He is also correct that the United States' overwhelming submarine technology lead eroded in the 1980s—it's hard to be wrong when stating such history. But he is absolutely wrong that the lead may have "evaporated completely" and even more wrong that Russia may overtake us "over the next five to ten years."
It is ironic that his soapbox call for assessment relies on Cold War thinking. He engages in the outmoded tit-for-tat that the Russians have or are developing thusand-such, so we need to apply all resources to outpace them. But why must we chase the Russians if we are planning to lead them? The present and foreseeable future is characterized by emerging high-tech threats, as well as some traditional ones.
The strategy Mr. Honaker advocates will result in an anachronistic, niche force that would consume more than its share of a necessarily constrained defense budget. Instead, the Navy is designing, updating, and building based on what we want our submarine force to do, and what the nation can afford.
Mr. Honaker makes the absurd claim that the NSSN will be at the low end of the submarine force. Instead, NSSN will be capable—to an amazing extent. We will forgo some top-end speed and weapon payload size (though not variety). We will gain greater stealth, without sacrificing combat capability.
He could not resist dredging up the argument for building diesel-electric submarines instead of modern nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines. He cites an "expert" who questions the utility of an SSN in low-intensity conflict. The SSN's virtues that are not shared by diesel submarines—remarkable speed, unlimited endurance, ultimate stealth, many and varied capabilities for surveillance, and the panoply of sea- and land-attack weapons—hardly seem like disqualifiers for participation in any sea or littoral conflict. By claiming diesel submarines are more maneuverable in shallow water because of their size, he ignores the fact that our submarine force has operated without interruption in very shallow water for its entire 98-year history.
It's unfortunate that he credits all positive developments to Congress, implying there is a contentious relationship between the submarine force leadership and our elected representatives. Just because Congress conceives and legislates a plan does not mean the Pentagon is opposed. For whatever reason—the leadership of Secretary of Defense William Cohen, common goals and wisdom, or a corollary lesson learned from the 1996 government shutdown—greater cooperation exists between the two than ever before.
Perhaps the submarine force has failed to convince Mr. Honaker that remarkable advancements are in progress simply because yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's submarines all look so much alike sitting pierside. The only visible feature that clearly distinguishes the jet-black and cigar-shape of the NSSN from a late1950s cousin is the peculiar shape of its sail. Fortunately, very little else is in common, though that apparently goes unnoticed by Mr. Honaker.
(See A. K. Cebrowski and J. J. Garstka, pp. 2835, January 1998 Proceedings)
Commander Julian Tonning, U.S. Navy—Admiral Cebrowski and Mr. Garstka make a compelling case for where we must go as a military force. From where we stand today, the scope of this revolution/evolution is frighteningly vast. I submit we must first go to a network-centric Navy. If we can achieve that—and we must—then the learning curve to battlespace application will not be as steep or costly.
If we are unable to achieve a network-centric Navy, we may never make it to network-centric warfare.
"Professionalism vs. Sexuality"
(See P. Vincent, pp. 74-76, January 1998 Proceedings)
A. R. Banks—This article will surely have Lieutenant Commander Vincent swinging from a yardarm. But he deserves a Medal of Honor for showing the politically correct masterminds who manage U.S. armed forces where they belong—in the booby hatch! Proceedings editors have this reader's everlasting gratitude.
"Retaining the JOs: Looking Up or Going Down?"
(See S. R. Kennedy, pp. 26-29, June 1997; S. B Dietz, E. J. Brown, pp. 19-20, August 1997 Proceedings)
E. Craig Picken, Government Special Missions Sales Engineer, Gulfstream Aircraft Inc.—For the past several months, I have been reading with much interest the arguments in Proceedings on junior officer retention and why very qualified junior officers are choosing to leave the Navy. Interestingly enough, the reason most cited seems to be "lack of leadership from above." Although a seemingly good reason at first glance, I'm now becoming skeptical. When I offered my resignation, I used every excuse in the book, including that one, to justify my decision. After a few years reflecting on that decision, I realized that there are a multitude of reasons JOs offer for why they want to leave. Despite all these reasons, perhaps the most prevalent one is, simply, that people change.
I had dreamed of the Navy adventure, and fully expected to make the Navy a career. Naval aviation was a lifelong dream, and I wanted to advance my career as high and as far as the Navy would let me. However, at some point during my eight years of active duty, the adventure left. The thrill of the "cats," "traps," and exotic ports of call was replaced by the thrill of entrepreneurship and business success. Soon, I began trading in the NATOPS and tactics manuals for Fortune , Forbes , and the stock pages of The Wall Street Journal . Finally, where as I once loved the discipline of military life, I found my demeanor became carefree in the ready room and rebellious toward senior officers. Without a doubt, I had changed, and the Navy no longer embodied what I felt was essential for me to grow as a person or find success in a career, and I decided to leave. In doing so, however, I remember getting my parting shot in by saying "there is no leadership left in the Navy." Bullshit! There was plenty of leadership—and good leadership at that. It just didn't lead me in the direction I wanted to go.
Recently, I read an article stating that the majority of workers will change careers seven times in their lifetimes. With that said, it is naive for the Navy's leaders to think that they can control junior officer retention with any predictability or that promoting better leadership, quality of life, or pay will have a real effect on encouraging JOs to stay. The odds simply are against that theory, and no matter what is offered to the JO corps, it will never be enough to keep everyone you want to keep. As an added bonus, it is ridiculous to say that the Navy even wants significantly greater officer retention over the long term. After all, as technology growth increases productivity, the need for people diminishes, and as recent downsizing and budget shortfalls have shown, the number of people in the ranks is only going to get smaller. Only a limited number of people can be promoted to the higher ranks. The high exit rate of JOs makes it easier to pick those who will fill the leadership positions of the future. The only people who will stay to make the Navy a career are those who truly love the Navy; most likely, these are the ones the Navy really needs.
On the flip side of this issue, it is naive for junior officers to think that they would have stayed in if the Navy only had offered more pay, leadership, quality of life, etc. There is always a better deal on the horizon, and being aggressive people, the JOs have a propensity to go look for it. No matter what the reason for getting out, however, it is also naive for exiting JOs to think that they will find things better on the outside. Believe me—the pay, leadership, quality of life, time at home, and benefits are not much (if at all) better in the civilian sector. In many companies, it is common to be on the road three weeks each month; to work nights, weekends, and holidays; or to have an uncharismatic, uncaring boss who cares not one iota about your career. For the pilot types reading this, I can name a dozen frustrated airline pilots—and that's without consulting my Rolodex.
The bottom line is that the retention system works off a series of checks and balances. During strong economic cycles such as we are seeing now, the Navy tends to make life a little better for everyone—better pay, fewer deployments, leather flight jackets for all who will wear them. During weaker economic cycles, or when force reductions are imminent, the Navy has the advantage in that the cream of the crop is permitted to stay, while the rest may be forced to pursue civilian careers. What is most important, however, is that all parties remain true to the cause. Navy leadership continually has to provide the best it can to its people within its allotted resources.
Exiting junior officers must be fair to the Navy, also. Before blaming the Navy for a failed career or offering up some lame excuse for getting out, they must make sure it is indeed the true reason. Sometimes the need for change is all the reason anyone needs.
"Lessons Learned from the Marijuana War"
(See R. J. Brown, pp. 30-33, December 1997 Proceedings)
Admiral Paul A. Yost, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard (Retired), President, James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation, and Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 19861990)—Captain Brown has it right, and the lessons he points out are on the mark. What is left out are the other "wars" the Coast Guard had to fight in order to "shut down the trade of marijuana by sea."
Unfortunately, these wars were fought with those who were or should have been our friends. These friends include: our budget committees in Congress; individual congressmen who had political interests in enhancing a particular agency's budget in order either to increase their committees' jurisdiction or to bring budget money to their home districts; individual senators who objected to vessels home-ported in their states being used primarily in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean; a Customs Service bent on expanding its port-of-entry mission to seaward both on the surface and in the air; a Navy Department, seeing the Cold War reduce its mission, that began to compete for mission responsibilities in the drug war; and even a Drug Czar who tried but who never had the super-Cabinet-level authority needed to dictate policy, operations, and budget.
The fact that the Coast Guard, with a lot of help from our friends, won the marijuana war by 1990 was quickly undercut by external and self-imposed budget cuts and reallocations between 1990 and 1994 that drastically reduced our surface effort; gave away our E-2C and patrol plane effort; and placed the entire drug-interdiction program behind the programs of Marine Safety, Fisheries Enforcement, and Search and Rescue. As our Vietnam War-trained warriors began to retire and phase out, these policies further weakened our resolve and ability to interdict drugs over and on the high seas. Our country is now paying the price in increased drug use and availability. The Coast Guard currently is rebuilding its drug-fighting capabilities and giving the mission some added budget emphasis.
How soon lessons learned can be forgotten if national and service leadership adopt other priorities.
Not What I Signed Up For
Second Lieutenant Jason E. Jolliff U.S. Marine Corps—Major Patrick M. McGinn's article, "How We Are Robbing the Careers of Our Young Aviators" (see Marine Corps Gazette , December 1997), has been a long time coming. He describes the lengthy, frustrating path and periods of inactivity student naval aviators (SNAs) endure to earn their wings. He offers an excellent solution. Mandatory time in the operating forces as a ground officer prior to heading to Pensacola is a superb idea and one that would be supported by would-be SNAs.
Professional warriors do not win protracted, high-intensity wars. It is the citizen soldier, mobilized by a U.S. war economy, who wins our wars. The professional warrior maintains the doctrinal base of knowledge and training infrastructure capable of building these citizen soldiers. Shouldn't our professional warrior officers be as thoroughly indoctrinated in Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF) principles as possible by having worn both hats "A" and "G"?
I have been a second lieutenant for 19 months, and only seven have been in "training." The remaining time has been spent waiting in a pool status. This is not what I signed up for. Marines choose to be aviators for various reasons. Despite the common stereotypes attached to "air wingers," the overwhelming majority of lieutenants I associate with want to train, fight, and lead. In order to come to Pensacola, we must forfeit the privilege of leading Marines in a traditional capacity until we are lieutenant colonels. This does not mean we are content to sit and wait through potentially the most active time in our careers.
Why shouldn't we be allowed to work in an alternate Marine occupational specialty (MOS) for 18 months before beginning—or even during—flight school? There are tangible gains for Marines who receive training in the spirit that "every Marine is a rifleman." Our ground counterparts will have acquired years of troop-leading experience and basic skills, while we have suffered developmentally.
I realize my perspective as a second lieutenant provides only a worm's-eye view, but we as junior officers are the leadership of tomorrow's Corps. It is not encouraging to realize that the training command and leadership of the Marine Corps hold such little regard for such a crucial stage for development in a young officer's career. The problems causing such a ridiculously long time to train are deeply rooted and varied, including Navy/Marine Corps funding, weather, maintenance, and many other aspects that make the training schedule very dynamic. Most SNAs would be willing to sacrifice to catalyze a training change that would allow us to obtain another MOS.
There are hundreds of highly capable officers in the aviation training command idly spending years of combined time. The reality of having to make captain before checking into an operational squadron is devastating to morale. I often hear "I should have gone ground." Most of us at one point or another have been put in a pooled status for at least six months—some more than once. This leaves Marines to seek any kind of experience they can doing temporary additional duty at reserve units or Headquarters. These experiences are helpful, but do little to develop the officer tactically and technically, allow him to deploy, or write and accrue fitness reports.
Let us go to the Fleet Marine Force for a while and then compete for aviation slots. If it means slowing down the training pipeline by taking fewer students to speed up the total process, then why not do it? I hope Major McGinn's ideas bring to fruition a change in the way the Corps trains—or doesn't train—its aviators.
"Don't Call It ‘Rightsizing"'
(See B. Warfield, pp. 77-78, December 1997 Proceedings)
Edward Kotkiewicz—Being retired Navy and also retired from the aerospace industry's reliability and maintainability (R&M) field, I found Commander Warfield's article interesting. Seldom does a senior-grade line officer venture into the politics of product acquisition.
"Cannibalization" is a word hated by the R&M field. Not only does it reflect that the right number of spares aren't there, but it also is a prime source of "maintenance-induced" problems. In plain language, "the more you fool around with something, the higher the probability you will induce a fault into your repair process." Also, the reporting system doesn't always show what happened.
Early part failures need to be analyzed to ensure they are the prime cause of a failure. Sometimes primary failure and degrades are masked when another component in the chain fails. Thus, a new component fails early in its life because the primary cause hasn't been detected. Sometimes these frustrating failures are not the result of a poor component, but of the limits of diagnostic testing.
There are many allocation/prediction tracking tools from the R&M engineer's desk, all the way up to top management, and made available electronically to the program manager's office. The picture is reviewed on such a regular basis that sometimes it overpowers everything else. These data also are brought to the logistics department and duly recorded in the support process that drives the spares process. There is constant connection with the vendors. All of the numbers are validated, and in many cases incentives are at stake.
So with all this going on, where are the spares? There is no one answer to this dynamic question. The simple answer is that long lead time for an actuator is a lot different than the lead time for a special integrated circuit. The hard answer goes back to the reality of how and when parts get used , real failures, and a whole lot more. It is a goal on design teams to use common parts. Nowadays, there is a strong move to use commercial-off-the-shelf parts. This is not being done in a frivolous manner. In many cases, design teams are learning to walk again and they still lave to master crawling. It definitely isn't "business as usual."
Don't be too hasty in condemning two-level maintenance. The key is spares. The problem is daunting, but solutions are being worked. Can it be done overnight? I doubt it. Is the Navy in the position to try to make it a go? I sure think so. I hope many people were interested in what Commander Warfield had to say and will take it as a challenge to make it so.
"Update the Harpoon"
(See T. Serbinski, pp. 70-72, December 1997 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander John M. Pollin, U.S. Navy, Executive Officer, USS Deyo (DD-989)—I disagree with Lieutenant Commander Serbinski's argument for improving the Harpoon missile. Instead, the Navy should remove the entire weapon system from all surface combatants and submarines in favor of alternative weapons currently being considered by the Navy staff, many of which promise to increase surface-ship firepower dramatically. These systems include the Naval Tactical Missile System (NTACMS), the variants of existing multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), and brilliant munitions that will enhance terminal accuracy as well as target identification.
Commander Serbinski's argument misfires in the following areas:
- Missile range. The 67-nautical-mile range of the Harpoon does not result in a Harpoon-configured ship being able to "defend more than 14,000 square miles." Accurate weapon employment requires intensive search-and-identification efforts, usually executed by a LAMPS Mark III helicopter or carrier-embarked S-3Bs (or F/A-18s in a developing role); carefully planned revisiting of the target; and real-time (or very near real-time) sensor coverage. Covering 14,000 square miles of ocean in real-time is unsustainable. Cueing and organic air support for even one Harpoon engagement is a nonnegotiable element of long-range attacks to the missile's fuel exhaustion point. The author's numbers—though impressive—are unrealistic and somewhat misleading.
- Flexibility of employment. The weapon itself was not intended to be defensive. Its success relies on deliberate and highly complex targeting. Surface-to-air weapons, however, are defensive and allow area defensive coverage. Absent a well-defined adversary and clearly threatening situations, and operating in the crowded littorals, commanders will not have the appropriate rules of engagement to use the system as it was designed—offensively.
- Fire support role. Harpoon, even in a newly constructed and highly expensive form, will be an inappropriate surface fire-support weapon. Land commanders desire massed firepower, such as that gained from MLRS batteries and the Army TACMS. Current versions of howitzers and the future Paladin also bring massive firepower to bear. Harpoon offers a surprisingly small warhead; any individual ship only carries eight. No ship has a Harpoon magazine, or automatic or onboard reload capability for Harpoon. Even altered for longer flight distance or precision attack, so few weapons with such little bang could hardly be spotted by ground forces. In short, the weapon system would not be able to influence the ground campaign in a fire support role.
- Land-attack role. Much of Commander Serbinski's idea for incorporating land-attack functions into a heretofore maritime-only weapon hinges on additions such as GPS and broad software upgrades. But the land-attack-capable Tomahawk has a dual system to allow for its preprogrammed overland, three-dimensional flight profile, and an entire bureaucracy to provide constant updates to that guidance system. If safe overland flight to a preprogrammed or quickly developing target is what Commander Serbinski has in mind, we need a more detailed discussion.
- Flight characteristics. No matter what software systems are added, Harpoon fired from surface ships and submarines never will have the advantage that Harpoon fired from aircraft will—total avoidance of unintended targets. Harpoon offers a crude "fly over friendly" capability, but then cruises at very low altitude. Consequently, it must be programmed to follow waypoints to avoid background ships, reducing its 67-mile range. And two-dimensional flight paths cannot guarantee avoiding non-belligerents. In littoral warfare, aircraft—not ships and submarines—must be the principal shooters.
Instead of expensive and slow upgrades to a weapon system that has already outlived its usefulness, the Navy should:
- Stress joint air operations against maritime and ground targets. We should devote more energy at both Doctrine Command and Surface Warfare Development Group to creating valid joint tactics, and then build a meaningful body of associated tactical literature.
- Continue funding measures to integrate systems such as MLRS, NTACMS, and various sophisticated munitions on warships. In addition, we should explore the reconfiguration of hull designs to allow for increased magazine space, improved loading systems, new launchers capable of combined ground/naval applications, and methods to colocate previously segregated ammunition types.
- Remove Harpoon from all surface combatants, in favor of shorter-range systems that will complement the restrictive targeting limitations commanders can anticipate in future littoral warfare. Continue to employ Harpoon from Navy tactical aircraft and Air Force bombers.
- Continue current initiatives in surface fire-support weapon systems.
In a time when our adversaries are becoming increasingly ambiguous, a weapon system designed for blue-water attack on Soviet forces is a useless anachronism. Surface warfare does not mean "Harpoon." On the contrary, the only Harpoon the Navy needs is the computer game version used to train our midshipmen.
"Constitution Sails Again—And Again?"
(See T. G. Martin, pp. 2-4, October 1997; T. C. Gillmer. R. B. Smith. p. 8, December 1997; C. A. Melhuish, R. W. Fellingham, pp. 92-94, January 1998 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander David Gilmartin, U.S. Naval Reserve, Manager of Communications, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority—Professor Gillmer's letter offered several interesting arguments in favor of allowing the USS Constitution to leave Boston Harbor again. In response to Mr. Gillmer's implication that such voyages would benefit the ship by providing a respite from her berth in a polluted harbor—this may have been true for much of the Constitution's life, but it is not true today.
With the construction of a $3.4 billion sewage-treatment plant, elimination of street drainage and overflows, and the repair of miles of leaky pipes, Boston Harbor is cleaner now than at any other time in the city's long history. Beaches and clam flats that were closed for years are now open; striped bass, lobsters, and porpoises have returned to the harbor; and the discharge of sewage sludge and toxic chemicals stopped five years ago.
There are many valid reasons for allowing the Constitution to go to sea again. Leaving to find cleaner waters, however, is not one of them.
Captain Robert E. Groder, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Taking the USS Constitution to sea this past summer served no useful purpose and may have been a violation of law.
The Constitution provides a critical link to the history of our Navy and is an important part of our national heritage. As such, she should not be subjected to the unpredictable elements of underway operations.
There is an obscure federal statute within Title 10, U.S. Code, which authorized the Constitution's custody and restoration.
Simply put, it states, "the Secretary of the Navy shall take custody of the Constitution and restore her but not for active service and thereafter maintain her in the Port of Boston."
Keep her safe and in port. It is not worth the risk to send her on public-relations cruises.
"A Tangled Webb"
(See P. E. Roush, pp. 42-45, August 1997; R. Hegemann, C. van Someren, H. G. Summers, R. Kuntz, V. M. Hudson. L. Marano, L. Stovall, pp. 12-22, September 1997; J. D. Lynch. D. E. Phillips, P. S. Edwards, T. M. Kastener, G. W. Anderson, pp. 101-5. October 1997; D. C. Fuquea, K. H. Moeller, M. T. Owens. pp. 2124, November 1997; T. C. Greenwood, J. M. van Tol, pp. 24-25, December 1997; E. Donnelly, J. A. Pidgeon, pp. 25-26, January 1998 Proceedings)
Major General Terrence M. Murray, U.S. Marine Corps, Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces Japan, and former Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen. U.S. Naval Academy, 1992-1994—This was as unbalanced a piece as has ever appeared in Proceedings . Mr. Webb draws fire from critics such as Colonel Roush because he takes strong stands on politically charged, provocative issues. Colonel Roush targets the "content of Webb's writing," criticizing his "assault" on the Naval Academy, the naval service, civilian control of the military, and even the Constitution. His attack is, at best, extremely subjective, and some of it is simply flat wrong.
I won't challenge Colonel Roush's analysis point by point. Let me merely contest his first point.
A Webb theme in A Sense of Honor is that learning to deal with stress in a training environment has applicability later in one's military experience. Colonel Roush disputes that. While I have never been a proponent of indoctrination that exceeded the bounds of regulations, I believe firmly, like Mr. Webb, that stress—intelligently and constructively woven into the fabric of any training regimen—is vital to the growth of young leaders. If you believe Colonel Roush's thesis, then you must conclude that the stress that is at the heart of training and indoctrination at Marine Corps boot camp and Officer Candidate School has no value, because, in Colonel Roush's words, it is not "fungible"; it is not transferable to one's later military experience.
I couldn't disagree more vehemently. I've been through boot camp (Navy), plebe year at the U.S. Naval Academy, and nine weeks of stressful training at Army Ranger School. I can assure you I grew to varying degrees as a leader from each of those experiences and applied what I learned—consciously or otherwise—in other later military environments. I've also trained Marine officer candidates, and the Marine Corps stressed and stretched them from the moment they arrived until the day they graduated. Virtually every one of those candidates, once commissioned, acknowledged that the demands—which at times had seemed excessive—helped them grow as young leaders.
The greater failure of Colonel Roush's emotionally charged criticism of Mr. Webb's writing is that, while he attacks what he describes as Mr. Webb's "central themes," ironically Colonel Roush ignores the dominant theme. At the core of Mr. Webb's fiction is commitment to military service, particularly in time of war, and his conviction that such service answers the highest calling of a nation's citizens. Yes, Mr. Webb chastises the nation's leaders and institutions for flawed and unfair policies in Fields of Fire , A Sense of Honor , and A Country Such as This , but his works also celebrate service to country and the bonds formed by those who serve during times of military conflict and crisis.
Those familiar with Mr. Webb's work know he did not deserve Colonel Roush's vilification, and that the piece did not deserve the cover page notoriety it received, given its extreme subjectivity. Mr. Webb's most significant and enduring work is his fiction, which some critics have suggested stands with the most important writing on the military in the post-Vietnam era. Colonel Roush needs to reread Mr. Webb's work—keeping his emotions intact—to fully comprehend Mr. Webb's "central themes."
(See S. T. Connaughton, pp. 59-61, December 1997 Proceedings)
Thomas S. Wyman, Director, The Bahamas Maritime Authority, former Manager, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Shipping Company—Commander Connaughton does a good job of highlighting the importance of sealift capacity and what the consequences of insufficient sealift capacity might be in a national emergency. The problem of sealift capacity is like an alligator. It remains virtually unnoticed, submerged with only eyes and nostrils showing-but watch out when it suddenly looms up and its full dimensions can be seen! It is a problem that must be dealt with now—before a crisis arises. Insufficient sealift capacity at a time of emergency delays deployment and risks effective military response. It can cost lives.
Too little has been said about the shrinking U.S.-owned and U.S.-operated foreign-flag fleet. Foreign-flag ships operated by U.S. owners are the best sealift resource available, recognizing the shrinking availability of U.S-flag ships.
Since 1986, the size of the U.S.-owned foreign-flag merchant fleet has declined by nearly a third-from 38.9 to 26.6 million deadweight tons. At this point, U.S. companies control a mere 5.5% of the world's merchant fleet. As the U.S. merchant fleet disappears, there is a corresponding increase in the size of foreign-owned fleets. Why is the United States—the world's leading trading nation—abdicating control to foreign shipowners?
Quite simply, prior to 1986, shipping income was excluded from current taxation under Subpart F of the Internal Revenue Code. However, under the Tax Reform Act of 1986, Congress began taxing U.S. owners of foreign-flag fleets regardless of whether the income was reinvested in shipping assets. By taxing U.S.-controlled shipping without regard to reinvestment, Congress seriously handicapped U.S. shipowners in the international arena, where foreign shipowners may defer taxes on reinvested income until profits are repatriated.
Thus, while a foreign shipowner may replace or expand his fleet with pre-tax income, the U.S. owner, in contrast, must pay Uncle Sam 35 cents of each dollar earned, leaving him only 65 cents to reinvest in the business. This means that for every dollar a foreign shipowner reinvests in capital improvement, the U.S. shipowner must earn $1.54 to match the foreigner's dollar. No wonder U.S. presence in shipping is shrinking.
This shortsighted tax legislation is costing the government tax revenue. Shrinking fleets and smaller profits equate to lower tax revenues. As the nation's exporters and importers rely increasingly on foreign shipowners to provide marine transportation services, the nation pays those shipowners for those services. There is no possibility of stimulating the growth of taxable revenue from U.S. shipowners that increased U.S. ownership would ensure. In short, tax revenue declines and the nation's dollar outflow is exacerbated.
With this loss of competitive position in international shipping, the nation also sacrifices military readiness. In event of a military emergency or war, the military must rely increasingly upon foreign-flag ships under foreign ownership to meet its marine transportation requirements. But in a national emergency, immediate response and clear allegiance is essential. U.S.-controlled foreign-flag tonnage, like U.S.-flag tonnage, is an essential asset.
Broadly speaking, ensuring adequate sealift capacity is the responsibility of the Defense Department. However, the U.S. Navy is in the best position to recognize the dimensions of the problem and the issues involved. It needs to sound the alarm while there is still time to do something. There's a lot that needs to be done, but first, Congress must be urged to give priority to amending Subpart F of the Internal Revenue Code to restore tax deferral provisions on reinvested maritime income. It won't be an easy sell, but it is one that directly affects the military's preparedness and its ability to deal with the next regional conflict.
This is a "win-win" opportunity. By modifying Subpart F tax provisions, declining participation in international shipping by the United States can be reversed and new tax revenue can be generated. But, even more important, the nation's military readiness can be strengthened.
"Looking for Another Rickover"
(See J. Pietrocini, pp. 57-58, December 1997 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander Philip K. Parker, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired)— As an alumnus of both the Naval Nuclear Power Program and the information-systems-engineer industry, I found Mr. Pietrocelli's article highly interesting. When I left active duty in 1976—although I did not know it then—I would never again be part of a technical organization that worked as well as the Naval Nuclear Power Program. Mr. Pietrocelli focuses on creating a corps of information-technology specialists within the Navy, but an equally pressing need is to bring the discipline of the Nuclear Power Program to the information-systems-procurement arena. Most government technical management organizations—particularly those involved in the development of computerized information systems—produce a staggering amount of waste and inefficiency. Currently, I am supporting a government information nothing to show for it. Unfortunately, that is not atypical. I have never worked on a Navy information-systems project, but I suspect that they have many of the same problems that I have seen over the last 20 years in other government computer system projects. A man of Admiral Rickover's temperament—along with abilities in the information-systems area—might indeed pay big dividends.
Reactor plants and information systems embody quite different technologies. It is much easier to enforce technical discipline in mechanical engineering than it is in software engineering. Many of the details of the nuclear power experience are not applicable to the development of information systems. Over the years, however, I have identified eight of Admiral Rickover's management principles that have general applicability to all technologies, including information systems.
Select personnel carefully. The naval reactor program is very picky about this. The current information technology labor market is extremely tight, but most information-technology agencies and contractors are not very selective in their hiring. Most information-technology organizations roll the dice on their new hires, with predictable results. In the nuclear Navy, there is a rigorous screening process for the next level of responsibility. I suspect most of today's government infotech managers would have lasted no more than ten minutes on Rickover's staff.
- Invest in training and education. Infotech organizations are reluctant to invest in training because newly skilled workers can easily jump ship for better pay. But to be used effectively, new information-system development tools require a heavy investment in intellectual capital.
- Management "systems" and gimmicks don't work. TQM, ISO 9000, focus groups, and all the rest are no substitute for talented people who are willing to work hard. Rickover learned this lesson early; most government infotech organizations haven't learned it yet.
- Technical and fiscal discipline are inseparable. Many of today's problems in information-technology procurement stem from agencies attempting to build systems they simply cannot afford. Unwilling to spend the money to do the job right, they try to finesse technology by allowing their contractors to take shortcuts.
- Conduct of reviews and audits. Most government information-technology projects are managed through a series of reviews. The contractor, in control of the agenda, presents a series of viewgraphs to a large audience, assuring everyone that things are going well. The truth behind the viewgraphs rarely is questioned. that things are going well. The truth behind the viewgraphs rarely is questioned. Rickover would have had somebody in residence at the contractor's facility, to make such reviews unnecessary. And if he had conducted such a review, he—not the contractor—would have set the agenda.
- Never allow the contractor to dominate the project. Nobody who ever contracted to Admiral Rickover had any doubts who was really the boss. Rickover could not be snowed. It is more difficult today, however, because big contractors have political influence and are not afraid to use it. A government advocate with Admiral Rickover's technical and political skills just might tip things back into balance.
- The job is never finished. One of the classic pieces of Rickover literature is an address to the National Metal Congress in 1962. Technically, the address spoke to the problems of quality control in the fabrication of reactor plant components. Managerially, it made the point that maintenance of any standard of excellence requires constant and never-ending management pressure. Most government infotech project managers fail to understand this requirement.
- Responsibility is key. Admiral Rickover noted, "Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you never really had anyone responsible." When responsibility is diffused among "working groups" as is common in infotech projects, there is no responsibility at all.
If the Navy could produce a leader that would show the country how to manage information technology projects, it could provide a service to the nation that meets or exceeds the contribution of Hyman Rickover. But the chief information officer of the Navy needs some independence, and the position should be a long-term assignment (at least six years, perhaps ten). And remember that as good as he was, Admiral Rickover didn't get everything right. Parts should be reproduced, but he should not be cloned.
"Seven Seconds to Infamy"
(See J. F. De Virgilio, pp. 62-62, December 1997 Proceedings)
Commander Joseph E. Lyons, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Mr. De Virgilio's meticulously researched explanation of the events leading to the detonation of the USS Arizona's (BB-39) forward magazines rings true, with one exception—the performance in combat of the No. 80 armor-piercing bomb.
I can find only one confirmed reference to a straightforward penetration of armor by this weapon at Pearl Harbor, and that is the one that penetrated the five-inch top of the USS Tennessee's (BB-43) Turret III. There is no confirmation in sources available to me of the No. 80 bomb functioning properly against horizontal armor it actually struck. Every confirmed hit appears to have resulted in fuse malfunction—either a low-order detonation (the Tennessee's hit, for example), no detonation (two in the USS West Virginia [BB-48] and the two found in the Arizona , at least), or instantaneous detonation (the USS Maryland [BB-46]).
If De Vergilio's Hit Two on the Arizona worked as designed, it should have detonated after penetrating the five-inch second deck armor and before it reached the one-inch splinter deck. The explosion of its small bursting charge would have been kept out of the magazines unless the splinter deck was compromised by open fittings. U.S. armor for horizontal protection until the end of the battleship era was designed to have the thickest (upper) armor deck initiate fuse action and have the splinter deck protect the vitals from the resulting explosion. This renders moot the issue of whatever thickness of the armor the No. 80 bomb might have been capable of penetrating.
"Special Ops Needs a New Player"
(See C. Forando, pp. 44-47, October 1997; D. L. Noble, p. 40, December 1997 Proceedings)
Commander James C. Howe, U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Liaison Officer, Naval Doctrine Command—Senior Chief Noble's argument—that search and rescue (SAR) is the primary reason for the Coast Guard's existence—is undercut by a misunderstanding of Coast Guard history, structure, and present-day missions.
One must look past the 1930s to understand the true roots of the modern-era Coast Guard. In 1915, our service was born through the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service (which was primarily a law-enforcement entity) and the Lifesaving Service. Since then, a plethora of responsibilities have been added to create today's four prime missions-maritime safety, marine environmental protection, national defense, and maritime law enforcement. At no time has SAR enjoyed special status above other missions.
Senior Chief Noble is correct; the people of the United States appreciate the Coast Guard as a search-and-rescue organization. SAR is a vital and unassailable service that our people perform extraordinarily well. But the public asks the Coast Guard for much more. They expect the Coast Guard to prevent smugglers from flooding our streets with drugs. They want borders secure from illegal aliens bound for the United States by sea, and demand we protect our waterways from oil and chemical spills. When ice clogs the rivers, it is the Coast Guard's icebreaking fleet that ensures vital supplies reach needy consumers. The list goes on and on.
While today's Coast Guard is multimission, stem to stem, Senior Chief Noble repeatedly mentions units that "only" perform search and rescue. But what units is he talking about? Our boat and air stations perform SAR, conduct law-enforcement patrols, respond to pollution incidents, and enforce security zones . . . among other things. The age of the single-mission lifeboat station is long gone.
Lieutenant Forando's proposals were aimed at improving performance across several mission areas. He realizes—as do many of our brightest thinkers—that the Coast Guard's multimission nature is a strength for our nation, and that our law enforcement, environmental protection, and national defense duties drive the requirements for most of our personnel, aircraft, and cutters. Should our leaders pursue SAR to the detriment of these other missions, and propose a reduced Coast Guard for the 21st century?
The American people are smarter than that. They understand the enormous benefits of maintaining a multimission Coast Guard that can handle its diverse yet crucial duties. Singling out SAR as the primary reason for our Coast Guard's existence turns a blind eye toward the varied contributions our smallest military service provides for the nation.
(See R. C. Gillette, p. 66, December 1997 Proceedings)
Commander I. L. McNally, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Captain Gillette's article made me remember my duty on the USS Lexington (CV-2).
At the Naval Research Laboratory in 1940 and 1941, I was associated closely with the Model XAF 200 MHz air search radar.
After the very successful tests of the XAF on board the USS New York [BB34], the Navy contracted with RCA for six CXAM sets, to be exact copies of the XAF. Later, 14 additional sets, designated CXAM-1, were ordered. I kept a personal log of these early days of radar, including detailed information on the CXAM and CXAM-1; this log has been forwarded to the Naval Historical Center.
On I November 1941, I received orders to CinCPac to establish a Fleet Radar School at Pearl Harbor. Perhaps Captain Gillette was one of the officers who attended my radar classes in the Lexington's wardroom. While on board the Lexington , I talked with the radar operators, and they were quite sure that they had detected an aircraft target. They were unable to determine a track because of the intermittent nature of the return. The tuning fault that I discovered and corrected could explain the intermittent return.
When the Lexington returned to Pearl Harbor, I returned to CinCPac and within a short time, the radar school was in full operation.
"Train the Ones Who Are Going"
(See J. H. Chapman and S. R. Quenga, pp. 5860, October 1997 Proceedings)
Commander L. Hart Sebring, U.S. Navy, Chief Staff Officer, Regional Support Coordinator, San Diego—I agree with the basic premise of Captain Chapman and Lieutenant Quenga—projected rotation dates should be adjusted to keep and trained sailors on board for a deployment. But, the authors fail to answer fully two questions.
First, why aren't the senior—and presumably more skilled—technicians (to whom they refer as "warfighters") training their reliefs? In other words, why aren't subordinates being trained adequately through the basic training cycle, workups, and through the deployment whenever the opportunity presents itself, to accommodate the planned rotation and loss of more senior warfighters? Motivating subordinates—not only to be good at their jobs, but also to be hungry for more responsibility, more training, and more skill—is a big part of surface warfare and a tenet of sound leadership.
It is obvious that a ship on her way home from deployment would be the most ready, and a ship just completing the basic phase of the Tactical Training Strategy would be equally prepared. However, it doesn't make sense that a ship in pre-deployment would not be just as ready—or more so—as the first two. This brings me to my second question. Why is the sudden drop in readiness blamed solely on lack of personnel? More likely, the ship has suffered a drop in overall training and proficiency. The Tactical Training Strategy was formulated to maintain a continuum of training throughout the interdeployment training cycle. Unfortunately, it is still viewed (and executed) as another inspection to pass, not as a process that can be tweaked when necessary, if indications are that training and therefore readiness are slipping. The Afloat Training Groups and other organizations can bring ships to desired levels of proficiency through Limited Team Training any time during the interdeployment cycle, but this is not being used.
There are problems with how personnel are rotated through sea duty, but assignment and rotation policies are not the only culprits. Attitudes toward training and mentoring—and fully embracing the training process—share the blame.
Master Chief Damage Controlman T. E. Lahey, U.S. Navy (Retired)—This article reminded me of the Rickover study of the sinking of the USS Maine . I would like to hear more about the cause of the great belch of black smoke from the Arizona's stack, evident in the illustration of the incident. Given the fact that no bomb went down the stack (evident because the armored grill on the stack shows no indication of being penetrated) begs the question—what caused this plume of smoke?
My theory is that the great pressures resulting from the ordnance explosion blew down into the engineering spaces, extinguished the fires in the boilers, and vented out the stack.
"Leave Our Flight Jackets Alone!"
(See M. J. Frattasio, p. 62, November 1997 Proceedings)
Ensign C. E. Wortham, U.S. Navy—Having only been commissioned for a few months, it is difficult to comprehend phrases such as "recognized cultural icon." Is Petty Officer Frattasio suggesting it is important for those who fly to chronicle their entire careers on sleeves? Surely he would not advocate maintaining a uniform-standard-gone-amok, only because it sold millions at the box office.
I'll bet that the reason the upper echelon decided to restrict flight jacket patches was because they were becoming ostentatious. I suggest he read "The Fighting Man in Gentle Company" in Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions (Naval Institute Press, fifth edition, 1980, p. 83), which reminds us that "your gauge as a warrior and qualifications as an officer are not exemplified by whetting swords in public." This is what those who wear patch-laden jackets are doing.
I have a few solutions to Petty Officer Frattasio's patch-wearing malaise:
- If you believe these jackets are "tradition," we have all seen some traditions fall by the wayside, and we get over it.
- Wear your patch-covered flight jacket only in the aircraft. Nobody would know but the people flying with you, and they would not be likely to correct you. Of course, the practice is illegal—I hope they would. Incidentally, the best part of the article was that it informed me of the new regulation, of which I was unaware.
- Sell your flight jacket. If you can get $1,000 you can make a big profit.
- Join the Boy Scouts; they still reward their troops with colorful patches denoting their qualifications.
Barrett Tillman—Petty Officer Frattasio will hear a loud "Amen" from the aviator chorus with his plea to permit aircrew to adorn their flight jackets as they please. The Air Force went out of its way a few years ago to reauthorize leather jackets as a morale boost, and it has worked so well that even some airlines have emulated the blue suiters.
Those been-there-done-that emblems are an indicator of morale. I've even seen a MiG killer on reserve duty sporting his cruise patches with a huge Las Vegas Hilton logo on the back.
I'd like to point out a couple of inconsistencies in Petty Officer Frattasio's article. First, a minor one: Petty Officer Frattasio's is the second Proceedings article in recent years that cites Ronald Reagan's Hellcats of the Navy as precedent for wearing leather jackets.
But that film was a submarine picture, and there's no telling why Hollywood gave the flick that title.
Second is the matter of flags being one of only two permitted patches on flight jackets. This seems an obvious contradiction, because the Navy pointedly omitted both patriotism and tradition from its "core values."
If our aircrews aren't encouraged to remain patriotic, what's the point of allowing the flag on jackets?
"The Hardest Job in the Coast Guard"
(See M. McCracken, pp. 34-36, December 1997 Proceedings)
Lieutenant A. R. Thomas, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard—I do appreciate and respect all the hard work and effort of our Coast Guard recruiters in this challenging job, but let's do a reality check. They are not laying their lives on the line. Although they work long hours, they rarely are away from home for weeks or months at a time. Let us give credit where credit is due. All three of the other individuals mentioned in the article clearly better qualify as having the "hardest job" (although certainly I would give preference to the boatswain's mate and aviation survivalman).