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separate and greater magnitude of diff* culty. Complex psychological and socio logical factors provide modern military leaders—particularly those who do no directly support the strategic Triad—'vlt challenges greater than those faced hy their conventional wartime predecessors in motivating combat personnel. Leadership under these conditions is not simpo a question of tactical proficiency or guts> but of psychological preparation that wi sustain the motivation of sailors and Marines to fight and survive in a nuclear or near-nuclear conflict. Unfortunately, prc' vious doctrinal and training limitations have created an environment in which only a handful of junior and mid-leve officers have thought seriously about ho" to lead their subordinates under nuclear conditions, or even under conditions
Much has been written on the requir^ ments for naval leadership in peacetnn and conventional wartime operations- Rarely discussed is leadership under t conditions of a third level—war with t potential for nuclear escalation. ^
Leadership in peacetime is not easy- requires solid communications, an ah'1' j for honest persuasion, and considera self-discipline. Coupled with effec,lV management skills, outstanding PeaCf time leaders balance the natural conce for the morale of their personnel with t requirements for at-sea training- They know that the effectiveness of operations and training depends heavily on the mob vation and morale of their sailors.
Leadership in war is more difncU ' Victory in war—particularly war at sea-" requires more than the coordination pr° vided by effective tactical training. 111 quires bonds of respect and trust tn transcend the fear of personal danger- Sailors or Marines do not stop and reason that orders are logically intended to he r them achieve their mission and ensure their survival. Rather, they act instinc tively—if well trained—and then perse vere in the face of possible death because of loyalty to their unit and a belief in (ne competence of their leaders.
Leadership under conditions with t*1 potential for nuclear escalation is
J5 are likely to “go nuclear.”
Per 6 ^Uest'on nuclear warfare at sea e meates the major debates surrounding -■ rent defense issues: Should more large carriers be built? Can carrier bat-
the ^rosPects f°r survival in the face of thr lmm'nent use of nuclear weapons atens to undermine the Navy’s pri-
^ mission of deterrence—the reten- ti°n of (
capabilities for retaliation and ef-
ers is to m an
Nuclear weapons may involve apparent moral dilemmas, but so does accepting a position of naval leadership. That is why the phrase “without mental reservation” in the oath of office has such special meaning.
NATrv^S ^ cornrn*tteclto the defense of the U S northern flank? What should be for deployment scheme or plat-
n,- * t°r Tomahawk nuclear land-attack thafSI rS ? What*s disturbing, however, is iglscussions at this level appear to lenV^ t*16 assoc’ated “leadership prob- awa ex’sts despite our increasing Spitreness of potential nuclear war. Dew6 h)e sophistication of modem skill*3011 Wstems, the high educational and S anC* mora'e °f the modem sailor, ,. Improvements in the naval educa- “wa system itself, current shipboard act, ‘ orn on appropriate actions in an ti a nuclear war turns on two apho-
like Sh ^Ut ^°Ur aSS t0 tke ^*ast anc* run “k’ ^ • to Australia),” and/or
V^.Your ass goodbye.” pr ,le h is easy to dismiss these ex- suh '°nS 3S humorous cynicism or as a sPok°nSC10US ^orm tension-reduction ard ^ ^ tkose who face potential haz- beh' t06re *S a certain depth of feeling 'nd such statements that the veneer of
natel°r °n^ Part’a*iy belays. Unfortu- y> a view of utter futility concerning
IVe denial of enemy objectives, tio n,C'ermining attitudes have been tradi- less h re^ected and reinforced by a nu ~ han-deadly-serious approach toward wC ear’ biological, and chemical (NBC) er.are training. The task for naval lead- overcome these attitudes built up cle- 6ra ’n which the potential for nu- the^ War at Sea was deemphasized. With inConscious exception of units involved strategic deterrence such as nuclear- ®red fleet ballistic missile submarine N) and special take-charge-and- ^ove-out (TACAMO) communication encrah crews, the Navy has not put its e^t)rt *nt0 training and preparing Personnel for war under nuclear condi- I ns'. This is more than a training prob- ’ >t is a leadership problem. naval officers—both in combatant and (l°n'combatant units—are obligated to demonstrate combat leadership under la C 6ar warfare conditions at sea or on s■. > and there are ways that such leader- P can be enhanced through peacetime reparation. Those officers who would be ^sponsible for the direction of naval arfare in the event of a potential break- °wn of the U. S. nuclear deterrent must come to grips with the special leadership requirements of such a situation, increasing the Navy’s “leadership readiness” along with its improvements in hardware. Just as the new Arleigh Burke (DDG-51)- class destroyers are designed to incorporate NBC citadels to ensure survival and combat effectiveness under those conditions, the Navy must develop among our personnel the psychological “citadels” required for survival. The Navy must also increase its emphasis on NBC training and preparations at all levels, and the most effective way is the oldest way: conscious effort reinforced by example.
By default, American society has been educated to believe that nuclear weapons are qualitatively different than all others. Survival in the face of the “absolute weapon” is commonly perceived as impossible; the possibility of nuclear war is popularly dismissed as unthinkable. The result has been a societal view that is illustrated by both a lack of support for civil defense measures and by protests in favor of utopian disarmament schemes. The Reagan administration has made efforts to interest the public in strategic defensive measures, but the overall effect on social attitudes is unclear.
U. S. sailors and Marines are not immune from such societal views. However, while it may be a civilian’s choice to remain passive in the face of a nuclear attack, military personnel are not afforded an option.
While the problem seems a task beyond the powers of deck-plate leadership, there are measures that can be taken by leadership at all levels. First, leaders have to quit ignoring the existence of the NBC warfare environment. This environment is not a remote fantasy; it is the modern potential war-at-sea environment in which the Navy operates. Effective communications about the possibility of nuclear or chemical biological warfare (CBW) must be directed to crews and officers must bear the burden of ensuring that sailors take this threat seriously. Shipboard NBC training is often routinely poor, primarily because it is perceived to be of less-than-immediate importance. Defensive training designed to fight the ship under nuclear conditions contrasts starkly with our excellent efforts at maintaining the security and readiness of nuclear weapons.
Ironically, the Navy’s concern for nuclear warfare, at least at the shipboard level, appears to extend only through peacetime security to the theoretical moment when the first weapon leaves its launcher. Beyond that, preparation for nuclear war takes a backseat to preparations for operational propulsion plant examinations, command inspections, and other more immediate requirements. Even during mandatory training, nuclear and CBW effects have often been relegated to secondary battle problems. In damage control training, NBC inevitably comes last; it should be first—and efforts to address it should be made at all levels— from the commanding officer to the most junior petty officer.
Second, honest persuasion must be used in ensuring that people realize that survival is both possible and essential in the nuclear battlefield. The Navy has started building its ships to broach the nuclear threshold and continue fighting, now it must build its will to survive. A nuclear war at sea does not necessarily presage a nuclear war on land or the destruction of civilian populations. The sea may or may not be a “nuclear firebreak”—that is, a zone to which nuclear weapons are confined. A tactical nuclear exchange at sea may not mean that the sailor’s family ashore will be instantly killed; however, a U. S. defeat at sea may add to the possibility that the overall strategic deterrent will collapse, thus threatening the safety of families ashore.
Third, the military must attempt—as situations arise—to inform concerned citizens about the realities the country faces in maintaining deterrence on both strategic and tactical levels. This can be done by various means, from official meetings in calm, pre-arranged discussion settings with would-be port visit protesters, to addresses by base commanders before local foreign affairs interest groups, to discussions between individual officers and their civilian contemporaries. Most importantly, the Navy must reinforce the survival-oriented attitudes of naval personnel who live within or visit civilian communities. The Navy cannot shield personnel from the attitudes and views of the civilian sector, but it can make an effort to change passive or negative views. Even if such change never occurs, the effort demonstrates the Navy’s conviction in its mission—a demonstration essential for sustaining morale in the fleet.
These suggestions can only be effective if individual naval officers set the example by demonstrating good leadership in conventional combat exercises, by taking a serious approach to the possibility of using nuclear weapons in war, and by being mentally prepared for such a contingency.
A leader’s attitude toward the possibility of nuclear war inherently involves a question of individual morality. This seems to imply that the decision to place particular emphasis on preparation for nuclear war is purely a personal one. Likewise, there has been a long-standing implication that those in authority who discuss the need for such preparations tacitly condone the indiscriminate use of nuclear weapons, or that such discussion somehow makes the possibility much greater. But, for individuals in positions of naval leadership, the moral aspect is something that should have been carefully considered prior to commissioning or appointment. Once in a command position or in a position involving the handling of nuclear weapons, the matter is no longer a case of personal judgment. Naval leaders are then legally and morally responsible for the survival of their personnel as well as for carrying out the combat mission under all conditions.
Leaders who, for reasons of personal opinion, decide that it is somehow immoral or unnecessary to prepare their people for survival under any potentially hazardous condition, be it environmental weather hazards, conventional conflict— or nuclear conflict—are violating the ethical obligation of leadership and the trust of their subordinates. Nuclear weapons may involve apparent moral dilemmas, but so does accepting a position of naval leadership. That is why the phrase “without mental reservation” in the oath of office has such special meaning.
Naval leaders have an obvious moral obligation for the country’s defense. Although U. S. strategic doctrine is geared toward deterrence, deterrence, by definition, requires our opponents’ conviction that we would be ready and willing to fight in the event deterrence failed. It also requires an ability to match enemy capabilities at all levels of conflict—inclu 1 the use of nuclear weapons. In past yea ’ the possibility of nuclear escalation ing a conventional conflict was not ve apparent. Now it is. The question mental readiness for nuclear war is confined to those involved in stra eg -v deterrent patrols, but is now the respon bility of all naval leaders. Naval P forms are inherently survivable, g1'' adequate protective systems and qua' leadership that can ensure the proper of such systems.
The Soviets appear to hold a milita^ strategy of first use, particularly at Their platforms are designed for it- former Admiral of the Fleet of the S°^ Union, Sergei G. Gorshkov, repeate spoke of the “struggle for the first sa v as the essential phase in naval en§a|a( ments. In his scenarios, the force struck the first blow had a decisive & vantage—particularly against an prepared opponent. The United _ cannot approach such a scenario heartedly, so as to tempt the Soviets test U. S. resolve with threats. _ while, the Navy must develop a lea e^ ship capability to inspire victory at third level.
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