Our efforts can make the Institute and Proceedings ever more relevant and contemporary, and our younger professionals will gain a new understanding of current national and maritime issues and significant historic events.
I challenge each junior officer, Chief Petty Officer—Navy and Coast Guard alike—and Marine staff NCO to submit at least one article for publication during the next year. Take a stand on an important issue, write a compelling argument, and submit the work for consideration. Your voices and your ideas for improving our services are needed and desired. Among those thousands of submissions are undoubtedly dozens of worthy Proceedings articles, and likely dozens more Naval History articles, just waiting to be published. Start a debate, or join an ongoing discussion, and make an impact.
Membership in any organization should not be compulsory for military professionals, and these recommendations do not call for obligatory membership. Reading Proceedings and Naval History is no less important than the services' professional reading lists and should be encouraged. All leaders should promote participation in healthy debates. Doing so requires one to research alternative points of view and consider counterarguments while exercising the mind on important and often complex issues.
Individuals unsure of their own writing abilities should just take a shot; you might surprise yourself, and the skilled Proceedings editors can polish an otherwise worthy essay. If you wonder what you might write about, try my method. I read or hear about things in the Navy that make me angry, and I write about them. My inspiration comes from the things I see wrong that I feel strongly about. I hope to include here articles about things I see going right, but I'll probably concentrate on areas where I think changes or improvements need to be made. Potential contributors are free to write about whatever inspires them.
From the deckplates, I will introduce matters I feel need to be discussed, and I may revisit some old issues with a new twist. But it's not enough that my ideas appear alone. I want Proceedings readers to think about and analyze my arguments, as well as those of all authors, and dissect them in well-written supportive or counter-arguments submitted for Comment and Discussion. If you agree, say so. If you disagree, say so louder. If you have other ideas related to the topics chosen, let Proceedings readers hear them. It is through healthy debate, a constructive point, counter-point dialogue, that issues will be fleshed out for our senior leaders.
Each of us has the opportunity to inform our leaders' decisions and let them know what we think is important. The Naval Institute and Proceedings are significant catalysts for that communication. I encourage senior enlisted and junior officer leaders to join the debate!