Editor's Page

In a cyber conflict, a defender must be right all the time, but the attacker only once. Added to that is the difficulty of even correctly identifying the origin of the attack, which can come from anywhere. RAND Corporation analysts Isaac Porche, Jerry Sollinger, and Shawn McKay warn that cyber worms and viruses put every aspect of our society at risk. They contend that determining responses to attacks is just as important as trying to deter them.

Frequent Proceedings writer Scott Truver reminds us that what originates as a military capability can often turn out to have other beneficial applications as well. So it is with the Sea Services’ intricate, multilayered network by which the oceans and coastal regions are monitored for national-security purposes. These selfsame tools of maritime domain awareness can additionally offer a great deal of valuable data to environmental-monitoring initiatives.

Although many of our pages this month discuss what conflict of the future might look like, we also take the opportunity to look to our past, both for possible solutions to current conundrums and to commemorate notable events in the Navy’s history.

In 1904, when Sir John Fisher became Britain’s First Sea Lord, he had to defend his nation’s far-flung empire, connect trade routes, protect the homeland, deal with a tight budget, and address rising rivals. Sound familiar? But he also had to do all this amid a culture that discouraged self-initiative and prized unquestioning obedience, attitudes that eventually limited the Royal Navy and the results it could expect—as illustrated at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Retired Navy Captain Gerard D. Roncolato draws important parallels and inferences for today’s U.S. Navy.

As amazing as it sounds, the Cuban Missile Crisis is already half a century in the past. Our own A. Denis Clift, once the editor-in-chief of Proceedings who went on to a distinguished career in public service and is now the Naval Institute’s vice president for planning and operations, takes us back 50 years to a dangerous time. In 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union were at the brink of war over the Soviet shipment of nuclear weapons to Cuba. Mr. Clift’s article on the crisis focuses on the involvement of then-Chief of Naval Operations Admiral George W. Anderson, who detailed his role in a little-known Naval Institute oral history published in 1983.

It is often said of military service that “all give some, and some give all.” And 40 years ago this month, 20 U.S. sailors serving in the Vietnam War were killed in the line of duty on board the USS Newport News (CA-148), at the time the largest gun cruiser in the world. The worst part of the tragedy was that the sailors perished not from enemy fire, but from a turret mishap that led to an explosion, conflagration, and deadly smoke. Naval Institute Press author and Proceedings contributor Taylor Baldwin Kiland, who has a very personal connection to the event, recounts not only the lead-up to the fateful incident but the heroism of the crew who rose to the occasion in the hellish aftermath.

Paul Merzlak, Editor-in-Chief


Conferences and Events

2015 Naval History Conference

Wed, 2015-10-14

The 2015 History Conference is hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and the U.S. Naval Academywith support from The William M. Wood...

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