevailed; however, thanks to the efforts of many, not on the scale that it had hoped. More importantly, because this administration surrenders the battle field on January 20, 2017, the damage is not likely to be lasting.
Thank you for fighting the good fight, and keeping us informed. And all the blessing of the season to you and yours.
Bob McDermott ’73
Everyone is optimistic about Chao, and getting rid of Jaenichen and eventually Helis. A posting on one of the parents pages on Facebook noted that Senator McConnell spoke highly of Chip in the past (both are from KY originally). Was that political babbling by McConnell for the KY constituents, or does Chip have a relationship with McConnell/Chao?
Secondly, if a new MARAD comes in, and that person and Sec. Chao want to get back to commercial SeaYear sooner rather than later, I have no doubt that Helis will go into self-preservation mode and do what he has to, to keep his job. Men without honor or integrity have no real compass.
My gut tells me that Helis is in a wait and see, he will have new bosses in 29 days and he will take no action on his own before then. Can someone get Trump to summon Helis to the Tower? I would love to be a fly on the wall and watch the groveling.