Comment and Discussion

Surface warfare is well on track with these kinds of tenets. Furthermore, those of us who have made a career decision must take on the responsibility of perpetuating a renewed pride, voicing our suggestions, and doing our part to guide the ship through these currently turbulent waters.

"Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts"

(SeeE. Johns, pp. 74-76, April 1998 Proceedings)

Petty Officer First Class Spencer Lunbeck, US. Navy —Isthe general public to assume that the entire enlisted community is ignorant in response to comments by Lieutenant Commander Johns such as, "The boss can use it, but can subordinates? In today's technical Navy, the officer corps is reasonably computer literate and rapidly becoming more proficient. This does not and—despite our sincerest wishes—will not extend completely to the enlisted ranks."

Often, there is more talent and knowledge in the enlisted ranks than in many of the wardrooms. It is indeed a sad day for our nation's great Navy if it is becoming the standard assumption that the enlisted ranks are a bunch of uneducated buffoons. I am disappointed that the editor would allow such insulting opinions in such a distinguished magazine.

"Building Surface Warriors"

(See M. Poole, pp. 34-37, May 1998 Proceedings)

Lieutenant Michael W. Little, US. Navy, Surface Warfare Officer School —Itperplexesme why some naval officers look to the schoolhouse for answers when it comes to the building of a surface warfare officer—specifically, to the Division Officer Course. Fortunately, Lieutenant (j.g.) Poole's article misses its target because she fails to recognize the Division Officer Course's role in today's surface Navy. She says that the Division Officer Course has strayed from its roots and has lost its focus. I contend that our roots are imbedded firmly and that our mission is as sharp and focused as ever.

The Division Officer Course is about fundamentals—the basics. We train newly commissioned ensigns to use proper and professional procedures while talking on tactical networks or bridge-to-bridge. We instruct them on standard commands, weapon systems, and fleet maintenance programs. It is not our mission to make full-fledged surface warfare officers. That task is up to our fleet units.

Lieutenant (j.g.) Poole suggests that history and tactics should playa larger role in the division officer's education. Without a true understanding of the fundamentals, the tactics that she wishes to initiate will be moot. The fundamentals that the Division Officer Course provides lay a foundation upon which to build strong tactical skills. These tactical skills should be taught, nurtured, and sharpened on fleet combatants, not in a schoolhouse. Surface Warfare Officer School Division Officer Course does focus on the division officer's role as a manager, because that is the role of a division officer—to manage watch teams and divisions.

The Division Officer Course's roots are in the fundamental skills that make junior naval officers successful so they can someday take command at sea.

"Starting Cold War II?"

(See S. Eisenhower, pp. 38-43, May 1998 Proceedings)

Admiral William D. Smith, U.S. Navy (Retired), former U.S. Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee— Ms . Eisenhower's article, which condemns NATO expansion as a strategic blunder of historic proportions, misses several important features of how NATO works and the core values it represents.

Most important, during the Cold War—including the most tense periods—NATO did not have any offensive war plans for attacking the Warsaw Pact. As 16 sovereign nations, all that each of them wanted was to pursue their freedoms and live in peace. Now that the Soviet Union has dissolved, it is inconceivable to imagine NATO developing offensive war plans, let alone believing that the 16 or 19 independent nations ever could agree to such aggressive operations as attacking Russia. Even the defensive plans for protection of the alliance have been shelved in the new strategic concept with the withdrawal of Soviet troops to the East. NATO has been a threat to Russia only to the degree that Russian expansionist policies to the West have been thwarted when these policies alarmed the alliance, and it reacted defensively.

A second major point, largely misunderstood by the academic community, involves the cost of NATO expansion. Much public rhetoric has been raised by various members of Congress about the expense to the United States for modernizing the armed forces of new members. The mechanics of the process are much easier to understand than the current debate. Each year, the NATO Infrastructure Committee prepares a Security Investment Programme, which represents new military construction requirements needed by the alliance within its territory. Congress votes a specific amount of funds for these projects, and that is the U.S. share of the common building funds. If major NATO commanders decide that the higher-priority projects are in new member countries, then that is where the funds will go. It is reasonable that such would be the case for some years. These projects in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic easily could be accommodated by deferring other projects and without raising the total Infrastructure Committee budget. Congress has tight year-by-year control of funds contributed by the United States, so overall NATO costs do not have to increase.

The concern that NATO expansion will repeat the mistakes made after World War I and severely disadvantage Russia does not seem to have a realistic parallel. At the London Summit of July 1990, NATO was quick to offer the hand of friendship and cooperation to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe—Russia included. Certainly the large sums provided by Germany to Russia to build housing for the military and the considerable cost of the Nunn-Lugar initiative to help Russia dismantle nuclear weapons and dispose of nuclear material cannot in any way be seen as "reparations" by the West. These funds have been a sincere and well-thought-out attempt by the West to help Russia adapt to its new circumstances. Considerable constructive engagement of Russia by the major countries of NATO has been a fact of life since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and should be expected to continue, even after NATO grows to 19 members.

Since the reunification of Germany, many European defense intellectuals and others have been concerned about two overriding national security issues in Europe—the renationalization of Germany and the reemergence of an expansionist Russia. The expansion of NATO takes steps to alleviate both of these concerns. While everyone sincerely hopes for a peaceful, democratic Russia, the process will be slow and likely tenuous. The Central Europeans clearly are concerned about this latter possibility and, given their recent history, a strong desire to join NATO certainly is reasonable. Under no circumstances should a peaceful Russia be worried about the Central Europeans joining such a defensive organization. The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council gives Russia a very strong voice.

If the old imperialist Russians still around are concerned about empire, their fears are misplaced. The potential future threats to Russia are much more likely to come from the South and East than from the West, but their current engagement and dialogue is with the West. The added stability created by NATO expansion, combined with all the caveats on stationing of NATO troops and nuclear weapons in the new territory, should reduce rational concerns about this move.

In a nutshell, if Russia's intentions are peaceful, then what's the problem?

"Where's the Adventure?"

(SeeR. Carretla, pp. 35-36, April 1998 Proceedings)

Lieutenant Commander T. K. Kisiel, U.S. Navy —Iam sick and tired of junior officerswhining about the lack of adventure. No adventure? He's flying an S-3B off the deck of an aircraft carrier. Sounds pretty exciting to me.

How does the lieutenant get the impression that our leadership is not "taking a stand"? I'm willing to bet that Lieutenant Carretta's commanding officer and executive officer have strong beliefs and work hard for their community. Why would this be any different for officers—former COs and XOs—who are now assigned to duty in Washington?

Master Chief C. R. Johnson, U.S. Navy (Retired)— LieutenantCarretta has hit it right on the mark! During my era of service—World War II to 1985—the Navy was an adventure. That no longer is true.

I would advise our military and civilian leadership to wake up before it's too late. The junior officers in the surface Navy and aviation are not the only ones who are getting out—or not enlisting. According to Navy Times, the Navy hasn't made its recruiting quota since September 1997. Enlisted retention is down about to where it was in the late 1970s.

Tailhook and the lack of common sense by the Congress and the civilian and military leaders of the Navy are where the decline began in the aviation community. If I were an officer, and knew my chance for promotion was "red-flagged" by Congress—yet I had done nothing wrong, and my superiors were not backing me up because of a group of loud-mouthed feminists—I'd resign too.

Leadership would do well to listen to the Lieutenant Carrettas and to take heed. It should be obvious all is not well.

"Psychological Operations ... From the Sea"

(See R. G. Bowdish, pp. 70-72, February 1998 Proceedings)

Lieutenant Frank Watanabe, U.S. Naval Reserve— CommanderBowdish's articleis dead-on in arguing that the Navy needs to examine seriously the potential for sea-based psychological operations (PsyOp) capabilities. As he points out, PsyOps is one of the five principal military actions comprising command-and-control warfare (C2W), and in order to meet its obligations to provide C2W-prepared forces to the commanders-in-chief, the Navy must develop its ability to support and conduct joint PsyOps.

Although the Navy currently has practically no PsyOps capabilities, it has immense—but largely unrealized—potential to conduct joint PsyOps. Commander Bowdish identifies a few, but there are many more. In addition, as Commander Bowdish notes, naval forces have certain inherent advantages in conducting PsyOps, such as freedom of operation in international waters, organic self-sustainability, and self-defense capabilities.

Commander Bowdish also is correct in asserting that the Navy needs to provide more than just a floating platform from which the other services could conduct joint PsyOps. In order to realize fully the Navy's potential for supporting and conducting joint PsyOps, it is essential to develop PsyOp-trained personnel , organizations, tactics, techniques, procedures, and in some cases, specialized equipment.

The Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy, and Operations (N3/N5) and Space and Electronic Warfare (N6) held the first conference on Navy Support to Joint PsyOp in September 1995. As a result, the Chief of Naval Operations began to develop an OpNav Instruction on Navy Support to Joint PsyOps as part of the 3230 series of Information Warfare/C2W policies eventually issued as OpNav 3434. As one of the action officers who spearheaded the development of the Navy PsyOp policy, I can attest that the other services—rather than jealously guarding turf and resenting the Navy's new interest in joint PsyOps—welcomed our presence, realizing the unique capabilities the Navy brought to the table.

Commander Bowdish's article was a timely reminder that the Navy should become a full member of the joint PsyOp team, adding a unique, new capability to the joint forces' psychological operations armaments.

"Could Forgotten A-12 Lessons Haunt the Super Hornet?"

(See J. P. Stevenson, p. 24, April 1998; R. F. Dunn, p. 14, May 1998 Proceedings)

Franklin C. Spinney, Program Analysis and Evaluation, Tactical Air Forces Division, Office of the Secretary of Defense— AdmiralDunn is correct when he asserts that the E/F meets or exceeds its requirements—but these requirements are not very demanding. When configured for the strike mission, for example, the E/F has better range/payload (including bring back) than all versions of the C/D . On the other hand, the E/F does not have the range/payload of the A-6 or F-14, which it is replacing. Moreover, it is an open question whether or not the relatively small increase in range/payload—particularly of the F model—which now makes up over half the buy, constitutes a large enough benefit to justify the 50% increase in unit cost. That cost is driving down production rates, which will increase the average age and reduce the size of the force over the long term. This translates into less tons on target at any range. Navy planners are debating whether they should cut the size of a carrier air wing to 46 fighter attack/aircraft.

Admiral Dunn is on shaky ground when he claims the agility of the E/F equals that of the C/D. He does not specify to which version of the C/Dhe is comparing the E/F. The Operational Testing ITA tests, conducted last November, showed that the acceleration and sustained turning performance of the E/F was equal or superior to that of Lot XIV C/D in most configurations but slightly inferior in some. When compared to the newer, more powerful Lot XIX C/D, which has the enhanced performance engine, the E/F exhibited inferior acceleration and turning performance in most configurations.

In any event, the Navy was concerned enough about performance that Rear Admiral Dennis McGinn (N88) signed a special clarification letter that said, "...turning, climbing, ... and maneuvering are not F/A-18E/FKPPs [key performance perametersJ." The Navy's Program Risk Assessment Board said last summer that if the Operational Test and Evaluation Force finds the E/F unsuitable even though it satisfies all requirements, the best solution may be an " ... aggressive indoctrination of the operational community to help them match expectation to reality."

Admiral Dunn's statement about survivability is necessarily problematical, because it describes a future warfighting outcome and cannot objectively be measured like range or maneuverability. To the extent that survivability depends on superior maneuvering performance, Admiral Dunn's confident assertion that the E/F is more survivable than the C/D is open to question, particularly if competently trained opponents are flying Su-27s, MiG-29s, Rafales, or Eurofighters. On the other hand, if one believes that the superior survivability is the primarily the result of a reduced radar cross-section, then Admiral Dunn and the Navy need to clarify why the E/F's limited stealth capability enables the E/F to survive over the same battlefield where the Air Force says you need a far stealthier, more agile, supersonic-cruise-capable F-22—and both services say we need the high-stealth capabilities of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) over the long term. Someone has to be wrong.

Let's now examine the decision to enter production. Admiral Dunn uses the "reasonable man" argument to dismiss the fact that the wing-drop "anomaly" was not reported up the chain of command prior to 26 March 1997, when Paul Kaminski, then the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, approved the E/F for production. Admiral Dunn acknowledges, this was "perhaps" a mistake. By invoking the uncertainty implicit in this qualifier, he insinuates it was a reasonable mistake, because "... somewhere along the way a decision has to be made about how much information is to be passed up the line." This raises the question of whetl1er it is reasonable to assume program managers could have had the foresight to alert their superiors to the problem. Or, what did tl1e program office know, and when did it know it?

The first incidence of wing drop occurred on the seventh flight (4 March 1996), more than one year before the production decision. The flight-test director issued a "Watch Item" on 11 March 1996, which was upgraded to a "White Sheet" report on 12 July 1996, indicating that attempts to fix the problem had been unsuccessful. A Program Risk Assessment Board risk assessment (25 September 1996) said that the wing-drop deficiency would cause the E/F to be "…unacceptable for Op-Eva!." The flight-test director upgraded the wing-drop "White Sheet" to a Part ** 1 Deficiency in October 1996. This is the most serious deficiency rating-meaning it must be corrected on the production-representative aircraft in Op-Eva!. Engineers began computational fluid dynamic studies and wind-tunnel testing of potential wing modifications in November 1996.

Turning to the events in early 1997, the Development Testing (DT) IIA final report (5 February 1997) listed wing drop as a Part ** 1 Deficiency in Sections 4 and 5, but did not discuss its effect in the section describing flying qualities (Section 3.2.1.1). Three weeks later, the F/A-18program office sponsored a Program Management Review (PMR) dedicated solely to wing drop (27 February 1997), which defined a comprehensive wing-drop resolution plan, including hardware modifications to the wing.

The next day, the Navy held a Program Management Review in which the F/A-18E/F program manager presented a dry run of the proposed briefing to the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB), including a slide that noted the wing-drop problem. That slide was modified to exclude the reference when presented to the DAB one month later.

Finally, on 18 March 1997, eight days before the production decision, members of the F/A-18E/F’s integrated product and testing teams met with engineers from NASA Langley to agree on the final wing-drop resolution plan, including the test flight-test plan for the hardware fixes, which was scheduled to begin in early summer 1997.

I believe that the information was suppressed about the wing-drop problem and that the real roots of the wing-drop problem can be traced to the spring of 1992, when the Navy downplayed the E/F's new wing to bypass Milestone I prototyping. Had the Navy done the prototyping and testing, the problem undoubtedly would have emerged and proceeded directly to a concurrent engineering and manufacturing development phase.

Hopefully, the proposed porous wing-fold fairing will eliminate the wing-drop problem without excessive penalties and without an unacceptable break in an ongoing production line.

"World Navies in Review"

(See A. D. Baker, pp. 78-95, March 1998 Proceedings)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please note the following corrections.

  • Remarks on page 79 under "Lithuania" actually are on Estonia, as Eesti Meregiivi translates to "Estonian Navy."
  • Under "United Kingdom" on page 84—Tomahawk missiles will undergo launch trials this fall on the Splendid, not the Swiftsure.
  • The fourth of the Kongo-class Japanese destroyer is the Chokai, not the Myoko (see page 90).

"A View from the Gender Fault Line"

(See G. D. Roncolato and S. F. Davis, pp. 102-104, March 1998; R. D. Brawley, S. P. Ginder, pp. 12-14, April 1998; R. R. Weekley, pp. 18-22, May 1998 Proceedings)

Matt A. Coleman, U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1979 —I am convinced the Navy has forgotten that its primary mission is to be prepared to fight wars—messy things that have little to do with political correctness and social engineering. I wonder who in the Navy's leadership has the guts to say "Enough, already!" to what seems a sadly laughable effort to integrate women in combat roles—not because women aren't hugely capable, but because it runs against hundreds of years of societal norms and culture.

The authors suggested the utterly ridiculous: "We on the gender fault line are going to have to make it work despite the challenges and again wait for society to catch up." If ever there was a testimony to the success (read "danger") of liberal efforts to make today's Navy the instrument of social policy, the published assertion of these two officers—the two senior officers on a naval combatant—this is it. They view gender integration as a central purpose, so that they might lead society inevitably to catch up. What possible relationship does this have to being prepared to fight and win?

It seems the Navy is bent on demonstrating zealous compliance with a political mandate for sweeping social change that has nothing to do with making it a more capable fighting force. In evaluating the success of our fighting force, the Navy now tracks pregnancies, incidents of fraternization, harassment, and a host of statistics that measure the degree to which each of the genders has been neutered effectively. Evidence DDG-68, warships are even "built from the keel up to accommodate women…Unless there is an emergency, such as a fire or flood, there is no reason for watchstanders to transit berthing compartments in routine performance of their duties." Gee, I hope everyone has their clothes on when the bullets start flying—or at least nobody peeks.

"Leave Our Flight Jackets Alone!"

(See M. J. Frattasio, p. 62, November 1997; C. E. Worrham, p. 22, February 1998; F. F. Haun, p. 16, April 1998 Proceedings)

Rear Admiral Stanley W. Bryant, U.S. Navy, Commander, Carrier Group Four— It'stime to put this flight jacketdiscussion in perspective. Petty Officer Frattasio shot before he read the direc tive on this matter. He has lumped leather and green flight jackets together, when they are treated much differently in the new policy. The limits on patches on the leather flight jacket are designed to promote uniformity and a smart professional look so the jacket can be worn as a uniform off base. Note the word "uniform" when speaking of the leather jacket. It has been in uniform regulations for some time, and its manner of wear has been specified. Again, with the recent directive, the Chief of Naval Operations wanted to ensure that they had a uniform and dignified look when worn in public, where we are always under close scrutiny and always want to look our best.

The green flight jacket is a recent addition to uniform regulations only to reduce confusion and to specify two things: that it can still be adorned with every patch the wearer chooses to display—just as the aviator in the picture illustrating the article is doing—and that it cannot be worn off base. In fact, it never was authorized for wear off base. Many people did it for many years, but it was never authorized because it is nothing more than organizational clothing. This also means that it is not the exclusive province of aviators and can be worn by anyone who can get their command to issue it to them and allow them to wear it at work. The flight suit is the only piece of organizational clothing authorized for off-base wear and only while commuting to and from work.

So the bottom line is that nothing has changed with respect to the green flight jacket. Petty Officer Frattasio says, "Let's not discard another fine Navy tradition for no good reason." I support that and maintain that we have done nothing of the sort. The green jacket remains, as it always has, about anything you want it to be in terms of what you wear on it, as summing the patches are in good taste and reflective of naval aviation professionalism. The traditional leather flight jacket—the exclusive province of aviators and aircrew—is allowed off base with several uniforms as long as we keep them looking smart and professional.

I suspect that if Petty Officer Frattasio had read the entire directive and the explanations of the policy beforehand, he would not have written his emotional article. Thanks to the Chief of Naval Operations, we can wear our tradition-rich leather jackets proudly in public, and the green jackets have not been affected in the least.

"Notable Naval Books of 1997"

(See R. Seamon, pp. 135-138, May 1998 Proceedings)

Jack Greene— I just received my NavalReview issue and went straight to "Notable Naval Books." As always, quality books are listed, but I did note one surprise—the absence of Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War (Naval Institute Press) by Eric Lacroix and Linton Wells II.

It is a masterpiece in writing and information and is impressive at nearly 900 pages. It is destined to be a classic and to sit beside such books as Oscar Parkes' British Battleships and Erich Groener's multi-volume German Warships.

"Air Force Course Blends Technology with Humanity"

(See P. W. D. Morford , pp. 88-89, April 1998 Proceedings)

Captain John F. Jackson, SC, U.S. Navy, Director, College of Continuing Education, U.S. Naval War College— I appreciate the efforts of Commander Morford to inform officers about some of the options available to them to obtain Joint Professional Military Education (JPME). The Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) nonresident program is indeed an informative and user-friendly CDROM-based program. The College of Naval Command and Staff nonresident program offered by the Naval War College, however, may be more appropriate for many sea service officers. It is, by design, significantly more rigorous and academically demanding. Another difference is that the course material is delivered in a more traditional manner, because the Naval War College has made a conscious decision to continue to use "original source" hard-copy readings and books, as opposed to the summaries and excerpts that appear in the ACSC CD-ROM.

The best way to get PME is through full-time resident study at a service college. The benefits of focusing all of your energies on professional studies in a supportive academic environment cannot be underestimated, and every officer should strive to attend a resident service college. But some officers may find that their personal or professional obligations preclude them from seeking fulltime PME. The purpose of this note is not to denigrate the ACSC program, but rather to make potential students aware of the Naval War College's nonresident programs, and to highlight the differences between the two offerings.

The opportunity to meet and discuss complex topics with other students is beneficial, and both the ACSC and the Naval War College Nonresident Seminar Program offer this. The NWC Nonresident Seminar (NRS) Program offers evening seminars on 19 satellite campuses around the country. The main difference between the ACSC seminars and those of the NWC program is that the NWC seminars are facilitated by professional adjunct faculty members who have been hired based upon their credentials as educators and defense experts. Their presence and involvement add to the quality of the seminar process and ensure proper focus. Each seminar includes students from as many military services and defense agencies as possible to ensure a broad range of experience and opinion.

The complete three-course NWC program consists of 96 sessions (as opposed to 41 sessions for ACSC). This in-depth program (usually spread over a 20 to 31-month period) enables students to receive an education that parallels to a significant degree the resident course of study at Newport. Students earn up to 20 graduate credit hours, and they receive full PJE Phase I credit.

Student progress is measured by essay exams and graded exercises—not by multiple-choice quizzes—allowing students to demonstrate mastery of the material and their written communications skills more thoroughly. All work is graded by the on-site adjunct faculty member, who is able to provide personal feedback and guidance to each student.

While the NWC NRS does (by design) have a maritime orientation, it is a joint education program that covers material from a joint perspective. The three core courses-Strategy and Policy, National Security Decision Making, and Joint Maritime Operations—are taught from a multi service viewpoint. To promote joint thinking, concerted efforts are made to ensure that a broad mix of students from all services and government agencies exist in each seminar.

The Naval War College's Continuing Education branch also offers a correspondence-based program for those individuals who cannot participate in a seminar setting. This course is similar in content to the NRS program, but covers the issues in less depth.

I echo and applaud Commander Morford's comments about the need for all naval officers to seek the benefits of joint education, and the Air Command and Staff College nonresident program may be appropriate for many students. Those who seek a more rigorous program, however, may want to consider the NWC NRS alternative. The NWC College of Continuing Education has been offering nonresident education since 1914, and the academic content of its programs is unrivaled in the Department of Defense. The bottom line is: If you get the chance to study in Newport, take it! If not, then the Nonresident Seminar Program is the next best option.

"Network-Centric Warfare"

(See A. K. Cebrowski and J. J. Garstk a, pp. 28-35, January 1998; J. Tonning, p. 6, February 1998; K. W. Estes, p. 16, March 1998; A. Krekich, p. 16, May 1998 Proceedings)

J. Branden. Little, Research Assistant at the Naval Postgraduate School and the University of California, Davis— ViceAdmiral Cebrowski and Mr. Garstka effectively address the technological advances in U.S. business and society, and of the U.S. Navy's imperative to pursue information technology actively. They cite the revolution in military affairs as "unlike any seen since the Napoleonic age," when France adopted the levee en masse of national conscription, and mobilized the country's total resources to fight its wars. Previously, nations employed small, professional armies, but the 1794 Levy in Mass quickly raised hundreds of thousands of soldiers that enabled France to overwhelm its opponents. The Levy dramatically changed the nature of warfare, and foreshadowed the large-scale mobilizations by participants in the two World Wars.

Today, the pendulum has swung. Large national armies have all but disappeared. Today's Navy and Marine Corps are leaner and more efficient than ever. The authors argue that Joint Vision 2010 demands cost-effective forces. Information technology developed by the revolution in military affairs, fielded by properly trained Sailors and Marines, will enhance combat operations and lethality while decreasing cost and casualties. Like the armies and navies before the Levy in Mass, the United States' sea services increasingly will rely on small, professional forces. The key, then, is to ensure that those forces can defeat threats beyond the horizon. Nationalized French armies surprised European leaders with their innovative size, vigor, and effectiveness. Our forces must remain ever vigil ant and must be poised to respond to the uncertain challenges of the next century.

"Wither the Warrior?"

(See E. Lanman, pp. 26-29, April 1998 Proceedings)

Lieutenant Commander Marion H. Klingler, U.S. Navy —Lieutenant Commander Lanman's article is one of the most cogent essays I've read addressing the problems facing the U.S. military forces. He is quite right in stating that the United States cannot fight its next conflict in what can be termed (with due apologies to Russell Weigley) "the American Way of War"—that is, throw money, men, and material at a problem until it goes away. I also noted some historical analogies in Lieutenant Commander Lanman's article that deserve greater attention.

First, Commander Lanman intimates that military icons such as Arleigh Burke, "Chesty" Puller, and Omar Bradley suffered significant setbacks in their paths toward greatness. These setbacks presumably provided them a practical education and motivation to succeed. The warriors who won the Gulf War , Generals Schwartzkopf and Powell to name two, had similar trials in the jungles of Vietnam. This begs the question: Where will the warriors of tomorrow undergo their real-life education process that will groom them to be superior combat leaders? Under the current zero-defects climate of the military, experience is not allowed to be the best teacher, and talented commissioned and noncommissioned officers—even some with combat experience in the Gulf War—are attrited whenever they fail to be perfect.

Second, Commander Lanman rightly points out that the future urban battlefield has the potential to nullify the current U.S. preponderance of high-tech weaponry and information systems. This bears a striking resemblance to the U.S. experience in Vietnam. There, every time U.S. forces engaged the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese forces in a set-piece battle, they were victorious because of the superiority of U.S. firepower and maneuver ability. However, our Vietnamese adversaries recognized this and rarely engaged U.S. forces on those terms. As Commander Lanman vividly illustrates, any future urban adversary is unlikely to engage U.S. forces on terms that would allow the United States to use its high-tech advantage, especially after the illustration provided against Iraq in the Gulf War.

To counteract these problems, the U.S. military needs to draw upon its history, recognizing that warriors are made, not born. Allow junior officers to make mistakes. Recognize that administrative excellence is not necessarily indicative of superior wartime leadership. Place a higher premium on basic warfighting skills such as ship driving, airmanship, and small-unit tactics. Finally, the military must quit deluding itself and educate the U.S. public that high-tech weapons are not a panacea. Until proven otherwise, the low casualty rate experienced in the Gulf War must be viewed as an aberration of warfare—a best-case scenario. As hinted at in Mogadishu, any future conflict will necessarily involve a significant loss of life. If the U.S. military does not wake up and smell the coffee, then the United States will be faced with debacles on the scale of Pearl Harbor, military setbacks on the order of the Chinese intervention in Korea, and intractable conflicts such as Vietnam.

"Break Down the Barriers"

(See F. Sturm, pp. 68-70, February 1998 Proceedings)

Lieutenant (junior grade) Michael F. Nasitka, U.S. Coast Guard, Executive Officer, USCGC Vashon (WPB-1308)— CommanderSturm brings out some interesting points about the need for "cross training" in the Coast Guard. This training already is occurring throughout the various mission areas of the Coast Guard.

In one of the author's examples, the female ensign on a 210-foot medium endurance cutter is trying to decide on what to do for a follow-on tour. I've been there—it is a difficult thing to decide. In the example, however, some of the possibilities listed just don't exist. Currently, there are no female skippers of 82-foot patrol boats because of berthing limitations. In addition, with only a few executive officer jobs left on the 157-foot buoy tenders, they are generally given to junior officers who have had Aids to Navigation (ATON) experience during their first tour afloat. As a result, the only afloat jobs available to her are XO of a 110-foot patrol boat or a 140-foot icebreaking tug (commanding officers of both are lieutenants), or as an exchange officer on a Navy ship.

Commander Sturm's idea to start some sort of training for our junior personnel, both enlisted and officer, is outstanding. However, in my opinion, it is already alive and well in the Coast Guard. Commander Sturm's example-buoy tenders working with the Marine Safety Office (MSO) in deploying the Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS)—currently happens with the MSOs and buoy tenders. Aboard my first unit, the CGC Conifer, we conducted oil-spill drills with the MSO and the Group at least once every two years. As a result, at least one-third of the crew has experienced deploying VOSS.

Sending members TAD to other units for training also takes place throughout the Coast Guard. But Commander Sturm's idea to centralize it at the district, area, or headquarters level does not make sense in times of limited manpower and funding. Currently, all it takes is a little coordination for those involved. Most if not all commands are willing to have members of other commands TAD for training. While a cadet, I spent a couple of days aboard a buoy tender while on leave. Only a few phone calls were needed to set up this valuable training, which convinced me I wanted to be stationed on a buoy tender upon graduation from the Coast Guard Academy.

While aboard the Conifer, we made arrangements for various members of the crew to visit different commands for training. For example, we sent one seaman to Air Station Los Angeles because he was undecided as to his choice of rates. Also, we sent one quartermaster to the Group Command Center for training as a search-and-rescue controller, and another to the MSO.

We regularly have riders on board the Vashon. In fact, I have offered to give up my stateroom and sleep in the spare rack in the engineering petty officer's stateroom to allow a female officer the opportunity to experience a 110-footer before deciding if she wanted to list a WPB XO job on her assignment data card. In addition, we have hosted various enlisted members (both junior and senior) to help them decide if they want to request assignment on a patrol boat, or as familiarization trip after receiving orders.

So for all first-tour junior officers out there still trying to determine what you want to do after your first afloat tour, look around, and ask to spend a couple of days at that unit. Nobody is so valuable that their unit can't afford to spend a couple days TAD to help them decide what to do as a follow-on tour.

"Retaining the JOs: Looking Up or Going Down?"

(See S. R. Kennedy, pp. 26-29, June 1997; S. B. Dietz, E. J. Brown, pp. 19-20, August 1997; E. C. Picken, p. 8, February 1998; W. J. Davis, p. 14, April 1998 Proceedings)

Captain Steven Danyluk, U.S. Marine Corps— Mr . Picken absolutely is correctwhen he states that junior officers often blame a perceived "lack of leadership from above" for whatever travails face us. Often, we feel that we are not being accommodated. This is a cop-out. The primary focus of our military leadership should be to fight and win wars. On that count it would be hard to argue that those in charge have failed.

That is not to say that leadership is always perfect. For example, many Jos today look at programs such as recruiting's 12-12-5 with skepticism, wondering whether the goal is to field the most capable military or to appease certain political agendas. Just once, it would be nice to see a senior leader call "BS" and tender his resignation. Instead, it's the Jos who are resigning in droves.

It's doubtful that the personality traits of the men and women who make up today's senior military leadership have changed drastically from those who filled the same slots 50 years ago. Those who are attracted to a career in the military are driven by something that remains unchanged over the course of time.

Society has changed more drastically in the past 50 years than at any other time in history. Advances in technology, changes in race and gender relations, and the breakdown of the family structure are but a few of the myriad exterman pressures with which the senior leadership has been forced to contend. One cannot expect a smooth and easy process in coping with such weighty issues.

Mr. Picken points out that he used the excuse of "lack of leadership" in making his decision to leave the Navy some years ago. Time, he went on to write, has given him the insight to see that the prevalent factor in a decision to leave the armed services is that individuals change. What was exciting as a young ensign is less exciting eight years down the road. What is different today than when Mr. Picken was in the Navy is that the changes that took eight years to occur for him already have taken place in today's newly commissioned officers by the time they have taken their oath of office.

Recently, I confronted a class of 40 primary flight students at NAS Pensacola, following a session filled with griping about the NATOPS (Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization) manual and how it was poorly written and unclear in places. When asked how many had taken the time to submit a NATOPS/TACTICAL change recommendation, not a single hand went up—even though they had been shown how to do so. The prevalent attitude seemed to be "why bother—nothing will happen anyway." The class received an impromptu lecture about part one of their responsibilities as a commissioned officer being to correct (or at least attempt to correct) problems when they are encountered, especially in matters such as NATOPS—where lives are at stake.

Rather than simply point the finger of blame at leadership, today's junior officers need to be challenged to point out distinct problems and offer solutions. All too often, we JOs are unwilling to do that, and instead opt for the easy way out by laying blame elsewhere.

To stem the tide of the JO exodus, JOs and senior leadership are going to have to find a common ground from which to confront the challenges of a rapidly changing society. If this does not happen, and the exodus continues, combat readiness will be hurt. There may still be enough bodies to fill the seats, but the pool of knowledge is dissipating at an alarming rate. If it continues, our effectiveness will suffer and there will be more high-profile, avoidable mistakes.

"Give Integration Meaning"

(See H. A. Petrea and J. Keefe. pp. 105-107. March 1998 Proceedings)

Carlton Meyer —I agree that the absence of a Navy/Marine combined arms training center is the major obstacle in preparing for Littoral operations. But a perfect location exists just off the San Diego coast—San Clemente Island, which now is used only for naval gunfire training.

Because the island is 50 miles offshore, noise and civilian air traffic are lesser concerns, and nearby bases can simulate additional carriers or amphibs. Camp Pendleton, just over the horizon, can act as a huge offshore task force from which Marines and equipment are flown by helicopter or MV-22s and shuttled over by LCACs and LCUs. There is not much room to maneuver, but the Marines can do that at Twentynine Palms.

 

 
 

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