WASHINGTON — The Chief of Naval Operations today published a long-awaited instruction clarifying the difference between rumor intelligence, scuttlebutt and gouge.
OPNAV Instruction 9710894.666, Understanding and Disseminating RUMINT, Scuttlebutt and Gouge, was released to wide acclaim by previously-confused seamen and uncomprehending junior officers. The instruction is designed to improve performance and morale by helping the Navy develop a Common Gouge Picture, instead of its current standard of allowing E-4s and O-2s fleet-wide to dictate what disconnected crap the CNO is reading in his office every morning.
According to the instruction, RUMINT is “single-source information strictly intended for the purpose of sowing discontent, or for allowing that one seaman to act like she’s totally in the know.”
As an example, the instruction cites RUMINT spread by a yeoman in Yemen that a frigate would be stationed at the North Pole since all the ice melted there. This caused well-meaning sailors worldwide to request transfers in order to help save drowning polar bears plus take nude selfies at the top of the world.
Scuttlebutt, on the other hand, is now codified as “RUMINT that has been restated by three or more sailors, one of whom must be at least a petty officer first class.” The recent scuttlebutt that the 2019 JADE HELM exercise would overthrow the Trump administration is considered an excellent example, while also serving as an example of "gouge," officials said.
Gouge, the instruction says, is considered to be “scuttlebutt that is fact, such as news that the Pacific Fleet was known to be in trouble as early as 2015. In order to become gouge, scuttlebutt must be restated by at least one chief petty officer, three lieutenant commanders, and one captain who isn’t connected to the Fat Leonard scandal and who never crashed a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
With this instruction, sailors now know that the RUMINT about sending SEALs to fight California forest fires with overwhelming firepower is false. They also know that the scuttlebutt about sailors being allowed to wear man-buns is true. And finally, everyone in the nation’s sea service has the gouge about the Pacific Fleet, so try not to get transferred there for your own safety.
At press time, the Navy’s Office of Information said it would soon publish an instruction clarifying the difference between a captain’s mast, an old-school keelhauling, and being assigned to Norfolk, Va.