Professional Notes

Continuing preparation for higher responsibility is a hallmark of any true profession. In the armed forces, the initial skills and knowledge learned as a junior officer are only building blocks, and experience alone cannot be relied upon to prepare officers for effective service at mid-grade and senior levels. How the Coast Guard prepares its mid-grade officers for service at the senior level will determine whether the Coast Guard will remain the world's premier maritime service.

Currently, these mid-grade officers must rely on their own initiative and a limited number of sources for professional development beyond postgraduate education. The Coast Guard sends a few officers each year to resident programs at several command-and-staff-level service schools—the Naval War College (College of Command and Staff), Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the Armed Forces Staff College—and larger numbers of officers voluntarily participate each year in non-resident or correspondence programs offered by these schools. Coast Guard officers who choose to attend these programs—which prepare officers for service at the senior level using a curriculum that includes joint and combined operations, the operational level of war, and fundamentals of strategic thought—benefit tremendously. Such curricula, however, provide little detailed focus on the Coast Guard itself. The only Coast Guard-specific preparation available for mid-grade officers is the two-week Prospective Commanding Officer/Executive Officer School. While it is a valuable professional development opportunity, the program does not afford ample time for thorough professional study.

The limited number of sources of professional education for midgrade officers is not the only problem. Many officers simply do not consider command-and-staff programs essential for their professional development. In 1996, the Coast Guard was forced to extend the application deadline for the Naval War College (College of Command and Staff) resident program because of the low number of applicants.

The current system is not broken. To date, formal professional education, augmented by informal self-study, has produced senior officers who are effective strategic thinkers and leaders. The Coast Guard's performance record speaks for itself, but recent trends indicate that in the near future the current system will no longer be sufficient.

Since 1993, the Coast Guard has reduced the number of active duty personnel, closed or decommissioned field units throughout the service, and consolidated major commands. As a result, individual Coast Guard components that historically have operated independently of each other must now operate together under a combined command structure—the "activity" concept, which is similar to combined arms doctrine employed by other services. Despite these reductions, the Coast Guard has not reduced its operational tempo; it continues to respond to demands for services across broad mission areas. The combination of downsizing and streamlining, coupled with the unchanged operational tempo, has led the Commandant to declare that no further reductions are possible without significant loss of operational effectiveness.

Finally, the Coast Guard is increasingly becoming an integral part of the joint team—witness the service's critical role in introducing U.S. forces into Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. The Commandant is clearly committed to increasing the Coast Guard's national security role as the fifth armed service and a regular participant in ongoing and future joint operations.

These trends indicate that the current system of professional education for midgrade officers will become inadequate—sooner, rather than later—to prepare them for their responsibilities. All senior officers will be required to possess a thorough understanding of Coast Guard capabilities and operations across the entire mission spectrum, including knowledge of individual service organizations and capabilities, plus a working understanding of joint planning and operations. In addition, they will have to understand national security and strategy, international affairs, and the operational level of war.

To resolve this issue, the Coast Guard should establish its own structured Coast Guard Command and Staff Program. Only such a program can ensure that midgrade officers are receiving the necessary professional development for senior service. Completion should be a prerequisite for command or senior staff service at the commander level.

The Coast Guard should continue, however, to send some mid-grade officers to the other service command and staff programs, as an acceptable substitute for the Coast Guard Command and Staff Program. The Coast Guard benefits from the knowledge and experience its officers bring back from these schools, and in return the other services gain an understanding of the Coast Guard's missions, capabilities and culture.

The primary objective of a Coast Guard Command and Staff Program can be attained through a balanced curriculum of courses that provide advanced specialty knowledge specific to the Coast Guard and joint operations, and an academic background in strategy and policy, national security, and international affairs. At least one similar service program—the Navy's College of Command and Staff—also offers students the opportunity to obtain an advanced academic degree upon graduation. The Coast Guard program, however, should focus attention on the primary goal of professional development, ignoring the obstacles involved with academic accreditation.

The proposed curriculum borrows heavily from the other service command-and-staff-level curricula, to provide a balance between advanced specialty knowledge and academic instruction. The courses would be taught using classroom instruction, seminar discussion, and practical exercises. Students would be required to pass examinations and complete writing requirements for each course.

The Coast Guard program would provide officers with a detailed orientation on the organization, resources and operations of all Coast Guard programs. While instruction on basic Coast Guard operations and programs may seem redundant for mid-grade officers, this course focuses heavily on interoperability among the various programs and on viewing programs from a wider combined arms perspective. Subjects would include operations and marine safety; command, control, and communications; support and logistics; and force and resource management.

In addition, the program would include sections on Coast Guard Strategic Planning; Coast Guard Operational Planning; Joint Military Operations; Law for the Senior Officer; plus Leadership and Ethics for the Senior Officer.

Academic studies would focus on Strategy and Policy (identical to its namesake at the Naval War College); National Security and Maritime Transportation; and International Affairs; options for establishing a Coast Guard Command and Staff Program include a resident program, non-resident seminar program, and a correspondence program. Each alternative must be measured against its professional development value and cost, to include the temporary loss of officers from regular billets. Professional development value, while difficult to quantify, is the likelihood of achieving successful officer development. This value is based on the assumption that officers who are dedicated to full-time professional study with colleagues, in an environment which fosters the free exchange of professional ideas, will receive a greater benefit than those officers who engage in individual professional study.

The resident program would consist of a 10- to 12- month program of full-time study at an established Coast Guard Command and Staff School. Officers attending the school would be assigned fulltime as a rotational tour. In accordance with the Commandant's plan to centralize all professional development at the Academy, the natural location for the Command and Staff Program is also New London. The full-time faculty would consist of senior Coast Guard officers, officers from other military services, and civilian professors. This option provides the highest value because it allows students to dedicate themselves to full-time professional study apart from other duties. The cost of establishing a resident program, prohibitive in today's environment, should remain the goal.

A non-resident seminar program would consist of ten coordinated Command and Staff Programs located at each of the major shore commands. Officers assigned to those commands for regular staff duty would be selected for and attend the Command and Staff Program as an adjunct to their full-time assignments. The program would consist of evening classes over a two-year period. Senior Coast Guard officers would teach the courses in addition to their full-time assigned duties at these commands. Officers from other services and civilian professors located in the area would serve as paid adjunct faculty. While attending evening classes in addition to a full-time assignment is certainly challenging, it is by no means impossible or even unreasonable—and it retains the seminar atmosphere. Cost would be significantly lower than the resident option, and the impact of officers assigned away from the regular billet structure would be low.

The correspondence program option offers the lowest cost, although at a sacrifice to professional development value. The Coast Guard Institute would administer the program, which could be completed by officers serving in any location. Officers would complete courses by mail over a three-year period, then conclude the program with a four-week resident course consisting of seminar discussions and exercises. Although this option is the least expensive, the value of the seminar environment and opportunity for exchange of ideas would be largely eliminated.

The solution is to employ each option in successive stages:

  • Start with a correspondence program to test the curriculum.
  • Follow with a non-resident seminar programs at each of the ten major shore commands.
  • Finally, consider establishing a full-fledged resident program.

By whatever means the Coast Guard chooses to implement a Command and Staff Program, the Coast Guard must realize that such a program is a critical step needed to fill the current gap in the officer professional development process. The service simply cannot afford to try to succeed in the face of future challenges without an established program for preparing mid-level officers for service at the senior level.

Lieutenant Lunday recently completed George Washington University Law School and will be assigned to the Coast Guard Reserve Training Center, Yorktown, Virginia. A graduate of the Naval Command and Staff College (non-resident), he served on the USCGC Sweetgum (WLB-309) and commanded the USCGC Point Martin (WPB-82379).

 

Airships and Aerostats—Quo Vadis?

By Captain Edward L. Barker, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired)

Interest in lighter-than-air (LTA) craft has waxed and waned since the U.S. Navy retired its airships in the 1960s, but interest appears to be waxing once again. Recently, a prototype manned airship participated in exercises at sea with an aircraft carrier battle group, and the Army tested the use of aerostats for cruise-missile defense during the 1996 annual Rising Sands exercise in Texas.

Modern cruise missiles are lethal, cost-effective, and hard to detect; thus, it is likely that more and more states will acquire and use them in the future. Because cruise missiles with small radar cross-sections typically fly low to avoid detection by ground-based sensors, large airborne sensors make sense.

Under the Army concept, an aerostat would stay airborne for prolonged periods of time with sensors capable of detecting cruise missile and unmanned aerial vehicles at ranges out to the horizon. Lieutenant General Edward G. Anderson III, U.S. Army, Commander Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, suggested that aerostats could someday take the place of the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) and the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft in missions such as that being conducted in Bosnia.

The Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, also has tested a small, unmanned-robotics, surveillance aerostat system for low-intensity targets. As a surveillance platform in peace-keeping operations, it would carry cameras and other sensors. Ground operators could control the system out to ranges of 100 kilometers.

Proponents argue that aerostats and airships can support very large and powerful radars—much larger than aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles can accommodate—and could prove instrumental in cruise-missile detection and ballistic-missile defense plans. On-going U.S. Navy studies indicate the need for new force structures to meet 21st Century challenges. After evaluating a number of airborne sensor concepts for detection of cruise missiles, Paul Kaminski, the Pentagon's acquisition chief, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "the most cost-effective solution would be a mix of fixed-wing aircraft and Aerostats."

As a result, industry is conducting an aerostat study for the U.S. Army. Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and the Hughes-Raytheon joint-venture company, H&R, have won phase-I contracts to define concepts for the employment of aerostats in a cruise-missile defense. Long endurance and low—or no—fuel consumption are promising characteristics for missions ranging from border surveillance to test range monitoring.

In 1994, however, the U.S. Navy decided against development of a manned airship program, even though scheduled sensor exercises included demonstrations of the ability to:

  • Detect and track targets beyond the radar horizon of a surface ship
  • Track surface targets beyond the radar horizon of a surface ship
  • Support over-the-horizon engagements of low-flying cruise missiles
  • Transfer track information to another platform
  • Contribute to the airborne component of ship self-defense
  • Contribute to the airborne component of a Cooperative Engagement Capability
  • Detect a ballistic missile launch and provide a cue for engagement

Recent unmanned aerial vehicle success, however, indicates a larger role for a long-endurance, unmanned, powered, lighter-than-air craft that could perform a vital role in area missile defense and antisubmarine warfare, as well as providing support for new designs such as the Arsenal Ship. Such a force could operate together in littoral zones of regional conflicts, and respond to on-going proliferation of smart weapons. To this end, a low-cost weapon system combined with surface ships, submarines, and aircraft could provide a rapidly deployable and sustainable force projection capability well into the next century. Powered, unmanned, remotely controlled aerostats could be positioned to provide around-the-clock surveillance of volatile areas.

The transformation of Russia and the emergence of China as a global power could pose new security challenges by 2010. In the interim, the United States should strengthen deterrence against future threats by bolstering its superiority in conventional weapons now, while Russia's military might is in a state of flux and China has yet to emerge.

The Cold War ended seven years ago. It's time to get out of the holding pattern and adapt to power that is more dispersed. Terrorist groups and independent, ideologically motivated groups increasingly have the capability to acquire the technology and materials necessary to create weapons of mass destruction.

Our response in the future must be rapid. If small crises cannot be nipped in the bud, they will grow into large ones. To be effective, a Third World power would have to deliver a nuclear weapon against our naval forces by stealth—perhaps by submarine—or by a surprise mass aerial attack where one plane carrying such a weapon gets through. More likely, however, the enemy will try to deliver a weapon against one of our allies.

We cannot forget the possibility of chemical/biological attack. We're losing sea room, and as we move from blue water into the littorals, our ability to maneuver will be restricted. The Navy must be able to withstand a chemical attack and maintain forces on station.

There will be a growing role for unmanned, remotely controlled aerial and surface platforms as operations are directed at increasingly greater distances from the action. Point-defense systems such as Patriot and new versions of the Standard Missile offer some capability, but probably cannot cope with a saturation attack, when even one penetrator carrying a nuclear weapon could destroy the force. An airship force projection vehicle (FPV) could provide surveillance and defense against submarine and saturation aircraft attacks, while serving as the eyes of an Arsenal Ship or submarine attack concept. It also could conduct antisubmarine warfare against the growing threat of diesel submarines in shallow waters.

The FPV is a very high altitude, lighter-than-air radar platform carrying a mix of long-range air-to-air missiles and homing torpedoes. The key is long-range surveillance and target tracking coupled with a missile able to engage rapidly. It would deploy with the fleet, but take station several hundred miles distant—it could be the key to the Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability. Missiles launched from surface vessels or submarines could be controlled through the airship. Air-to-air engagements miles from the fleet could thin saturation attacks to a point that terminal defenses could handle the surviving aircraft.

For example, a high-altitude surveillance platform for over-the-horizon targeting would have the following operational characteristics:

  • Operating altitude—60,000 feet
  • Range—6,000 nautical miles
  • On-station time—30 days

Such a system would permit task-force defense to be shifted to escorts far from the carrier or Arsenal Ship. Loss of the airship would not cripple the task force.

As vulnerable as an airship or aerostat may appear, it can absorb a lot of punishment. There also is the possibility of retrieving airship/aerostat sensor systems jettisoned following the downing of the platform. World War II airship operations attest to their durability—airships escorted more than 89,000 merchant ships without the loss of a single vessel or airship.

The FPV airship provides endless options for innovative tactics, including command-and-control, reconnaissance, and attack unmanned aerial vehicles. The Navy can demonstrate major cost and schedule savings for new systems.

The great utility of an unmanned aerostat weapon system hinges on the rapid deployment of its weapons. In addition, it is relatively inexpensive. The capabilities of an FPV-submarine-Arsenal Ship weapon system could deter a potential aggressor—even if he has nuclear weapons and is inclined to use them.

The force protection aerostat weapon system's greatest value is its ability to be used despite political indecision precluding its use until the last minute. It is modular and can be quickly adaptable to threat and mission changes and presents an economical way to keep the peace well into the 21st century.

Captain Barker works part time at the Naval Research Laboratory. He served as an air combat intelligence officer in Navy blimps, aircraft, and carriers during World War II.

 

UNITAS: "Forward...from the Sea"

By Commander Glenn M. Irvine, U.S. Navy

"U.S. trade is greater with Brazil than with China, greater with Venezuela than with Russia, [greater] with 14 million Chileans than with one billion Indians .... by the turn of the century the level of U.S. trade [with South America] will exceed that with Europe." –General Barry McCaffrey, U.S. Army (Retired) 1

On 20 November 1996, the U.S. Navy and its South American allies completed the 37th consecutive UNITAS deployment. Sponsored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the annual UNITAS deployment is a series of bilateral and in some cases multinational operations and exercises with the navies of South America; often forces from the host nation's other military branches participate. The level of commitment consistently demonstrated by all participants accounts for what has become the Navy's longest continuously run exercise. South American participants include, but are not limited to, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. Colombia and the United States never have missed an exercise.

Conceived in 1959 by Admiral Arleigh Burke, U.S. Navy, as a Chief of Naval Operations-level agreement between the U.S. Navy and the navies of South America, it was essentially an antisubmarine warfare-oriented naval exercise focused on countering the emerging Soviet Union submarine threat. Thirty-seven years later, ASW remains a part of the exercise, which today encompasses the entire spectrum of naval warfare.

In the 1970s, it began to include other naval warfare areas, more at-sea time, the conduct of multinational exercises, and the introduction of in-port professional symposiums. In the 1980s, the exercise expanded into all other naval warfare areas and integrated other U.S. military assets, including the U.S. Coast Guard, SEALs, Special Boat Units, and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Exercises began transitioning to littoral and brown-water operating environments, with benefits for all. Also in the 1980s, an African phase, known as the West African Training Cruise was begun, in which one of the task force's U.S. Navy ships would detach to visit and exercise with various West African navies. Of special note also is the participation of the South African Navy commencing in 1996.

Today, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter participates in numerous phases conducting maritime interdiction operations, maritime law enforcement operations, fishery protection, and port control exercises with their South American counterparts. A separate U.S. Coast Guard detachment exercises with its counterparts on various rivers throughout South America. U.S. Navy Special Boat Units and a U.S. Marine Corps small-boat detachment continue to participate in numerous phases, not only supporting Special Warfare forces and Marine reconnaissance forces but also conducting riverine operations with the host nations.

In 1996, U.S. Navy coastal patrol boats supported the Coast Guard and Special Warfare forces and conducted attacks during the numerous host-nation planned, open-ocean and near-shore free-play phases. The transfer of former U.S. Navy Newport (LST-1179)-class landing ships to the navies of South America signals a renewed interest in amphibious operations, in which various air forces now participate.

There are some common results:

  • Increased interoperability supports coalition building not only between the U.S. Navy and the host navy, but also between South American navies with multinational operations both under and outside the UNITAS umbrella.
  • Professional knowledge is exchanged through symposia and a ship-rider exchange program. Officers from various South American navies make the entire deployment as part of a U.S. ship's company, and throughout the deployment there is a continuous exchange of personnel from both the officer and enlisted communities. The professional symposia serve as the primary vehicle for professional knowledge exchange and one on one training at various levels. Topics have included rules of engagement, small-boat operations, damage control techniques, and submarine operations.
  • A variety of exercises and operations provides increased professionalism and expertise for all parties.

The success of UNITAS has allowed our South American allies to participate in various multinational naval exercises. Chile was a full participant in RIMPAC '96. Other South American navies have sent observers. On numerous occasions, South American navies have participated in Second Fleet-sponsored fleet exercises, and Argentina deployed in support of the Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm coalition, as well.

UNITAS lives and breathes "Forward . From the Sea," on a daily basis. The UNITAS task force is engaged and present in forward areas, and exercises to improve its capabilities by:

  • Conducting ASW in the littoral environment. UNITAS task force assets routinely exercise against diesel submarines in ship versus submarine, submarine versus submarine, and helicopter/P-3 versus submarine scenarios, in various operating environments
  • Exercising in the jungles and on the rivers with U.S. Marines, Special Warfare forces, and Coast Guardsmen, hand-in-hand with their counterparts
  • Bringing to the theater the assets required to respond to a crisis (In 1996, the UNITAS task force found the flight data recorder from of a Peruvian air liner that crashed at sea.)
  • Distributing thousands of pounds of Project Handclasp materials and expending thousands of volunteer man-hours working on humanitarian projects throughout the theater
  • Conducting joint amphibious operations that enhance the UNITAS task force's ability to project power
  • Building joint capabilities (Routinely, the host nation air force flies strikes against the task force; integration of other host nation forces is on the horizon.)
  • Most important, maintaining regional stability

The last ten years have seen dramatic changes in both the political and economic landscape of South America. As each nation has transitioned to its own form of democracy and seen improvements to its economy take hold, the modernization of the South American navies has proceeded apace. These navies, exercising and operating primarily within the UNITAS framework to hone their skills, assist in keeping the vital sea lines of communication open, allowing their countries' economies to continue to flourish.

One can only conclude that the entire UNITAS task force, exercising and working in an ideal "Forward . . . From the Sea" environment, will continue to play a role in effecting those changes and building solidarity in the Western Hemisphere.

Commander Irvine is the Operations/Plans Officer on the staff of Commander, U.S. South Atlantic Force. He has commanded the USS Pioneer (MCM9), Patriot (MCM-7), and Champion (MCM-4).

1 Barry McCaffrey, Joint Forces Quarterly, Spring 1996, p. 45.

Commander Irvine is the Operations/Plans Officer on the staff of Commander, U.S. South Atlantic Force. He commanded the USS Pioneer (MCM-9), Patriot (MCM-7), and Champion (MCM-4).

 

Man (and Woman) Can Live on Bread (and Water)

By Lieutenant Commander Brent Filbert, JAGC, U.S. Navy

On 12 May 1995, President Bill Clinton ordered that courts-martial may no longer award confinement on bread and water—continuing a trend toward eliminating the most traditional of naval punishments. Yet this "barbarous relic of earlier days," as some label it, remains an effective, safe, constitutional penalty.

Times change. Until 1850, flogging was the primary method of enforcing discipline on U.S. Navy ships. In 1846 and 1847, for instance, at least 5,936 floggings occurred in the small U.S. fleet—an average of 50 per ship for each of these two years. Ship captains exercised almost complete discretion in determining when to use the scourge, and flogged sailors for such minor offenses as tapping liquor in the spirit room, dropping a bucket from aloft, cursing the ship's corporal, and being lousy.

Congress abolished the punishment in the Army in 1812, but the Navy and its supporters won the fight to save the lash. Not until 1851 was flogging abolished at sea.

The debate over flogging centered on finding an effective, yet humane, substitute—and confinement on bread and water emerged as a natural candidate. The Royal Navy had a long history of punishing men with a diet of bread and water and the U.S. Navy frequently withheld a man's grog. Given this background, it not surprising that Congress selected confinement on half rations as a substitute measure when it abolished flogging in the militia and Army in 1812. While naval officers experimented with several types of replacement punishments, including tattoos, brands, badges of dishonor, sweatboxes, and strait jackets, the practice of confining men in irons on bread and water gained wide popularity. In 1855, Congress finally passed an act that granted summary courts-martial the power to award punishments, including solitary confinement in "irons, single or double, on bread and water, or diminished rations for thirty days." Congress shortly thereafter gave commanding officers the authority to impose five days solitary confinement on bread and water, and the punishment soon became the Navy's standard punishment.

Bread and Water under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) : Because the Navy and Marine Corps operated under the Articles for the Government of the Navy of 1862 until enactment of the UCMJ in 1950, the rules regarding confinement of bread and water remained essentially unchanged for nearly 90 years. Congressional hearings concerning enactment of a uniform military code following World War II produced strong feelings both for and against confinement on bread and water. Witnesses before the House of Representatives characterized the punishment as "cruel and barbaric," and "properly in the same category as the floggings, brandings, and tattooings."

Supporters fought hard to save it. Colonel Melvin Maas, National President of the Marine Corps Reserve Association, contended that bread and water was an appropriate punishment and that it "would do most of them [service members] good to go on a diet for 5 days, anyway." The Navy argued that bread and water was "necessary to handle a type of man who is recalcitrant, he is pushing subordination and he refuses to work ..."

In the end, the punishment became a part of the code. It was not, however, a total victory. Opponents successfully introduced evidence that the Army and Air Force did not use the punishment to limit the penalty to persons "attached to or embarked in a vessel." The Navy and Marine Corps asked for the authority to award the punishment at non-judicial punishment (NJP) for seven days, but the Senate reduced the maximum time to three days.

The first challenge came quickly. In United States v. Wappler, decided in 1953, a Marine private challenged the legality of his court-martial sentence to solitary confinement on bread and water for 30 days. The code was silent (and still is) on whether a court could impose such confinement, stating that a court-martial "may, under such limitations as the President may prescribe, adjudge any punishment not forbidden by this code." The only mention of bread and water in the code was (and still is) in relation to non-judicial punishment under Article 15. The 1951 Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), however, specifically provided that Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard courts-martial could impose up to 30 days confinement on bread and water.

In Wappler, the court easily found that the constitutional proscription against cruel and unusual punishment did not bar confinement on bread and water, stating "We do not believe that the proscription against punishments of this nature contained in the Constitution's Eighth Amendment—-if applicable—would bar the punishment adjudged here [confinement on bread and water], even for thirty days." Cases since Wappler have upheld this view.

Even so, military courts have steadily restricted its use since enactment of the uniform code. In Wappler, for example, the court concluded that the language in Article 55, UCMJ, prohibiting "cruel and unusual" punishment, provides wider protection than the Constitution. This finding enabled the court to then hold that bread and water confinement, except to the extent permitted by Article 15, i.e., three days for personnel "attached to, or embarked in, a vessel," is cruel and unusual punishment under Article 55. United States v. Yatchak further abraded the reach of bread and water by holding that a crewmember of a ship in long-term overhaul is not "attached to or embarked in a vessel." At the time of his trial, Airman Recruit Yatchak was a crewmember of the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), an aircraft carrier undergoing overhaul at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The court found that the legislative history of bread and water indicated a congressional intent to limit the punishment to vessels at sea or "about to go to sea."

President Clinton's recent decision to forbid courts-martial from awarding bread and water is the most serious blow yet. The administration holds that the punishment is not an effective court-martial sentence because of the length of time that normally occurs between the offense and the sentence (a situation that does not exist in the case of non-judicial punishment). Thus, in today's military, only commanding officers of ships "about to go to sea" can impose bread and water.

These judicial and executive limitations on bread and water are fundamentally flawed. The "about to go to sea" ruling raises the question of Congress' failure to define "attached to a . . . vessel" for purposes of Article 15—a relatively easy task for the drafters of the statute. In fact, Congress intended the phrase to include any ship at any location and considered further explanation unnecessary. Congress specifically discussed this issue and concluded that "it does not make any difference where the ship is" with respect to whether bread and water is authorized. Consequently, it added the language "attached to a. . .vessel" to cover "ships on the high seas or in port" or "tied up at a dock."

In misinterpreting the congressional intent regarding the scope of bread and water, the court not only unnecessarily limited the punishment's application, but unwittingly created an embarrassing inconsistency in naval jurisprudence. As enacted in 1950, Article 15 permitted the secretaries of the different services to decide whether to allow members to refuse non-judicial punishment and demand trial by court-martial. Based on its practice prior to enactment of the UCMJ, the Navy and Marine Corps did not provide such a right, although the Army and Air Force did. In 1962, Congress amended Article IS to increase the maximum permissible punishments and to provide the right to demand trial for all persons, except those "attached to or embarked in a vessel." Because Congress significantly increased the punishment authority at non-judicial punishment, it decided to permit all members, except those attached to ships, to opt for court-martial in lieu of Article IS punishment. The right to refuse mast "was not extended to those aboard ship, in view of the unique responsibilities of the ship's captain and in the interest of maintaining morale and discipline aboard ship."

Because Article 15 uses identical language to describe both an accused's right to demand trial by court-martial and a ship captain's right to impose bread and water, it is logical to conclude that the right to refuse mast now exists for a member of a vessel that is not "about to go to sea"—a result clearly not intended by Congress. The alternative interpretation that a member of a ship not "about to go to sea" is "attached to . . . a vessel" for purposes of demanding trial by court-martial, but is not for purposes of receiving bread and water—is an interpretation that not only flies in the face of common sense, but also places commanding officers in an untenable position. They must advise a crewmember that no right to refuse mast exists because he or she is attached to a ship, while acknowledging the loss of authority to award bread and water because that same crewmember is not "attached to . . . a vessel."

An astute defense counsel quickly challenged the glaring incongruity between a vessel for purposes of bread and water and a vessel for the right to refuse mast. In United States v. Edwards, a sailor attached to the carrier Constellation (CV-64) argued that he should have been afforded the right to refuse mast and demand trial by court-martial because the ship was undergoing an overhaul at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard (sound familiar?). Not surprisingly, he argued that the language "attached to . . . a vessel" is identical in Article 15 for both mast refusal and bread and water and that the rationale applied by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in dealing with the bread and water in Yatchak should apply equally to the right to refuse mast. The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals had to acknowledge that, from a legal and logical standpoint, the defense had a great argument. The court also had to recognize, however, that a finding for Airman Edwards would have given the right to refuse mast to anyone attached to a vessel not in an "operational status"—a dramatic change in naval law. So the court concluded that Yatchak did not impose "a clear and unequivocal legal requirement to judicially mandate a sweeping change to Navy policy concerning the imposition of non-judicial punishment."

On appeal, however, the military's highest court concluded that while its jurisdiction did not extend to determining whether a commander has authority to impose NJP, Edwards should have been given the opportunity to present evidence that the carrier was not in an operational status. The court held that if the ship was not operational, then absent evidence the accused was afforded the right to refuse mast, evidence of his NJP was inadmissable at court-martial.

The practical effects of the "about to go to sea" limitation on the bread and water punishment are even more troubling than the flawed legal analysis used to support its creation. Captain William R. Mason, U.S. Navy, Director, Division of Professional Development, U.S. Naval Academy, and former commanding officer of the USS Wadsworth (FFG-9), noted that maintaining good order and discipline during a yard period is "one of the most difficult challenges" that he has faced. To overcome the disciplinary problems that can arise during a yard period, Captain Mason stated that the crew members must be treated as if they are on a "real ship." A change in non-judicial punishments therefore "sends a message of permissiveness to the crew" that thwarts the commanding officer's attempt to maintain a ready command. Captain Mason also pointed out that surface combatants now undergo "selective repair availability" (SRA) more frequently and for shorter periods of time than in the past-in some cases an SRA lasts only six to eight weeks. It is conceivable, therefore, that a ship in the yards would, for purposes of bread and water, convert from a vessel, to a shore command, back to a vessel, all within a few months. This underscores the shortsighted reasoning used to develop the "about to go to sea" exception.

It is clear, also, that the decision to eliminate confinement on bread and water at courts-martial was based on an incomplete analysis of the situation. With regard to summary courts-martial, it is incorrect to assert across the board that the punishment is ineffective because of the time that normally occurs between the offense and the sentence. On larger vessels (aircraft carriers and large amphibious ships), for example, getting a case to summary court-martial often takes much less time than mast. In non-judicial punishment cases, the investigating officer must gather statements from pertinent witnesses and obtain performance and disposition input from the chain of command—a process that frequently takes several days. The delay caused by the "preliminary inquiry," coupled with the sheer number of non-judicial punishment cases on large ships, means that sometimes mast cases can take up to several weeks. In contrast, the summary court-martial officer is both the adjudicating authority and the investigating officer. Consequently, he or she conducts the inquiry and receives information from the accused's superiors at a single hearing. This process often is complete within a week or two following the alleged offense. The "summary" nature of this type of court explains why it is extremely popular on board ships with brig facilities (and why, until recently, bread and water was awarded routinely at summary courts). It also disproves the blanket assertion that bread and water is an ineffectual punishment at such a proceeding.

Punishment with bread and water is legal—and safe. Prior to execution of the punishment, a medical officer must examine both the accused and the place of confinement, and certify that the sentence will not produce serious injury to the prisoner. That the punishment is legal and safe does not, however, answer the most important question: Does it work? A two-year tour as discipline officer on an aircraft carrier convinced me. Indeed, Rear Admiral James I. Maslowski, U.S. Navy, Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Distribution, stated that while he commanded the carrier Kitty Hawk he used bread and water to give recalcitrant sailors a "wake-up call." He found bread and water appropriate for "insubordinate and openly defiant" members who "had not responded to counseling [and] who flaunted the system." He explained his thought process in deciding whether to award the punishment, "I used bread and water if I believed or hoped it would turn a particular sailor around. That was my criterion. If it was perceived that I imposed the punishment arbitrarily, I knew the penalty would lose its effectiveness." Because Rear Admiral Maslowski awarded bread and water on a strictly case-by-case basis, he did not give general deterrence of the crew much weight in deciding whether to penalize a sailor with bread and water.

He theorized that the punishment is effective because it places the prisoner in a "foreign environment," where he or she becomes the focus of a chain of command that is intent on correcting unacceptable behavior and attitudes. Bread and water works largely because it is unique and, for lack of a better phrase, "Navy."

The current judicial restrictions on its use are unwarranted and the prohibition of the punishment at summary court-martial is illogical. The military's highest court should overrule its decision to limit the punishment to vessels "about to go to sea" and the Navy should push to amend the MCM to authorize once again the punishment at summary court-martial.

Lieutenant Commander Filbert is a student in the Masters of Law program at Temple University, Philadelphia. His most recent assignment was speechwriter for the Chief of Naval Operations.

 

E-2s Need Another Radio Net

By Lieutenant Brian Christianson, U.S. Navy

Pacific Fleet E-2 squadrons—now deploying with satellite communications capability—need to explore ways to support the task group. The long-range task group command-and-reporting (C&R) net would be a good place to start.

The Fifth Fleet's communication architecture is well established, but it does not permit optimum use of the production boxes. The E-2 currently is capable of demand assigned multiple access (DAMA), but can participate in only one voice channel at a time because of wiring limitations. To exploit the potential of satellite communications, it needs the capability to participate in a single long-range coordination net, replacing the numerous command and reporting nets it currently is required to guard. The current task group communication architecture quickly uses up the E-2's ultra-high frequency (UHF) radios and can limit participation in total battle space management. Our E-2s have only two UHF encrypting devices, of which one must be dedicated to one of four radios, and this often is a limiting factor.

We should create a task group long-range C&R satellite DAMA channel that would allow all E-2 missions to be reported back to all warfare commanders on a single circuit, other than the battle group command net. Such a net would allow an overloaded E-2 mission commander to report specific critical contacts, thus keeping all warfare commanders abreast of the overall tactical situation as they prepare for the inner defense of the task group. Concurrently, the DAMA system for Group II E-2s should be modified to give the crew access to at least two DAMA voice circuits—three or four would be better. The most critical element is satellite channel accessibility for operational task groups. The current architecture has only two or three DAMA transponders set up in each fleet, while the remainder are used as relays for a single UHF circuit.

The distribution of the transponders in the DAMA mode should be reevaluated to give more units greater access to these incredible battle-management tools. Current configuration requires using either our single KYV-5 for DAMA operations, or, worse, our #1 KY-58, which already is shared by three UHF radios. Using dedicated wide-band automatically leaves the E-2 with a single radio plus its #2 KY-58 to handle all UHF secure communications. This alone is a compelling reason for the E-2 to support the task group on a DAMA circuit rather than a dedicated wide-band circuit.

It has been difficult to find an existing DAMA net that complements short-range operations involved with the transit to the task group area of operations. Satellite transponder availability has been so restricted that E-2s have been forced to use the task group command net for communication checks within the task group and special reporting during emissions control (EmCon) conditions where satellite communications were the only way to communicate with the carrier. A requested second task group DAMA circuit designated surface/undersea warfare C&R—which would have gotten us off the task group command net—did not materialize because satellite access was not available.

Following are some pros and cons for the three tactical circuits E-2s might use:

Task Group Command . The E-2 would be on scene with direct tactical control of assets involved. Decision time would be minimal and would decrease the chances of misinterpretation. Depending on EmCon posture, this might be the only circuit available for communication between airborne assets and the task group.

On the other hand, traffic on the net could increase significantly, especially if E-2s use this circuit as the primary reporting net. With direct tasking capability from the battle group commander, warfare commanders might be left out of a decision loop in which they have vital real-time information not yet fused and disseminated. It might become unclear exactly which warfare commander and mission area with which the E-2 is working.

Surface/Undersea C&R . All warfare commanders would use this net. Most units capable of satellite communications, especially maritime patrol aircraft, would come up on this net when working with the task group, thus taking full advantage of their forward-projection capability. Tactical decisions could be made quickly without changing circuits. With major warfare commanders on this circuit, coordination of task group assets would become easier and quicker. With this circuit on the same DAMA transponder as task group command, any unit could be directed to switch nets for direct tasking or clarification of events.

The increased amount of reporting by the E-2 to multiple warfare commanders, however, might dilute the circuit's intended purpose; it might be congested by another mission area when the E-2 was beyond line-of-sight radio range and had sensitive information to pass.

Long-Range Task Group C&R (proposed semi-directed net under E-2 control while airborne and the antiair warfare command or antisurface warfare commander at all other times). All warfare commanders would be able to use this net. It would allow multiple warfare commanders to coordinate actions with full-time access to the airborne E-2. Multiple E-2 UHF radios would become available for tactical control of assets. The circuit would not degrade with use from multiple warfare areas congesting the net, because the E-2 would be able to control the tempo of information and tasking it can digest on a particular mission. If necessary, non-organic units can be switched up for tactical control. With a communications plan that allows all task group DAMA channels to be on the same transponder, the E-2 could switch between this net and task group command or surface/undersea warfare C&R in a matter of a minute; a hardware change would allow the E-2 to be on multiple DAMA circuits concurrently. Again, any unit could switch channelized handset numbers for direct communications with the E-2.

Of course, this would be just one more circuit for units to guard and it might be cluttered just when some user has significant information to be passed. Satellite communication channel availability might become a factor, and the E-2 mission hierarchy would have to be delineated by the task group commander.

Cryptology also plays a role. The E-2 is limited to two KY-58s and one KYV-5, and the KYV-5 can be used only for high frequency (HF) radios—unusual—or satellite communications—our primary choice. This can be done either by using a DAMA transponder circuit that allows access to multiple information nets, or a relay transponder using dedicated narrow-band encryption. Our #2 KY-58 can be used only with the aircraft's #2 very high frequency (VHF)/UHF radio and usually is keyed for special reporting and coordination (SPRAC). Our #1 KY58 can encrypt VHF #1, UHF #3, UHF #4, and satellite communications-dedicated wide band. If used for satellite communications, we must choose between satellite communications or SPRAC if we wish to talk with tactical aircraft or warfare commanders on a secure UHF strike frequency.

Now that satellite communications are widely available for E-2s, the aircraft needs a DAMA circuit to exploit their ever-increasing battle management capabilities. The best—and most flexible—circuit for the E-2 mission is the long-range task group C&R. Although the majority of current operations involve littoral warfare, we must continue to develop long-range tactics to counter long-range weapons. In any event, this circuit would provide big returns whether the E-2 is stationed over the horizon or overhead. The key to tactical advantage today is the speed at which information flows. This circuit would streamline the reporting process of all information gathered and passed by the E-2.

Lieutenant Christianson is the Assistant Operations Officer with the VAW-117 Wallbangers. 

 

 
 

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