On 4 September 1963, Admiral George W. Anderson, former Chief of Naval Operations, expressed concern over trends he had observed in the Department of Defense. He was disturbed, he told the National Press Club, by trends such as the use of civilian specialists “as experts in areas outside their fields,” the tendency to “downgrade the role of the men who may have to fight our country’s battle” and the inclination to “discredit the voices of dissent, especially the dissent of military men speaking on subjects they know.” He said he was “gravely concerned that within the Department of Defense there is not the degree of confidence and trust between the civilian and military echelons that the importance of their common objective requires.”
This speech cannot be ignored, nor can it be brushed aside by editorials in newspapers and magazines by saying that this is the Perennial problem of military versus civilian control. The tendencies that Admiral Anderson spoke of strike indirectly at the heart of military and naval doctrine. Indirectly, because decisions, sometimes taken on grounds other than strategy, sometimes based on strategic notions Nurtured in the minds of civilian specialists, are made without real thought of doctrinal matters, the principles and fundamental beliefs of the armed services. The decisions that strike at doctrine are usually made on the performance capabilities of weapon systems, on the character of military and naval force structures, and on standardization of means and methods—the what and how, without giving due consideration to who is affected, or why standardization is necessary.
The Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, pointed out in a C®S television interview, on 25 September 1963, that one important (and highly controversial) decision was made on the basis of technical and economic considerations. The Joint Chiefs who differed were looking at the problem from a somewhat narrower point of view . . . that’s their job. They are my military advisers. They’re not my technical advisers, they’re not my financial advisers.” This is all very true, and the crux of the problem is not civilian control over the military, as so many editorials misrepresented Admiral Anderson’s speech. The heart of the controversy is over how much weight should be given to military advice in the decisions that are made. If financial and technical factors are allowed to override military considerations, we may find ourselves with the most economically and technically efficient set of weapons and equipment the armed services have ever had. But at the same time, they may be inapplicable to the military or naval doctrine that the armed services are developing to meet the wide range of situations that may be faced. The results would, at best, be frustrating, and, at worst, could be catastrophic. On the other hand, if decisions are based primarily on military doctrine that is obsolete because it has not been adjusted to be responsive to the changes in technology, the results would be equally unfortunate.
The scope of naval warfare is so wide, and the weapon systems are so complex, that it would be quite impossible to plan for or to meet the various contingencies without adhering to principles about operational objectives and the means to achieve them, and without making calculations in advance about the nature of the war that may be fought. These are the elements of doctrine.
Doctrine is codified common sense, or, better, codified sense held in common. It is the philosophy behind which strategy takes effect; it is the common understanding governing the exercise of tactics. In short, it is what tells a commander or a soldier what to do when specific directions are lacking. Without doctrine, or with bad doctrine, we would not be able to estimate in advance whether the situation called for nuclear weapons or “iron bombs”; whether to adopt an offensive disposition or a defensive one.
There is no guarantee that naval doctrine will be right. As Admiral Anderson pointed out, “military men have no crystal ball.” There have been instances in the past where naval doctrine was based on a faulty premise. Such was the case in World War I when naval doctrine called for a strategy built around a strong battle Fleet to defend the United States in the event that the Allies were defeated, without considering the need for large numbers of destroyers and escort vessels required for going to war on the side of the Allies. Such was the case when naval gunfire support doctrine was originally conceived as area bombardment from ships maneuvering rapidly at maximum range. This method could hardly provide the accuracy for destroying bunkers and pillboxes. No doubt the fear of submarines and air attacks weighed heavily in formulating this doctrine. But one cannot help but wonder whether Lord Nelson’s statement that, “A ship’s a fool to fight a fort,” did not also have some influence.
On the other hand, the fundamental doctrine of the “offensive Fleet,” which was designed to seek out and destroy the enemy, led to victory in the Spanish-American War. This doctrine was adopted in the face of tremendous political pressure to keep the “coast defense battleships” close to the shores of the United States to defend the harbors and port facilities. Likewise, the naval doctrine set forth as early as 1920 in an OPNAV Plans Division Study, titled The Conduct of an Overseas Campaign, led to victory over Japan in World War II. This naval doctrine of carrying the war to the enemy’s shores is succinctly stated in a single paragraph:
The strategic situation of the United States is unique in that it is situated at a great distance from all other great naval powers. In a war between two maritime nations situated on opposite sides of an ocean, no important results can be gained as long as the Fleets of both nations remain in their home bases. All that each nation can accomplish under such conditions is to secure and exercise the command of a sector of the sea adjacent to its home bases and to attack the trade of the other power in other sectors by raiding operations carried out by light craft. Neither of these operations will exert any decisive pressure upon the other nation. In order to exert any decisive pressure upon a nation it is usually necessary to occupy important sectors of its territory and defeat its military forces; ... if it is considered essential to land important expeditionary forces in enemy territory, it is obviously necessary for our Fleet to secure and exercise the command of the sea in a large sector off the enemy’s coast. This means art overseas naval campaign.
From this integrating principle came all the subordinate doctrines of amphibious warfare, of carrier strikes, and of submarine blockades that were developed in preparation for World War II.
On the whole, naval doctrine has been adequate to the situation. In the study of history and naval campaigns, conscious efforts to rationalize events and relate them to one another provided a formulation of principles, which could be incorporated into doctrine, to guide the planning and execution of naval tasks and missions. By testing doctrine in Fleet exercises and war games, new tactics were developed to correspond with new weapons and new situations. In the Fleet exercises off Panama in 1929, Rear Admiral Joseph M. Reeves, U. S. Navy, Commander Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, detached the USS Saratoga with the light cruiser, Omaha, from his “Red” fleet. Swinging wide around the Galapagos Islands, the Saratoga eluded the defending fleet and successfully struck the Canal in a predawn surprise attack. Admiral William V. Pratt, the Commander-in-Chief called it one of the “most brilliantly conceived, and most effectively executed naval operations in our history.”
During this same period between the two World Wars, the doctrine for amphibious operations was developed and tested. By 1934, a complete statement of this doctrine covering all phases of amphibious operations was issued as Fleet Training Publication 167, and the title, Tentative Landing Operations Manual, clearly implied that the doctrine still needed perfecting and testing. One of the thorniest doctrinal problems, which was not resolved until World War II, was the command relationship between the fleet commander and the landing force commander.1 Throughout the 1930s, tactics under these doctrines were tested time and again. After the 1938 Fleet Exercise when Admiral Ernest J. King successfully launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor out of the weather front north of the islands, cruisers and destroyers were assigned to the aircraft carriers and operated from then on as fast carrier striking forces. By 1941, amphibious doctrine was essentially developed and the design of the LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle, Personnel) was made firm. In the opinion of General Holland M. Smith, U. S. Marine Corps, this vessel “did more to win the war in the Pacific than any other piece of equipment.”
The success of naval doctrine in the past is no guarantee for its success for the future. As pointed out, doctrine is developed by rationalizing events and relating them to one another in a realistic battle environment. Doctrine relates principles concerning operational objectives and procedures, and methods to achieve them, with the various kinds of combat environments that may be encountered. It is on this last point that the matter gets sticky. It is exceedingly difficult to make calculations about the nature of the war that may be fought without relevant experience to guide us. In considering the character of nuclear war, the only relevant experience is Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This experience was sui generis, one of its kind. It is hardly likely that atomic weapons would be used again against an already defeated enemy who possessed no means of retaliation. Because of this lack of real experience with the more advanced weapons, all of the armed services face a doctrinal quandary today.
Consider the Air Force, for example. Major General Dale O. Smith, U. S. Air Force, recently complained bitterly about “the deplorable condition of aerospace power,” and attributed it, to a large extent, to “allowing Air Force doctrine to stagnate and become inapplicable to modern conditions.”
“There is even a school of thought,” he wrote, “which presumes doctrine to be immutable, inflexible and so fundamentally sound as to require neither justification nor analysis.” Under this doctrinal rigidity, he argues, “the Air Force will eventually be composed of a long-range missile command, an Army support command, and MATS. If wars could be won and the Soviets deterred in this manner, the Air Force could swallow its pride and prepare for this limited and prosaic role. Such a posture will not, however, achieve our national security aims.”
The U. S. Army is little better off. Excluded from a significant role in nuclear war, at first, it clawed its way back into the nuclear picture by developing the “Pentomic” division built around nuclear artillery and short-range missiles. When it became obvious—as it should have from the start—that nuclear weapons could not substitute for conventional artillery in all circumstances, the trend was altered and a new doctrine of “flexible response” was adopted. Even this doctrine was not an unqualified success. It still relied on dual-capability weapons—weapons capable of being used in a conventional and in a nuclear environment by interchanging warheads. Unfortunately, no one has been able to develop a “dual capable doctrine.” An army, deploying for conventional battle, cannot immediately drop its rifles and pick up Davy Crocketts; it cannot quickly adjust to the possible rapid escalation to the employment of even larger nuclear weapons. The forces need to be redeployed, resupplied, and given new operational objectives.
In addition, the Army has a doctrinal problem in common with the Air Force. It has to do with the problem of air defense. There is no better example of how technology tends to make doctrine obsolete, or how holding on to a rigid and antiquated doctrine tends to foster the continuation of weapon systems which have out-lived their usefulness. Today, surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) are being developed that promise to be decisively superior to the interceptor in denying penetration of manned bombers and attack planes into the target area. Yet, the doctrine for air defense is still based on the central surveillance and control system and the manned interceptor, the same concept developed and used so successfully by the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain. Still underlying this doctrine is the belief that the “bombers will get through,” that active air defense can only hope to cause enough attrition over a period of time as to discourage the aggressor, or to limit “enemy offensive destruction to an acceptable level.” The emphasis is on early warning and surveillance and on conducting friendly air operations rather than on denying enemy penetration. This is why the doctrinal problem is difficult. Defensive actions alone cannot be decisive in war. As the “Decker-LeMay Agreement” of 1962 stated, “defense activities must accommodate themselves to the offense.” How this accommodation is made is the heart of this doctrinal problem, and it cannot be resolved by fiat.
The Navy’s doctrinal troubles, however, are of another sort. It is not a question of doctrinal rigidity as in the Air Force, nor a question of finding effective ways to implement a doctrine of flexible response as in the Army. In inter-service doctrinal matters, such as air defense, the Navy does not have such a critical interest. The doctrine for Fleet air defense is still debated, but it is “in house” and has been fairly well resolved. True, there was a time in the mid-1950s when naval doctrine was somewhat fuzzy and clearly incomplete for its over-all mission. This was when the national strategic doctrine of “massive retaliation” was in vogue, and the Navy designed its carrier planes and equipment and trained its attack squadrons almost exclusively for the delivery of nuclear weapons. As a result, there were crisis situations where fleet commanders were faced with the dilemma of suddenly gearing up for possible combat where the use of nuclear weapons was clearly inappropriate. There was a period after Korea when the naval carrier task force concentrated almost entirely on its essential role as part of the U. S. strategic forces, resulting in some ill-considered attempts by others to place the forces under the functional command of the Strategic Air Command. But the situation has changed. Polaris submarines have largely replaced the carrier task forces in the Navy’s deterrent role. By the open statement of the Secretary of Defense, the United States now enjoys strategic superiority over the Soviet Union by means of a “mix” of Polaris and Minuteman missiles and long- range bombers. The Navy can now see quite clearly its role in conventional as well as in nuclear war. It has become quite obvious that the Navy’s major missions fall under a strategic doctrine of projecting U. S. power overseas to the periphery of the Free World where the more likely threat of Communist aggression is found. Still, the Navy faces problems in its attempt to perfect its doctrine and in its attempt to strengthen its posture for these threats at the lower end of the spectrum of violence. These problems stem mainly from the crisis of “confidence and trust” between civilian and military echelons of which Admiral Anderson spoke.
This crisis of confidence is a two-sided problem. On the part of the military and naval leaders, it reflects the concern, voiced by David E. Lilienthal, that “scientists and other experts and specialists have more and more been seeking to use methods applicable to the physical world in areas of the world of men that are beyond the reach of such methods: human goals and purposes, human priorities, motivations and conflicts.” On the part of the civilian specialists, it reflects an impatience with the Service arguments, which too often appear as impassioned advocacy rather than objective reasoning. Confidence and trust can be restored only by attacking both sides of the problem.
Most people will freely admit that the most significant and far-reaching undertaking of the Department of Defense under the present administration is the development of the Program Package concept. The concept of developing plans around major missions, of relating resources to military manpower and equipment, of co-ordinating long-range planning with budgeting is basically sound. It is a long way from perfection, however. There are many program elements which overlap into other categories or packages. Only a few are sufficiently independent to permit evaluation and decision. Some almost defy cost and performance evaluation and reporting. One cannot evaluate heterogeneous units of multiple capabilities by balancing costs or by evaluating performance capabilities in a single dimension.
Yet significant improvements in force structure planning already have resulted. The Air Force can no longer plan for its forces without considering the air transport needs of the Army. The Army can no longer call on the Air Force contributions for close air support without being aware of the price that is being paid for it in terms of resources. The Navy cannot plan for its antisubmarine tasks without considering its contribution to continental defense, or on the size of its logistic sea lines without considering the overseas requirements of the other services. These things are all to the good, provided they are embraced in an over-all military strategy in keeping with a national doctrinal philosophy. But when cuts are suggested in ASW because of its marginal contribution to continental defense, or when the number and sizes of aircraft carriers are questioned, either because of their comparatively small contribution to the nation’s nuclear war deterrent or because the carrier does not measure up “cost-effectiveness-wise” in a given situation, it becomes apparent that the Navy must make a strong case for its doctrinal beliefs. Otherwise, it must face the danger that its structure will lose coherence and the ability to function in a crisis.
Unfortunately, most naval officers do not speak the same language as the civilian specialists. As Vice Admiral W. A. Schoech, U. S. Navy, the new Chief of Naval Material, said in a recent speech to the Washington Aero Club, “Quantify. This is a word we must introduce at least several times in any conversation these days with our ‘more knowledgeable’ folks in the Pentagon. And it is extremely difficult to quantify something as complex as the contribution of an attack carrier in all its strategic, tactical, and political aspects.” As the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral David L. McDonald, U. S. Navy, said quite simply, “I have to base an estimate of future need on past requirements, and it is difficult to justify such a thing on a purely mathematical basis. . . During these last several years the Navy has been hard pressed to meet the carrier commitments actually imposed on it with the carriers we have had. I can foresee no lessening of the need, and no decrease in this requirement in the immediate and foreseeable future.” Freely admitting that the carrier’s contribution has been a small one in the overall U. S. nuclear deterrent, the Chief of Naval Operations went on to emphasize that “the primary role of the carrier is, as always, in something less than all-out war, so that . . . whether or not the carrier is removed from its role in nuclear deterrence will not have any large impact on the need for the carrier.”
Nevertheless, questions should be asked, and they need to be answered in a convincing manner. No longer can a service chief stand up before Congress and speak in oracular tones of his service’s needs, as the Air Force Chief of Staff once did a decade ago in stating the absolute need for “137 air groups.” Now the question will be posed, why 137? Why not 140 or 130 or some other round number? As one wag put it, if the magic number of 137 had to be defended “quantitatively,” perhaps the best way would be to go back to the fundamental constants in nature: the charge of the electron (e), Planck’s constant (h), and the velocity of light (c). From these constants an equation, hc/2pe2, will give the value 137, or something very close.2
Yet, to be fair, the value of operations analysis should not be ridiculed nor should it be downgraded too much. Systems analysis has begun to bridge the gap between the “planners,” who sometimes live in a fictitious world where resources are unlimited, and the “budgeteers” who cannot escape the accusation of a certain arbitrariness in trimming some of the fondest projects of the planners in the light of the funds available. Systems analysis techniques have clearly reduced the element of arbitrariness in traditional budget making. On the other hand, the role of systems analysis in assisting decision makers in formulating policy is often exaggerated. True, sophisticated cost-effectiveness studies may reveal trade-offs among various alternatives, but the final decision, if it is to be good, must be linked to strategic doctrinal considerations. Analytic techniques aimed at measuring results often obscure these more important non-quantifiable considerations upon which doctrine is based.
There is all the difference in the world between selecting a strategy and in obtaining efficiency. Yet the hard truth is that decisions on weapon systems and on force structure affect strategy—whether they are made on cost effectiveness grounds or on the prescience of foresight of “scientific advisers.” As James R. Schlesinger succinctly stated, “one ought not deceive oneself: When choosing among weapon systems, one is selecting strategy—a decision into which, under the best of circumstances, some degree of prayer and hope must be infused.” One might also add that it is a decision into which the best military advice and counsel should be sought and used. Grounds for decision making that are not infused with mature professional military judgment may well make the decisions dangerous. This problem is not new. It has cropped up time and again in history. Over 2,000 years ago, Lucius Aemilius Paulus, a Roman Consul, who had been selected to conduct the war with the Macedonians, complained, “In every circle, and truly, at every table, there are people who lead armies into Macedonia; who know where the camp ought to be placed, what posts ought to be occupied by troops; when and through what pass that territory should be entered; where magazines should be formed; how provisions should be conveyed by land and sea; and when it is proper to engage the enemy, when to lie quiet.” The battle with Hannibal at Cannae about 50 years earlier had resulted in disaster for the Romans when one of the two political generals, Varro, who alternated in command every other day with Aemilius Paulus’ father, failed to judge properly “when to engage the enemy or when to lie quiet.”
A German corps commander once told a young officer that, “His Majesty keeps only one strategist [Von Schlieffen] and that man is neither you nor I.” The day is past when strategy can be drawn up by one general or even a general staff. On the other hand, when Clemenceau made the statement that war is too important to be left to the generals, he did not imply that the generals should have no say-so about it. For, if strategy depends on the selection of weapons and the character of the force structure and disposition of the armed services, the whole loses coherence unless it is embraced by strategic and tactical doctrine that is believed in by the military and naval men in uniform who must carry it out. These questions of doctrine are no more purely military than other such formulation of principles are purely political, purely economic, or purely technological. As Albert Wohlstetter pointed out, the problems that have usually been subjected to systematic analysis have been mostly problems in which relevant experience is lacking. We are dealing with problems that relate to the future “affected by novel techniques and political uncertainties.” Even military experts are seldom “expert beyond experience,” and, if history is to be a judge, military doctrine has invariably lagged behind technological development. This is truer today than ever. Doctrine is usually built around weapons on hand—not on the drawing board.
There is nothing more unconvincing to the leaders in the Department of Defense than an impassioned plea for an expensive weapon system, with no explanation of how it would fit into strategic doctrine or in what future environment the weapon might be used. Too often these aspects are overlooked. In this respect, the tendency to disregard military views can be attributed to the failure of the services to explain their doctrine adequately. This could have been a contributing cause to the cancellation of the Eagle-Missileer weapon system in early 1961. This weapon system was Widely justified in its primary role of Fleet air defense and only secondary emphasis was given to its role in providing sustained air defense power for the Marines over the objective area. Competing with more sophisticated surface-to-air missiles that were being developed at the time to defend the Fleet, the Eagle-Missileer had little chance. Too late the priority of the roles was reversed. When Vice Admiral John T. Hayward, U. S. Navy, the Navy’s top Research and Development officer, went before Congress to make a new case, the decision had already been made to cancel. It may well be that the Navy’s success in justifying the attack carrier’s role as an essential part of the deterrent is now working against this major weapon system in its basic limited war role of the future.
Unfortunately, explaining Navy doctrine is not enough. The doctrine may be questioned, particularly if there is no relevant experience upon which to base it. As pointed out, this is true in concepts of nuclear warfare. In the absence of real experience, the Navy must rely on synthetic experience. This can often be provided by systematic analysis. There are usually some objective characteristics of the situation that can be reduced to quantitative techniques, especially at the lower level of analysis. The value of these techniques lies not in giving an answer to the problem, but in eliminating the purely subjective approach based on enthusiasm. This in turn channels the argument into a different line of rationalization more related to reality. Consider the example of Polaris versus Minuteman. It is good to make calculations about initial costs, maintenance, and operating crews, port facilities, time laid up in overhaul, relative accuracy, destructive power, reliability, time lost going to and coming from station. They may all be quantified and may add up to the relative advantage of Minute- man. But now we can add in the non-quantifiable factors: the relative invulnerability given to Polaris by concealment and mobility, the absence of collateral population damage in case of attack on the Polaris submarines, the strain of Soviet ASW and intelligence resources to contend with the sea-based deterrent, the political and psychological support given submarine-launched missiles by our NATO allies as against other MMRBM systems. Finally, one can invalidate the quantitative argument about time lost going to and coming from station by pointing out that deterrence is a psychological problem and that a Polaris submarine at sea just outside the entrance of Charleston harbor is as effective in deterrence as if it were stationed in the Baltic. Out of all of this, one cannot but agree with the non-quantitative decision of the Department of Defense that a “mix” of both Polaris and Minuteman is needed.
Let us take the carrier problem. It is probably useful to make calculations of the cost of operating an aircraft carrier and compare it to the cost of operating an airfield. One may even expand this to a consideration of the cost of an entire carrier task force and compare it to the cost of an airfield complex with all its surface-to-air missiles and army troops that are required to provide defense. Furthermore, objective considerations can show that a one- carrier task force is much less than one-half as effective as a two-carrier task force, just as one army division can be shown to be virtually useless in comparison to a corps of three divisions, in a situation where the length of a front requires three divisions. But these calculations lose force when one looks at the problem in its broader aspects. One cannot pick up an airfield and move it to a place where it is suddenly needed. The aircraft carrier provides the only strategic air mobility for a major portion of the periphery of the Free World— from the Arabian Gulf to the Philippines. Whether the aircraft carrier is more or less expensive than airfields is not the question. The point is that airfields in these areas do not exist. Furthermore, even if airfields did exist, there is a significant difference between enemy attacks on an airfield of a neutral or an ally, on which American planes may be based, and attacks on an aircraft carrier which flies the flag of the United States and is backed by all the prestige and resources that that piece of bunting represents. One cannot quantify the value of an aircraft carrier visiting a port in Greece or Turkey in strengthening the backbone and resolve of our allies. Yet all one has to do is to talk to a Greek or a Turkish military officer or civilian leader to find out which he regards as more valuable, the carrier task force of the Sixth Fleet or the airfields in Tripoli or Morocco.
There is a valid strategic doctrine which embraces the need for aircraft carriers. This doctrine needs to be thoroughly explained before one can argue about the numbers and sizes of aircraft carriers needed. In doing so, the Navy must be able to show how these carriers will continue to be required in any of several alternative military-political environments of the future. One cannot assume that the Cold War as we see it today will continue to exist forever.
It does no good to make strident demands for the acceptance of a doctrine and call for the “ruthless elimination of marginal systems regardless of how service traditions and rivalries might be affected.” This was done by the Air Force Association in recent years. When the Secretary of Defense took this advice and eliminated the B-70 and the Minuteman on railroad cars, there were cries of anguish that this was not what was meant by “ruthless elimination.” No, doctrine cannot be sold by press agents; it must be sold convincingly with logic, and, if possible, with experience.
Doctrine today is no longer made primarily in Fleet exercises and war games, as it was before World War II. Technology is moving at too fast a pace. Doctrine is made at sea, but it is also made today by those naval officers and civilians in the Pentagon who have to wrestle with some of the Secretary’s questions; doctrine is made in the Naval War College, in the various joint schools of higher learning. Doctrine is made by various writers who have discussed the Navy’s problems in articles and books. The Navy needs to appreciate this change and, as Captain John V. Noel, U. S. Navy, said in his excellent article,3 we should “accept gracefully the dissolution of one of the Navy’s most cherished traditions —that skill in going to sea in the Fleet is the only really important goal of a naval officer.” Also important is the need to develop naval officer scientists and scholars who can insure that new doctrines of sea power will be injected fairly in the momentous debates and studies on national strategy.
The Navy should recognize that the trend to centralization of decision making in the Office of the Secretary of Defense is not wholly due to a conscious attempt to establish stronger civilian management. As Admiral McDonald said, “The sharpest impulse came with the nuclear weapon, control of which called for such a degree of centralization as never existed before.” The frightfully destructive capabilities of these weapons demand a command and control structure from the very top. Planning and operations must be adjusted to this fact at each echelon in the chain of military and naval command. One of the reasons why decisions made at the level of the Office of the Secretary of Defense seem to go counter to the doctrinal beliefs of the Navy and of the other services is the fact that the services have not been able to resolve their doctrinal problems among themselves. “Counterforce,” “Finite deterrence,” “Graduated deterrence,” “Flexible response,” are still debated concepts. Until these doctrinal disputes are resolved, we will continue to have a “mix” as a national strategic doctrine as Well as a “mix” in strategic weapon systems. The result is a nuclear doctrine which attempts to satisfy everyone but succeeds in satisfying no one completely.
Another aspect of this problem is that, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, it is becoming apparent that nuclear war does not offer a sensible way to achieve political objectives. This has been said before. Now, more people are beginning to believe it. More people are beginning to perceive that the greatest danger of nuclear war comes from possible accident or miscalculation. A whole new strategic doctrine is being developed under the name of “Arms Control” to forestall this possibility. So far, very little serious thought has been given to arms control implication in military or naval doctrine. Yet it weighs heavily in defense thinking at cabinet level. The opposition by the State Department to the land- based MMRBM in Europe reflects arms control considerations.
For the crisis of confidence to be resolved, both the civilians and the military should recognize that their common search for right decisions will be facilitated if the decisions are made within a doctrinal framework that is believed in by the men who “have to fight our country’s battles.” The doctrine may not be the best. Perhaps it should be and will be changed. The essential thing is to recognize that the major disputes, such as the 1949 “revolt of the admirals,” and the 1962 B-70 controversy, were not merely differences over weapon systems. They were disputes over doctrine.
One cannot deal with individual decisions as the judgment of civilian specialist versus the judgment of the professional military man, as “his judgment against mine.” Only bad feelings will result and professional military and naval judgment will be downgraded in the process. One has to show that the decisions being made should fall into a pattern embraced by a sound and coherent doctrine. When they fail to do so, then either the doctrine or the decisions are wrong.
1. In tracing the antecedents of this problem, it is interesting to note that this matter was resolved after a fashion as early as 1744 in an unofficial signal book of the British Navy in two sentences: “Land Officers have no pretense to command at sea. Sea Officers have no pretense to command on land.”
2. In this case, to carry the whimsy further, the charge of the electron is measured in a vacuum dielectric. If linseed oil were used, the answer would be 41— the number of Polaris submarines being programmed.
3. See J. V. Noel, “The Navy and the Department of Defense,” U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, November 1961, p. 23.