When Rear Admiral John Chase developed his list of nine Navy functions nearly 30 years ago, he helped set the stage for the Navy of today. A fresh look at—and debate on—these functions can help us again to prepare the Navy to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
The 1960s were tough for the U.S. Navy. The Eisenhower defense reorganization and the McNamara Planning Programming Budgeting System had battered the old chain of command. Ships of the 1940s were falling apart, and some of the new ships and designs of the 1950s were experiencing excruciating teething troubles. The NATO naval routine was getting a little stale in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean; in the Pacific the Vietnam War was chewing up men, equipment, and morale alike. Deep societal changes at home were reflected in changing attitudes and behavior in the fleet; and Admiral Gorshkov was sending his own Red Navy farther and farther to sea.