ADM Archie Clemins Memoriam & New Webinars

Admiral Archie Clemins, a mentor and friend, passed away last March 14, 2020. He was a brilliant operational leader that also left his mark across the U.S. Navy by forcing the installation of modern information technology across the operational forces. During his last active duty position as Commander Pacific Fleet (November 1996 – October 1999), he initiated the IT-21 program to put modern desktop computers, and Microsoft Desktop applications, into all Navy ships. This marked the first time that commercial IT hardware and software were used to support operational Navy missions. His leadership and foresight paved the way for the following Navy, Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) program which further outfitted a 360,000 computer/network infrastructure across the entire Navy, beginning in the year 2000.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions ADM Clemins was not laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery until 16 July of this year. His wife and life-partner Marilyn Clemins created this beautiful Memoriam that I recommend to your attention. ADM Clemins was truly one of our Country’s great leaders, visionaries, and a man that spoke when needed but always acted to do the right thing.

New Webinars

Jim and I have recently added three new webinars that you may find interesting. We have also added AI written transcripts to each of the webinars for those that would prefer reading or skimming the webinars, and we also now have added an audio only podcast for each of the webinars to help make it easier to listen while doing other activities.

Please take a look at these webinars and leave us any comments or suggestions you may have for future webinars topics or guests. Thanks, marv

Webinar #7: Data in Motion

Data in Motion with guest Jason Schick

Data expert Jason Schick discusses how data has evolved from static enterprise data to dynamic data-in-motion, and how open source software tools like Kafka are making it possible to access needed data in near real time to enhance enterprise processes.

Webinar #8: Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing with guest Mark Jackson

Quantum computing expert, Mark Jackson Ph.D, joins us to discuss the latest state of quantum computing and how he see it progressing over the next five plus years. We discuss the technology, opportunities, and cybersecurity aspects.

Webinar #9: AI and DoD Technology Adoption

AI and DoD Technology Adoption with guest Bob Beaton

Our Nation’s Military has always relied upon technology adoption to keep it ahead of peer adversary forces. Today Artificial Intelligence and a host of related and supportive technologies are front and center as our Nation works to remain strong in the face of peer competitors, China and Russia. Expert DoD technologist, Bob Beaton, joins Jim and I to discuss the state of play for AI and related technology adoption.

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12 Responses to ADM Archie Clemins Memoriam & New Webinars

  1. Nicholas Gizzi says:

    Really nice writeup. Will have to view the memoriam on another computer. The irony of using NMCI

  2. Karl F Rauscher says:

    Marv, Grateful to you for sharing the link to the memorial video. That was beautiful. While never stated, between the lines you can see the sacrifices those in the service, like Archie, and their families make.

    Thanks to all who read this and have served, and to your supporting families too.

  3. Lee Whitt says:

    I was the JOTS rep at CPF when Archie took command. Previously, I met Archie when he was C7F in Yokosuku, which I will reflect on later in this rememberance. In Archie’s first month at CPF, he walked into his command center one day – unannounced – and asked for everyone’s attention. We gathered around and he asked one of the most important questions any leader can ask of his team. Think about that for a moment and ponder what question a 4-star CPF commander would ask his staff in his CPF command center in the first month of command. Really, what would you ask? I don’t recall any other flag officers being present, but I know Bob Stephenson was there, I’m pretty sure Randy Cieslak was there, and I think Chuck Deleot was present.

    When he asked the question, I think Bob Stephenson responded first with an insightful mission statement about a 4-star command center. When Bob finished, I raised my hand quickly and blathered something about monitoring the C4ISR systems (JOTS and JMCIS), which provided near-realtime situatioal awareness along with assisted decision-making tools. It was lame and I’m happy to have forgotten the details. Archie thanked me (and Bob) for our input.

    I mention this event, not to highlight our responses, but to highlight the import of Archie’s question. If we don’t have a clear sense of what we are doing and why, then we can’t possible do meaningful work. I don’t know why Archie asked that question, but I’m pretty it was not to inform himself, but to force the staff to recognize their mission in the CPF command center. I would love to hear Bob Stephenson’s recollection of this moment.

    Going back a few years, I first met Archie (yes, that was his given name on his birth certificate….verified by Archie… I asked him) when he was C7F. I had completed the installation of ELVIS on his Flag Ship USS Blue Ridge in mid-1996. ELVIS (Enhanced Linked Virtual Information System) was the first web-based C4I system for DOD, originally developed for CPF in late 1995 by a small company INRI and installed in the CPF command center in January 1996 (see the anecdote at the end of this note). The rapid exposure of ELVIS functionality and ease-of-use led to increasing demand for installations by various commands in the Pacific and Atlantic, and in early 1996 (April, as I recall), I was sent to install ELVIS on BLUE RIDGE. The installation was easy and Archie asked me to demo the system to his staff.

    The demo was well-received and even shocking!! Since ELVIS was web-based – meaning all I needed was a browser to access any ELVIS server hosted on SIPRNET – I was able to give near-realtime global C4I demo using only a browser. You can decide if my description is accurate or overwrought.

    For the demo (on a large screen display), I launched 3 browsers; the Netscape browser available on SIPRNET didn’t have tabs back then. In the first browser, I logged into the CPF ELVIS server, which showed the COP according to CPF (I think Adm Mauz was the CPF 4-star at the time). For the 2nd browser, I logged into C5F, which had recently been installed. For the 3rd browser, I logged into the C7F ELVIS server, which I had just installed.

    On the large screen in front of Archie and his C7F, I was able to display the “real-time” COP of these three major command centers…….but the “Common” in COP was anything but. The differences were remarkable, but perhaps not unexpected. Different commands have different data requirements and it was typical to filter some data to conserve bandwidth. But the real surprise was the differences between the CPF COP and the C7F COP in the Western Pacific. These differences – details not provided here – led to a flurry of activity to address coordination and data distribution issues between CPF and C7F. The point is that data distribution problems had gone unnoticed for several months until exposed by side-by-side COP pictures via ELVIS.

    When these differences became apparent during my ELVIS demo, Archie stopped the demo to ask his Chief of Staff why C7F’s COP was different from CPF’s COP. The Chief of Staff looked to his N-codes for comments, but none were forthcomming……but they quickly cornered me for answers after the demo. I could only explain the data sources and communication paths, but the problem was quickly resolved (details not provided here, though operator and sysadmin errors were responsible).

    Just because it is called the Common Operational Picture doesn’t necessarily mean it is Common or Operational. It is a nice picture to look at, but its use for decison-making should be constrained unless it is knonw to be common and operational. I sailed with RADM Boorda on USS New Jersey and, one day, sitting in TFCC looking at JOTS, he asked me why he should believe the JOTS COP. I had never be asked that question so I began to explain the ship-to-ship comms channels, the GPS feeds to each ship, the GOLD message encoders and decoders and other software nonsense. He didn’t let me get very far and asked again, “How do I know this picture is accurate”.

    I started to try to clarify and expand on my previous explanation, but he stopped me again. The JOTS installation on USS New Jersey was the latest and greatest JOTS installation, replete with a touch pad, tailored for Flag use, that drove a large screen display in TFCC. The touch pad had a variety of easy-to-use touch options, including computing the range and bearing between any two ships.

    Boorda picked up his red phone and called USS Klakring. He said, “USS Klakring, USS Klakring, this is Alpha Alpha himself. Give me range and bearing from your unit to USS New Jersery. Over”. Well, you could hear the commotion on the bridge of Klakring. I recall hearing a petty office ring a bell and shout for the OOD to come to the bridge immediately. Then more noise and movement of folks on the bridge. Boorda was patient and repeated his request for range and bearing to USS New Jersey. Importantly, Boorda had used his touch pad to display this information on the large screen display. We waited for a minute or more, and the Klakring responded with the range and bearing. As I recall, the range was off by several nautical miles and the bearing was off by a few degrees. Boorda looked at me to explain the discrepancy and I pointed out the the time late of Klakring’s position was 5 minutes. I said we could reduce the time late for better accuracy, but Boorda was satisfied that the COP was a good approximation of his local reality.

    I’ll end this long narrative with another reminescience of JOTS. In mid-1996, RADM Brown (Deputy CPF) was in the CPF command center on a Saturday morning. He had just driven VADM Tuttle to the airport after a visit to CPF. Fortuantely, I was also in the command center that morning doing a software upgrade of EVLIS to include access to logistics information along with the COP. This allowed the user to click on a track NTDS symbol, and then drill down to logisitc informaion such as SORTS, CASREPS, EMPSKDs, and MOVREPs.

    I sat down next to Brown and asked him if he was aware of a new capability at CPF called ELVIS. I gave a high-level explanation, including the capability to access logistics information. Brown said that he was driving along the pier that mornng and passed by USS LEFTWICH tied up at the pier. He noticed that LEFTWICH was listing about 15 degrees and then he asked me if EVLIS could tell him why the ship was listing.

    It was a terrific question, which gave me equal measures of dread and exhileration. Could ELVIS provide an answer? The next 45 seconds are a blur to me because it happened so fast and so effortlessly. I took control of the keyboard and launched the browser, which by default loaded a map of Oahu with the Navy ships displayed. I zoomed into Pearl Harbor, saw LEFTWICH and zoomed in further to clearly show the LEFTWICH NTDS symbol next to the pier. 15 seconds. I clicked on LEFTWICH, and ELVIS display the tactical information along with options for logistics. I babbled something to Brown about checking out the CASREPs option. Another 15 seconds. I clicked on CASREPS and the first item on the list described a problem with the port-side fuel tank. I clicked on this CASREP and the full description stated that fuel was pumped into the starboard-side fuel tanks in order to make repairs, resulting in a 15-degree list.

    You can’t make this up. Brown spend the next 30 minutes with me getting a better understanding of ELVIS and its current deployment. The most startling revelation to Brown was that, being browser based, he could located be anywhere in the world with connectivity (e.g., in this home, in an aircraft) and a browser to access the COP and logistic from any command center with an ELVIS server. Repeating my C7F demo, I showed him the COP according to CPF, C5F, and C7F by logging into their servers. I reassured him that the presentation is read-only, so no data can be changed through ELVIS.

    • Lee, thanks for the long remembrance of Archie’s leadership and the other great Admirals from that era. And I didn’t know until now that Elvis delivered all of that good operational data through the browser… You and INRI did some great work for our Navy…

  4. Lee Whitt says:

    Geez, I neglected to state the question that Archie asked in his command center. He asked, “What do you do here?”

  5. RADM (Ret) Jan Hamby, USN says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Marv. I’ve long credited ADM Clemins for driving the systems innovations that made my career possible…and I’ve credited (along with so many Sailors!) guys like Lee, Bob, and Randy for making it successful! Working JOTS on IKE and standing up the Combat Systems Department (sic — we called it the Information Systems Department) on GW could not have happened without the ADM’s foresight and the technical expertise and commitment he inspired.

    • Thanks for adding the comment Jan. Having now lost both Admirals Tuttle and Clemins, we have lost two great leaders that significantly transformed Navy C2 and shipboard information technology. With all of the Military Services now pushing for digital transformation, it will be interesting to see how it matures in the face of cybersecurity threats not prominent in those earlier days.

  6. Bryan Scurry says:

    One last comment to add, at least for now, is the incredible speed of acquisition for IT-21/JMCIS/GCCS-M that resulted from his leadership. When I joined PMW-171 in 1996 with Scott Randall, Roger Hull, Bob Stephenson, and Randall South had just come back from joining VADM Clemens (then 7th Fleet) on a flight around the 7th Fleet AOR in his Gulfstream discussing the concept of IT-21 and how to realize it. By 1998, we completed one of the largest OPEVAL evolutions I have ever been involved with. We had configured the Lincoln Battle Group, the Essex ARG, the NAS Whidbey TSC, and the CPF Command Center, MICFAC and MAST with IT-21 and GCCS-M which resulted in being Operationally Suitable and Effective. To this day, I have never seen any program move that quickly from concept development to IOC. I believe a lot of that had to do with Archie’s leadership and your own support as the DASN back then.

  7. Alfred STUCKEY says:

    I just want to say that MR. ARCHIE CLEMINS made my 5th grade experience the best ever, Ill never that trip to SAN DIEGO NAVY BASE…..REST IN PIECE

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