The Soviet Navy has come of age. What was essentially a coastal defense force of obsolescent and short-legged ships less than 15 years ago has been transformed into a well-balanced fleet of modern submarines, surface ships, and aircraft ranging over all the major ocean areas of the world.
The world is very much aware of the transformation. Numerous Western leaders and journalists have voiced concern about the growing Soviet maritime threat. Their Concern tends to focus on the hardware, however, and little attention is paid to the Soviet naval officer.
He, too, has undergone a major transformation. He continues to change, at times more radically than the ships and aircraft he mans. In the long run, the changes that take place in him may well have the greatest meaning of all for his counterparts in the U. S. Navy.