The rapid progress of diplomatic actions, made possible by the cable, makes the probable period of strained relations between nations of short duration.
The preparation of the fleet, commissioning ships, establishing the train, etc., that is to say, mobilizing, will fully occupy such period.
There is no time after war is probable to study theory or to test the practicability of methods of using the various types of ships.
This is particularly true of scouting and screening operations, for these are the first operations and continue until the end. Upon the successful performance of these duties may rest the fate of the nation.
The reconnoitering forces will generally be under the direct control of the commander-in-chief, for he alone can give them such instructions as will best aid him in accomplishing the end in view.