We understand that there are compelling reasons both for and against changing the mission statement. What we do not understand is why the membership has not been able to fully hear and debate the issue, and then decide collectively what the outcome should be for such a historic determination. As the noted author Norman Polmar wrote in a recent letter, one of his objections to the change is that the phrase “an independent forum advocating” is self-contradictory. We agree. Individuals may advocate certain points in their articles, but the independence of the Naval Institute allows for those views to be heard.
The opposition to the mission-statement change has been argued by such noted individuals as former U.S. Naval Institute CEO Rear Admiral Tom Marfiak, U.S. Navy (Retired); USNI award-winning author Captain Victor Addison, U.S. Navy (Retired); U.S. Naval Institute Board of Directors member Dr. Jack London; and Vice Admiral Bob Dunn, U.S. Navy (Retired).
The independence of the Institute is paramount; without that openness, the Institute risks simply becoming an organ of whatever entity, whatever program, is deemed permissible by only a few, whomever those may be. It would be difficult to find a member or an author who is not a proponent of U.S. sea power, but we must remain open to those who define it differently or who might disagree with how it is used. If we do not, then we remain stagnant in our thoughts, and in the 21st century with all its traditional, non-traditional, and unforeseen challenges, that is a concept we can ill afford.
We wish to state for the record that we, the Editorial Board, vote “no” to the proposed mission-statement change.
Vice Chairman—CAPT Mark L. Stevens, USN
LCDR Claude G. Berube, USNR
SGTMAJ David K. Devaney, USMC
CMDCM Jacqueline L. DiRosa, USN
LT Bradley D. Harrison, USNR
BMCM Kevin P. Leask, USCG
MAJ Marcus J. Mainz, USMC
CAPT David M. McFarland, USN
LCDR Jeffrey W. Novak, USCG
CDR John P. Patch, USN (Ret.)
LTC Kendric H. Robbins, USA
COL Philip C. Skuta, USMC