The Arctic has long been a preoccupation of our Sea Services. Master Chief Petty Officer P. J. Capelotti from the Office of the Coast Guard Historian tells us that 1957 was a banner year for polar exploration in general and Coast Guard operations in particular. That year, three small cutters made their way through the Northwest Passage, with one going literally full circle, completely circumnavigating North America. We thought this triumphal story would complement Admiral Gove's quite effectively.
The passing of 2008 also saw the passing of a Marine Corps legend, Lieutenant General Victor "Brute" Krulak. Robert Coram's touching tribute to General Krulak reminds us of his lasting impact on the Corps, from his key role in developing the famed Higgins landing craft of World War II to his counterinsurgency tactics in Vietnam. The military and national security communities also mourned the death of Professor Samuel P. Huntington on 24 December. His 1957 book, The Soldier and the State , is a classic on civil-military relations, and his influential May 1954 Proceedings article, "National Policy and the Transoceanic Navy," remains one of our most requested reprints. It asked the Navy: "What function do you perform which obligates society to assume responsibility for your maintenance?" A question just as pertinent today as it was more than 50 years ago. He further maintained that, in the absence of a naval peer (at that time), the Navy's purpose now was to "utilize its command of the sea to achieve supremacy on land." Some would argue that's still the case. Even today it makes for compelling reading and I urge our members to revisit the article if they haven't done so lately.
Civil-military relations is a subject of ongoing interest for much of our audience. This month Lieutenant Commander Claude Berube advocates a new way for the Sea Services to reach the American public. Perhaps the growing number and quality of naval-centric blogs, along with such projects as the 2008 PBS series Carrier , can help answer Professor Huntington's question.
Years ago, pictorials were more commonplace in Proceedings , as the editors bartered with and persuaded some of the world's best military photojournalists and artists to take pictures or compose artwork to be used in the magazine. The one in this issue practically fell into our laps. On 9 January, highly acclaimed maritime artist and long-time Naval Institute supporter Tom Freeman called Senior Editor Fred Schultz from his mobile phone, saying in passing that he was en route to the White House to deliver a new piece of art before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. After they hung up, Fred thought a sampling of Mr. Freeman's White House artwork would be a visually stunning way to showcase some of his 51 works that have hung or are hanging in the White House and acknowledge the dawn of the new administration. Mr. Freeman agreed, and we hope you do, too.