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2010 History Conference

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Piracy on the High Seas: Can History Help Defeat Present-Day Pirates?

By Jeff Poor

The threat of piracy on the open seas has been a persistent one throughout the history of maritime commerce. From Blackbeard to Barbary Pirates, the phenomenon has been glamorized in modern pop culture in roles played by Yul Brynner and Errol Flynn.

However, piracy off the coasts of Somalia and the Horn of Africa has recently captured the public’s attention and has created several questions. Is this a real and continuing threat to the United States and its commerce? If so, can we learn how to deal with this nautical danger by looking at how the country dealt with it throughout history? Are there commercial, diplomatic or legal channels that could be used to solve piracy? If not, would the use of U.S. military force be an appropriate way to deal with it?

On Oct. 20, these questions and many others were posed at a daylong forum hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute at its 2010 History Conference in Annapolis, Md., Piracy on the High Seas: Can History Help Defeat Present-Day Pirates?

Understanding Somalia

To get a grasp of how to deal with this is problem, it’s important to understand the mindset of the modern-day pirate and what their rationale is when committing these acts. This should be examined through a non-ethnocentric view according to Dr. Martin Murphy, author of Small Boats, Weak States, Dirty Money: Piracy and Maritime Terrorism in the Modern World. He explained to the audience the societal norms of the Somali culture is different from American culture and that is important to respond effectively to piracy.

Dr. Martin Murphy  To view a slideshow of the 2010 History Conference, click here.

“At the top level, we’re dealing with people who know exactly what they’re doing,” Murphy said. “They understand that as far as we’re concerned, this is a criminal activity. They understand the consequences of what would follow from that if they’re caught. But equally Somali society does recognize the difference between what’s right and wrong—what’s right and wrong to them is not what’s right and wrong to us. They feel free to do this because it’s a part of the traditions of Somali society. If you need a camel, then you might take it. You know you’re going to face some consequences for that.”

But he also contended that not understanding this and taking aggressive action by means of invasion would backfire and make the Somalis more determined with their quests.

“I don’t agree that we can just go in there and throw our weight around because there are consequences to that,” he continued. “We’re dealing with a xenophobic society that takes very badly to having people come in and try to teach them what they think they know. They have effectively rejected invasions before and to go into Somalia and to raid the sites and try to kill people will in fact, the danger as I see it, tend to unify the clans against and make the task that much harder.”

Blackbeard to Barbary Pirates: Making Their Mark on History

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it and that is a reason why having a general understanding of the history of piracy is important. Rear Admiral Joseph F. Callo, USNI historian and author of John Paul Jones: America’s First Sea Warrior, explained the importance of history in a general context.

“History is really how we form conclusions about the lives we live and the societies that we live in and those conclusions lead us to actions and plans and history plays a very important role in that context,” Callo said. “It is history, but not history for its own sake.”

However, Callo challenged people to not look to come away with something they didn’t already know about piracy, but to think about it in a different way. He proposed technology and piracy as one example and said some of the same innovations from centuries ago are still employed today.

“How many of you have thought, for example, about the technology of piracy?” he said. “And there is a technology of piracy, just as there is a technology suppressing it. There is a technology to pursue. And if you roll back in history, for example, and think about the pirates in the Caribbean and one place in particular that I happen to know pretty well, in the British Virgin Islands, a little anchorage called Soper’s Hole, where there was an incredible vantage point to see all the seagoing traffic in the vicinity before they could possibly see you—now what came out of that particular anchorage was something called a flyboat and it’s very interesting because other than the means of propulsion, they are very similar to the boats attacking major merchant ships today.”

But history also reflects how once-powerful navies, like the British Royal Navy handled their problems with piracy. Dr. Virginia Lunsford, associate professor at the University of Virginia and author of Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age of the Netherlands, referred to Murphy’s remarks and explained the British had formulated such a game plan.

Dr. Virginia Lunsford and RADM Joseph Callo, USNR (Ret.)  To view a slideshow of the 2010 History Conference, click here.

“He said he feels, and I would agree, that the foremost lesson we can draw from studying historical piracy is in understanding the society and the culture of the group we’re dealing with,” Lunsford said. “That’s the key historical lesson and I echo that.”

Frederick C. Leiner, an attorney and the author of The End of Barbary Terror: America’s 1815 War against Pirates of North Africa, also contrasted modern-day piracy to that of his field of expertise, the Barbary pirates. He advised against labeling the geographic regions the Barbary pirates existed as “state-sponsors of terrorism,” but explained the motivations of the pirates weren’t so much political as they were economical, which “transcended time.” That was evident in the way the United States dealt with the Barbary pirates in its infancy.

“The United States experienced Barbary piracy on and off over a 30-year period from 1785 to 1815,” Leiner said. “But the Barbary pirates were the scourge of Europe for centuries before the United States existed. In 1785, the newly emergent United States sent its merchant ships all across the globe and particularly in Europe and the Mediterranean and in that era, Algiers seized two of our merchant ships. And that, followed several years later by 11 more merchant ships.”

But with that, many Americans were held captive in Algiers and that warranted a response from the young U.S. government and the Navy founded out of a need to deal with piracy. But, that wasn’t the first solution the U.S. government attempted in its dealings with the Barbary pirates.

“What is not very well known, however, is the first way we dealt with Barbary piracy was to pay them off,” he continued. “And lest you think that some cowardly person took over Washington, well in those days in Philadelphia, it was no one other than George Washington who insisted on paying the premium. It was nearly $1 million, which may not sound like a lot of money today but it was 12 percent of the federal budget.”

But as much as policymakers can reflect back on history to understand and devise solutions for contemporary piracy issues, finding the right solution doesn’t apply the exact same method. Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Armstrong, an active duty naval helicopter pilot who has served as an amphibious search-and-rescue and special warfare pilot and an advanced helicopter flight instructor, explained to the audience today’s issues are unique and warrant their own solutions.

“I think it’s good to draw lessons from history,” Armstrong said. “But as we kind of commented on, there is no really exact parallel so everything should be taken with a grain of salt.”

Piracy’s Impact on International Commerce, Law & Diplomacy

The consensus of many of the featured speakers at the “Piracy on the High Seas: Can History Help Defeat Present-Day Pirates?” conference is that any sort of military force used to contain piracy probably wouldn’t have a lasting impact and would be too costly. Therefore, other means should at least be explored.

Panelists (from left): Eric Wertheim, CAPT Mark Tempest, USNR (Ret.), Robert Gauvin, and LCDR Claude Berube, USNR  To view a slideshow of the 2010 History Conference, click here.

Lieutenant Commander Claude Berube, a professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy, raised a few key issues as to what is the role of the United States when it comes to piracy. He contended that the United States doesn’t engage in the amount of maritime commerce that it once has and asked whether it does have a role in policing the world’s seas for piracy, or should that be a coalition or the industry itself.

“What’s the appropriate response?” Berube asked. “Should there be a response? Is containment sufficient? What about sustainment? Can we as a coalition sustain this indefinitely if we assume piracy off Somalia will be with us for many years?”

So faced with those various dilemmas, Berube observed the solution to piracy would have to be a land-based one, whether it is commercial, legal or diplomatic.

“I think many of us would agree there has to be a land-based solution, especially off of Africa in any shape or form,” Berube continued. “Absent that, our best options are to mitigate the effects at sea to secure the global maritime commerce.”

Robert M. Gauvin, executive director of piracy policy for the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters, explained there is already a lot of work partnerships globally in place to take on piracy that is often missed.

“We are involved across the world and it’s not really recognized how much the federal agencies work together when it comes to piracy,” Gauvin said. “There are working groups at the U.N. levels. There is work being done at the maritime safety committee at the International Maritime Organization in London, which of course is the U.N. of maritime dealings when it comes to international treaties. And here in the United States, as well as abroad, the U.S. flag is represented by the United States Coast Guard.”

But he also explained that more importantly it was important to cooperate with the various domestic agencies in the U.S. government.

“Our biggest job is to work interagency,” he said. “The Department of State, Department of Justice, the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Maritime Administration—work together specifically looking at what the U.S. government can do to support the U.S. maritime commerce.”

As far as diplomatic efforts go, one of the clear distinctions between today’s Somali pirates and the Barbary pirates of centuries past was made by Capt. Mark Tempest, an attorney in admiralty and maritime law. He explained the Barbary pirates were actually privateers, what he called “nation-state piracy,” meaning they were acting with the backing of the governments of the time. And that, according to Tempest, takes on a whole different set of circumstances that differs from pirates who aren’t acknowledged by a government.

He explained there were various other “low-grade” examples of piracy that have always existed that amounted to a little more than sea robbery and how they were dealt with, especially in the Far East. But they were a distant cry from what would have passed for piracy in the days of Blackbeard.

“Those things do exist, but they’re very mild compared to what we would call ‘classic piracy,’ where Blackbeard would go out and all those guns and the all the romantic stuff where he was seizing a bunch of Spanish galleons with a bunch of gold.”

“But that was somewhat historically inaccurate,” Tempest explained.

“Blackbeard got loads of flour,” he said. “He got tea. He got cotton. He didn’t get gold. It was just the way piracy operated back then. But what happens is, in those days—we’ll go back to the law here a little bit—if you were a privateer or a navy ship and you captured another vessel, any vessel, you didn’t sink it. God forbid you would sink it. You would take it into port and have a prize court. The court would decide. The admiralty judge actually got a chunk of the revenue of the ship. But he would decide the effort you undertook to capture the ship.”

“But then privateers realized they could do this without the need for an admiralty judge, keep that for themselves and a rogue brand of piracy was born. But this isn’t quite the coalition of clans that have plagued the starving people of Somalia,” Tempest pointed out.

According to Eric Wertheim, a Proceedings magazine columnist and author and editor of The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, “There is good news and bad news here,” Wertheim said. “The good news is there is a legal framework here internationally in dealing with piracy through the U.N. Commission on Laws and the Sea, through international law, through each individual country’s domestic legal system there is a framework. The bad news is it is a very, very complicated process, and there are challenges at every single level about this process that comes beginning with the decision to dispatch forces across the ocean to the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden. And if you look at some of the countries that are involved—many of the countries are extremely reluctant to get involved.”

But beyond that he explained there were inner-conflicts in some countries with their navies and their government and as the problem is international, dealing with it could mean that some navies that traditionally have never work with other countries and may have had no prior dealings with those countries will have to work together with varying rules of engagement.

Somali Pirates: Not the Threat to Commerce Barbary Pirates Once Posed

Is piracy a threat to the global system of maritime commerce? Or is it just a phenomenon that has captivated the attention of many just because of sensational headlines and news stories? According to Stephen M. Carmel, senior vice president of Maersk Line, Ltd., there’s no argument because these Somali pirate threat impacts very little in the way of global commerce. In his keynote speech to the conference, he called piracy an “existential threat” to U.S. commerce.

“The Somali pirates are irrelevant,” Carmel said. “They do not in anyway impact foreign commerce of the globally dominant U.S., do not directly cost the U.S. economy a cent, and directly threat few U.S. citizen seamen. To the extent U.S. citizen seamen are at risk from pirates, it is due to U.S. foreign policy and cargo preference laws, not in the form of foreign commerce critical to the U.S. economic role.”

Stephen Carmel  To view a slideshow of the 2010 History Conference, click here.

Carmel also played down the political motivations of the Somali pirates because they are acting in financial interests, not political interests. He said hostages taken by the Somali pirates were for pure ransom and they were not horribly mistreated compared to the Barbary pirate “business model.”

“The primary business model of the Barbary pirates was not hostage for ransom, although that was clearly a lucrative one,” Carmel said. “It was slavery. The hostages taken by the Barbary pirates—usually Europeans and Americans ended up as slaves, either directly by the pirates themselves for hard labor under horrendous conditions or sold into the North African slave market.”

And according to Carmel, the Somali pirates aren’t even close to posing that sort of threat by those means or the magnitude the Barbary pirates once did, suggesting that any comparisons between the two were faulty. Carmel’s solution: Make individual companies responsible for their own security and the international community responsible for the system itself in the event a disruption like the Barbary pirates were to ever arise again.

“The system is what we should be about protecting,” he added. “The international military community cannot without the help of every individual company. Individual companies need to be concerned with that. The international community does need to be concerned with system stability and that’s something the Somali pirates have not been able to upset.”

Pirates: How Do We Defeat Them?

Knowing the historical precedent and the various rules and customs in dealing with piracy, what can be done?  The panelist at the history conference agreed on one thing—taking direct action to these pirates in Somalia is probably not the most effective way to solve the issue.

Rear Admiral Terence McKnight, former commander of the Expeditionary Strike Group Two, likened capturing pirates to “the car catching the dog,” which poses concerns, he explained.

“The phase of what you do with pirates, how you stop pirates, I don’t think is going to be solved,” McKnight said. “We have a couple of options. We talked about a land-attack version. We can go in there and wipe them out. In my estimation, that is not an option.”

According to McKnight, it would be too difficult to identify the pirates and know which ones you would “wipe out.”

“I think if we put people ashore and we stay ashore, you will see a case where the clans meet up with al-Shabab because they do not want foreign forces on their shore and I think that’s a thing we would have to worry about.” 

“The other option is the possibility—we just completely back out of it,” McKnight continued. “Thirteen thousand vessels go through there a year and 44 attacks in nine months. That is a very small measure to have an extreme force out there.”

He proposed evasive maneuvers, alternative tactics and other means to combat piracy. Training countries locally with smaller ships is an option as well. But a public relations strategy wouldn’t hurt either.

“The other thing we can do is get the press out of the picture,” McKnight said. “If it gets off the front page of The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal—it may go away.”

RADM Terence McKnight, USN (Ret.) and Capt Zachary Martin, USMC  To view a slideshow of the 2010 History Conference, click here.

Capt. Zachary D. Martin, U.S. Marine Corps, commander of Force Reconnaissance Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force and author of numerous articles in professional military journals also had some remarks about the media.

“What there wasn’t media attention on were my platoons working with the local nations in the area—working with them, working with different countries in the area, training their coast guard, their navy in to how to conduct operations,” he said. “And I think that’s a key component which doesn’t get into the potential for backlash or for increase in politicization or Islamicization of the issue because it is a cooperative measure.”

Laurence Smallman, defense research analyst at the RAND Corporation, remarked, “If we politicize the people who are committing the crime, then we’re going to move from pirates economically, economic-motivated people, to those of a politically motivated people,” Smallman said. “One of the challenges where we either take direct action or think about it, is in deciding what might be the impact of that direct action on the community.”

“If we go ashore, into the fishing communities assuming we think we know who the pirates are, you can bet that shortly after we leave, there will be some other dead bodies that will be there if there weren’t any left there by our direct action.”

And Smallman warned, with direct action—you would force a direct link between these so-called economic pirates and terrorism, making the problem worse.


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Naval History Conference 2010

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General Registration Information

Registration Deadlines:

Online Registration:   Closes at 4:30pm on Thursday, 14 October

Phone Registration (800 -233-8764):   Closes at 4:30pm on Thursday, 14 October


After Thursday 14 October, registration available only through the in person On-site registration line at the conference.

To expedite On-site registration, we ask if you can please print and fill out the below registration form and bring it with you to the event to be processed.

On-Site Registration Form


Dutch painter Willem van de Velde was much admired for his realism and accuracy in his artwork, including this 17th-century depiction of Barbary corsairs attacking a Spanish ship. Courtesy of the Bridgeman Art Library.

Blackbeard, by I. Ross, Proceedings, October 1974: Teach was his name and "Teaching" was on its way to becoming a very painful process until a Royal Navy lieutenant intervened to teach Teach his last lesson.

Of Pirates and Rovers, by Lieutenant Commander Charles Moran, U.S. Naval Reserve, Proceedings, April 1937: The author discusses conflicts with the Barbary pirates.
What Makes Piracy Work, by Virginia Lunsford, Proceedings, December 2008: Five factors that keep piracy alive.
Feral Cities, Pirate Havens, by Lieutenant Commander Matthew M. Frick, U.S. Navy, Proceedings, December 2008: How pirates throughout history have relied on controlling land bases to support their activities.
The U.S. Navy Battles Pirates of the Caribbean, by Joseph Gibbs, Naval History, April 2008: In 1821, one captain sailed with his ship and crew into the waters off western Cuba intent on breaking a piratical stranglehold on merchant shipping.
A Find of Piratical Significance, by Eric Mills, Naval History, April 2009: The discovery of the long-lost wreckage of Captain William Kidd's ship has put to rest some of the legends surrounding piracy's most sympathetic scalawag.
Piracy, Policy, and Law, by Commander James Kraska, U.S. Navy and Captain Brian Wilson, U.S. Navy, Proceedings, December 2008: The complicated diplomatic and legal challenges of dealing with captured pirates.
Call for a Holistic Approach to Solving the Piracy Problem, by Joshua Rozenberg: A special report commissioned by ELS International Lawyers.
The Overstated Threat, by Commander John Patch, U.S. Navy (Retired), Proceedings, December 2008: Is the threat of piracy overhyped because it is often mistakenly linked with acts of terrorism?
Defeating Somali Pirates on Land: The Kenya Connection, by David Axe, Proceedings, March 2009: The author of several past Proceedings articles from hot spots around the world files this report from Mombasa.
Gulf of Aden Counter Piracy Operations, by Rear Admiral Terry McKnight, U.S. Navy: The former commander of the counter piracy Combined Task Force 151 provides an informative and insightful overview of the issue of piracy near the coast of Somalia.
Collector's Guide to Pirate Movie DVDs, by Eric Mills, Naval History, April 2009: From Naval History magazine, a list of classic pirate movies.

July 2010 Proceedings:

How Does this End, by Commander John Patch, USN (Ret.): The multinational anti-piracy force isn't really addressing the problem, forcing the United States to ask some tough questions.
The Entire Indian Ocean is Up for Grabs, by Captain Edward H. Lundquist, USN (Ret.): Increased naval activity in the Gulf of Aden is pushing the Somali pirates outward, where they can operate in a wider radius.
Two Faces of High-Seas Crime, by Lieutenant Commander Akash Chaturvedi, Indian Navy: Piracy and terrorism are two different things, but this Indian naval officer says the two activities must be dealt with simultaneously.
Solving Somalia, by Martin N. Murphy: The fight against piracy in the Strait of Malacca appears to be a success, but the situation off Somalia requires a political solution.

Proceedings from 1916-1917:

"Our Navy and the West Indian Pirates" Series, by Rear Admiral Caspar F. Goodrich, U.S. Navy.

Video Clips:

Anti-piracy task force a failure, MajGen Tom Wilkerson, U.S. Marine Corps, (Retired) on CNN.
Raising a really rather tricky sovereignty issue, MajGen Tom Wilkerson, U.S. Marine Corps, (Retired) on BBC.

Printer Friendly Schedule

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
8:00AM - Registration Opens
8:00AM - 9:00AMContinental Breakfast
9:00AM - 9:05AM Welcome Address: MajGen Thomas Wilkerson, USMC (Ret.), CEO, U.S. Naval Institute
9:05AM - 9:45AM Kickoff Address
9:45AM - 10:55AMPanel: Blackbeard to Barbary Pirates: Making Their Mark on History
10:55AM - 11:10AMCoffee Break
11:10AM - 12:20PMPanel: Piracy's Impact on International Commerce, Law & Diplomacy
  • Moderator : LCDR Claude G. Berube, USNR, Professor, Department of Political Science, United States Naval Academy (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: Eric Wertheim, Proceedings Columnist, Author & Editor, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: Robert Gauvin, Executive Director, Piracy Policy, Office of Vessel Activities, U.S. Coast Guard (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: CAPT Mark Tempest, USNR (Ret.), Attorney, Maritime Law (Confirmed)
12:20PM - 1:30PMLuncheon Keynote Address
  • Keynote Speaker: Stephen M. Carmel, Senior Vice President, Maersk Line, Limited (Confirmed)
1:30PM - 2:40PMPanel: Pirates: How Do We Defeat Them?
2:40PM - 3:00PM Recap & Closing Remarks: MajGen Thomas Wilkerson, USMC (Ret.), CEO, U.S. Naval Institute

Dr. Martin N. Murphy

Keynote Speaker

Author and Piracy Expert


Dr Martin Murphy is an internationally-recognized expert on piracy who also writes widely on a range of naval and maritime security issues. He has consulted for the US Navy and UK MOD.

He is a Visiting Fellow at the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies at King’s College, London; Research Fellow at the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax; and was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Washington DC between 2008 and 2010. His latest book, Somalia, the New Barbary? Piracy and Islam in the Horn of Africa is due for publication by Columbia University Press in September 2010. In 2009 he published a major study of piracy and maritime terrorism worldwide entitled Small Boats, Weak States, Dirty Money: Piracy and Maritime Terrorism in the Modern World, also though Columbia University Press, which was listed as one of the outstanding academic titles of the year by the American Libraries Association and one of the 20 most notable naval books of the year by the US Naval Institute. His Adelphi Paper Contemporary Piracy and Maritime Terrorism was published in 2007. He is engaged currently on a book for Routledge provisionally entitled Piracy, Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare at Sea: Navies confront the 21st-Century.

He has written book chapters and journal articles on insurgent activity at sea, naval support for counterinsurgency operations, the role of medium powers in maritime security, piracy law and the part navies can play in the suppression of piracy and maritime terrorism. His writings have appeared in Naval War College Review, Contemporary Security Policy, Proceedings, Jane’s Intelligence Review Armed Forces Journal, World Affairs Journal and others.

Dr Murphy holds a BA with Honours from the University of Wales, and Masters (with distinction) and Doctoral degrees in strategic studies from the University of Reading. He lives in Alexandria, VA

Stephen M. Carmel

Keynote Speaker

Senior Vice President, Maersk Line, Limited


Steve Carmel is responsible for all technical and operating activities at MLL. He previously held positions in operations and finance for U.S. Marine Management, Inc. and MLL.

Steve began his career sailing as a deck officer and Master primarily on tankers for Maritime Overseas Corp. and the Military Sealift Command.

In 1979 Steve graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and holds a M.A. in Economics and a M.B.A. from Old Dominion University. Steve is currently pursuing a Ph.D. with an emphasis in International Political Economy. He is also a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and is Certified in Financial Management (CFM). Steve is also on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel (N00K).

MajGen Thomas Wilkerson, USMC (Ret.)

CEO, U.S. Naval Institute

Tom Wilkerson is the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Naval Institute.  In this capacity, he leads one of the oldest professional military associations in the United States. For more than 130 years, the Naval Institute, a nonprofit professional association with 65,000 members worldwide, has served as the “Independent Forum of the Sea Services.”

As CEO, Tom is responsible for formulating and executing the goals, objectives and strategy of the Institute; he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute and the Naval Institute Foundation.

Tom is no stranger to the Naval Institute, having served first as a member of Naval Institute's Board of Directors/ the Editorial Board and then as a member of the Naval Institute Foundation Board of Trustees.  Tom has also been a contributor to Proceedings magazine, and a frequent participant in the Naval Institute's seminar program.

Prior to rejoining the Naval Institute, Tom was the Executive Vice-President of a subsidiary to major publishing conglomerate with focus on 1st responder training.  From 1998 to 2001, he was CEO/President of a subsidiary to a Fortune 250 financial services corporation. Following the 911 terrorist attacks he began advising corporations doing business with the Federal Government on Homeland Security, Counter-Terrorism, and Defense Transformation.

Tom Wilkerson’s military career spans 31 years from graduation with the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1967 to service as Marine Fighter/Attack Aviator, and finally to senior leadership as a Major General of Marines.  In his last assignment as Commander, Marine Forces Reserve, Tom led the largest command in the Marine Corps with over 100,000 Marines at 200 sites around the country and a budget in excess of $500M annually.

General Wilkerson is a member of the Society of the Cincinnati and the Council on Foreign Relations.   

RADM Joseph F. Callo, USNR (Ret.)


Author, John Paul Jones and USNI Naval Historian of the Year


Joseph Callo is a Naval History Magazine Author of the Year. His most recent book John Paul Jones: America’s First Sea Warrior (Naval Institute Press, 2006) is the 2006 winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award by the Naval Order of the US for excellence in naval literature. He contributed to The Trafalgar Companion (Osprey Publishing, 2005) and was U.S. editor/author for Who’s Who in Naval History (Routledge, 2004). His books include Nelson in the Caribbean: The Hero Emerges, 1784-1787 (Naval Institute Press, 2002), Nelson Speaks: Admiral Lord Nelson in His Own Words (Naval Institute Press, 2001), and Legacy of Leadership—Lessons from Admiral Lord Nelson (Hellgate Press, 1999).  Mr. Callo has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers. He also is a frequent public speaker and has done numerous radio and TV interviews.

Before writing full time, Mr. Callo was a senior executive with major advertising agencies and was a freelance producer for NBC-TV and PBS. His awards include the prestigious George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award for his work as line producer on the NBC-TV prime-time special Tut: The Boy King (narrated by Orson Wells) and a Telly Award for his script for The Second Life of 20 West Ninth, a PBS and History Channel program (narrated by William Shatner). He taught advertising and writing at St. John’s University.

Mr. Callo was commissioned from the Yale University Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and served two years of sea duty with the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Amphibious Forces, where he was qualified as a surface warfare officer. Upon returning to civilian life, he commanded three reserve public affairs units and performed reserve duty with a variety of U.S. Navy commands, including: the Pre-Commissioning Detail of USS Saratoga, Sixth Fleet, Pacific Fleet, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval War College, Chief of Naval Reserve, Chief of Information, the Oceanographer of the Navy and others. He retired from the Naval Reserve as a rear admiral. He learned to sail at age 13, and he skippers sailboats up to 50 feet in length in the Caribbean. He also crewed in the full-scale reproduction of Captain Cook’s square-rigged bark Endeavour. Mr. Callo lives in New York City with his wife the former Sally Chin McElwreath, who is a retired Naval Reserve captain and most recently was a senior vice president with a major utility/energy company.

Dr. Virginia W. Lunsford


Associate Professor, U.S. Naval Academy, Author Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands


Virginia W. Lunsford is an associate professor of history at the United States Naval Academy. She is a specialist in maritime history, especially the history of piracy and privateering; the history of Early Modern Europe; the history of European expansion and colonialism; and the history of the Netherlands. Professor Lunsford holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in History from Harvard University where she studied with Simon Schama. She also earned an M.A. in Government and a B.A. with High Distinction in History and Rhetoric & Communication Studies from the University of Virginia. At the Naval Academy, Professor Lunsford currently teaches courses on “Warfare in the Age of Sail”; “The Golden Age of Piracy: Myth and Reality”; “The Buccaneers: A Case Study in Asymmetrical Warfare”; and “American Naval History.”


Professor Lunsford is the author of Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands (New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and is currently researching and writing Dead Men Tell No Tales: A Cultural History of Piracy in the Modern Age under contract with Routledge. She has given public lectures on subjects such as early modern sailors, the warfare of the buccaneers, the Battle of Trafalgar, Jean Lafitte and the Battle of New Orleans, Golden Age piracy, the maritime culture of the Golden Age Dutch Republic, and modern Somali piracy.  In 2008, she was invited to participate as a featured speaker at the Highlands Forum to help shape future strategy for the Department of Defense.  Her academic honors include a U.S. Naval Academy McMullen Sea Power Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands, appointment as a Krupp Foundation Fellow in European Studies, and as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leiden’s Institute for the History of European Expansion. She also served as University Writing Fellow at Harvard University.  

 As an acknowledged expert in maritime history and in the history of piracy, Professor Lunsford has appeared on television for the History Channel production of “Unconventional Warfare” (2002) where she spoke on Sir Francis Drake and the failure of the Spanish Armada in 1588. More recently she was featured, at length, in the History Channel program “True Caribbean Pirates” (2006) as an expert on the buccaneers.

 In response to the upsurge in Somali piracy, Professor Lunsford has written articles for the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, “Why Does Piracy Work?” (December 2008) and for the Baltimore Sun: “Navy Can’t Do it Alone” (April 2009). Additionally, she was an invited participant and collaborator at the national security workshop on “Contemporary Piracy: Consequences & Cures,” sponsored by the American Bar Association, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, and the McCormick Foundation (June 2009); and will serve as the moderator for the panel on “Pirates: How Do We Defeat Them?” at the U.S. Naval Institute’s and AFCEA International’s “West 2010” conference (February 2010). As an expert on historical piracy, she has been consulted by the Wall Street Journal and CNN, appeared on the Voice of America, and been quoted in U.S. News and World Report, the Straits Times (Singapore) and the Houston Chronicle.

Frederick C. Leiner


Author, The End of Barbary Terror: America's 1815 War against the Pirates of North Africa


Frederick C. Leiner is a practicing lawyer and a historian of American naval and diplomatic history.  He is the author of The End of Barbary Terror: America’s 1815 War with the Pirates of North Africa (Oxford University Press, 2006) and Millions for Defense: The Subscription Warships of 1798 (Naval Institute Press, 2000).  He has written widely about the navy in the age of sail, including topics such as leadership, shipbuilding, and maritime prize cases, in the Naval Institute Proceedings, Naval History, Journal of Military History, American Journal of Legal History, and other scholarly and popular periodicals. 

He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, took the M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University, which he attended on a Thouron Scholarship, and received his law degree from the University of Virginia.

LCDR Benjamin Armstrong, USN


Author, Search-and-rescue pilot assigned to HSC-2


Lieutenant Commander Benjamin “BJ” Armstrong is an active duty naval helicopter pilot who has served as an amphibious search and rescue and special warfare pilot and an advanced helicopter flight instructor.   He is currently assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28.  He holds a master’s degree in military history from Norwich University and has written on irregular warfare and naval history. A frequent contributor to Proceedings and Naval History magazine, he also writes for Small Wars Journal, and his articles have appeared in The Naval War College Review, Defense & Security Analysis, and Strategic Insights.

LCDR Claude G. Berube, USNR


Professor, Department of Political Science, United States Naval Academy


Lieutenant Commander Claude Berube teaches in the Political Science Department at the United States Naval Academy where his courses have included Naval History, Terrorism, Maritime Security Challenges, and Emergent Naval Warfare.  He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and national security including the Naval War College. He is currently writing on his doctoral dissertation on the Jacksonian Era Navy. 

He has worked for two U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill and as a civilian for the Office of Naval Intelligence as the head of a terrorism analysis team. As a Navy Reserve officer he has been mobilized several times. He served aboard USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) during its deployment to the Middle East in 2004-05 which included anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa.  In 2010, he was a Visiting Fellow for Maritime Studies at the Heritage Foundation. 

The co-author of two books on naval history and Congress, he is editing a new work on private market responses to piracy, terrorism, and 21st century security challenges.  A frequent contributor to Naval History and Naval Institute Proceedings, his articles on maritime security and piracy have also appeared in Orbis, Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Times, Forbes.com, Jane's Intelligence Review, Small Wars Journal and the Journal of International Peacekeeping Operations.

Eric Wertheim


Proceedings Columnist, Author & Editor, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World


Eric Wertheim is a defense consultant, columnist and author specializing in naval and air force issues. He was named to the helm of the internationally acknowledged, one volume Naval Institute reference Combat Fleets of the World in 2002.

As author and editor, his duties include tracking, analyzing and compiling data and photography on every vessel, aircraft and major weapon system, in every naval and paranaval force in the world - from Albania to Zimbabwe. He leads an independent maritime intelligence effort that spans the globe to produce the book commonly known as Combat Fleets.

Frequently contacted by the news media for on-air interviews and background information related to international naval incidents, Eric Wertheim has served as a speechwriter for senior Pentagon officials and as a consultant to best-selling authors, publishers and nonprofit organizations. He has been instrumental in the advancement of numerous high-technology weapons and concepts, and from 1994 through 2004 Mr. Wertheim wrote the bimonthly "Lest We Forget" column on historic U.S. warships for the Naval Institute's Proceedings magazine.

Since 2004, Eric Wertheim has written the monthly "Combat Fleets" column for Proceedings, and his annual review of world navies runs in the March issue of the magazine. He is the coauthor with Norman Polmar of the books, Chronology of the Cold War at Sea and Dictionary of Military Abbreviations, both published by the Naval Institute Press.

Bringing a unique perspective to international naval analysis and writing, Mr. Wertheim is a former Washington, D.C., police officer (Reserve) and graduate of the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Academy.  Mr. Wertheim was named Reserve Police Officer of the Year in 1997.

Robert Gauvin


Executive Director, Piracy Policy, Office of Vessel Activities, U.S. Coast Guard


 Mr. Gauvin is presently responsible for long-range projects of national and international concerns involving U.S. and foreign vessel commercial operations.  He champions marine safety and security program issues and coordinates strong liaisons through participation with industry groups, associations, the public, Congressional staffs, other federal agencies and international vessel administrations.

Bob graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1977.  His accomplishments as a Program Manager with the  Coast Guard includes development of regulatory projects for the U.S. National Response Plan, the U.S. double hull tank vessel regulations of OPA 90, developing the U.S. compliance to the International Safety Management Code, as well as advisor for rewrite of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 (bulk oil).  He has been a guest lecturer for graduate programs in port safety and security at the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden; marine transportation and safety at MIT and Virginia Tech; safety management at Harvard’s JFK Management School; and was certified as a Master Instructor at the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety School, where he ran the Coast Guard’s Port Security School.  He also has extensive experience as a U.S. advisor to the International Maritime Organization on maritime safety, security, ship-port interface, as well as marine environmental protection.  His current duties include assignment as a Special Project Officer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on small vessel security; and Executive Director of Piracy Policy for the Prevention Policy Directorate with the Coast Guard.

CAPT Mark Tempest, USNR (Ret.)


Attorney, Maritime Law


Mark Tempest is a contributor to the forthcoming book Private Market Responses to Piracy, Terrorism, and 21st Century Security Challenges, expected to be published in 2011. A former in-house litigation counsel for a couple of America's larger oil and gas corporations, he is semi-retired but continues to handle some maritime and commercial litigation. He holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.A. from Central Michigan University and his J.D. from the University of Georgia.

Commissioned through NROTC, Captain Tempest earned his surface warfare designation in WestPac during the Vietnam War. His reserve service primarily was with units concerned with protecting merchant shipping and inshore warfare/port security/harbor defense, and included recalls for Desert Storm and Kosovo.

He blogs at the maritime security blog EagleSpeak (www.eaglespeak.us), as a guest blogger at the U.S. Naval Institute Blog (http://blog.usni.org/) and he co-hosts the Navy-oriented internet radio show “Midrats” (www.blogtalkradio.com/midrats).

CDR John P. Patch, USN (Ret.)


Associate Professor, Strategic Intelligence, U.S. Army War College


Commander Patch returned to the U.S. Army War College as an Associate Professor of Strategic Intelligence in January 2010, acting as the senior strategic intelligence subject matter expert for the Army War College Center for Strategic Leadership, directing the design, preparation, and conduct of intelligence curriculum in strategic war gaming and long-term threat assessments. 

He recently served at the Defense Intelligence Agency as the Chief of the Acquisition Threat Support Division for the Defense Warning Office in the Directorate for Analysis from May-December 2009. He led and managed a large group of scientific and technical intelligence analysts focused on future threat assessments for Defense and policy acquisition decision-makers. Previous to that, he served from March 2008-May 2009 at the U.S. Army War College as an Associate Professor of Strategic Intelligence.

Commander Patch retired from the Navy after a 20-year career as a surface warfare and intelligence officer. His most recent military assignment was as the Director of the National Maritime Intelligence Watch at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland, MD, a joint global watch floor manned by Navy and Coast Guard personnel providing 24-hour strategic indications and warning and all-source maritime intelligence assessments to the U.S. Government, Intelligence Community, and Defense customers.

From 2002 to 2005, he served at the Joint Intelligence Center, U.S. Central Command, in both Tampa, FL and the forward headquarters in Qatar as an analytical section chief and later as the Chief of Targets Branch, providing strategic advice to the J2 and Commander, U.S. Central Command on targeting plans, policy, and operations during a period of significant combat operations.

From 2000 to 2002, he served aboard the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) as the Aircraft Carrier Intelligence Center Officer, directing 100 personnel in daily intelligence center threat warning and strike support operations for the carrier strike group and a twenty-ship Navy Carrier Strike Force during active combat operations in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

From 1997 to 2000, while assigned as a Senior Analyst and Team Chief on the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, he led watch team analysis and production of daily Balkans regional briefings for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense during a period of combat operations in Yugoslavia; he also deployed to Bosnia.

From 1988 to 1997, Commander Patch served on amphibious warships supporting ARG deployments, including a tour as an LCAC Detachment Officer-in-Charge. He also taught Naval Science as faculty at the Villanova University NROTC Unit. Commander Patch was commissioned from NROTC Unit Villanova and completed undergraduate and graduate work in political science/international relations and national security affairs, including an MA from Villanova University and a Graduate Certificate in Strategy and Policy from Old Dominion University. He is a graduate of the Naval War College and Joint Forces Staff College and is a designated Joint Specialty Officer.

RADM Terence E. McKnight, USN (Ret.)


former Expeditionary Strike Group Two/Commander, Task Force 51/59/151


Rear Admiral Terence E. McKnight, USN (RET) a native of Norfolk, graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in May 1978. He completed his master's degree in International Relations at Salve Regina University in May 1998. Additionally, he graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 1994 and attended the National Security Seminar at Syracuse University in 2001.  

He commanded USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) from January 1995 until November 1996 and USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) from July 2002 until December 2003.  Duties ashore included the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS), Surface Warfare Officers School, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Navy (Manpower & Reserve Affairs), the Office of Chief of Naval Operations N6/N7, and executive assistant to the Under Secretary of the Navy. He served as the 85th commandant of Naval District Washington, the oldest continuously operated Navy installation in the nation and the deputy commander, Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region. He assumed duties as Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2, in September 2007 and served as the first Commander of Task Force 151 for counter-piracy operations in January 2009. 

He retired from the Navy in the summer of 2009 and is currently employed by Cobham.

Laurence Smallman


Defense Research Analyst, RAND Corporation


Laurence Smallman is a Defense Research Analyst at RAND.  As a former Royal Navy officer he commanded two ships and held important appointments across a variety of policy, operational, and training areas – including those for policy and planning of overseas military activity, maritime force projection, and counter terrorism.  At RAND, Laurence has developed his maritime security expertise in a range of projects for the U.S. DoD and UK MOD.  In particular, projects for DoD have considered how to improve partner nation naval capacity, an AOA for Special Operations Forces, and continuing work for NAVSEA.  Areas of special interest include the application and development of a strategy to tasks methodology to describe the needs of maritime nations and the impact of maritime disorder on the roles and missions for naval forces.  He has participated in numerous workshops and conferences for the U.S. and British governments, organized and run several workshops for RAND and been interviewed as a maritime expert in the U.S., Caribbean and Europe.

Capt Zachary D. Martin, USMC


Commanding Officer, Force Reconnaissance Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force


Captain Martin began his career as an enlisted Marine in 1997.  While assigned to 5th Force Reconnaissance Battalion, he deployed extensively throughout Southeast Asia conducting theater security cooperation missions with partnered militaries.  After being commissioned as an officer of Marines through the Enlisted Commissioning Program in 2001, he served as a platoon commander and company executive officer with 3d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, deploying to Iraq and around the Pacific.  Transferring to 3d Reconnaissance Battalion in 2005, he again deployed to Iraq and throughout the Pacific Rim, the latter while serving as the Maritime Strike Force commander for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.  After serving briefly as a reconnaissance company commander at 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, in 2008 he transferred to 2d Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment, with whom he deployed to Afghanistan as a rifle company commander.  In 2010 he assumed command of Force Reconnaissance Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force, his current billet.  He is the author of numerous articles in professional military journals.

The U.S. Naval Institute would like to thank

the William M. Wood Foundation

for their support of the 2010 History Conference!

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