With this five-year strategic plan, we present the initiatives required and the important work to be done as we approach the U.S. Naval Institute’s 150th anniversary in 2023. This plan sets conditions for the continued success of our open, independent forum for decades to come.

Our planning objectives and key strategic initiatives are shaped for the era of global turbulence in which we live. China continues to rise, with expanding strategic and conventional forces. A recalcitrant, revanchist Russia is fielding new weapons and escalating the expression of its imperialistic cravings. North Korea and Iran continue to be threats. International terrorist groups continue to murder innocents with vicious blows, at the same time that pandemics and climate change present growing threats to life across the entire planet.

This time of turbulence is also an era in which the unexpected is increasingly becoming the norm—an era of black swan events. Scientific and technological advances are surging ahead. Artificial intelligence and autonomous systems are giving nations, groups, and even individuals who wish to harm the United States, its allies, and friends the tools and weapons to do so.

Eras of rising complexity, challenge, and danger have been part of the history of the United States since the dawning of the Republic. The nation has prepared; it has prevailed; and the nation’s Sea Services—the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard—have always played a central role. Now and in the future, that role—above, on, and beneath the surface of the world’s oceans, and projecting power from those oceans—is indispensable.

Throughout cycles of peace, crisis, and war, dedicated Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen have dared to read, think, speak, and write—participating in the Naval Institute’s independent, nonpartisan forum. They have debated and published authoritative works on how best to improve and advance sea power. Today, we welcome the participation of the finest men and women in the nation’s Sea Services, and their partnership in taking the objectives and initiatives in this strategic plan from goals to reality.

This process has worked. For example, one 1904 Proceedings article, by Lieutenant Commander William S. Sims, led to a revolution in naval gunnery. He later commanded U.S. Naval Forces in Europe during World War I and became President of the Naval War College. Marine Major General John Russell wrote in Proceedings about the need for the Corps to prepare for war more than four years before World War II. In the 1980s and '90s, Proceedings was the venue for a lively debate on the role of women in the military. While there wasn’t one Proceedings article that changed the policy, the debate that occurred on its pages on these critical topics was necessary and productive. Important discussions continue. In 2017, a Marine argued that automated collision avoidance technology was available, effective, and should be embraced. The Navy and Marine Corps were persuaded and funded the technology that will save lives, aircraft, and money.

This plan has five objectives. The first is to “Encourage Critical Thinking and Facilitate Debate on Issues Essential to the Sea Services and Global Security.” This has been and continues to be the Institute’s core mission: encouraging critical thinking, embracing debate, and publishing authors’ differing views and recommendations—without taking sides in the debate. As we move ahead, we must take full advantage of our growing print and digital platforms and increase participation by all who care about the Sea Services and global security.

The second objective is to “Advance Naval Professionals and their Profession.” The goal is to help naval professionals advance-—and thrive—through their careers. We accomplish this through the works in Proceedings, our digital offerings, USNI News, professional conferences, and scholarly books from our Press.

The third objective is to “Preserve and Learn from Naval History.” Our publications (including our books on historical topics, Proceedings and Naval History), our oral histories, memoirs, and photographs form an archive that is timely and priceless. We will act on the recommendations of our new Naval History Advisory Board to strengthen contributions that capture the heritage of the Sea Services.

The fourth objective is to “Broaden the Naval Institute’s Reach.” Success requires the Institute be innovative in its approach to content delivery. We will reach new groups, while staying true to our mission and keeping faith with our existing community.

The fifth objective is to “Build Resilience, Seize Strategic Opportunities, and Protect Our Independence.” The Institute’s forum is independent in every sense, beholden to no person, government, or business. Eighty-five percent of our donations come from private citizens—individuals who take pride in knowing what they give goes to work in meaningful ways. We will build on this and position ourselves to weather any future economic uncertainty.

The Institute has and will continue to play an important part in transforming the Sea Services from vocations to true professions. Enhancing and strengthening those professions is a core part of this plan and our future mission. Ours is an organization dedicated to giving voice to all who seek the finest Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, dedicated to advancing the understanding of sea power and other issues critical to global security. Join us as we implement this plan in furtherance of that mission.

Peter Pace

General Peter Pace,
USMC (Ret.)

Chair of the Board of Trustees

James G. Stavridis

Admiral James G. Stavridis,
USN (Ret.) 

Chair of the Board

Peter H. Daly

Vice Admiral Peter H. Daly,
USN (Ret.) 

Chief Executive Officer and Publisher