The Navy is hoping it can crowdsource the elimination of administrative redundancies.
A new website launched this week, Reducing Administrative Distractions, will solicit comments from the Navy’s rank-and-file (literally, active, reserve and civilian employees of all ranks) on how the Navy could make its administrative process more efficient. It’s the virtual manifestation of a Navywide working group convened in May to study the service’s administrative requirements.
“First and foremost, participation shows that you care enough to get some ‘skin in the game,’” the website’s “FAQ” reads in response to the question, “Why should I participate?”
More seriously, the “About” section explains comments will help the Navy examine its administrative process “and consider the impacts these processes have on our war-fighting readiness and effectiveness.” The website also promises to propose solutions in terms of which programs can be cut, reduced, converted to electronic media, automated or made more efficient.
Over two months, the working group will gather and analyze comments, then task others with actions, to be implemented over a third month. Then, rinse and repeat for another three-month cycle.
The site operates similar to any basic social media platform — users will have the ability to “like” or comment on other’s postings. The best ideas will “bubble to the top,” according to the FAQ.
“Living up to the tenet of ‘war-fighting first’ requires a Navy whose people are focused on learning and leading to achieve challenging performance goals both at sea and ashore,” Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert said in a statement on the site. “This is first and foremost a human endeavor, requiring our sailors to be ‘up and about’ – in their spaces and on the deckplate interacting with their superiors, peers and subordinates.”
Unlike most social media sites, it will have “the usual host of profanity filters.” Especially unlike most social media sites, it invokes 19th-century French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville to explain its “raison d’être.”
Quoting from de Tocqueville’s 1813 tome “Democracy in America,” the site explains its purpose is to identify a distraction that “prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces … [us] to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals.”