The U.S. Navy is ill prepared to enter the 21st century. The service is plagued by major personnel problems, too few ships for assigned missions, less-than-optimal aircraft, and, to some degree, a headquarters organization that is unable to develop a unified naval strategy. The Marine Corps, while better off in most respects than the other armed services, is experiencing a decline in amphibious lift and is engaged in several expensive projects that will provide minimal enhancement of its combat capabilities.
Much of this situation is the result of lackluster leadership in the Navy during much of the past decade. In the 1990s the civilian and uniformed leaders of the Navy have produced or adhered to policies that deterred effective fleet development, innovation, and even confidence. The noteworthy exceptions have been the brief tenures of Admiral J. M. ("Mike") Boorda as Chief of Naval Operations (April 1994-May 1996) and Dr. Richard Danzig as Secretary of the Navy (from November 1998).