Blog

December.

Finally.

Year's almost finished, and with that comes an even slower OPTEMPO at the new command than ever before. I've been here for almost three months now, and I've managed to rid myself of the involuntary cringing waiting for the hourly bells to strike.

The one thing that I haven't managed to get rid of is the urgent need to have things done right now.

Which doesn't jive with the fact that things around here seem to happen when they will, and at their own pace. Even the people themselves have no real sense of urgency, and it doesn't seem like that's a problem, so I've gotta find some way to lower my own perceived sense of emergency, or I'm gonna burn myself out over nothing at all.

Dafuq, brain.

Menlo Security.

It's one of the things that the new NMCI uses to help protect our networks, and though I haven't done a lot of research on it, the latency between keystrokes and when they actually get shown on screen has led me to look at how exactly non-DoD websites are "isolated".

Welp, come to find out...

Menlo Security isolates browsing activity away from end user's devices and onto remote, cloud servers that they operate. This server is completely separate from the user's endpoint and business networks, meaning they are fully protected from any threats the user may come across in a browsing session.

What I take that to mean, then, is that each rendering window within the browser that displays content from a non-DoD site is being shown in some kind of plugin that tunnels from this system through to Menlo's systems, which is why everything is so terrible and laggy and just otherwise garbage.

I'll say this: if this is what we can expect in the DoD if/when we decide to move to thin client-driven computing...

I'm glad I'm retiring soon.

Normalized Incompetence.

The Navy released a new NAVADMIN yesterday, announcing that we'd have only one PFA cycle next year from 01APR22-30SEP22.

The reason?

Big Navy gives a few (to include COVID and the new plank scoring still being fuzzy), but the one that stands out the most would have to be:

The previous contractor has not delivered PRIMS-2 as scheduled.

To be fair, they actually give this as a reason that 2021's PFA will have some modifications in reporting, but it's emphasized again later:

Recognizing the foreseeable conditions to include continued pandemic, PRIMS-2 rollout and modality validation, there will be a single PFA cycle for CY 2022.

Now, from the outside looking in, there was zero reason to move to a new PRIMS version. "PRIMS 1" (which was actually greatly improved from the PRIMS I first dealt with when I came in) was perfectly easy to use, with my only complaints arising when the servers were being crappy.

Which, admittedly, was quite a bit.

Still, this gives me great hope for the future with regards to the idea of negotiating a contract with the DoD/DoN. If these clowns can get paid and then the Navy just shrugs off failure, the bar has to be exceptionally low.

Navy Nonsense.

In the Navy, we've got many bureaucratic systems doing many bureaucratic system things.

One of those systems is Billet Based Distribution (BBD), and it aims to get the right Sailors assigned to the right commands falling under (ideally) the right billet/skillset.

Given the small size of my current command assignment, I figured I'd do what I can to help the Sailors I've got while I can.

Most of them are dead set on getting out (and do so within the next year), so they're automatically not candidates for getting into these schools.

I tried to get my IT1 into the Network Security Vulnerability Technician (NSVT) course.

Denied because he was lacking the 746A (System Administrator) NEC. But they say I could route the waiver request and he might be able to get in. Figure I'd give it a shot, only to realize I have no idea where these damn things need to get routed. So I reach out to the contacts that I do know for any insight they could get, and I finally get in touch with an ITCM in the chain.

Apparently the odds of the course prerequisite being waived was unlikely to happen since without any networking background in the folks I do want to submit, passing the course would be a longshot.

It was then recommended I enroll them into the 746A course, and then into 742A (NSVT).

Though I still want to help them out, a massive barrier now stands between me and success:

746A is a course that spans 124 days.

742A is a course that spans 35 days.

That means that in the pursuit of getting a single course that we need to have here as a billet, I'd need to essentially give my guys half-year vacations to schools.

Given the workload we've got now, I'm still behind that, but it's a tough sell.

Especially since both courses are courses detailers typically use to entice people into reenlisting for en route to their next command.

...

I love me some bureaucracy, but only when it's handled well.

Which is one of the main reasons I've got to call it quits after this tour.

USPS et al.

I'd ordered an item on Etsy last month that was gonna be inbound from Russia. Current political environment and associated memes aside, I'd no reason not to trust them, but understood that COVID and said political issues would come into play with international customs.

Almost exactly four weeks later, the package was out for delivery. I was on the couch, being a lazy bag of ass per protocol, when I decided I'd do some thorough inspection on the insides of my eyelids.

Ended up waking up from my impromptu nap an hour later with a notification on my phone that the package wasn't delivered due to nobody answering the door.

What the fuck.

Nobody rang a doorbell, so the only option was that they hadn't even tried. So I checked the doorbell camera footage, and lo and behold: she had "tried" under the absolute loosest definitions of the term.

Came up to the door, knocked on it a few times, then immediately walked back to her truck.

Left a note in my mailbox that I could pick it up tomorrow or reschedule a delivery.

Didn't want to bother rescheduling a delivery that'd fail again in the same preposterous way, so figured I'd call our servicing office.

First attempt took a few minutes of ringing for them to finally answer and then put me on immediate hold.

Second attempt they picked up immediately, put me on hold immediately, then hung up within seconds.

Third attempt, they finally answered.

"Hi, I'm calling because someone attempted to deliver a package to me and—"

"Okay."

"...And when I checked my doorbell camera, they knocked and immediately went back to their truck. Is there any way that I can either have them attempt redelivery today? Or I can just come by today and pick it up?"

"I'd say you should probably go hunt them down."

And then he hung up.

I've never wanted to light someone on fire as much as I did that stupid piece of crap.

USPS is garbage, and they should feel like garbage.

Amazon needs to just take over as the default shipping provider since apparently, third-party offerings are turning out to be better than their government counterparts.

Fuck.