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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The 2011 Honors Night will be held at the Westin in Annapolis, MD.

The Westin Annapolis
100 Westgate Circle
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
(410) 972-4300

Self-parking and valet service are available at the Westin.

Self parking: $5
Valet: $10
Valet overnight: $23

Business or service dress

Registered guests will not receive a ticket in advance of Honors Night, but should check in at the welcome table upon arrival for seating information.

General Prize Award Winners

     First Prize: Dr. Milan Vego
     Second Prize: LCDR Matthew Harper, USN
     Third Prize: CAPT Kevin Eyer, USN (Ret.) and CDR In H. Ha, USN

Naval History Author of the Year

     Dr. Norman C. Delaney

Naval Institute Press Author of the Year

     Mr. Norman Polmar


Remarks by Dr. Milan Vego, U.S. Naval Institute Author of the Year

First Prize, General Prize Award Winner

     Technological Superiority is Not a Panacea: Proceedings Magazine - October 2010 Vol. 136/10/1,292
     China's Naval Challenge: Proceedings Magazine - April 2011 Vol. 137/4/1,298
     AirSea Battle Must Not Work Alone: Proceedings Magazine - July 2011 Vol. 137/7/1,301

Good evening Admiral Daly, friends, and distinguished guests, 

May I express my profound and sincere gratitude for receiving this recognition for my work as a writer. I feel deeply honored and at the same time very humbled. It all came as a great but pleasant surprise to me. 

Many thanks to the U.S. Naval Institute, and Proceedings in particular, for allowing me to publish my articles and books. I could not have found a better organization - and staff – for giving support to my professional work. I am also grateful to my adopted country which gave me the most precious gift of all-my personal freedom and freedom to think and write.

I wish to thank in particular, Mr. Fred Rainbow, the former editor-in-chief of the Proceedings who published my first article in September 1977 and many articles after that. He was the one who gave strong and sustained support for my work for almost 25 years.  Mr.  Norman Polmar, our keynote speaker today, gave me great help and encouragement in the first few years after I came to this country. We met in 1977 and have remained friends ever since. And finally, but not the least, my sincere thanks and gratitude are due to both Mr. Paul Merzlak, editor-in-chief of the Proceedings, and my editor (hopefully for life) Ms. Annie Rehill. From the very beginning, Paul gave full support to my proposed topics, even to those that might be considered by some as very controversial. I could not imagine receiving this recognition without Paul’s staunch support.  Annie has edited all my articles published for the Proceedings since September 2009; it would be hard to find a better editor than Annie.  She instinctively knows how to rearrange my manuscript for the better understanding of the readers. She is simply the best editor I ever had. I asked Paul to have Annie as my editor as long as I write for Proceedings.  Thanks again Annie and Paul for all your support.

My association with the USNI started in 1974 when I became a member. Although I wanted to be a member for many years prior to that, it was not possible because until 1973 I served as an officer in the former Yugoslav Navy. After that, I served for little less than four years as an officer of the deck in the former West German merchant marine. I came to this country as a political refugee in 1976. In the early fall of the same year I came in touch with late Dr. Robert Herrick who introduced me to Mr. Frank Uhlig, the then editor of the Naval Review. Frank helped me to get my first contribution to the USNI--to provide comments to Norman’s Guide to the Soviet Navy.  My honorarium was $50. The rest, as they say, is a history.  

I am greatly touched by this award.  It means lot to me.  While I sometimes thought that it would be nice to get an award, my primary focus has always been to submit solidly researched and well-argued articles on what I consider to be important issues of the day. 

I am a firm believer that the USNI’s mission must remain as it was in the past, to offer a free forum for the discussion of the critically important issues in the maritime domain. We need more, not less, discourse on the state and the future direction of the U.S. Navy and other maritime services. Only through open, frank, vigorous, and continuous debate it is possible for an organization or institution to accomplish its stated mission; such a dialog is necessary because it is the only proven way to provide a self-corrective mechanism. Hence, it is critically important that not only active or retired senior leaders of our maritime services and civilians contribute to that debate, but also junior officers. No one should be penalized in any way for expressing views that run counter to those of senior leadership or the mainstream. The lack of open and frank discussion can do nothing but cost the U.S. Navy and other maritime services dearly in our preparations for future wars.

Thank You, and enjoy the rest of the evening.


LCDR Matthew Harper, USN

Second Prize, General Prize Award Winner

     Chinese Missiles and the Walmart Factor: Proceedings Magazine - July 2011 Vol. 137/7/1,301


CAPT Kevin Eyer, USN (Ret.)

Third Prize, General Prize Award Winner

     How Are the Mighty Fallen: Proceedings Magazine - January 2011 Vol. 137/1/1,295



Third Prize, General Prize Award Winner

     Away All . . . Hovercraft!: Proceedings Magazine - August 2011 Vol. 137/8/1,302


Dr. Norman C. Delaney

Naval History Author of the Year

     'I Didn't Feel Excited a Mite': Naval History Magazine - December 2010 Vol. 24 Num. 6
     The Alabama's "Bold and Determined Man": Naval History Magazine - July 2011 Vol. 25 Num. 4


Remarks by Mr. Norman Polmar

Naval Institute Press Author of the Year

     Project Azorian

On Thursday evening, October 9th 1873—a little more one mile from where you are sitting this evening—14 Navy officers and 1 Marine officer met at the Naval Academy.  They decided to organize a society to discuss issues of professional interest in a changing world.

Their world was changing in 1873—steam was replacing sails, armored ships were coming into vogue, revolving turrets were replacing broadsides, rifled guns had recently replaced roundshot, and an Irishman named John Holland —who had immigrated to the United States that same year—was experimenting with “submersible torpedo boats.”

We are here tonight to confirm that we are carrying on the goals set by those naval officers 138 years ago… for a society to discuss matters of professional interest…in an open, independent forum.

The world has changed considerably in those 138 years… as have the sea services, our nation, and even our methods of communicating…

We still use words and pictures to communicate ideas… but how we communicate those words and pictures is very different than a century ago or even a decade ago… we use cable and satellite television, satellite radio, the Internet, i-phones, e-books, “apps,” the cloud, and more.

The world will continue to change and so must the Naval Institute.  The question is: Can we change the Naval Institute and still retain the time-tested goal developed in the late 19th Century by the founders of our organization?  The answer to that question is—to my mind—obvious… the Naval Institute MUST change and at the same time we MUST retain those original goals of an open, independent forum.

I propose that the Naval Institute’s leaders, its staff, and its members—and I believe I have included all of you here this evening—must support a Naval Institute that EXPANDS, EXCITES, EXTENDS.

As some of you know, I like alliteration, but these three “E”s should remind us of how for almost a century the highest goal that a ship captain or air squadron commander and their crews could aspire to attain has been the Battle Efficiency “E”—the award that means that they are THE BEST in their categories.

Today our publications—books, Naval History, and Proceedings—and our conferences are the best in their categories.  But is the Naval Institute the best that it can be?

I think not.

My first “E”—we must EXPAND… even with the Navy a fraction of its Cold War strength, our 40,000-plus membership is NOT acceptable.  If you  believe in the Naval Institute, then during the next year I challenge each of YOU to bring in ONE new member.  And I encourage Admiral Daly to also challenge every member who is not here tonight to do the same.  80,000-plus members is Excellent—we must accept nothing less.

But remember, from that evening in 1873 through today, the active duty, serving professional are the core strength of the Naval Institute—not retirees, not civilians, not even pundits like Norman Polmar.  We have too few serving Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard professionals among our company this evening, too few among our authors, and too few among our membership.  That situation must change.  We must EXPAND.

The second “E”—we must EXCITE… we need articles, books, conference programs, a web site, a blog, and other medium that discuss major issues of interest to the leaders, planners, and engineers of our military forces; we need discussions—and arguments—that will help our national leaders and Congress decide on the future of our armed forces.  We fall short in this regard—short of what the Naval Institute can be.

Again, we need these books, articles, conferences, and web sites to advance ideas and arguments that will EXCITE.

I add to this list of shortfalls the lack of an annual meeting.  Such a membership meeting brings together hundreds of members, important speakers, and—if properly “marketed”—could advance the knowledge of critical issues affecting national defense for our naval professionals and for the general public.

My third “E”—we must EXTEND.  As we practice the open forum we must grasp, grab, garner, gain the attention of every admiral, every officer and senior enlisted in the sea services; every leader in foreign navies; every congressional staffer; every major newspaper’s editorial writers; and TV commentators.

EACH OF US must use his or her contacts to call key articles, conference sessions, web sites, and new books to the attention of those audiences. 

If an article says that sea power is passé and air or space power is the wave of the future… so be it—that is the open forum that we have nurtured for 138 years.  If a conference speaker argues against  big submarines or calls more large destroyers, or attacks the LCS as a “little cruddy ship,” so be it.  If we publish a book calling for reestablishment of a seaplane force… or a conference speaker argues for women to serve in submarines… we want those opinions, albeit reviewed and edited by our staff.  And we want original ideas… especially from serving naval professionals.

You get my drift.  

The Naval Institute must maintain the open forum and exploit all available media to discuss and debate ideas.  It is up to every one of us to encourage and support change at the Naval Institute.  It may be a difficult juxtaposition—retaining the open forum, addressing new ideas, and accomplishing major changes in how we do business.  

The role, size, and composition of U.S. military services are being questioned today.  At a time when our “use of the sea” is vital for the political, economic, and military success of the nation, the Naval Institute should be at the center of these debates.

We must have a Naval Institute that EXPANDS, EXCITES, and EXTENDS so that our society can be a major player in these coming debates.  To do less would fail the founders of the Naval Insitute, AND the hundreds of thousands of Naval Institute members who came before us.  

Thank you.


View all the pictures from Honors Night 2011 on our Flickr account


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