“Death of a Sailor’s Sailor”
(See D. A. Rosenberg, pp. 8-11, February 1996 Proceedings)
Rear Admiral William M. A. Greene, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Dr. Rosenberg wrote a fine tribute to the "Sailor’s Sailor.” I offer insight about Admiral Burke’s Naval Institute connection and his last day on active duty.
Admiral Arleigh Albert Burke retired from active naval service on 1 August 1961 in the Field House at the U.S. Naval Academy. The retirement ceremony was in conjunction with the Chief of Naval Operations Change of Command, when Admiral George W. Anderson relieved Admiral Burke.
As Aide to the Superintendent, Rear Admiral John F. Davidson, I was responsible for planning and coordinating the ceremony, attended by several hundred invited guests.
Collateral to my duties as such, I enjoyed the good fortune and honor of serving as Editor and Secretary-Treasurer of the Naval Institute. In those days, a Navy commander serving at the Naval Academy and appointed to the Naval Institute position by the Board of Control headed the relatively small civilian staff. The Naval Institute’s mission was the same then as today; the scope of projects was substantially smaller than today.
Admiral Burke was President of the Naval Institute’s Board of Control for two of my three years there. Thus, I enjoyed the rewarding experience of his counsel and leadership as Chief of Naval Operations. He had a keen appreciation for the value of Proceedings to members of the sea services as a medium for professional expression. He referred to the Naval Institute as “the best technical forum in the world.”
At Board of Control meetings the Naval Institute President emphasized the necessity that we reach out to junior officers, urging them to become members of the Naval Institute, to read Proceedings. and to write articles for publication. I am confident that Admiral Burke was pleased that two of the three Arleigh Burke Essay Contest winners in 1995 were junior officers. [Editor’s Note: All the winners of the 1996 contest are active-duty naval officers, two of whom are junior officers.]
After the change of command and retirement ceremony, a reception was held in Ward Hall. From there Admiral and Mrs. Burke departed the Naval Academy in their trusty navy blue Plymouth. We had planned to provide a car and driver to transport the Burkes to their newly purchased home in Bethesda, Maryland, but Admiral Burke was adamant that once he had retired, his transportation should not be provided.
The Burkes completed their good byes at the reception and departed Ward Hall. The Superintendent and I accompanied them to their Plymouth. As we approached the car, Admiral Burke said laughingly, “Well, I haven’t driven a car in several years, but I suppose driving is like swimming, once you learn how. . . .” Sensing his jovial mood I asked him if he knew his way out of the yard. He responded, “I hope so, but a buoy or two would help.”
As the Burkes were about to drive away I said to the Admiral, “The Naval Academy speed limit is 31 knots.” He smiled, and they got under way ... at 31 knots.
“Around the Knothole”
(See F.A. Prisley, pp. 34-38, December 1995; E.D. Lanman, p. 13 January 1996; K.P Green, p. 20, February 1996 Proceedings)
Lieutenant James P. McGrath, III, U.S. Navy—Commander Prisley has hit the square nail on the round head. From my rather myopic view as a junior, nuclear-trained surface warfare officer, I see the same trends toward ticket punching. I watched my peers (and myself) struggle with the decision of where to go for a first shore tour. The push for the “hot runners" was always toward high-profile jobs in Washington. The detailers discouraged follow-on sea tours for some because they would “mess up your career path.”
I enjoy being ashore and spending time with my family. However, the only way I know to become good at my job—driving ships in combat—is to spend time at sea actually doing my job. For this reason, I agree that the best should be steered toward the vital seagoing billets, and not the staff jobs. The more diverse sea experience surface warriors get, the better ship drivers they will be.
I have witnessed several cases that support both of Commander Prisley’s main points. For those who can perform at sea—keep them at sea. And for those who can’t, keep them somewhere else, where they can perform well.
My former commanding officer served 18 of 26 years at sea on eight different ships. While I served with him, our ship won two Battle “Es” and the Golden Anchor, had the top East Coast naval gunfire support scores, and consistently performed at the head of the pack on all inspections. He was the consummate ship driver and was, as he used to tell us, “one with the ship.” He will retire next year as a captain; many of his classmates have already received their second star. The reason? He spent too much time at sea and not enough time in those crucial shore tours.
The second case involved a junior officer shipmate of mine. He was a total misfit in a seagoing command. He didn’t have the knack of running a division; he was a poor watchstander, and forced others to cover for his mistakes. He was highly intelligent, but he just didn’t belong on board a ship and was unable to earn his surface warfare officer qualification. But after he was unceremoniously transferred to a joint staff, he served with distinction and received glowing marks from his superiors as a first-rate staff officer. Then he was forced to go back to sea on another ship, to earn a surface warfare officer qualification so that he could remain in the Navy and transfer to a staff corps community. His time at sea was a waste for all involved. The Navy wasted 18 months that this officer was away from where he could best serve and the ship deserved an officer better-suited for the job of division officer and surface warrior.
I agree thoroughly with Commander Prisley that we need to get away from the pretty numbers and “equal” opportunities and get back to a system based on performance and results. The way to strengthen our warfighting performance is to ensure that the best personnel available are in the positions that they are best suited for, not the best positions to enhance their careers.
“Submarine Design for the Littorals”
(See J.E. Wright, pp. 39-41, December 1995; J.J. Donnelly, pp. 22-24, January 1996; P.K. Peppe, p. 14, February 1996 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander James E. Wright, U.S. Na\y (Retired)—Captain Donnelly’s response to my article reflects conservative planning used by our submarine designers for the last 25 years. His leading comment that I stated that we should look at a design such as a “600-foot test depth, 20-knot speed submarine which is capable of sitting in the mud” is true, but not that it must be diesel powered. By reducing the maximum speed requirement of the ship, we can introduce non-nuclear power propulsion systems and reduce ship manning (and life cycle costs) by at least one-third, and still build in the electromagnetic stealth and acoustic silencing planned for the NSSN.
Commander Peppe states that “the USS Atlanta (SSN-712), in the last ten months, has been required to go faster than 20 knots, to operate in the littorals at depths deeper that 600 feet, and to put to effective use towed arrays in water shallower than 100 fathoms.” I would expect a 688-class submarine to be able to conduct his stated missions, but all littoral zone missions can be conducted by a 20-knot submarine. Most of the littoral areas of the world are less than 600 feet deep. The requirement to exceed a 20-knots for an extended period is would stem from one of three situations: a totally unexpected political/military requirement; a blue-water mission (e.g., support for a carrier battle group); or a shortage of submarines to meet all mission requirements. Production of a large quantity of less-costly submarines, supplemented by a smaller number of nuclear-powered blue water submarines, will allow the missions to be accomplished without requiring submarines to transit at speeds in excess of 20-knots. Towed arrays are definitely not as effective in waters shallower than 100 fathoms and the new Wide Aperture Array, which is installed on Seawolf (SSN-21)-class submarines, can meet the requirements of a towed array in shallow water.
Captain Donnelly is correct in stating that changing modular sections to a submarine hull is an expensive and time-consuming process but—assuming a 25-year submarine life with ten modular changes—it would still be cheaper than the life-cycle cost of the planned NSSN. There are two key items that are not being considered:
- Production and assembly of the modules into operational submarines using robotics will be recorded. Later removal and replacement of modules using the same shipyard jigs and robotics should allow the entire shipyard period to be reduced to 10-20 days.
- The use of HY30 steel will reduce the problems and costs of SubSafe welding verification to meet the shipyard overhaul period.
Captain Donnelly mentions the NSSN’s planned capability for deployment of unmanned and swimmer-delivery vehicles, lockout chamber, and other improvements, but he is discussing swimmer deployment, not recovery, which has been the major operational problem for all unmanned and swimmer-delivery vehicles. A 36-to-48-inch stem tube will not only eliminate this recovery problem, but also eliminate the requirement for a large lockout chamber for deploying swimmers and the piggyback dry-deck shelter.
“Numerous studies have concluded that a conventional diesel or air-independent-propulsion submarine does not satisfy the multiple missions of the NSSN" is correct. The current "multiple missions” of the NSSN include the need for a 30-knot speed submarine. A mix of Seawolf-type submarines and littoral design submarines would be required to meet all future submarine requirements. The U.S. Navy will always need a nuclear-powered 30-knot submarine that can protect a carrier task force against a nation with a blue-water submarine capability, but a mix of Seawolf-type and littoral design submarines will better meet the total mission requirements, at a much lower cost.
Commander Peppe states that the U.S. Navy’s “4,300 reactor years of safe operation. . . is the envy of civil and military reactor programs worldwide.” This may be true but will mean nothing if we have an accident similar to the Russian Mike submarine that sunk in the North Sea (still causing environmental damage). U.S. Navy submariners refuse to look at the history of our surface combatants operating in littoral zones and being severely damaged by military force (e.g., missiles, mines, bombs, and guns), and seem to think they are invincible. A U.S. SSN detected in shallow water is susceptible to a reactor breech caused by a 500-pound bomb. Bringing a nuclear- powered submarine into shallow water where we can suffer a “Whiskey on the Rocks” incident, or create a nuclear disaster that results in nuclear contamination of a shallow-water ocean area has to be balanced with the perceived requirement to keep all submarines nuclear powered. In addition, deploying a diesel or air-independent-propulsion submarine equipped with the technological advances planned for the current NSSN will not only provide our country with the world’s finest submarines well into the next century, but will do it cheaper as well.
“Maneuvering Past Maneuver Warfare”
(See E.B. Alkeson, pp. 33-35, January 1996 Proceedings)
Captain Wayne P. Hughes, Jr. U.S. Navy (Retired)—I am writing to warn off Navy folks who may think Ted Atkeson is just another shallow Army guy who doesn’t understand how a Navy does its job when he says we have followed “the siren song of maneuver warfare.” He is mostly right. In uniform. General Atkeson had one of the Army’s most creative minds. Among his longstanding interests are operational art. doctrine, and combat theory.
General Atkeson is right that the naval services’ concept of maneuver warfare has not yet been developed as workable doctrine. I have been trying to do that, and so have others, including the Naval Doctrine Command. To get beyond the generalities is not easy, and General Atkeson is very helpful in pointing out the flimsiness of doctrine by slogan, along with the U.S. Army’s experience.
He is particularly acute in showing that maneuver enthusiasts are prone to embrace all actions that have been seen to work and eschew all that have not. These military reformers have defined maneuver warfare so that the opposite must be stupid warfare. General Atkeson is right about the shallowness of the OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop. He might say that maneuver warfare is illustrated by air combat, in which the pilot with an OODA loop advantage shoots down the enemy—which is success measured by combat attrition.
When the Navy finally has sorted out maneuver warfare, a usable doctrine probably will put flesh on this skeleton; but to understand maneuver warfare, a respectable alternative needs to be described. Usually the alternative is attrition warfare, as General Atkeson says. A more accurate term is “Power Warfare,” which implies domination through irresistible force. In successful power warfare, an enemy who fights will be destroyed.
- Corollary One: If an intelligent opponent realizes that he will be destroyed, he will choose not to fight—unless his jugular is threatened.
- Corollary Two: He will fight in desperation when enough is at stake—as we did at Coral Sea and Midway, although we were not destroyed.
- Corollary Three: If he fights tenaciously, both sides will suffer attrition, often severe. The Battles of Tarawa, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa illustrate.
The U.S. Navy can still put irresistible force to sea. That we can (to date) dominate any opponent with superior fighting force is the basis of our free movement. Power first, maneuver follows. Free movement at sea, whether of naval forces (to include Marines) or of cargo, is and always has been the most efficient way to “maneuver” large quantities. Unencumbered movement is the great reward of sea power, as the term was used by Mahan and Corbett. It is what is, or ought to be, intended by the slogan. Operational Maneuver from the Sea. (It also is the noteworthy feature missing from General Atkeson’s short article.)
Maneuver warfare applies to the conduct of a campaign. Thus, the basis of successful maneuver warfare is not ingenuity, nor the expectation that an out-maneuvered enemy will not fight, but wise employment of fighting forces so that the swift and efficient movement of goods and services on the high seas and along the littorals can be exploited to achieve the strategic ends. One might even turn the usual rhetoric on its head and say that fleetness afoot is the effect—not the cause—of successful naval maneuver warfare.
Naval maneuver warfare applies to campaigns, not to battles. Victory in combat will be attained by attacking effectively first. The aim of naval tactics (if there is such a thing in these days of joint operations on the littorals) was, and still is, attrition. One does not achieve victory in a sea battle by outmaneuvering the enemy—unless outscouting him is synonymous.
“Generation X: One Wardroom’s Perspective”
(See J. Sharpe, C. Ratliff, and K. Peppe, pp. 28- 32, January 1996 Proceedings)
Captain E.R. Hebert, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Commander Peppe and Lieutenant Sharpe both seem to lament that the Navy is fostering an atmosphere where equal opportunity and managerial style leadership are dominant themes, while good, old-fashioned, shove-it-down-your-throat power exercises are cast aside. Can they be serious? I am sure I was not the only reader to be concerned by this apparent lack of appreciation of what leadership is, and what “dues” are owed to the leaders by the subordinate.
The only universal laws of leadership I have discovered in my 30 years with the U.S. Navy are that the leader reaps what he sows; that good commands generally treat people right; and that commands trying to foster blind obedience to authority generally proliferate blindness. Most of us have no philosophical or practical difficulty blending Jeffersonian concepts with military requirements. In fact, many of us take pride in being part of a military where respect is earned and accountability for treatment of subordinates is very much a part of our way of life. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
In autocratic leadership environments, whatever is directed to be done generally gets done—but little else is accomplished, and innovation and synergistic thinking are suppressed. Perhaps this style fits some situations where objectives are extremely limited. I suspect however, that on submarines, as on surface ships, there are thousands of processes not covered by checklists or regulations, where we rely on the instincts and knowledge of motivated enlisted personnel. I caution Commander Peppe and Lieutenant Sharpe to widen the apertures of their periscopes—or else they may get exactly what they have asked for.
“The B-1B: In Memoriam”
(See E.E. Riccioni, pp.41-44 January 1996 Proceedings)
Scott L. White, B-1B Program, Rockwell International Corporation—As a dedicated reader of Proceedings and one who depends on factual data for decision making and strategic development, I was profoundly disappointed with Colonel Riccioni’s article. It not only misrepresents the B-1B. but I believe it misrepresents the mission of Proceedings by publishing factual errors, out of context statements, and politically motivated sarcasm. This type of article causes me to question the remaining content of Proceedings for which I do not have such intimate knowledge. Your credibility and position as a leading publication of defense information have been significantly tarnished.
Rear Admiral Paul T. Gillcrist, U.S. Navy (Retired)—My first reaction to Colonel Riccioni’s article was that this is somehow a follow-on to Mr. Di Rita’s satire of a few months ago—but not so. This is for real!
I have kept closer to the details of both the B-1 and B-2 programs than most retired naval officers probably do. Nonetheless, 1 was astonished that one person, and a retired Air Force officer at that, could get so many facts wrong or confused about those two programs!
The article is based on the premise that the Air Force and Department of Defense are planning on retiring the B-1B. Not so! The 1995 Heavy Bomber Force Study chaired by Dr. Paul Kaminski, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, set the foundation for the maintenance of a full fleet of 96 B-IBs. The study concluded that . . planned conventional mission up-grades to the B-IB are more cost-effective than procuring an additional 20 B-2s.”
Furthermore, the author asserts that the initial requirement for the B-IB was as a purely high-altitude nuclear weapons delivery platform. Not so! Experience with the shoot-down of a U-2 and the expanded capabilities of platforms like the MiG-25 and the SA-5 surface-to-air missile taught the United States that a single-mission, high-altitude system was too vulnerable to carry out a nuclear strike. The B-1B systems were designed to use the terrain masking and radar clutter associated with low-altitude, high-speed flight. There is a preponderance of data to suggest that the forward-quarter radar signature of a B-1B is at least two orders of magnitude smaller than that of a B-52; there is still a haven at extremely low-altitude and high-speed flight that is denied to the B-2.
As for the assertion that the requirements for the B-1B were dreamed up by two incompetent boobs operating in a vacuum, nothing could be farther from the truth. Over a seven-year period a team of U.S. government and private- industry engineers conducted the SLAB (supersonic, low-altitude bomber) study and later the AMSA (advanced manned strategic aircraft) study to develop the requirements.
As for the conventional weapons suite, the author is once again far off the mark. The U.S. Air Force is two-and-a-half years into a conventional weapons upgrade for the B-1B, which soon will yield an ability to target 24 aimpoints independently with guided 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMS).
Comparisons are always odious, but a fleet of 96 B-IBs, each carrying 24 JDAMS, can deliver seven times more guided ordnance than a fleet of 20 B-2s, each carrying 16 JDAMS.
The most amusing part of this article is the fact that author has unintentionally sold his own premise down the river. Every aspect of the development story of the B-1B which has plagued the U.S. Air Force over the years has been experienced, to a far greater degree, by the B-2 program—including cost, schedule, management and technical problems. Well after the fact, the U.S. Air Force decided that the B-2 needed a low-altitude penetration capability. That alone imposed a center body structural beef-up, which cost the taxpayers well over a quarter of a billion dollars. Then there has always been the question of true observability—as it relates to susceptibility, vulnerability, and survivability. It turns out that the B-2 isn’t stealthy at all under clear-air-mass circumstances. I watched the B-2 on its maiden flight through an optical system far less capable than, for example, the Television Camera System (TCS) system on the F-14D. The B-2 bomber was clearly visible, and identifiable at a range of more than 40 miles. Studies have shown that in an effective integrated air defense system, optical and infra-red sensors play a very important role. Once detected by even a modest integrated air defense system, the B-2 is dead meat. That is because it can’t cut and run. Even the most rag-tag Third World air force, employing air-to-air weapons as simple as guns, can run down and destroy B-2s. All the stealth, decoys, and electronic systems in the world can’t spoof a stream of bullets.
Captain Joseph K. Taussig, Jr. U.S. Navy (Retired), former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy—To we old timers who worked through the “B-36 Revolution” (a major issue in the “Revolt of the Admirals”) in the late 1940s, and the famous B-50 and B-70 fiascoes. Colonel Riccioni’s article was quite deja vu.
No one can argue logically that air power is not one of the major assets in military operations. In context, the Navy and Marine Corps have been able to keep their offensive and defensive tactical air power assets. But major arguments have persisted since the Unification Act of 1947 established the Air Force as a coequal armed service with the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Overall, the tactical loser has been the Army.
The B-52, essentially built around the Boeing 707, has worked remarkably well and been periodically updated. But the Air Force needs something more to capture more Defense dollars. Hence, it takes advantage of “new comers” and gets involved in the B-50, B-70, and now the B-l and B-2—billions for development and prototype building, but not much realistic bang for the buck.
In a tactical sense, neither the B-1 nor B-2 can do any more than a cruise missile. So why spend billions developing a stealth aircraft that can fly higher, faster, and even (maybe) longer? These dollars will not buy us a penny’s worth of more ordnance on target.
Colonel Riccioni answers the question succinctly. It is a pure political-economic evolution, with no military payout except to keep dollars in the Air Force budget.
“Taking Maneuver Warfare to Sea”
(See T. C. Pierce, pp. 74-77, April 1995; H. P. Liskc, p. 19-20, July 1995; G. Cooper, p. 21, August 1995; W. S. Lind, p. 23, September 1995, W. Breakfield, p. 27, October 1995; J. F. Schmitt, p. 26, November 1995 Proceedings)
Commander Gerard D. Roncolato, U.S. Navy—Lieutenant Liske misses a fundamental point: Maneuver warfare is as much a culture as it is a doctrine. It is not just the movement of forces, but a style of warfare that seeks to disarm the enemy’s mind to maximize the chances for victory. It is built on a contract between leaders and the led. The leader vows to grant maximum latitude to the subordinate in the execution of orders and to back him up if mistakes are made. The subordinate, in turn, disciplines himself to support the commander’s intent and mission. This contract places heavy burdens on both, and demands an active, thinking chain of command.
Furthermore, maneuver warfare recognizes the uncertainty and chaos inherent in war—qualities that are an integral part of the human-versus-human clash, which technology alone can never eliminate. Rather than trying to overcome uncertainty through perfect information, maneuver warfare structures a force to adapt to it—to operate in uncertainty, and to turn the fog of war to the enemy’s disadvantage.
Taking uncertainty into account, maneuver warfare seeks to maximize tempo by decentralizing. This pushes decisions down to the lowest possible level, where they can be made quickly in light of the situation as it exists, not as it was hoped to exist.
This is where Lieutenant Liske’s argument falters. Centralized control is completely alien to the culture demanded by maneuver warfare. It encourages subordinates to wait for orders from above, because it seeks to coordinate and synchronize the actions of all forces from a central location. It denies the exercise of initiative, for fear that the plan may not be executed as designed. In its most pernicious effect, centralized control encourages a spirit of zero-defect leadership, in which it becomes far worse to err than to await orders from above.
Granted, many of the qualities associated with centralized control are popular in peacetime, when strict political control over every detail of military operations is increasingly the norm. Yet, once we understand the distinction between the culture of centralization and that of decentralization, we must ask ourselves if this is the road we want to be on when war comes. In answering that question, we also must ask whether we can change quickly enough, if war should come.
The answer to the latter probably is no. Fleet Admiral Ernest King wrote in January 1941 that he was concerned about the tendency of commanders to specify not only what was to be done but also how. He cautioned that the Navy had to change if it were to prevail in the coming war. He was right—but it took two-and-a-half years and a great many lives to make that transition.
Instead of centralizing because technology allows us to, we should decentralize and bend technology to that purpose. The proliferation of information exchange media can allow greater control from above, but it also can allow for much more informed decisions at lower levels. The question should be not how we get the information to the decision makers at the top, but how we can lower the decision-making level, and then supply that level with the information it needs.
In war, we need boldness, initiative, and a willingness to act in some cases, even despite orders. In peace, we need to encourage those qualities. The challenge before today’s Navy is how to generate the culture needed in wartime while meeting the requirements of peace. How do we build a culture with penalties for not acting, rather than for acting incorrectly?
The Navy must define an operational doctrine that works equally well—from peacetime operations to all-out war. Centralized control risks setting us down the wrong path—a path where our doctrine becomes antiseptic and methodical, but wholly at odds with the nature of war.
We are seeing a trend in that direction already with the growing jointness of our operations. In trying to marry the doctrines of sea, air, and land forces, we are trying to solve problems of uncertainty and coordination through the application of technology. As a result, we increasingly are centralizing our military operations. Yes, the technology is there, but carried too far, it risks destroying the initiative and flexibility of our forces. This in turn threatens to rob jointness of much of its value.
Maneuver warfare, when properly understood and implemented, meets the challenges that face the Navy and the military today. It can encourage the flexibility needed in war while providing the control necessary in peacetime. The problem can be solved by sound doctrine, which does not equate to centralized control.
“The Future Is Now”
(See J.T. Hoffman, pp. 28-33, November 1995; J.W. Hammond, pp. 87-88, February 1996 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Colonel T.X. Hammes, U.S. Marine Corps—I agree with Major Hoffman that the manpower intensive formations we currently field are not the right organizations to fight in a mid-to high-intensity environment. Against a conventional mechanized opponent, using stand-off weapons controlled by small teams of highly trained Marines will minimize the exposure of our forces while maximizing the effect of our precision weaponry.
Similarly, against an unconventional enemy that operates in a rural environment, we may be able to adopt his proposed combination of the sting ray reconnaissance patrols and combined action platoons. However, a couple of cautions are needed with regard to this approach. First, remember that despite the best efforts of the sting ray patrols, regimental-sized North Vietnamese units were able to move around South Vietnam and mass for attacks. Second, the combined action platoons often owed their continued survival to the presence of large conventional infantry units near by.
While indirect fires can provide some of that backup, total reliance on indirect fire would put us in the position of having to “destroy the village to save it.” Using his light forces, we face the problem of protecting our squad-sized elements against up to regimental-sized attacks without massive application of firepower.
Major Hoffman’s recommendation of seabasing will help, but we will require large, highly capable infantry units supported by V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft to reinforce our squad size elements rapidly. Even with these problems. Major Hoffman’s proposed organization, though not perfect, is better than what we have now.
The primary weakness of his proposed organization is its inability to deal with the most likely threats. Recent events have shown that likely opponents will be unconventional forces operating in urban environments. Conventional wisdom contends that unconventional forces cannot survive in an urban area because of the overwhelming presence of the government. Yet recent explosive growth in urban populations has left large, ungovernable areas in virtually every city in the world. Further, the breakdown of governments in many parts of the world has left urban areas as the primary battlegrounds between factions striving for control of the country.
Increasing the probability that potential enemies will turn to urban insurgency against U.S. forces is the stark contrast between the recent successes by insurgents and the devastating losses suffered by the Iraqis. The Palestinians’ success in the Occupied Territories, the Somalis’ successes in Mogadishu, and Serbs’ ability to freeze U.N. bombers by taking hostages have shown the world an effective ways to oppose the forces of Western democracies. These recent graphic lessons will certainly encourage potential opponents to refuse to meet us on the conventional battlefield.
In an urban environment, infestation tactics and precision weapons quite simply won't work. First, the teams cannot survive as small isolated units in an urban setting. Imagine trying to maintain a low profile as marines in the close confines of Mogadishu. Second, even if we find a target, the collateral damage of high explosive rounds (even as small as 40 mm) often will cause unacceptable collateral damage. The use of cruise missiles, laser-guided bombs, and multiple launch rocket systems clearly are out of the question. In these more police-like missions, there is no replacement for trained, disciplined Marines who are prepared to make decisions at the lowest level. And if Somalia and Haiti provided any indications, it takes large numbers of these Marines to control an urban area. Major Hoffman’s proposed company of just 126 Marines will not be enough.
A second major type of enemy can also defeat infestation tactics. A manpower-intensive conventional army, properly handled, will move through our web and attain victory by occupying key centers of the nation it is attacking.
Although we clearly could inflict massive casualties on a North Korean infantry force infiltrating through the mountains, there is no indication that we can stop it with firepower alone. By spreading our forces in a web over the infiltration routes, we will be able to observe his forces moving. However, our dispersion will allow him to break into large numbers of small units that will not offer targets to our stand-off systems. These units will infiltrate and reform on the objective. Once again, we will be forced to destroy the village (objective) in order to save it. The enemy’s superior numbers mean he can accept the casualties we inflict while finding and destroying too many of our small teams as he forces his way through to the objectives.
These two types of enemy—urban insurgents and infantry-heavy forces in close terrain—will provide our greatest challenges in the next century. I hope Major Hoffman’s article will stimulate significant debate that will include two major factors—a careful analysis of the type of enemy we are likely to engage, and the changes needed to modernize our forces’ employment of information age tools. The first step is to visualize our potential opponents and how they will use information age weapons against us. We must organize our forces to fight the likely enemy, not the enemy we’d like. This must include opponents from the unlikely but capable conventional forces to the much more likely and potentially even more dangerous insurgents.
In response to increasingly rapid technological changes, our forces must become less hierarchical and more web-like, to make best use of the advantages conferred by the information age. Sea basing will form an integral part of this concept. It will allow us to keep the larger infantry reaction forces safely over the horizon—ready, rested, and capable of supporting immediately the teams we do have ashore.
The challenge is directly before us and is an immediate one. We must find the force mix that can deal with the full range of conflict—from highly unlikely conventional war to the much more likely counterinsurgency missions. Complicating our search is the fact we must accomplish it while simultaneously dealing with the fiscal and political realities of the next decade, and the ever increasing rate of technological change. It will require a rigorous, far-reaching intellectual effort.
“More Bang for the Buck”
(See N. Polmar. pp. 87-88, January 1996 Proceedings)
Midshipman Second Class Michael Twarog, U.S. Naval Reserve, NROTC Vanderbilt University—It is interesting that the arsenal ship’s hull number is a battleship hull number. After the Wisconsin there were two other Iowa-class battleships that were never completed (BB-65-66), and after them were five never-started Montana-class battleships (BB-67-71). The arsenal ship’s hull number 72 directly follows the last Montana-class ship. However, never in Mr. Polmar’s article does he mention the word “battleship.” The artist’s rendition looks like a greatly stripped-down Iowa-class hull to me. The physical description and the roles of the arsenal ship closely match those of a modern battleship. Why not stop beating around the bush and just call this ship a battleship?
Just a year ago, the Navy struck from the naval register four battleships that were barely halfway through their useful service lives. They had one-of-a-kind armor protection and speed exceeding that of the arsenal ship, and they also carried a formidable cruise missile battery. Although the Iowa-class missile battery is not as large as that called for in the arsenal ship plan, an Iowa-class hull can accommodate the arsenal ship’s missile battery by dismantling and removing one or two 16-inch gun turrets.
The Navy’s serious consideration of building arsenal ships should be accompanied by equal consideration of reacquiring the Iowa-class battleships—if only to keep them in layup. Although the Iowa-class ships in their current configuration are quite personnel-intensive, we should keep the battleships in reserve, to give us a chance to develop the future battleship/arsenal ship.
The Iowa-class battleships should be retained in their current configurations simply because they and their 16-inch guns have proved their effectiveness time after time. They also should be retained because of the potential for using recent advances in gun technology to increase the effective range of the 16-inch battery dramatically. However, if what we want in the future is an arsenal ship as described by Mr. Polmar, then it might be more worthwhile and cost effective to use the Iowa-class hulls with their superior speed, range, endurance, and armor protection instead of building new ships.
“Keep Separate the Command and the Pulpit”
(See K.W. Estes, pp. 70-71 January 1996 Proceedings)
Commander John B. Moore, U.S. Coast Guard—Although I do not share Lieutenant Commander Carkhuff’s concerns about flying with women in combat, I find Lieutenant Colonel Estes’ sentiments profoundly disturbing, perhaps because this is not the first time I have heard such sentiments expressed.
In 1932, in response to moral opposition from the Vatican and Protestant churches. Chancellor Hitler established the “German Christian” church, which subjugated Christian conscience to the guiding light of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party. The exaltation of “race, folk and nation” as the will of God was very seductive to the German people, and fit the mood of the nation.
Not all churches in Germany fell in line with the German Christian church. As a result of such courageous ministers as Hans Asmussen, Swiss theologian Karl Barth, and Thomas Breit, the Barmen Declaration was adopted in May 1934, by a synod of Lutheran, Reformed, and United churches in Germany. Although many who supported the Barmen Declaration quickly fell away under the harsh repression of the Nazis, it still shines as a bright spot in an otherwise dark period of German history. The concept embodied in the Barmen Declaration, that the Christian conscience cannot be subject to the will of the state, is considered so important that this document remains one of the defining Confessions of the Presbyterian Church today.
In the Nuremburg war crimes trials, the judges who represented the Allies, including the United States, rejected the argument that a soldier’s highest duty is to follow orders. The precept that personal morality must transcend the morality of the state was confirmed in this secular venue.
On a more pragmatic level, any attempt to enact Colonel Estes’ ill-conceived advice would certainly run afoul of the First Amendment to the Constitution and the considerable body of law that derives from it. The idea that a service could in any way restrict accession on the basis of religion is a non-starter for many reasons. If nothing else, the demands of diversity require that we tolerate a wide variety of personal beliefs.
If Tailhook taught us anything, it is that we need to cultivate leaders with the strongest sense of honor, personal justice, and propriety. It seems to me we could do a lot worse than having a sprinkling of people with strong personal religious convictions in the service.
“To Each According to his Needs”
(See A.G. Webb, pp. 62-64, August 1995; R.A. Robbins, p. 14, October 1995; J. Manguso, p. 24, January 1996 Proceedings)
Andrew G. Webb—Lieutenant Colonel Manguso in effect accuses me of slandering military people, and I believe I should be allowed to defend myself.
Nowhere in the article did I state that military people are overpaid. And in saying I did. Colonel Manguso appears to be assuming that all military people are equally valuable to their respective organizations. It could be that some military people are overpaid, just as it is likely true that some are underpaid.
The main point I made in the article was that the way military people are paid makes it virtually impossible to tell whether any particular service member is overpaid or underpaid. Thus, in my opinion—and, apparently, that of the most recent Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation—the structure of the current system is overdue for reform.
The fact that extra cash registers have been opened at Fort Sam Houston’s commissary to handle food-stamp users tells us nothing in itself. Food stamp eligibility is based on one’s taxable income, not on one’s total income. Military people receive untaxed cash, in addition to in-kind benefits—benefits that also have value.
Might it not be true that the service members who are using food stamps are really living quite passably, and are merely trying to stretch their incomes with the stamps? I’m sure there are some military people who have no compunction about taking advantage of a handout if they can get it, regardless of their actual need. I sincerely doubt military personnel would go hungry living on their military incomes alone.
If service members can’t feed their families without food stamps, perhaps they shouldn’t have families. Should the military (and, in the end, the taxpayers) foot the bill for people who choose to have families too large for their compensation to support? I fail to see how this question is qualitatively different from the question of whether taxpayers should pay increasingly more to welfare mothers for each additional child they choose to bear. And, in each case, I believe the answer is a resounding “No!”
“Women Shouldn’t Serve on Submarines”
(See M. L. Dembert, p. 72, August 1995; L. W. Tam and J. L. H. Foreman, pp. 13-14, November 1995; K. J. Furguson, p. 21, February 1996 Proceedings)
Mike Carlin—Majors Leslie Tam and Jennifer Foreman were very critical of Captain Dembert’s article. Among the points they brought out was that the author “failed to explain exactly how a coed crew differed from any other heterosexual group,” and also criticized men for “their competitive strivings with and sexual longings for women.”
The latter point is wisely taken, namely, if you want men to perform as expected, don’t have any women around them. If so, they will all be bumping into each other ogling at the women. While this repugnant and powerful human attraction seems to have been successfully eliminated on Star Trek, one has doubts when considering its effects on young males in the full bloom of virility.
“How does a coed crew differ?” As a surviving flight deck firefighter during the 1969 conflagration on board the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), let me address an issue which has been repeatedly brought up all these years in regard to women in the military, “STRENGTH.”
Out of our total of 371 burned and wounded only 28 died with most of the dead being killed outright in the 18 detonations the ship suffered. The rest lived because they were brought off deck so quickly and carried down to sick bay and the battle dressing stations. I was part of a three-man team who carried three different men off the flight deck who certainly would have been immolated in the spreading flames had they not been removed in time. We did this running bent over to avoid flying debris and collapsed under the strain. Then we had to carry stretcher cases down the ladders where there was only room for two men to carry one. The bottom man on the ladder had to carry just about the entire weight of the casualty and this for four decks down. Imagine doing this for four decks up as in the case of the USS Stark (FFG-31). Strength in the armed forces is a necessity, your comrades depend upon it.
“The White House Torpedoes NOAA Commissioned Corps”
(See C. McLean, pp. 8-10, January 1996 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander John J. Marks, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve—Lieutenant Commander McLean’s statements regarding NOAA and its relationship with the Department of Commerce are reminiscent of the same sad song being sung by most members of the Coast Guard. We too face an ever present move by Congress to take away a number of our missions by placing them within civilian contract corporations.
Civilian sector costs have increased at an exceptionally high rate, especially in the past five years in comparison to budget increases afforded Departments of Defense, Transportation, or Commerce. One can only imagine what future costs would be to the taxpayer under civilian contracting schemes. Can you foresee the difficulty we would encounter in sending a civilian contractor into a war zone (e.g., Persian Gulf)? There was no hesitation in sending NOAA.
Commander McLean’s comment, “Perhaps unwisely, the NOAA Corps performed its mission quietly” is a lesson that we in the Coast Guard must take to heart and learn from. We are great at getting word of our successes out within the Coast Guard, but we do not garner support from those whom we serve, the American public. In fact, at times we have caused more harm than good by overzealous enforcement of specific laws, causing some of our erstwhile supporters to turn their backs on us.
Now is the time for all of the commissioned officer corps to join forces in support of our brothers and sisters in their time of need—for soon it will be our turn to fight off the budgetary wolves.
“Reflections on a Naval Career”
(See L. Di Rita, pp. 8-10, August 1995; D. S. Gernes, A. Vittek, pp. 13-14, September 1995; B. Carleton, P. Swartz, M. White, W. Hannon. W. Porter, pp. 16-21, November 1995; F. Carment, L. Melling Tannor, J. W. Crawford, D. K. Wilson, S. Geissler Bowles, J. D. Alden, J. D. Render, A. M, Smith, J. Miller, January 1996, pp. 14-19, Proceedings)
“Naval Institute Board Clarifies Editorial Procedures”
(See Membership News, p. 4, November 1995; J. Miller, p. 19, January 1996 Proceedings)
Captain Robert N. Adrian, U.S. Navy (Retired)—As a former Secretary-Treasurer of the U.S. Naval Institute (and Editor of Proceedings) during the period 1958-59 under the presidency of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke as Chief of Naval Operations, I continually applaud the Open Forum policy of the Naval Institute’s Board in the publication of Proceedings.
The recently published Di Rita critical commentary and the comments that followed in subsequent issues of Proceedings clearly emphasize the importance and value the magazine has in offering a sounding board for the seagoing services in the presentation of uncensored opinions “for the good of the services,” right or wrong.
This brings to mind a matter of policy the late Admiral Burke charged me with during his stewardship of the Naval Institute. He directed that all articles submitted to Proceedings that were critical of Naval Service’s policies or operations be submitted directly to him for review. One was submitted under the title “Invitation To Disaster,” authored by the executive officer and the young operations officer of a new destroyer and critical of the Navy’s development of platforms and training in the field of antisubmarine warfare (ASW). I sent this draft to Admiral Burke for review. He felt the charges in this article were of sufficient importance to have the authors flown to Washington for a meeting with the appropriate Navy ship requirements and ASW personnel, to evaluate authors’ premises. The admiral returned the draft article to me with directions to publish it in Proceedings without editorial changes. I subsequently learned that it brought about a number of needed changes in ASW training in the fleets.
Not too many months ago, I read a similar critique of Navy fighter aircraft training programs in the fleet in a Proceedings article by Commander James D. Oliver, Jr.—“To Train & To Fight,” pages 40-42, September 1995 Proceedings. Possibly this too instigated some needed changes in these programs.
Editor’s Note: Daring the period Captain Adrian discusses, the members of the Naval Institute’s Board of Control evaluated manuscripts for publication in Proceedings. Because of Admiral Burke's busy schedule as Chief of Naval Operations, he only reviewed those manuscripts flagged for him by Captain Adrian. During Captain Adrian's tour, Admiral Burke reviewed approximately six manuscripts prior to publication. Admiral Burke never turned down an article. The article referenced in the comment, however, never was published. The authors undertook to revise their article after their visit to Washington. The revised article wax rejected for publication. Still, the authors believe today that their article made a difference in their Navy.
In 1971, a change in the Naval Institute’s bylaws created an Editorial Board in addition to the Board of Control. The Editorial Board evaluates manuscripts submitted for publication. The Board of Control remains responsible for the overall direction of the Naval Institute. The President and Vice President are members of the Board of Control but are not members of the Editorial Board.
Captain Todd Fredricks, Army National Guard—I have found it very refreshing to read the dialogue generated by Mr. Di Rita’s commentary. Even though I wear the “Green," I subscribe happily to Proceedings. I do so because I can count on Proceedings to present different points of view. Contrast this with the “kiss-up-to-save-my-career-principles,-morals,-and-all-the-rest-be-damned" attitudes that I see presented in other military journals.
At some point all of us must wake up and realize that we are trading money earmarked for training fuel so that we can go gallivanting around Southeast Europe trying to quell a centuries-old conflict that never concerned us in the first place. We have to realize that we are depriving our young Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines of funds to use for school, so we can wave a flag that has nothing to do with our security.
The fact is that we cannot fight a “win- hold-win" scenario without the reserves, yet we’re spending the money that should be used to train these soldiers on expeditions to places that yield us nothing in return. We will spend more than $300 million on each C-17—a sum that could buy a couple of C-5s and a few C-130s. Who’s actually going to fly a C-17 into a blazing tactical situation when $300,000,000 or more could be lost with the expenditure of one Stinger? We also can spend millions and billions and trillions on telemedicine, sticky foam, political-correctness indoctrination, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, ad nauseum—but, we will still miss the mark.
Defending the Republic—fighting and winning wars—comes down to a few simple things: First, training our young warriors in the combat skills elemental to their branch of service. Second, quickly closing with and engaging the enemy. Third, laying steel on the target. It’s that simple.
I commend Mr. Di Rita for his poignant illustration of the emasculation and politicization of the greatest military that this world has ever seen. He is clearly on the mark. He has the courage to say in public that the emperor is wearing no clothes. I only hope and pray that the rest of the men and women who have the privilege and honor of defending this nation quit whining about Di Rita’s "light of truth" and get prepared for war.
Gordon M. Cousins—I agree with Dr. Bowles’ comments. Critics of the decision to publish Mr. Di Rita’s commentary should read the Bill of Rights.