In the U.S. Naval Academy's Naval Warfare course, midshipmen are taught the principle of "commander's intent." It is defined as the means by which a commander conveys his or her desired end state so that subordinates can continue to operate in the absence of specific orders. Its main strength is that it remains in effect even when other variables change. This principle recognizes and indeed emphasizes the importance of subordinate initiative and is one of the major differences between the U.S. Navy and rival navies from totalitarian states, such as the Soviet Union and Imperial Japan. It is the primary difference that has often made victory possible even when command and control break down.