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The Navy must do a better job of retaining one of its most valuable resources—the post-major command captain.
Beyond that, a larger problem looms. While the issue with captains is the tip of the iceberg, I suspect that the long-term horizon is dark. Part of the willful conversion of the Navy into a business is the inevitable and growing awareness of officers, at every level, that they are, not to put too fine a point on it, the "means of production." They are a particular kind of asset, depending on the season, more or less desirable to the Navy. Depending on that desirability, which is based, in part, on scarcity, the Navy will be more or less concerned with retaining them: bonuses or no bonuses; promotions or not; forced draw downs or not. It has nothing to do with taking care of the individual; it has to do with raw numbers.
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Captain Eyer is the ACOS for Fleet Training at the Naval Mine and Antisubmarine Warfare Command in San Diego. He recently completed a tour as commanding officer of the USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) and is one of two officers to have commanded three Aegis cruisers, including the Shiloh (CG-67) and the Thomas S. Gates (CG-51).
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