Special Edition 2, A


Note: This special edition newsletter is too big to fit into just one e-mail! Two e-mails, Part-A and Part-B, will have to be sent. This is the first time in IDF history that any newsletter, special issue or normal issue, has been published using more than one e-mail.

-- Opening (By Mr. Robert Seldon)
-- Fleet Restoration
-- USS Pioneer
-- USS Victory
-- Promotions/Position Changes/Transfers
-- Fleet Level Job Descriptions/Responsibilities

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When over a hundred people create an association that endures for two years with no outside force compelling their continued union and all the usual internal forces of factionalism, jealousy, and misunderstanding working to disunite them, it is reasonable to investigate that groupís disposition to find the cause for the unusual resilience. Being asked to write a few words on our particular group, Independence Fleet, to mark its second anniversary today, I shall share a few of my thoughts on the issue of the Fleetís endurance and success. In doing so, I will attempt to be brief (which, if accomplished, would be a great feat, as those of you who know me will appreciate).

A full defense of my assertion that Independence Fleet is a great fleet might be proper but is largely superfluous here. Beyond the Fleetís longevity (something that even mediocre fleets can attain), I will only mention the regularity with which fleet-level business has been accomplished as an indicator of worth. For twenty-three straight months, Independence Fleet has, without fail, always given out awards recognizing just a few of its excellent members. Even though they could be run for several months without any real dedication, few fleets have such a program or anything like our monthly newsletter, which, for twenty-two consecutive months, has always been produced reliably (though not always in a timely manner while I edited it). For Independence Fleet to have never failed to deliver the two things which most bind us all together after having twenty-three chances to falter is, in my opinion, a great indicator of worth. In short, if anyone doubts that Independence Fleet is uncommonly excellent, the burden is on them to peruse the records and statistics which have always been kept and made public since the Fleetís founding and to point to the facts therein which testify against the Fleetís quality. I believe that no honest person can do this.

Looking into the challenges faced by Independence Fleet, we need not dwell on the problems faced by all groups whatsoever and on those faced by weak groups. They are obvious and need no elaboration. However, there are two vulnerabilities that are unique to vigorous entities like our fleet which warrant comment. The first, which operates on a groupís leaders, is the temptation that a healthy organization furnishes to the overly-ambitious, who may attempt to seize control of the association to its detriment. The second, which operates on a groupís members, is the apathy that may be bred from the over-confidence created by the associationís initial strength. While other dangers may diminish as a group grows and develops, these two perils enlarge along with the prominence of the association to which they are attached. Very clearly, the threats posed by misapplied ambition and by apathy have been unavoidable for the Fleet; the knowledgeable observer of our history could recount numerous instances of both of these vices playing their pernicious roles.

Having acknowledged that the reason for Independence Fleet's endurance lies not in avoiding the listed troubles, we must look to the manner in which the Fleet has overcome them. Either some quality exists in the fleet that inspires its members to make greater than normal sacrifices and exertions for its preservation or there is something in the members which makes them more willing to do the same. Or perhaps, as I think likely, it is a combination of these. Of the Fleetís strengths I will only mention one, its diversity. One of the great things about out fleet is that, no matter what his or her preferences, everyone will find a ship in the fleet that suits him- or herself in terms of story focus and posting velocity. Sometimes--to our shame--we seem to forget that other ships in the fleet being better than ours in some way makes the fleet stronger, not weaker. Though, so I am not misunderstood, let me opine that poor ships introduce a diversity of a type which is not desirable and tolerance for perpetual inadequacy is not the virtue that other forms of acceptance are.

My full views on the subject are inappropriate for this occasion and format but I hope that some have found a little use in my remarks and might be spurred on to consider the matter further. Let us take this anniversary to consider what we put into and get out of Independence Fleet and to commit ourselves to do what we can to maximize our own enjoyment and that of others connected with the organization.

VAdm Robert J. Seldon (Ret.)

VAdm Seldon previously held a number of positions with the fleet, including Captain of the USS Washington, Director of the Defense Response Force, and Chief of Fleet Operations. He is not currently simming actively.

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On June the 4th, 2003, Admiral West vowed that by July 4th, 2003, Independence Fleet would be fully operational. Prior to this date, multiple problems and trouble-spots within the fleet had been either noticed or reported.

The first actual sign of trouble was when Admiral Star went on a sudden and unexpected LOA in mid-May... leaving Admiral West by himself wondering what, if any, were the protocols for putting together a fleet newsletter... as Admiral Star or Former Vice-Admiral Seldon always had taken on that responsibility.

Unable to reach Admiral Star, West went to Rear-Admirals McCloud and Dragonetti for help. Together they came up with a gameplan for the newsletter and had one ready to be published in a matter of days. The May 2003 newsletter was issued May 15th.

After discovering more problems within the fleet and still unable to get ahold of Admiral Star, West became very worried. Luckily, Star was able to come online long enough to send Admiral West written orders to "feel free to act as the leadership of the fleet and do what needs to be done to make the fleet better."

With these orders, West immediately enlisted the help of Rachael Rager, a crewmember who served with West back on the Sunfire. The Admiral knew what she was capable of and also knew that she could help him get the fleet back on track in the most efficient and fastest way. West assigned her in as the Acting Chief of Development at the rank of Vice-Admiral(provisional).

Together the two fleet administrators first had to determine the status of every sim with reported problems in leadership/posting/lack of crew etc. Once determined, the sims were triaged to determine which ones could be saved or not. The USS Avalon was decommissioned in May and the USS Sunfire left the fleet before anything else could be decided about it. The USS Goliad undertook a change of Commanding Officer and has since gotten well back on track. Any other sim with reported problems have also since been taken care of whether it needed recruiting, morale boosts, new leadership etc. We can thank Rear-Admirals McCloud and Dragonetti for that with their hard work and dedication to the sims in their division.

There are some final changes that have recently been made and that have just been made today, which are all explained in articles below. Some deal with sims and some deal with fleet leadership changes. Now that everything is complete, each division will contain four active sims each.

Today, July 4th, 2003, Independence Fleet is officially off renovation status and will be back on normal business from here on out!

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The USS Pioneer, Commanded by Captain Josie O'Neil, was being discussed late in June amongst the Admiralty and CO about possible decommissioning. However, before any kind of decision could be reached, Captain O'Neil took the Pioneer from Independence Fleet effective June 30th at 11:59PM EST.

Admiral West was guest appearing on the vessel in an attempt to bring up morale and posting levels at the time. The Pioneer was commissioned on March 1st, 2002 and was a little over year old. The ship saw over 500 posts in it's existence.

We wish the Pioneer well in it's future endeavors.

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In June of 2003 the Admiralty decided to accept an independent vessel into the fleet after the loss of the USS Sunfire that month. The fleet has lost the Sunfire unexpectedly before resources were available to compensate and without warning from the CO to the Admiralty. The USS Victory had expressed it's interest in joining the fleet months beforehand and was reviewed by the Admiralty each month for consistent activity and quality, which the sim displayed.

Therefore, the USS Victory was commissioned in IDF under the command of Captain Lenti Utex and replaced the Sunfire's spot in the Special Operations Division. Welcome to the fleet crew of the Victory!

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There are several promotions to be handed out to various crew members and fleet officers, as well as position changes. There is no particular order set for the following promotions/transfers/position changes.

- Captain Alayne Tolbin of the USS Excaliber would like to announce three promotions aboard her vessel. Lieutenant Junior Grade Alexander Monroe Hawke is being promoted to Full Lieutenant. Lieutenant Commanders Dusty Redroi and Paula Fredricks are both being promoted to Full Commanders.

- Commander Victoria Concord of Deep Space 15 is being promoted to Captain. She would also like to announce that Lieutenant Junior Grade Leeta Gill is being promoted to Full Lieutenant. Also, Lieutenant Commander Mira Rodale is being promoted to Full Commander.

- Lieutenant Commander Zingela is being promoted to Captain. Captain Dick Sprague recently resigned as Commanding Officer, leaving the USS Washington in Zingela's hands.

- Commander Nara Treniek, former Acting CO of the USS Avalon, has been promoted to Captain and given command of Starbase 10. Commodore Vrona, former CO of the base, resigned on June 29th, 2003. The morale, posting level, and lack of leadership on the base nearly brought an end to the sim. Captain Nara Treniek stepped in, however, and is now in the process of straightening everything out...and so far is doing an excellent job of it.

- Captain Henry "Hank" Logan of the USS Patriot would like to promote Lieutenant Manji Nakon to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

- Major Modin Blatheric, Marine CO of Starbase 10 is being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and will fill the position of Executive Officer under the new CO, Captain Treniek.

- Captain Jeremiah Griffith, Commanding Officer of the USS Liberty, is being promoted to Rear Admiral and is taking over command of the Special Operations Division to replace Commodore Vrona. The USS Liberty is transferring to the SOD as well.

- Rear-Admiral Felicity Dragonetti is being promoted to Vice-Admiral and will take over the fleet level position of Director of Fleet Development.

- Captain James "Brit" Britanicus is being promoted to Rear-Admiral and will take over command of the Defense Response Force.

- Vice-Admiral(provisional) Rachael Rager is taking on the new fleet level position of Director of Fleet Relations and will now hold the full time rank of Rear-Admiral.

- As mentioned above, the USS Liberty is transferring to the SOD along with Rear-Admiral Griffith. Also, the USS Minerva, commanded by Captain Krol, is transferring to the DSE to replace the Liberty's spot. These transfers even out the sim numbers so that each division contains four(4) simulations. The fleet now has twelve(12) active sims total.

All of the following changes are effective immediately as of July 4th, 2003 A.D. All changes will be updated on the IDF homepage and are there for you to see at anytime.

Congratulations to everyone who was promoted!

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Recently, while still the Acting Chief of Development, Rear-Admiral Rager, along with input from all the fleet level officers, created detailed job descriptions for fleet positions. There were no actual written duties before this for fleet directors to follow, thus making the assignment of responsibilities confusing and questionable. A few days ago the fleet directors all agreed on these desciptions put together by Rear-Admiral Rager. And, here they are for all to see. The Fleet Level Descriptions are also posted on the website in the info section under Fleet Documents. There's some other useful stuff in that section too! Enjoy.

Duties of ALL Fleet Level Officers:
Take their duties seriously, as being given one of these offices carries with it the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that all those below them are able to enjoy the game. The game is meant to be fun for all those participating, not only the top person. On the contrary, the top person is the one who should be sacrificing their fun if it means more below them will enjoy the game. The game is not one person's personal power trip or source of transient glory, it is a community and should be respected as such.

- Set GOOD examples for the rest of the fleet (ex- if there is a deadline to get reports in, the Fleet Officers should make a point to get theirs in first, or have their XO/assistant do so if they are unable for whatever real life reason).
- Maintain welcoming and accepting attitudes with all unknowns who approach the officer in reference to the fleet.
- Positively promote the Fleet in any communication outside of the fleet.
- Remain humble in their duties.
- Pass on all information and ideas which pertain in any way to the fleet on a fleet level to the rest of the Admiralty (either directly or via the DFR), ie- communicate at all times.
- Of the seven Admiralty officers, three each month will vote on awards. Those which are not active in a sim for a given month will be first chosen to be the voters on fleet awards for that month, to prevent any questions within the fleet of impartiality.
- Where possible, decisions will be made and disputes resolved by majority agreement of those involved.

Commander in Chief: (CinC or CiC)
"In all institutions it becomes necessary for some to lead and direct their affairs for the time being, and for some others to follow under their leadership."

Purpose: Fleet's Chief Advisor and for there to be someone with a final say in cases where such is needed to reach a decision

Description: Top "Commanding" officer of the fleet

- Act in conjunction with advice and help from the Fleet Directors for the best interest of the fleet, not to command like a Dictator.
- Ensure that the entire fleet is healthy.
- Take care of inter-fleet matters.
- Fleet advertising.
- Recruitment.
- Appointment of suitable people to fleet level positions.
- Assist other fleet officers with ideas and implementation when needed.
- Involve self on matters of internal fleet conflict or "big decisions," including but not limited to: adding/scraping sims, internal fleet arguments/disorders.
- If warranted, act as a final authoritative judge on internal conflicts ONLY if the problem can't be worked out among those involved.
- Make policy decisions on behalf of the entire fleet when there is a division in agreement amongst the Admiralty.

Director of Fleet Operations: (DFO)
Purpose: Operate! Keep the fleet active, working up to par.

Description: Combination of the Chief of Operations position on a ship in Star Trek and Deputy CiC.

- Act as CiC during the absence of the CiC.
- Act as DFR during absence of the DFR.
- Take over from the DFD the supervision of the continued operation of things within the fleet once the DFD's job is finished.
- Newsletter Editor, which includes handing out tasks for the newsletter as needed.
- Maintain CO's list.
- Monitor sims to form an opinion if they are healthy or not.
- Make recommendations on new COs or Fleet Level Officers.
- Provide a knowledge base, using DFD and DFR where necessary, that allows DDs and COs to inform themselves.

Director of Fleet Development: (DFD)
Purpose: Develop! Make new and wonderful, helpful ideas for the fleet become a reality.

Description: None at this time.

- Act as DFO during the absence of the DFO.
- Recruitment.
- Fleet advertising.
- Work in conjunction with the new CO of a new sim to create the sim and get it up and running.
- Work in conjunction with the new DD of a new division to create the division and get it up and running.
- Work in conjunction with whoever needed to turn ideas for fleet improvement/expansion which are approved by the Admiralty into actual things.
- Come up with ideas for fleet improvement/expansion/betterment/new fun things!
- (If not desired by the DFO) Newsletter Editor, which includes handing out tasks for the newsletter as needed.
- (If not desired by the DFR) Webmaster/Archiver of fleet happenings.
- Maintain websites for sims who do not have a member of the crew who can do it (whether that's for lack of knowledge or lack of time) - shared duty with DFR.

Director of Fleet Relations: (DFR)
Purpose: Relate! Facilitator - Make sure the lines of communications within the fleet are kept open and active. Fleet Scapegoat - If something within the fleet is neglected or something wrong/bad happens within the fleet, the finger of blame is first pointed here for the lack of communication/action taken by the appropriate officer(s).

Description: Combination of Public Relations, Human Resources, and the personnel duties that might typically be associated with an XO of a ship in Star Trek.

- Act as DFD during the absence of the DFD.
- See that information gets where it needs to go, including matching up/introducing the appropriate people with each other in the best interest of whatever needs to be done.
- Maintain friendly and active relations with as many people as possible within the fleet, for only by being in touch with the general population can an accurate assessment of situations be made (ie- keep your finger on the pulse of activity amongst the fleet members).
- Create and maintain between self and the members of the fleet the feeling of approachability, so that everyone knows they can come here with any problems, suggestions, comments, complaints, etc., about anyone else in the fleet or the fleet in general.
- Maintain discretion, and keep the confidence of any who approach self in manner described above in all situations that warrant it unless express permission to the contrary is given by the individual.
- Provide a forum for and be the facilitator of discussions and/or dispute resolution (but NOT to be the final decision maker).
- Make recommendations on new COs or Fleet Level Officers.
- Webmaster/Archiver of fleet happenings.
- Maintain websites for sims who do not have a member of the crew who can do it (whether that's for lack of knowledge or lack of time) - shared duty with DFD.
- Monitor sim mailing lists for information that might be relevant/of interest to other members in the fleet not on that sim (ex.- When a person known on a fleet level has in real life been injured, had a baby, gotten married, etc. When a CO is forced to suddenly resign).
- Monitor sims to form an opinion if they are healthy or not.
- Create, for approval by the Admiralty, documents which explain items of fleet interest or policy as the need for them arise, or preferably to anticipate such need so that the case does not happen in which there is an event which occurs and there is no determined way of handling it.
- Awards nominations editor.
- Fleet advertising.
- (If not desired by the DFO and DFD) Newsletter Editor, which includes handing out tasks for the newsletter as needed.

Division Director: (DD)
Purpose: Work for the continuance and betterment of the sims in the specific division, not to just maintain it.

Description: Top "Commanding" officer of specific division.

- Recruitment!
- Offer support and suggestions to COs/sims within the division when the need for such is seen.
- Respond to/act on CO requests, and act as a sounding board for any CO in division that approaches DD as such.
- Ensure that each sim has the tools and resources to become and remain healthy.
- Join any sim in need of posting help and set an example of good style, use of other characters, and creativity.
- Facilitate communications between division members and whoever.
- Provide a forum for dispute resolution and act as the Adjudicator in dispute resolution at the division level.
- Act as assistant to any of the Fleet Directors when requested and able.
- Make recommendations for promotions of people to CO.
- Make recommendations for removal of incapable COs.
- Become familiar with the sims and personnel in division.

Deputy Division Director: (DDD)
With Seven Admiralty positions, the thought of another three fleet level positions seems to be overkill. But in the interest of future growth of the divisions, and the real possibility of DDs needing future assistance in their duties for whatever reason, these positions are not being removed. They are not being filled at the current time either, as there does not appear to be a current need for Ten people at the fleet level when there are Six active ones already.

Purpose: Work for the continuance and betterment of the sims in the specific division

Description: "Executive" officer of specific division

- Act as DD during the absence of the DD.
- Assist the DD in duties.
- Fill in as CO of a sim who's CO is on LOA or which does not have a CO AND the XO of the sim does not want the job or cannot fill the role.
- Make self available as a resource to the COs in the division.
- Provide advise to the DD should the need arise, and be completely honest in such so that an appropriate decision can be made by the DD.
- Become familiar with the sims and personnel in division so that filling in as DD will be a seamless transition, as relations to act properly in that role will already be in place.

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=/\=TIME FOR PART-B!=/\=

Stay tuned! The next section of the newsletter should be arriving in your inbox in a few seconds. Look for announcements about two other IDF ships, a fleet contest, and the famous interview in Part-B!

- Admiral West