We are pleased to welcome the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Mullen, to Proceedings . His article, " What I Believe: Eight Tenets that Guide My Vision of the 21st Century Navy ," leads off our Surface Warfare issue. This is a big picture piece, the kind of article that belongs in Proceedings when written by men and women who occupy senior posts in our nation's national security firmament. A former President, George H. W. Bush, dismissed such undertakings as "the vision thing," as if a broad description of where a leader wants to take his constituents was little more than a PR gimmick. We disagree. The men and women who serve under Admiral Mullen want to know where he's coming from, the principles that form the foundation of his actions. Clearly, the CNO agrees.
We have a similarly thoughtful article from Admiral John B. Nathman, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, "the senior sailor on the waterfront," as another flag officer described him. Admiral Nathman, in a piece co-written with Commander Clay Harris, asserts that the Navy must remain "strong, flexible, and deployed forward" even in a time of economic uncertainty and explains why he considers that the correct course.
Marine Colonel Mark Brilakis is fiercely ironic in " Martian Alert! ," a take-no-prisoners essay that questions Pentagon spending priorities. Colonel Brilakis, vice chairman of the Naval Institute's Editorial Board, is unsparing, though respectful, in his criticism. Few will miss the point, though.
In another challenging piece, "Controlling the Rivers," an Army lieutenant colonel, Patrick Donahoe, and a Navy commander, Laurence McCabe, argue that the Navy has ceded its brown water mission to the Army and the Marines, neither of which are cut out for the job.
When John McCain returned from five and a half years in North Vietnamese prisons, he was asked his feelings toward anti-war demonstrators. His response? The right to protest the actions of the government was one of the things he and his comrades were fighting for. In light of that answer, we wondered how Mr. McCain, now a U.S. senator, felt about the Bush White House and a fellow Republican questioning the patriotism of a Democratic congressman who had called for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq . Senator McCain answers in a stinging Commentary on page two.
This month we feature the winner of the Naval Intelligence Essay Contest, cosponsored by the Naval Intelligence Foundation, Naval Intelligence Professionals, and the Naval Institute. This year's winner is Lieutenant Commander Jim Griffin for his essay "Naval Intelligence Needs a High-Low Mix." He believes that Naval Intelligence, organized to meet the Soviet threat, must refocus to more effectively search for terrorists among foreign populations.
We get stories from unlikely sources. Thirty-three years ago, Ernie Imhoff hired me as a reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun . At the time, Ernie was the assistant managing editor of the paper, now defunct, but much missed. Not long ago, Ernie called. He had retired a few years back, and found a second love, the SS John W. Brown , one of only two World War II Liberty ships still steaming. Ernie had gone from guiding young reporters in his quiet, no-nonsense way, to chipping paint and swabbing decks. He tells a marvelous tale in "Resurrection of a Liberty Ship."
We had an enjoyable break from our daily routine a couple of weeks ago when Brigadier General Dennis Hejlik came by for lunch and an exclusive interview with Senior Editor Fred Schultz. General Hejlik had just been named to lead the Marine contingent that at long last is about to become part of the nation's Special Operations Command. Like so many Marines, he defied the stereotype. Brainy, funny, unassuming, he immediately put us at ease by stripping off his tanker jacket and telling the story of how he found out about his new command. It's in the piece Mr. Schultz wrote for this issue, " MarSOC: Just Call Them Marines ."
The restaurant on Maryland Avenue where we had lunch will bring back memories to generations of Naval Academy midshipmen. These days it's called Galway Bay, and it's Irish fare, subdued lighting, and exposed brick. Those of us of a certain age knew it as the Little Campus, a place where we tried with marginal success to charm our dates across the finest of Formica tables under glaring fluorescent lighting. Fortunately, the restaurant staff today still includes a graceful reminder of the past, hostess Peggy Kimbo, who started there as a waitress in 1957 and has been befriending mids ever since. If you're in the area, stick your head in and say hi. Peggy will know you.