“A United States Navy for the Future"
(See R. H. Smith, p. 18-25. March; and pp. 81-90, June 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Captain R. A. Bowling, U. S. Navy—In the ASW portions of his article, Captain Smith unfortunately permitted himself the luxury of stating assumptions as facts and digressing from issues.
The “recent article”* to which he refers certainly does not portray the surface escort as single-handedly shepherding a convoy, nor does it disregard the value of the so-called “advanced concepts.” On the contrary, the article, having made a case for convoying, proceeded to recommend the development of an overall ASW strategy based on a force structure consisting primarily of a preponderance of escort forces composed of air, surface and submarine units; but also containing a viable offensive segment which would not only support the escort forces, but also contribute to the total number of submarines destroyed. It was, and still is, envisaged that the adoption of such three-dimensional, preponderant escort forces would require new, imaginative, and bold changes in technology (completely compatible and integrated command and control systems in the three ASW platforms), equipment (sonar IFF, reliable subsurface-air communications), personnel policies (ASW specialists), and tactics (SSN escorts). I do not consider such a concept and ideas as being the products of “out-dated thinking.”
Insofar as the issue is concerned, (i.e., convoying versus “advanced concepts”) a very hard and objective review of the record should be made before any irreversible decisions are made to go either way or in any direction, for that matter. Briefly, the record reveals a massive weight of historical evidence and operational data (from both sides in World War II, the German naval archives having been captured intact) which shows conclusively that in both major wars of the 20th century well-escorted convoys are not only the best means of protecting shipping, but also of destroying submarines.
On the other hand, a close examination of the so-called “advanced concepts” and strategic ASW measures, (e.g., ASW barriers, mining of submarine homeports and transit areas, offensive sweeps, and strategic bombing of submarine bases and construction sites) reveals that most are not new at all. Stripped of their “. . . artificial milieu of hypothesis and counter-hypothesis, of assumptions and rebuttals . . .” they are essentially the same offensive measures, or variations thereof, which were defeated by submarines in the past, submarines that were basically surface ships with the capability to submerge for relatively short periods of time at severely reduced speeds. Given the nuclear submarine with its capability to remain submerged at sustained high speed practically indefinitely, is it not valid to assume that they also will be able to defeat measures employed against them which are essentially the same as those defeated by their far inferior predecessors? An objective answer must be in the affirmative. Therefore, we should be very cautious of adopting an overall, long-range ASW strategy that is based essentially on measures defeated by submarines in the past.
Lieutenant Commander Joseph Keeley, U. S. Navy—Having completed the reading of the first two articles in the March PROCEEDINGS, I foresee a new life for the magazine, a transfusion badly needed [following] the recent flow diagram review of the costly regeneration of a carrier. Between the pages of these two articles, perhaps hidden between the lines, but recognizable for what it is, the specter of personnel management rears its head. I, for one, am firmly convinced that the mismanagement of personnel by the Navy has contributed to, if not totally generated, the low retention rate within the Navy, as well as having had a great role in the generation of the technology gap.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Where did the 1052-class escort originate and how did it get foisted on the surface community?” Captain Smith tends to blame the computer set with their jive and the efficiency expert with his cost analysis. I disagree. Admiral Rickover, in his testimony before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations in May 1970, drove the spike into the demon’s heart when he discussed the Navy’s design capability. He stated “. . . the Ships’ Characteristics Board which nominally determined the Navy’s ships characteristic was established as a voting forum composed of short-term transient officers who bore no responsibility for carrying out the work programs or for their success.”
* See R. A. Bowling, “Escort-of-Convoy, Still the Only Way,” U. S. Naval Institute PROCEEDINGS, December 1969, pp. 46-56.
The personnel management policies of the Navy make tours, such as the Ships’ Characteristics Board, Board of Inspection and Survey, Fleet Training Groups, and shore-based training commands, undesirable. Hence, we generate poor ships, retain poor ships, and have poorly-trained ships. Not necessarily because the talent is not there, but because the respect is not there.
Lieutenant Harris likens the environment at officer’s candidate school (OCS) to that of a cerebral void. Unfortunately, OCS is only a small quadrant of the void. Lieutenant R. L. Brandenburg sounded an alarm in the July 1964 PROCEEDINGS in his article “Destroyer Command: Critical Subsystem.” We are all aware of the propagation characteristics of sound in a vacuum. I have been fascinated and inspired by most of the leaders and leadership at sea, but, while pursuing the study of ASW ashore, I have found the interest level low, the leadership unexciting, and the potential non-existent. Where is the Admiral Zumwalt of the training command? The personnel management policies of the Navy have generated the perverted relationship of “. . . qualified to teach those in command, but not fit to command.” Even after the infamous purge at OCS, those superb managers of officers’ careers failed to see the relationship between exposure to qualified, motivated, career officers and the retention rate.
A newly commissioned officer in the Navy fights his way from one twilight campground to another, exposed to stifled, subservient, and understandably frustrated instructors. Having been trained in this atmosphere, he returns to his command or reports to his first ship with half of his mind made up. He works hard at his job, but he is now exposed to even less trained senior officers in the command and executive officer billets, and the second half of his mind reaches the logical conclusion. It is no wonder there has not been a major breakthrough in ASW tactics or technology. There are very few tacticians or technicians in the field. The more I read articles on career retention, motivation, and leadership, the more I realize that the “senior officer senility syndrome” is a fatal disease of epidemic proportion rather than just a phase of life before retirement. If the Navy does not wake up to the fact that the religious policies of the Middle Ages cannot be used as the personnel management policies of the 1970s, then career retention is a fairy tale and combat readiness will be nonexistent. High retention rates and combat readiness logically follow from the training of interested and motivated people who attend schools staffed by knowledgeable and experienced instructors, all of whom feel they have a place to go and a thing to do within the personnel management program of the Navy.
The Navy’s personnel management experts would do well to review the ever-timely statement of John Paul Jones:
The art of war deserves the exclusive attention of those who are engaged in it. The military science is only acquired by dint of study and reflection—[to the unprepared], some occasion will infallibly happen when pungent regret for having neglected to obtain instruction will be felt, in all its force by him, who, charged with an important operation, is obliged to confess to himself his own incapacity to execute it. The time has gone by for beginning to attend to such study when he has unfortunately been promoted to command. Birth, patronage, solicitation, intrigue some times win employment and rank but they do not secure success and credit.
Lieutenant Michael B. Edwards, U. S. Naval Reserve—Too often we ignore the obvious. Anytime a weapons system, especially one which has been proven to work, is ignored for the sake of an unproven electronic, expensive “quick-fix,” there is obviously something wrong. We become guilty of not really looking at a problem before striking out for the answer. This type of reaction is sometimes called panic.
I would bet that many dollars are being spent right now in attempting to redesign the Terrier, Tartar, and Standard missiles to knock down the incoming anti-ship missile. I would also bet that they will either be unable to do it, or that it will be exceedingly expensive. In addition, we have more or less started from scratch with the Basic Point Defense System (Sea Sparrow). All of which adds up to tremendous costs with, as Lieutenant Commander William D. O’Neil, III, U. S. Naval Reserve-R, points out in his article, “Gun Systems? For Air Defense?” the result that the answer is still “. . . just around the corner.”
To quote Captain Smith, “What is needed is something simpler and rarer: the capacity to see the obvious. . . . .” The obvious here, since we already know that our naval guns work, and since we can be sure that they can handle the anti-ship missile threat, is to (1) ensure that the ships are trained to handle the threat, and (2) divert wasted missile development millions somewhere else where they are really needed.
Lieutenant Commander Charles Henc, U. S. Navy (Retired)—I could not help asking myself—what is the point? When is Captain Smith going to tell me what is wrong with the Navy? If these ships (DE) are so bad, so unsuited for the duties demanded of them, why were they built? What is so difficult about building a ship?
If we can design and build a sailboat that is faster than anyone else’s sailboat, why can’t we build a better destroyer than, say, the Russians—or anyone?
The country desperately needs a shot of pride. The Army is in rebellion—what will the Navy do?
Vice Admiral C. E. Weakley, U. S. Navy (Retired)—You cannot imagine my pleasure at seeing the Prize Essay by Captain Smith—and it was not just over the high quality of the writing. It was the fact that such a broadly critical piece was selected and published.
I was reminded of a bit of writing by John W. Gardner, which appeared in Harper's Magazine in October 1965, on “How to Prevent Organizational Dry Rot.” It describes a set of rules for organizational renewal. High on his list is the statement
. . . that the organization must have built in provisions for self-criticism. It must have an atmosphere in which uncomfortable questions can be asked.
He quotes a Turkish proverb that says, however, “The man who tells the truth should have one foot in the stirrup.” It must be admitted that my pleasure was to note a change in atmosphere. Such efforts should be encouraged, not muzzled.
As Mr. Gardner’s writing says:
. . . most ailing organizations have developed a functional blindness to their own defects. They are not suffering because they can’t solve their problems but because they won’t see their problems.
He further quotes the head of a government agency as saying:
The shrewdest critics of this organization are right under this roof. But it would take a major change of atmosphere to get them to talk.
From the publication of Captain Smith’s critical essay, I sense such a change in atmosphere. Congratulations. I hope it continues.
Lieutenant Commander LaRue D. Slater, U. S. Navy—I agree with the observations made by Captain Smith and also Lieutenant Malcolm S. Harris, U. S. Naval Reserve, whose article, “Junior Officer Retention, A Lot of Little Things,” appeared in the same issue.
Where Captain Smith touches on the problems of retention, but more basically attacks the problem of political intransigence among the members of the Naval Establishment, and including the purchase policies resulting in inadequate weapons systems, Lieutenant Harris devotes most of his discussion along “people” lines. In reality, both are really talking about the emasculation of the naval officer and petty officer; done by convincing them that the only way is the “Navy way,” consisting of “covering your number,” “don’t rock the boat,” and other euphemisms.
“Cost effectiveness” is a pretty popular phrase these days, and when applied to today’s Navy is certainly in doubt; however, how can this be applied to personnel? Why are junior officers treated like ignorant children?
Captain Smith cited Admiral Rickover as being one of those rare people who could overcome “red tape,” yet, even the good Admiral sometimes forgot that people were not machines capable of running forever without some form of lubrication. There are few seniors in the Navy who will welcome criticism from juniors, and even fewer who would act, were such criticism well founded.
One can readily understand the frustration of the average enlisted man and junior officer in even attempting to push innovation through the various echelons. The only hope for the Navy is for someone already at the top decision job to take up the challenge. Admiral Zumwalt is making some progress, but the real answer lies in development of leadership.
By permitting decisions to be made at the lowest possible level, responsible leadership will manifest itself in short order.
In this manner, we can ensure that future systems and hardware will be designed and manned by the best the Navy can offer—retention will not be the issue because the very people we are looking for will be looking for the challenges we have to offer. “Esprit” will take the place of “chicken regulations.” And most of all, we will have a more effective force staffed with professionals.
Lieutenant Philip A. Dur, U. S. Navy, Operations Officer, USS Knox (DE-1052)—Captain Smith has provided a valuable and thought-provoking article which will undoubtedly generate the intensity of professional discussion for which the PROCEEDINGS is designed. Unfortunately, in his zealous enterprise to alarm a Navy allegedly grown complacent, self-deluding, and inefficient, the author has exaggerated the dilemma and the threat. However, to behold senior naval officers taking bold exception to anachronistic concepts and the machinations of a cumbersome bureaucracy is heartening to a generation of idealistic junior officers, among whom I count myself and many contemporaries.
To address properly all the facets of the dangerous macrocosm in which our Navy is said to be floundering would more properly have required a treatise of considerably greater length. The effect of the “Prize Essay” is too dramatic an indictment supported by simplistic generalizations and illustrated with several alarming but inconsequential asides (such as the threat posed by units based “. . . around the North Cape . . .” and “. . . from Kamchatka . . . .”) It is hoped that the ensuing discussion will force amplification of these allegations, lest we discredit on the weight of shallow and perhaps inexact analysis.
A tragic flaw evident in this essay is the author’s lack of appreciation for those strategic requisites which prompt the development of Soviet military tactics and the design of weapons systems. For example, the author alleges that the Soviet Navy knows where it is going because it is “. . . inspired by that deep Russian patriotism that seems to outlive all the abominations of Communist Rule . . . .” Yet, the Soviet Navy has always known where it was going, inasmuch as its development has been dictated by Russian Communist planners who carefully manage that nation’s defenses. Since the end of the Soviet civil war in 1920, the driving concern of Soviet leaders has been to preserve the Socialist fatherland and to establish a defensive buffer against an inimical encirclement. During World War II, in the critical fight for survival, the appeal was not to the ideological symbology of world Communism but to the defense of “Mother Russia.” Having secured its western frontiers in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union can revitalize strategic designs formulated during the Petrine Era and vigorously pursued during the reign of Catherine the Great. The construction of a large, versatile surface fleet and a formidable merchant marine naturally followed consolidation and security achieved with strategic parity in Europe. These developments should not have surprised the erudite strategist.
Another conjectural point is Captain Smith’s charge that our Fleet is somehow unbalanced, and that this is particularly evident as it concerns the Soviet submarine threat. If there exists an unbalance, it is a function of the respective priorities which have dictated the course of development of both the U. S. and the Soviet navies. The decision to structure our Navy around the proven concept of the carrier task force was (and remains) a sound expedient for a nation whose economy and technology could support the formidable expenses entailed. This is particularly salient if that nation’s strategic objective is to project offensive seapower far afield. The Soviets, by contrast, could afford no such luxury—having committed their military efforts to the vitalization of the Warsaw Pact, and the support of massive armies and land-based tactical air forces.
As Dr. John S. Foster stated in a recent edition of the Naval Engineers Journal, “It is evident that the Soviets have built a Navy rather specifically designed to counter our present naval force and composition . . . .” This defense, until recently, was of necessity limited to an impressive submarine fleet—an inexpensive and logical means of defending against the array of capital ships and amphibious forces which threatened the Soviet Union. As long as this submarine force operated under the constraints of diesel propulsion and the absence of forward bases, this threat was severely limited in scope.
Nonetheless, the existence of even a primitive Soviet submarine threat spawned the development of impressive hardware and tactics, such as the antisubmarine warfare carrier hunter-killer group, the helicopter-borne dipping sonar, and the continued improvement in undersea sensors and weapons delivery systems.
Implicitly, the unbalance must derive from the meteoric growth of the Soviet nuclear submarine force during the last decade. It is indisputable that progress in aligning ASW defenses against this threat has lagged. And yet, the technological advances made in solving the focal problem—detecting the nuclear submarine—have improved markedly during the same decade; these improvements have been dominated by the U. S. Navy. Simultaneously, the accelerated construction of our nuclear submarine (SSN) force can be seen as a response to the Soviet ballistic/missile submarine (SSBN) challenge.
If the fast carrier task force is the core of the U. S. Navy’s offense, one must famine the defensibility of that force against the arsenal arrayed against it. To isolate its members and hypothesize as to their respective fortunes vis à vis the anti-attack carrier (CVA) weapons is folly. One does not isolate a platoon from its parent company and speak of its defenselessness or “unbalance” pitted against a company-sized threat. It is hopefully conceded that the CVA task force is not seriously threatened by any surface force the Soviet can currently muster. Carrier air can detect and destroy an inimical surface force long before it can pose a threat. The exception might be the surface combatant armed with the SSN-3, and improved anti-shipping cruise missiles. Even at the extreme ranges of which they are reportedly capable, these missiles pose an anti-air warfare (AAW) threat, against which even Captain Smith admits the task force is well prepared to defend itself. The air-to-surface missile threat is again well within the capability of AAW defenses.
The problem reverts to the submarine threat. The cruise missile-firing submarine poses precisely the same threat to the task force as the surface combatant armed with an identical weapon. If the submarine can be held to a range which will permit reaction, the AAW defenses of the task force are adjudged capable of providing the requisite “umbrella.” We are now faced with addressing the challenge posed by the submarine-firing cruise missiles at short range, or positioning itself for a torpedo attack against the CVA.
Herein we can logically lead into a discussion of available ASW defenses. And this is precisely where the maligned DE-1052-class ocean escort represents a qualitative improvement over older escort types. Captain Smith’s allegations to the contrary, the very sonar, which we are told “. . . is tactically self-defeating . . . ,” has repeatedly demonstrated a submarine detection capability, which if properly positioned in a screen, will provide the task force with the cordon sanitaire it requires to cope with those portentous cruise missiles. To dispute the contention that the very operation of this sonar is tactically self-defeating would require a classified forum. Suffice it to say that considerable conjecture exists on that score. Provided the extended weapons ranges that the LAMPS helicopter will afford, we can surmise that the “close-in” submarine threat loses some of its invincible aura. The proper employment of these genuine assets is a challenge which Mahan explained in his work, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History:
Changes in tactics must derive from a careful study of the power and limitations of the new ship or weapon, and by a consequent adaptation of the method of using it to the qualities it possesses which will constitute its tactics.
“National Naval Memorial”
(See Secretary’s Notes, p. 3, December 1970 PROCEEDINGS)
Emmett H. Durham, Assistant Vice President, Seaboard Coastline Railroad—I read with great interest Captain George Hagerman’s proposal that a National Naval Memorial be established in Washington on the site of old “Main Navy.” I think his suggestion is most commendable and has great merit. His observations regarding such a project are most timely.
I sincerely hope that the Naval Institute and all other organizations and individuals who stand in support of our Navy will use every possible influence toward the accomplishment of this worthy objective.
“Me and My Dam Neck”
(See P. D. Gallery, pp. 52-57, December 1970 PROCEEDINGS)
Stanley W. Simmons—I should like very much to express my appreciation and delight with the article and photographs . . . . I hope it will encourage others who have access to such material to do likewise.
“Modernization of the Midway"
(See J. E. Kaune, pp. 27-33, February 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Vice Admiral John T. Hayward, U. S. Navy (Retired)—This article, and Lieutenant (j.g.) Dengler’s “The Silent Vote” are complementary in many ways. Having commanded the modernized USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), and knowing that class of ship in detail, it appalls me that the U. S. Navy would spend over four years and the millions of dollars required to do this. It takes no analytical expert to see the folly of what has been done. The same effort could have given us a new ship, or a down payment on a nuclear carrier. I certainly hope that in the future no one takes Captain Kaune’s advice. The actual cost estimates and history of this ship’s modernization are a complete indictment of our system in the Navy. The less said about the modernization of the Midway to anyone, the better off we will be.
“The Silent Vote” is an excellent piece and I wonder when our senior officers will really listen, or at least tune to the required frequency of what these youngsters say. As an ex-enlisted man with a son now completing his tour of duty in one of our destroyers, I am familiar with what Mr. Dengler says. On board that destroyer, 147 men have as much as two years of college-level education. Not one of these will make the Navy a career.
These are smart youngsters. The Russian ship “Kresta” trailed them in the Mediterranean. They saw her from 500 yards. They know she is 6,000 tons. They know the weapons suite on her. Do not talk 963 class to them—they know the Spruance is 8,200 tons and has a 5-inch gun.
A final point concerns all of our problems in the surface Navy. The junior officers themselves are not in a position to explain to an intelligent enlisted man the reason behind the requirements. If our senior officers do not recognize “this generation gap” and do something about it, we will not have a surface Navy for long.
“The Silent Vote”
(See F. G. Dengler, pp. 34-37, February; and pp. 98-99, June 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Commander F. C. Collins, Jr., U. S. Navy—Lieutenant Dengler observed, “Today’s young line officer knows not whether the 1980s will find him in a vibrant branch of our defense establishment or in an antiquated patrol force of militarily inconsequential ships.” As a surface officer of some 19 years in destroyers and amphibious ships, this struck a most responsive chord. But, there is now reason to suspect that somebody up there cares about us nonunionized blackshoes. For the first time since the fighting champion of the destroyer, Admiral Arleigh Burke, U. S. Navy (Retired), the Navy has a surface Chief of Naval Operations.
“. . . the junior officer notes that the end result of many surface system procurement programs seem incomplete at best.” Major weapons system procurement have many considerations, one of which you have acknowledged—funds. Certainly the FRAMing of ships during the post-Korean War period, which preempted mass retirement and a large new construction program, was dictated in large part by fiscal considerations. But another word should share nearly equal billing with availability of funds. The word is “threat.” Granted FRAM and DE had little anti-air warfare (AAW) capability against modern carrier aircraft. But who had all the attack carriers (CVA)? The DEs were designed primarily to meet the ASW threat in the convoy open ocean environment. They were equipped with the most modern and expensive detection gear (SQS 26) that we had in our inventory. AsRoc gave us the required standoff capability in the pre-submarine-launched cruise missile environment.
Our CVAs were designed not only to launch single integrated operation plan (SIOP) strikes, but also to support surface forces against Soviet surface forces which had closed and surpassed us in the gun-range gap and also in the support of amphibious operations. Ours has been truly a flexible Navy, with no one type completely independent, but rather representing a strong interdependent force. If the threat ashore included SSM, we used carrier air for support forces ashore. In South Vietnam, where no such threat existed, naval guns were adequate and turned in a fine performance.
Perhaps the most frustrating truth to a surface officer is the fact that it is no longer economically feasible to have a genuinely general purpose surface ship. The threat has become too sophisticated for us to enjoy the luxury of building a ship which can handle all threats with equal facility. The World War II greyhound, with its ability to oppose the air, surface, and sub-surface threat with the same suite of weaponry is a thing of the past. And I join Lieutenant Dengler in mourning its passing.
I believe that one thing we have seen develop in the postwar era is the design of some very fine hulls. The DE, DDG, and DLG all represent platforms which will accommodate many new generations of weapons systems. The weapons and sensor systems to counter the threat are now being developed.
Reference to use of the Blue and Gold system as a possible answer to our retention program was an interesting thought, but seems to have had little success in this particular aspect of Fleet readiness with its innovators, the submarine force. Pay, it appears, has been the key to retain the experience bracket specifically sought by Polaris. The suggestion that this Blue and Gold concept might be the way of increasing our training level and simultaneously our Fleet readiness is certainly germane. Under our stringent funding situation coupled with a notable lack of stand-down in our far flung ocean commitments, it appears unlikely that the surface force will be restructured in this manner. This being the case, we must find another method to improve our readiness through better training approaches, as perhaps this is the most neglected area of the surface forces. We are so busy maintaining our ships in order to meet our commitments that we neglect the most important aspect of our raison d’être to have a fighting ship ready to “sail in harm’s way.” We may have become so enamored with sophisticated gadgetry that we have overlooked the fact that, unless man is trained to fight and survive, it will little matter how many numbers we can muster to meet the scheduled sortie. Since, seemingly, the only people intensely interested in training are the training commands, perhaps one approach, in an era of specialization, might be to create a training czar with Bureau chief status. While aware that the Chief of Naval Personnel in fact holds this distinction, it appears that his primary duty of people shuffling might take precedence over his equally important job of training.
Rather drastic budget impacts have created one of the problems Lieutenant Dengler highlights; i.e., “Why is much of our training oriented around obsolescent systems . . . ?” With the accelerated retirement of many of our older hulls equipped with the less than modern engineering and weapons suites, it is understandable that we might get caught with our training pants at half mast. As to the rhetorical question regarding why we had our crews train on board on obsolete weapons, the answer is obvious: there is no point in training a crew in a weapons system that is not currently installed.
Following Hiroshima and the development of the missile, weapons technologists concluded that everything would be nuclear and/or missile. Subsequent events have proved this prediction groundless and our conventional gun systems have essentially fired the only shots in anger. This is not to suggest that this is the way it will always be; but technology always runs considerably ahead of tactical employment. In this regard, nuclear weaponry has become a classic case in point.
Finally, I heartily support Lieutenant Dengler’s comments regarding the Navy’s beneficial suggestion system. As one who has always been interested in the system and who has submitted many ideas, I view with skepticism the claim that “one out of three” is a winner. Perhaps the “benny sugg” system needs an overhaul with an eye toward encouraging juniors to share their ideas, creating better rapport between junior officers and “the establishment,” while at the same time capitalizing on the submitter’s sea experience to improve shipboard equipment or procedures.
Dengler’s questions are a healthy sign of a junior officer who is sufficiently interested in his organization to question it. Seniors should never fear or discourage this initiative and certainly Admiral Zumwalt is setting an example, at the top, of his interest in what the lower echelon is thinking. The U. S. Naval Institute PROCEEDINGS is an ideal forum for such questions, second only to an individual’s parent command. Three cheers for Lieutenant Dengler; may his piece stimulate other junior officers to get what is bothering them off their chests. It goes without saying that we are interested in hearing about their campaign expectations—but before they cast their silent vote.
Commander W. N. Pugliese, U. S. Navy—Several of Lieutenant (j.g.) Dengler’s questions cast doubt on the validity of our ship acquisition procedure. As I understand that procedure at present, the appropriate warfare desk in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations produces a paper outline of each proposed new vessel’s performance characteristics. This is called a Ship Development Objective (SDO). The outline is then examined in detail by a Ship’s Characteristics Board, once again from the appropriate warfare area but now including representatives from all the functional branches of CNO’s office (logistics, research and development (R&D), and ASW). The agreed-upon SDO is then delivered to the material command which initiates the Concept Formulation and subsequent Contract Definition process, and finally acquisition of the ships.
In Concept Formulation, the Navy and industry identify the components in existence which, integrated into a system, will satisfy or exceed the requirements of the SDO. Additionally, the R&D needed for the systems/components not yet in existence is also identified. When the material command is satisfied with projected cost, effectiveness, achievability, and availability data, and DoD approval is obtained, industry is requested to bid on production of the ship.
Three critical points in the ship acquisition process should be subject to closer control. The first is in the production of the SDO. If the requirement for AAW capability out to the standoff range of aircraft weapons is not included in the SDO, then that capability will never reach the Fleet.
The second control point is at the conclusion of the Concept Formulation process. If the projected effectiveness does not meet SDO requirements, the procurement process should be stopped until such time as the required sensors, weapons, and engineering plant are developed. The Navy’s elaborate and effective system of technical and operational evaluation has often been circumvented by “immediate” needs of the Fleet. The usual result of such circumvention is that the Fleet’s needs remain unfulfilled and an added burden of maintenance and poor performance is added to the shoulders of the Fleet.
The third check point is at the award of the contract following the period of Navy-Industry negotiation, known as Contract Definition. The contract in its final form must clearly state exactly what the final product will do, and what the product will cost.
It appears that the system the Navy uses to procure ships is still valid because of the high performance of new warships and auxiliaries which have been delivered to the Fleet in the recent past. If that is so, what happened with the Knox-class DEs (DE-1052) and the Spruance class? At which one of the check points did we lose control of these ship acquisition programs? I confess that I do not know—but, like Lieutenant Dengler, I am interested in learning the answer to these questions.
“Navy Medicine: A New Prescription”
(See P. A. Flynn, pp. 42-47, February; and p. 98, June 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Assistant Professor David E. Eifrig, Medical Doctor, Department of Ophthalmology, Medical School, University of Minnesota—There are many physicians practicing in this country who did, indeed, have a fine experience in naval medicine. Many of us look back on this experience with the realization that there were many problems, many frustrations, and a few impossible situations, but we also note that these same problems, frustrations, and situations arise outside of the Navy in our own practices. The idea of “total independence” in civilian medicine is as naive as it was in Navy medicine. Surely there are those who seek it, but they find only moderate compromise, presumably more comfortable for them. Many unhappy ex-naval physicians are equally unhappy in their civilian practices. But what of those men who enjoyed Navy medicine, enjoy civilian medicine, and see hope for improvements in both areas?
The Navy needs to get these men together for new ideas, new goals, and new solutions for those “impossible situations.” The Navy needs to get these ideas out of articles in the PROCEEDINGS and into the arena of development. The ex-Navy medical officers and currently active officers should have a forum to work out the problems and plan the solutions.
Many of Commander Flynn’s suggestions could be implemented and improved upon without destroying the architecture of the system as it now exists. Any maybe, with just the right ideas and the right implementation, the architecture itself might be improved sufficiently to create the best system of medical care in the world.
Pictorial—“Naval Air Reconnaissance”
(See J. E. Wise, Jr., pp. 57-67, January 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Lieutenant Commander Joseph L. Low, U. S. Navy—Although the Pictorial was a most interesting and excellent review of the subject, I was quite disappointed that the North American AJ-2P Savage received no mention.
This unique three-engine aircraft (two P-2800 reciprocating and one J-33 jet) will not be easily forgotten by any who had the good fortune to fly it. The Savage was the workhorse of the Navy’s heavy photographic squadrons in the mid- and late 1950s, and in addition to purely military employments it provided high quality cartographic coverage for a number of other projects, such as Alaskan glacier photography for the American Geographic Society during the International Geophysical Year.
The photographic version, I believe, outlasted both the bomber and the aerial refueling models, and was finally relieved by the Douglas A3D Skywarrior. For the curious, I have provided a photograph of an AJ-2P, made by another AJ-2P, both attached to Guam-based Heavy Photographic Squadron (VAP) 61.
“Gun Systems? For Air Defense?”
(See W. D. O’Neil, III, pp. 44-55, March 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Lieutenant George D. VanArsdale, U. S. Naval Reserve-R—A critical part of the defense against SSMs, ASMs, or low flying jet aircraft is reaction time. The target must detect, evaluate, select weapons, and engage within a matter of seconds. This problem is especially acute when operating near shore, or under emission control (EmCon), when the target would not be forewarned of the presence of an “Osa”-class gunboat or an enemy aircraft. Whatever weapons are to be used, serious consideration must be given to automating the entire threat evaluation and response. This of course means giving some computer the authority to open fire, certainly a break with tradition. The alternative is to suffer hits because the weapons were silent while the captain put down his coffee cup or while the weapons officer repeated his order to “fire.”
The Styx-type missile has proven to be an extremely cost effective weapon, for its very existence has caused the U. S. Navy to reconsider, drastically, its position and to spend vast sums for countermeasures of questionable value. In procuring weapons to counter this threat, let us not ignore the gun systems developed by our allies.
The Advent of the Ringtailed Aircraft Torpedoes
Rear Admiral James M. Shoemaker, U. S. Navy (Retired)—Until the “ringtail” torpedoes became available in 1944, the Navy’s aircraft torpedoes required a low-altitude, slow-speed drop. The ringtailed torpedoes changed this. They withstood a drop from 200 feet at 200 knots, and were the instruments of destruction for the Japanese superbattleships Musashi and Yamato.
The ringtails, developed at California Institute of Technology, were given their first service test in May 1944, with the USS Franklin (CV-13) as the target. As the commanding officer of the Franklin, I was directed to use 12 torpedo bombers (TBM) from Torpedo Bombing Squadron (VT) 13 to carry out the simulated attack. The operation was to take place at Coronado, California, with Rear Admiral Elliott Buckmaster, U. S. Navy, Commander Fleet Air, San Diego, as controller and official observer.
On the morning of the operation, there was a typical San Diego “high fog”—a layer of fog above 400 feet with clear weather beneath. The Franklin stood toward the attack position at about 1000, with the torpedo recovery boats standing by and the 12 planes of VT-13 above the fog. Everything was “go,” when suddenly Admiral Buckmaster, flying above the fog, radioed to me “cease present exercise.” Since the VT-13 planes were equipped with radar and could “see” the Franklin through the fog, I ignored Buckmaster’s order and signalled for the attack to proceed. It was a complete success. The 12 TBMs dived out of the fog at 200 knots, and all 12 torpedoes passed under the Franklin. The boats recovered 11 torpedoes, one of them bearing marks indicating that it had been hit by another torpedo.
Before departing San Diego for Pearl Harbor, the Franklin was outfitted with 18 ringtail torpedoes. After our arrival in Pearl Harbor, I reported to Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, U. S. Navy, and told him about the wonderful ringtails. He ordered his Fleet gunnery officer to set up a test of six torpedoes (with warheads), using VT-13 planes to launch them. The test was carried out with the cliffs of Kahholawe [sic] Island as the target. Each torpedo ran straight and true. The Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet, Rear Admiral Charles A. Pownall, U. S. Navy, sent an urgent message to San Diego to rush production and delivery of all possible ringtail torpedoes.
Since the next aircraft carrier subsequent to the Franklin did not arrive at San Diego for several months, it seemed probable that a service test of ringtail torpedoes and their arrival in the Pacific Fleet would have been too late for their employment against the Musashi in October 1944.
Incidentally, the 12 ringtails remaining on board the Franklin were expended against an 11-ship Japanese convoy north of Iwo Jima in August 1944. The entire convoy was sunk.
“Two-Two-Twelve-Three: The Brand-new Ball Game”
(See S. Bajak, pp. 53-56, January 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Chief Warrant Officer Ronald W. Russell. U. S. Naval Reserve-R—The “Airedales” have succeeded in solving many of their critical training problems (i.e., obsolete equipment and procedures, with resulting morale and retention difficulties). But, we in the surface divisions and crews see no such solutions in sight for ourselves. With the exception of some Reserve training ship crews and certain special units, the mobilization readiness of today’s surface reserve forces can be described in general terms as equivalent to that of the Naval Air Reserve prior to “Two-Two-Twelve-Three” at best, and far worse than that in many cases.
A lot of scuttlebutt has been heard in recent months about a future influx into the surface units of modern equipment and even personnel cut from regular forces, but these rumors are so far without substance. In any event, what is needed is not a mere rejuvenation of the present system, but a complete reorganization of the magnitude of “Two-Two-Twelve-Three.”
Cover Painting—“Refueling at Sea”
(See cover, December 1970; and p. 91, March 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Lieutenant Commander P. E. Porter, U. S. Navy—As, an ensign, I served as first lieutenant on board the USS Twining (DD-540) from June 1962 through April 1964. During that time, in company with the USS Ranger (CVA-61), it was standard operating procedure for the destroyers with Robb couplings to refuel to starboard of the carrier, while those of us who needed the 4-inch pigtail went along the port side. This practice saved the carrier rig preparation time, and allowed two DDs to refuel simultaneously. I would estimate that we refueled from the port side of the Ranger over 30 times during our Western Pacific deployment.
“Wartime Training for Merchant Marine Officers”
(See J. W. Schute, pp. 102-103, March 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Commander John J. Gelke, U. S. Navy—As a graduate of the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy, I agree with Captain Schute’s plea for more extensive convoy and naval control procedures.
From my own experience, all too little time was addressed to tactics and naval communications when I was a cadet/midshipman at King’s Point. When I was called to active naval service, I joined my first ship with complete confidence in my professional seagoing ability. I knew the Rules of the Road, I could navigate, and was well versed in seamanship; however, I was ill-prepared for communications and tactics. My third day on board the ship, we left for the Western Pacific and participated in a convoy exercise as we departed the harbor. All my navigation and Rules of the Road experience did little good as I scrambled through ACP 148. I therefore agree with the author that the Naval Science curriculum should be slanted more toward possible future Navy/maritime interface.
“The Career Officer as Existential Hero”
(See D. G. Deininger, pp. 18-22, November 1970; p. 91, April; and pp. 99-100, June 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Frank Leary—Lieutenant Deininger does not want the Calverts, McCains, and Moorers of the world lecturing him with the romantic ideals of Decatur. Still, Decatur’s toast (and it was, let it be remembered, only a toast, not the considered statement of a philosophical position) sums up what the citizen hopes and expects a military man will feel. The balanced antithesis is neat indeed: May the country always be in the right (and let us all struggle manfully to make it so); but whether in the right or wrong, may it endure and prevail (because only if it does can we continue to rectify its errors; because if it does not, we have no chance at all, and even an existential commitment will not protect us).
On a related point: I think Admiral Zumwalt’s recent moves toward slackening Navy discipline are likely to return seated on a whirlwind to haunt his successors. If his moves have been correctly reported, the admiral must be misreading his data.
Young men have been enlisting in the Navy these last few years to avoid being drafted into the Army. The Navy has equipped them with talents salable in the civilian marketplace. Why should such men re-enlist, no matter what concessions the Navy makes?
The admiral’s moves will not materially enhance the re-enlistment percentages, but they will materially interfere with the efficiency of the Navy (in the classic sense: work done, as a function of energy expended). If Admiral Zumwalt had studied the history of the Air Force, he would have seen recorded what he will soon be experiencing.
No other Service has done so much as the Air Force to make its enlisted men feel like civilians. In none is morale consistently lower or re-enlistment so precarious, despite the monumental waste and inefficiency which characterize the nation’s junior Service.
If the U. S. Navy is to be merely a comfortable maritime organization indistinguishable from the civilian experience, it will never attract the people it really needs—the dedicated sailors who can maintain the watch on the nation’s sea frontiers during long periods of civilian disregard. It will never be able to rise to challenge as it has so superbly in the past.
“Star of India to Sail Again”
(See Notebook, p. 196, January 1971 PROCEEDINGS)
Leon E. Smith—In reference to the statement that the Star of India is the oldest iron ship afloat—launched on 14 November 1863 at the Isle of Man—I believe the Great Britain, launched 18 July 1843, at the Great Western Ship Yard in Bristol, England, is much older. The Great Britain was the first oceangoing ship to be built of iron and the first large ship to be fitted with a screw propeller. She was 322 feet long, with a 50-foot, six-inch beam, and was the largest vessel afloat.
The Great Britain was towed up the Avon River to her berth at Wapping Wharf on 6 July 1970. Great efforts are being made to restore the ship to her original design, then she will be used for study and as a museum piece.