About 13 years ago, E. D. Hirsch Jr. wrote the national bestseller, Cultural Literacy, What Every American Needs to Know (Houghton-Mifflin, 1987). In this book Dr. Hirsch claimed that even in a nation as diverse as the United States the citizenry must share some knowledge of the history of their nation, for without it the culture loses its sense of identity. Hirsch was offering reforms to systems of education, but his ideas can be applied to other concerns of sovereign states. Without a sense of shared identity, a nation has no resolve. And without resolve, there is no impetus behind a national defense. In other words, this disunity signals the beginning of the end. This also can be true for organizations. I am not a historian, and my petition is not that naval officers become historians. However, the lessons of history provide a solace that no naval professional, career-minded or otherwise, should ignore.
Engagement Is What the Navy Must Do
By Commander Ward Carroll, U.S. Navy