- Thomas B. Buell , Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired), Author, The Quiet Warrior: A Biography of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance
Tasked by the Army Chief of Staff to write a teaching text for the Army War College on what went wrong in Vietnam, my attention was called to an article, “The Role of Doctrine in Naval Warfare,” in the March-April 1915 Proceedings , by Lieutenant Commander (later Commander) Dudley Knox. Written before America’s entry into World War I, it nevertheless shed powerful light on the fundamental doctrinal errors that led to grief a half-century later in Vietnam.
Any publication with such a lasting impact was worth a subscription, even for an Army officer. In the nearly 20 years that followed I certainly got my money’s worth. Not only did I profit from the wisdom of its contributors, but I was also invited to write occasional articles and reviews for Proceedings and to participate in several Naval Institute symposia on military strategy in general and on the Vietnam War in particular.
Today, when the very nature of future conflict is murky and confused and “we are as uncertain of our bearings as a vessel in a fog,” Commander Knox’s words come echoing through the years. “Both ashore and afloat,” he told the readers of Proceedings , “we imperatively need first of all a conception of war . Once this is created we will be enabled to proceed, with our eyes open and our course well marked, toward a coherent comprehensive scheme of naval life.”
In 1998, as in 1915, the Naval Institute can be counted on to provide the forum for discussion of just such a conception of war and in so doing continue to keep our eyes open and our course well marked.
- Harry G. Summers, Jr. , Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), Author and nationally syndicated columnist
I’ve read every word in Proceedings since before I was a midshipman. I’ve probably disagreed with half of those words, but I’ve never failed to have been informed or stimulated, amused or outraged.
- David J. Campbell , Rear Admiral, Royal Australian Navy (Retired), Former Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Australian Navy
Proceedings gives me the edge. I’ll always find others with something meaningful to say to me about our mutual profession of naval arms.
- Joseph H. Alexander , Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), Author, Utmost Savagery
The Naval Institute has been my monthly measure of our Navy’s course and speed for 60 years, the source of fascinating books, and the willing and eager publishers of the hesitant writings of young ranks and ratings, including one of mine four months after commissioning. But where were you when it really counted?
You were in my navigator’s notebook at 0300 on 16 September 1944, when Gene Fluckey’s submarine Barb was ordered to rescue the allied survivors of the sinking of the Japanese freighter Rakuyo Maru . Where would we find 1,350 terribly debilitated Australian and British prisoners of war, after they had been drifting for six days in the South China Sea?
Our salvation was a short professional note clipped months before from the Proceedings . Written by a Coast Guard officer, it gave guidelines for estimating the cumulative effect of wind, waves, current, and coriolis forces on a drifting object. Plotting these vectors, we were off at our best four-engine speed on the surface, diving only once for an hour to escape after torpedoing and sinking the aircraft carrier Unyo and the tanker Azusa Maru . Thirty hours later in mid-morning we found the pitifully few survivors on rafts and wreckage exactly as predicted. By early afternoon, a typhoon was upon us. Any delay in our arrival caused by choosing the wrong course would have ended the chances for survival of the 32 men rescued by Barb and her wolf-pack partner Queenfish .
You were there for us, U.S. Naval Institute, when you were desperately needed, as you always have been for the sea services for 125 years.
- Robert W. McNitt , Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired), Author, Sailing at the Naval Academy: An Illustrated History
The ability of the Naval Institute to retain this forum concept for so many years is a remarkable feat in itself—and a credit to the leadership of the Navy that has sometimes had to swallow hard at the publishing of some ideas in the public forum.
-G.E. (Jerry) Miller , Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired), Former Commander in Chief, U.S. Sixth Fleet
The United States Marine Corps has long been noted for its ability to innovate and adapt. New ideas and concepts, welcomed and encouraged, have kept us in front of an evolving world and evolving threats. For the past 125 years, the Naval Institute has been a critical ally in our innovation. The pages of Proceedings and Naval History have been the mill for the grist of new ideas to challenge old paradigms.
The Naval Institute is an invaluable adjunct to our national defense. As a nation, we can buy weapons and technology, and as a service, we can train and teach young men and women to be Marines. But original ideas cannot be bought or trained; they require fertile ground in which to grow and develop. The Naval Institute has long been, as it is today, fertile ground.
- Charles C. Krulak , General, U.S. Marine Corps, the 31st Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps
Throughout my 46 years of service in the Royal Navy I was acutely aware of the value of the studies and publications of the U.S. Naval Institute in forwarding the case of sea power and in promoting a better understanding worldwide of the benefits of maritime forces.
Through all the amazing changes in the global security scene which we have experienced since 1945, I have found the sensible, pragmatic, analytical, and balanced approach of the Naval Institute of inestimable value.
Long may your excellent work continue. It is as necessary in 1998 as it ever was, I am sure it will continue so for the next 125 years.
- Sir Julian Oswald, GCB , Admiral of the Fleet, Royal Navy (Retired), Chief of Naval Staff and First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, 1989-1993
Argument is at the heart of the growth of ideas; the Naval Institute has performed some of its best service when the arguments aired have not been congruent to current service policy.
- W.J. Holland, Jr. , Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired), Former President, AFCEA Educational Foundation
Immediately after World War II when I was managing editor of the “Marine Corps Gazette,” I found Proceedings to be a marvelously useful exemplar of what a professional military journal could be.
-Edwin H. Simmons , Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), Director Emeritus, Marine Corps History
Operating in today’s communications-intensive environment, the contributions of the United States Navy to the enhancement of global security through forward presence are especially important, and we count on the Naval Institute to document these efforts—and to help us chart the way to the future. The global reach of the magazine recently was brought home to me when I saw a translation of my November 1997 Proceedings article in the French Navy’s professional journal, Cols Bleus .
The true value of the Naval Institute is its proven ability to generate thoughtful discussion about important naval issues. Through its symposia, magazines, and books, the Naval Institute serves as a marketplace of ideas for the international community of naval professionals.
For 125 years, the Naval Institute has been a central clearinghouse for naval history, strategy, tactics, and opinion. Sailors and maritime enthusiasts worldwide have traded ideas through the Naval Institute, sparking lively debate and educating generations of navalists. The Naval Institute is a kind of naval Internet—a purpose it has served since long before the dawn of the computer age.
- Jay L. Johnson , Admiral, U.S. Navy, The 26th Chief of Naval Operations
The United States Naval Institute has contributed immeasurably to the strength of our nation’s sea services during its 125-year history. It is the premier forum for the thoughtful dialogue on the present and future course of the naval and maritime services, as well as a steward of our maritime history.
For me, the Naval Institute’s centerpiece is Proceedings . I have long believed the journal’s strength comes from the diversity in rank and station of its authors. I learn as much—or more—from contributing enlisted men and women, junior officers, and civilians as from senior military and government authors. I sense an overwhelming benefit to our Armed Forces that all viewpoints are welcome, no matter how controversial, provided the author is sincere (though sometime refreshingly irreverent!), factual, and engaging. The frequent essay contests do much to provoke serious thought. In particular, the Naval Institute leads the way toward greater jointness with the Colin L. Powell Joint Warfighting Essay Contest.
I congratulate each member of the Naval Institute for your society’s 125-year heritage of extraordinary contribution to the vitality and strength of our naval and maritime services. May the future offer more of the same earnest advancement of the knowledge of sea power.
- Henry H. Shelton , General, U.S. Army, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Over the years, reading Proceedings often has given me an appreciation of how others think and particularly how they view the issues of the day. Listening to your critics is smart, even if it hurts.
- Frank B. Kelso II , Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired), The 24th Chief of Naval Operations
As a native of New Hampshire—whose proud motto is “Live Free or Die”—I find the Naval Institute’s mission echoes my innate desire to converse freely in an open forum.
During my years as a midshipman at the Naval Academy, I never encountered much debate or discourse about the pros and cons of national, military, or even Academy policy. Sure, James Webb would make an occasional visit and stir the pot about women in combat or the importance of hanging plebes by their fingernails to instill character, and the administration would panic until the storm clouds moved on, but there was no real spirit of exchange or encouragement of new ideas.
In contrast to the tepid climate at the Naval Academy, the atmosphere was electric during my first tour with an F/A-18 squadron as an intelligence officer. We never tired of debating the merits of the new Hornet or how the air wing could employ the multi-role aircraft. A sampling of the more spirited debate—long range vs. short range, single seat vs. multi-seat, high or low tactics, etc.—made it to the pages of Proceedings , and that is how I found the Naval Institute.
A Naval Institute Editorial Board member (and friend) encouraged me to put my passion to paper, and to my delight several of my own contributions made it into Proceedings . When he nominated me as his successor to the Editorial Board I was honored and excited. My tenure on the board was a tremendous, tumultuous learning experience. Board members read and vote on every article submitted for publication. The decision-making process of the group sparked monthly debate, and I was pleased and proud that the board almost always voted to publish innovative and controversial ideas. For 125 years the Naval Institute continues to provide a forum fostering the “Live-Free-or-Die” spirit in which ideas important to the sea services can be debated freely within the Navy.
- William P. Hamblet, Jr. , Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, Intelligence Officer, USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74)
As an Honorary President of the Naval Institute’s Board of Directors, I have had the unique opportunity to participate at the highest levels of this invaluable marketplace of ideas. The Naval Institute constitutes a forum for the intellectual exchange of theories and experiences on all things naval and maritime. Not merely a locus for strategic and tactical discussions, Proceedings covers the gamut of missions at sea. Found in the hands of key policymakers, its reach makes it a meaningful way for us to stimulate and educate this important and influential audience. What is most significant is the way in which these matters are covered—independently, by the men and women whose lives are most closely aligned with and shaped by the subjects treated. We are sea-going professionals, and Proceedings is our journal.
Similarly, Naval History provides important context for contemporary maritime thinkers, and books with the Naval Institute imprint have contributed to a broader understanding of many naval issues. Throughout my career, I have witnessed what an invaluable resource The Coast Guardsman’s Manual , published by the Naval Institute for more than 45 years, has been for Coast Guard crew members.
- Robert E. Kramek , Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired), 20th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard