Skippy-san thinks so:

When the Navy was a lot larger-a lot of these billets did not exist, and we where an organization that was 200,000 people bigger and 300 ships bigger. Yet we still got ships deployed. Why does it take so many flag officers to do so now?
It doesn’t-and you know it. More importantly they know it. They also know that unless they are issued a preferred customer card early-or start piling up sacrificial bodies like cord wood ( Yes Admiral Harvey that remark is directly targeted at you) they know they are finished at one star or two star. That’s not exactly a reformist proposition for people who have spent 30+ years on an ambitious track.

425 Flag Officers for a Navy with less than 290 ships? And yet there are plans afoot to gut cut the critical mid-grade enlisted leadership ranks because of over-retention by almost 19% (3,000 will need to go home). Anyone think we’ll see 80 Admirals go home at the same time?
I didn’t think so either…

The Navy is out of balance and this problem begets other problems.

Amen & amen — preach on Brother Skippy, preach on.


  1. I once told a 3 star that he could cut 50% of the Captains on his staff and improve efficiency by 25%. Same holds true with the flag corps.

    • Crazy Ensign

      I once told my former fellow JO’s in the wardroom that FF/FFG’s ought to be captained by LCDR’s, Destroyers by junior CDR’s, CG’s by junior CAPT’s, and flag officers staff should never exceed 20 personnel including administrative enlisted.

      My ex-CO said that I would never amount to much in the Navy. He was right. He retired as a Capt. As for myself, I’m just a lowly GS-15 Step 4 in a position that requires me to maintain close and continuous contact with DoD.

      Guess who calls who “SIR” now?

      Hint: Not I.

  2. Michael Junge

    I posted this at Skippy’s place: “Hmmm…but the website only has 329 biographies. And that includes the USNR in with the USN.

    “And this website ( has 256 (which I presume to be the AcDu folks since that’s the page title).

    “So, while I don’t disagree with most of your concept, it’s fairly easy to quibble with the details if you are mixing the active and reserve together, and are also somehow off by over 100 people.”

  3. And I responded-read the Proceedings.

    The USNI magazine lists 385 lineal numbers and you get to 425 by adding in selectees ( and Staff Corps flags).

    Since the reserves are mixed together in the respective staffs-its no harm IMHO to add them into the total here. They hold positions-many of which should more properly be held by active duty CAPT’S or not exist at all.

    I was witness to many of the creation of these billets in my final years on active duty-in particular I watched a great O-6 command stolen and subsumed by worthless P-3 guys who didn’t and still don’t deserve having a flag in Japan. The lies Harry Harris and Tony Winns (and many others in this comedy of errors)told to get that accomplished deserve an article of their own.

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