The training and education of a new ship’s crew may be the single most important component to her success. Navy Lieutenants Jeremy Crestetto and Jeffrey Coyle, speaking from recent firsthand experience, tell how a vessel’s precommissioning crew has a strong influence years after she has been placed in service, and describe the depth and complexity of effort required to bring a ship to life.
As the Navy looks for ways to pare costs, an officer in the USS Freedom (LCS-1) suggests a re-examination of minimum manning. Lieutenant Johannes Schonberg contends that it is not the size of a crew that matters so much as its training and cross-training—and explains how less can actually mean more.
The War of 1812 demonstrated the vital role the Navy plays in safeguarding American interests at home and abroad. Yet, 200 years later, people still need to be reminded of this important fact. Luckily we have two distinguished naval thinkers in this issue to help spread the word. Gordon England, whose résumé includes service as Deputy Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, and two terms as Secretary of the Navy, stresses the importance of the nation’s seagoing forces in ensuring economic well-being. In the current climate of tight budgets and Congress looking for convenient places to cut, Secretary England’s message couldn’t come at a more crucial time. And veteran analyst Ron O’Rourke reminds us that naval forces are a “high payoff investment that preserves a lot of options for U.S. leaders.” Because so much of the planet is covered by water, he sees American maritime power as an important asymmetric military advantage—one that can’t be quantified by just counting numbers of ships.
It is my pleasure to announce that frequent Proceedings contributors retired Captain George Galdorisi and Dr. Scott Truver have won the 2011 Surface Navy Association Literary Award for their July article, “From Minimal to Optimal,” in which they answered the questions: How many sailors are too many? How few are too few? According to them, the new Zumwalt -class destroyer apparently has it just right. In other good news, the Runner-Up award goes to Navy Captains William Parker and Cathal O’Connor, who doled out common-sense advice to prospective commanding officers in “Command Performance,” which appeared in the January 2011 issue.
Bravo Zulu to all!