This month offers a good example. As the Pentagon begins crafting the next Quadrennial Defense Review, Proceedings wanted to know what was on the minds of the policy makers inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense. We went to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Mich e le Flournoy and Shawn Brimley, a strategist in OSD. While their article, "The Contested Commons," might be a bit short on details, it does outline where DOD will be concentrating its focus in the new administration.
But know that for every article by an admiral or general, we usually reject three or four others by flag officers. If it's not up to Proceedings ' standards we don't hesitate to have them either attempt a revision or just pull the plug on it. I recall an article written by four flag officers (talk about the proverbial too many cooks) full of boilerplate language and empty platitudes. We told them no thanks. Although they were unhappy, we stood our ground.
We like to think we make waves where it counts. Prior to Tillman's "Fear and Loathing in the Post-Naval Era," Commander Jerry Hendrix wrote a recent article calling for less expensive Influence Squadrons to be the backbone of the Fleet, a piece that still has the Pentagon buzzing. Last October, we presented a package of articles on Homeland Security that offered concrete solutions to problems on our coasts and borders. In February, we confronted the new challenges posed by the receding ice cap in the Arctic.
But we can only publish what we receive, and we tend to get more submissions from senior and retired officers, not as many from active-duty junior officers. We know this latter group is reluctant to go against the grain, lest they suffer retribution (sometimes indirectly). Unfortunately, that seems to be part of the Navy's culture. How to change that? We're not sure, but the solution is not shooting the messenger. The good news is that this issue contains two more stories by junior officers who take a stand. In "Looking for Anomalies in All the Wrong Places," Lieutenant Mark Munson argues that the Navy is taking a flawed approach to achieving maritime domain awareness, while in "Ships of State" Lieutenant Michael Quigley maintains that gunboat diplomacy never goes out of style.
Irrelevant? We hope not. A mouthpiece for "Big Navy"? Hardly.
I'm also pleased to announce Fred Schultz as the new managing editor of Proceedings effective 1 June. Fred has been with the Naval Institute since 1989 and brings a wealth of knowledge and corporate memory. As the "grand old man" of our Periodicals division (this is a compliment, Fred!) he has been invaluable over the past several months as our editorial team went through a transition, and I'm glad to have him here to help make me look good. Thanks, Fred.