"Keep All Super Hornets at Oceana"
(See D. Denneny, pp. 104-106, October 2002 Proceedings)
Laura Henderson—As the wife of an active-duty Marine Corps officer, the daughter of a retired Air Force master sergeant, a former Army public affairs specialist, and a current Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society caseworker, I enjoy reading about many military matters in Proceedings. I am certain I am a minority reader of your periodical.
I began to read Commander Denneny's article with great interest because my family and I recently moved back to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point. This is our second tour here. We came from Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, where we became familiar with the sound of Super Hornets overhead. I have been excited about the prospect of Super Hornets at Cherry Point, which might reunite us with some of our Navy friends. My interest in his article quickly turned to disgust at his biased mudslinging against MCAS Cherry Point and Havelock, North Carolina. His article stated that "Virginia Beach offers an outstanding quality of life, spousal employment opportunities, numerous recreational activities, and exceptional public schools. Unquestionably, it is a larger and far more attractive community for sailors and their families than Havelock, North Carolina." I would like to ask Commander Denneny how much time he has spent in Havelock, New Bern, Craven County, or Carteret County. I have lived here for nearly four years and I must disagree with his generalization that a larger community inevitably is a better community for a military family.
I have found the three public schools my children attend to be of exceptional quality. These schools have the test scores to prove it. I have found the nearby beaches of the Crystal Coast filled with various recreational activities, many of them free to the public. The housing prices and taxes are very reasonable. Compare the basic housing allowance at NAS Oceana to MCAS Cherry Point. A married captain at Oceana receives $1,014 a month while a married captain at Cherry Point receives $795.
I have yet to meet a spouse who can't find a job. Craven County has become a retirement haven, and the accompanying growth and infrastructure rapidly are following. I have found traffic and crime to be of little concern any time of the day. Can Commander Denneny say this of Virginia Beach?
The residents of Craven County are patriotic Americans who won't complain about the Super Hornet's noise. EA-6B Prowlers are unarguably the loudest jets around and Marine Corps Prowlers have been stationed here for nearly 40 years. Craven County residents consider jet noise the sound of freedom!
Does Commander Denneny mean to suggest that the Marine Corps does not consider quality-of-life issues when stationing Marines at Cherry Point? Perhaps Craven County does not offer the proper nightlife setting for a young unmarried sailor or Marine, but it does offer a fine environment for a married military couple with or without kids. Today's military boasts a higher percentage of married personnel than ever before.
My final comment concerns the practicality of keeping all ten Super Hornet squadrons at Oceana. A nonpartisan Congressional Research Service Study may indeed find that splitting the squadrons will impose heavy costs on taxpayers. I say it is money well spent. The start of World War II should have taught the Navy a valuable lesson. Keeping all of our military assets in one location may be the Achilles heel that the terrorists of today will exploit.
"Sea Power 21"
(See V. Clark, pp. 32-41, October 2002 Proceedings)
Commander Terry McKearney, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Admiral Vern Clark's well-organized "Sea Power 21" plan has made its debut as prophet and plan for a Navy that, as the ads tell us, is "second to none." I suspect it will receive broad-based support on Capitol Hill and be translated into several much-needed programs and initiatives.
"Sea Power 21" will, as advertised in the pages of the Proceedings, provide the joint force commander with a "potent mix of weapons," based on its triad of subconcepts, Sea Shield, Sea Strike, and Sea Basing. Clearly, the Navy and its partners, the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, have a charter to increase the seaward elements of the U.S. military. But there's something missing—a sense of a larger "why" to accompany the highly detailed "what" of "Sea Power 21." We need an articulation of why the oceans that divide up the world still matter in an age of 350-passenger jumbo jets and the Internet.
Thumbing through my old Sea Power: A Naval History text by E.B. Potter (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1982), I'm struck how much of the impressive tome was dedicated to the rise of maritime nations, the economics of global commerce, and the evolution of naval technology. All I remember from my sea power classes are the really neat discussions of the battles. Obviously, epochal naval engagements are to be studied and remembered in detail by navies. They are, however, milestones marking the evolution of maritime policies, and the importance of those policies in shaping national destinies cannot be understated. "Sea Power 21" is missing a framework for understanding and developing the next generation of naval policy.
To illustrate the need for (or maybe even kick-start) this underpinning for the century's new naval forces, let's start with a few practice questions:
- Piracy is at an all-time high, although today's cigarette-boat thugs bear little resemblance to the romantic Errol Flynn-like swashbucklers of the movies. Are contemporary pirates terrorists, entrepreneurs, or paramilitary agents of established nation states? How are U.S. interests threatened by this crime wave of increasing economic impact?
- Despite global economic malaise, naval forces around the world are building at a brisk pace. Are these for self defense, economic influence, or local hegemony? With more gray hulls prowling regional seas, is our second-to-none assurance of access guaranteed indefinitely?
- Seaborne smuggling efforts support a healthy trade in a full range of commodities from illegal drugs to refugees. How substantial a threat is this hot market to our borders, economy, or our social infrastructure?
- High-tech merchant ships sail between high-tech ports, moving more and more of the goods necessary for our economically interdependent lifestyle. Can an old-fashioned labor dispute between shippers and longshoremen along our west coast ruin the Christmas of 2002? Can—and will—Canadian and Mexican terminals step in to maintain our lifestyle?
Behind each of these sobering but stubborn factoids lurks a policy issue and beyond that issue is the role of U.S. naval power. The kind of naval forces we should build needs to be linked to a more thoroughly studied notion of how we want to shape the maritime environment in what is now axiomatically referred to as a challenging new global paradigm. Or, more specifically, how the chapter of Sea Power on 2002-2050 ultimately would read.
Up to this point, I have avoided the term "strategy." That comes once the answers to the quiz above sink in to our thought process. What we need to craft in a deliberate manner is a naval strategy, folded within a national maritime policy. There is little recent precedent for developing such a cohesive template. ". . . From the Sea" and "Forward... from the Sea" were the buzzwords of the 1990s, and certainly raised our consciousness of the need for refurbished littoral skills. The "Maritime Strategy" of the 1980s was more of a strategy in the purest sense, aimed against the preeminent Soviet threat of the times. But it was a lazy strategy, like the Cold War's containment. The "prevent defense" of the past 50 years has made us reactive thinkers, and we're now in the almost uncomfortable position of having to postulate a new role for the Unites States. This is strategy, and we haven't done it for a while. In terms of our role as a maritime power, we haven't done it since before World War II.
Perhaps we should develop the national policies and goals we want these shiny new forces to stand behind. This needs to be a studied, reflective, and, to a large extent, theoretical effort, encompassing the full range of issues lapping up against the world's shores. Only then will a strategy emerge that serves the nation for the lifespan of those forces envisioned in "Sea Power 21."
"Small Ships and Future Missions"
(See S. Kelley, pp. 42-45, September 2002 Proceedings)
Captain George Galdorisi, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Commander Kelley has added breadth and depth to the discussion of small- and medium-sized ships in his excellent article. As the Navy transforms at the beginning of this millennium, where ships of this size will fit into the Navy force structure will continue to be the subject of intense debate, and he has added great food for thought that will be useful as discussions regarding these ships continue over the next months and years.
It is readily apparent that Commander Kelley is not a fan of ships of this size. This may be because his frame of reference appears to be focused primarily on forward-deployed battle group operations (as perhaps it should be for the prospective commanding officer of a surface combatant). But by restricting his view in this manner, he may inadvertently miss several venues where these ships can prove their value.
He provides a short recap of the "failures" of small ships in the United States Navy from the 1960s onward, but this recounting may be unduly harsh—especially in the case of the patrol hydrofoils (PHMs). In the early 1990s, I deployed in command of USS Cleveland (LPD-7) for counternarcotics operations in the Caribbean. We were the "mother ship" for a squadron of these PHMs, and these ships were invaluable assets in chasing down and intercepting the "go-fast" boats attempting to smuggle drugs into the United States. No other naval craft could approach the speeds of these drug smuggling boats and aircraft did not always have the means to interdict them. This is a mission that the PHMs would still be well-suited for today.
In the same manner that he does not focus on this history, Commander Kelley may not have his aperture wide enough for the future. As the Navy transforms and executes the Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing missions, and as it moves toward an expeditionary strike force concept, it is envisioned that smalland medium-sized craft of some kind will provide essential force protection for larger naval combatants engaged in other offensive and defensive missions.
Finally, in focusing exclusively on the U.S. Navy, the author may be ignoring other potential uses for small- and medium-sized naval vessels. For example, the Army already is well into experimentation with a medium-sized catamaran to transport troops, and the Marine Corps already is using a similar vessel operationally today to move troops between Okinawa and the mainland of Japan-and saving time and money over traditional methods of transportation. Finally, as the imperatives of homeland security remain with us, it is likely that ships of this size—whether they belong to the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security or some other entity—will become essential elements in defending the littoral regions of the United States.
Commander Kelley has added richness to the small- and medium-sized ship debate, and this debate will be well served if the full spectrum of missions for these sized ships is considered.
"Aspire to Inspire"
(See J. Callaway, pp. 80-81, September 2002 Proceedings)
"Use the Chiefs Mess"
(See R. Brown, p. 79, September 2002 Proceedings)
"So You Want to Be a Department Head?"
(See F. Kacher, pp. 71-73, August 2002 Proceedings)
Chief Jim Murphy, U.S. Navy, Navy Recruiting Command—Lieutenant Callaway's statement that "in [his] experience, only the captain of the ship was directly engaged in developing leaders" is a startling declaration. I quickly reviewed the Lieutenant's brief history of assignments, hoping to find a clue as to how he could come to such a stark revelation. I find it difficult to believe that after serving on board three combatant ships, Lieutenant Callaway never has witnessed anyone other than his commanding officers developing leaders. Even in lesser commands, leaders are developed on a continuing basis, and by many more people than just the skipper. Either Lieutenant Callaway has served his career with blinders on, or he just isn't aware of how leaders are developed in our Navy and who's involved in the process. If there is one task Navy chiefs perform with equal vigor to accomplishing the mission, it's developing leaders, both officer and enlisted. Lieutenant Callaway must have been unfortunate enough to have been assigned to a poor chief who failed to adequately develop this young officer early in his career. Otherwise, Lieutenant Callaway would have a vastly different view on the development of leaders in our Navy, and the one example he gives of interacting with his chief would have been more positive than the one supplied, which only serves to represent an extremely small portion of the chief petty officers (CPOs) mess.
Finishing the article, I then hoped to read something positive about the chief's mess written by a commissioned officer. I read Captain Brown's article with a great deal of pleasure, especially his statement that "the CPOs' pride and professionalism are powerful forces." I could not agree more. But Captain Brown also takes a stab at the mess, referring to chiefs who are kept out of the loop "[retreating] to chief's country and pouting." I've known chiefs to get upset and disappointed, but I've yet to enter the mess and see my fellow chiefs pouting. Pouting is inconsistent with pride and professionalism, so Captain Brown's use of both references in describing the CPO community left me confused about his perception. While I've known relatively few Coast Guard CPOs, I'm sure their CPOs messes are filled with pride and professionalism, not pouting.
I congratulate Lieutenant Commander Kacher on his article which successfully "[applies] to all naval leaders." I do, however, take exception with his comments regarding "[seeking] out the best" and "[pushing] them for every commissioning program available," which he professes "provides your best with upward mobility." While the last part is true, aspiring to the ranks of chief, senior chief, and master chief also provides upward mobility. Our goal as leaders should not be solely to push our best toward a commission. We must also motivate them to become senior enlisted leaders.
If we push more of our junior sailors to take the assignments, complete the qualifications, and do all the other things necessary to be selected as a CPO, then maybe Lieutenant Commander Kacher would not have to convince his peers to trust their senior enlisted, Captain Brown would not have perceived his chiefs as pouting, and Lieutenant Callaway would not use stereotypical quotes when referring to chiefs. There obviously is a misconception about the CPOs mess within much of the wardroom. It's time for the Naval Institute to undertake an enlisted-- oriented membership drive, because this open forum can help to change that misconception, and that can only serve to make the sea services stronger.
And in case you're wondering, this letter is an expression of disappointment, not pouting.
"A Leatherneck JSF Is Just Right"
(See A. Tomassetti, pp. 32-35, September 2002 Proceedings)
"Enough Marine Air on Carriers Already"
(See S. Garick, pp. 62-64, August 2002; J. Jogerst, pp. 12-14, September 2002; M. Spence, pp. 20-22, October 2002 Proceedings)
Major Dan Goodwin, U.S. Marine Corps—The September issue featured two articles on the Marine Corps air arm that I would like to address. In praising a short take-off, vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, Lieutenant Colonel Tomassetti recites a well-worn conclusion. I believe that he, and many in the Marine Corps, reached their conclusion prior to even commencing the experiment. STOVL has become the Emperor, running around naked, and no one dares point it out. The AV-8 Harrier and all of its variants created a paradigm in the Marine Corps that has not been challenged, a paradigm should be examined before we spend millions of dollars.
The author is a Harrier pilot, and every pilot falls in love with their first aircraft. I suspect his experience with the Hornet is in a test environment and not an operational one. As a pilot who has never flown the Harrier, only the F/A-18 Hornet and F-ISC Eagle, I don't have the same perspective. I have flown close-air support over the heads of Marines, and I have flown combat air patrols over Southwest Asia and even Washington, D.C. In these missions, loiter time is the critical factor. The X-3513, the STOVL variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, loses hundreds of pounds of gas, and thus precious time, to install the lift fan. That means the difference between reaching Mazar e Sharif, and barely reaching Kandahar in Afghanistan. In addition, based on the author's own charts, the X-35B cuts the payload in half from the X-35C. Even with precision ordnance, close-air support still means multiple targets—and more bombs means more enemy killed. Find me an infantry officer who will honestly state that in combat he would prefer a Harrier with limited loiter time and half the ordnance instead of the F/A-18—even if the latter was based further away.
This leads to the most critical point—the AV-813 has never operated from the forward-operating bases that were its claim to fame. It has operated either from amphibious ships located next to the carrier or from the same landing strips as the Hornets. According to our own doctrine regarding expeditionary airfields, more than half the requirement for concrete or aluminum matting isn't even for the runway. It's for the aircraft parking spots, taxiways to get to the runway, storage for weapons and the petroleum, oil, and lubricants needed to keep the aircraft running. You can land and take off from anywhere, but you won't have fuel or bombs to conduct the mission.
Amphibious shipping is the key to the Marines' forward presence. The AV-813 has been notoriously absent from Marine expeditionary unit deployments in recent years, and there has been little concern. If there's a conflict, the big-deck carriers will be there. I flew training missions off of the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and USS Stennis (CVN-74) for Marines ashore in Kuwait. The purpose of the Gator Navy is to get Marines and their gear on the beach, and that means MV22s, CH-53Es, CH-46s and LCACs. With current communication capabilities, there is little need for face-to-face briefs. The services already coordinate 50 to 60 aircraft strike packages from bases located thousands of miles from each other and conduct them without a hitch. There is no real need to have X-35Bs.
I also have to counter Colonel Jogerst's assertions regarding Marine Corps air assets. The author displays a typical nontactical air Air Force view of the Marines. Captain Garick's August article had nothing to do with implementing a concept of joint operations. On the contrary, his article had to do with not artificially limiting the full range of capabilities the Corps' air arm brings to the battlefield.
The author wrote that "today's Marine Corps aircraft cannot operate from an austere, front-line strip carved out of the battlefield." I'd like to ask Colonel Jogerst to spend a month at the Marine Corps combined arms exercise. The Marine Corps sends all of its squadrons to 29 Palms, California, to support infantry and armor while operating from a tiny strip of AM-4 aluminum matting. It's a dirty, dusty business, living in tents in 1200 heat.
The Marines can deploy worldwide to operate from the most austere of bases with deployable arresting gear, robust aircraft, security, and a supply chain that is the envy of both the Army and the Air Force. Securing and establishing forward airfields is one of the core capabilities of the Marines, and we have our training airfield in Southern California to prove it. Where's the Air Force's 29 Palms, Colonel Jogerst?
No other service can understand the Marine Corps' special brand of air-ground synergy. It is something born of The Basic School when we're 2nd lieutenants and bred through years of training, working, and living together. Marine pilots are Marines first and pilots second. I live and work at an Air Force base—and that's not the case with the Air Force. It's not that doctrine needs to be rewritten, but no other service focuses as closely on air support inside the fire-support coordination line as the Marine Corps. If Colonel Jogerst believes what he says when he states the Marines are the experts at coordinating air power, sea mobility, naval gunfire, and land operations, then why would he attempt to contradict an operator at the deckplate level? Sir, you've heard the operator's perspective, now listen to it.
"Space-Based Radar Lets the Navy See It All"
(See G. Roesler and A. Steinhardt, pp. 56-58, September 2002 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander John Hood, U.S. Navy—The authors present an excellent case for why the Navy should be an active participant in space-based radar (SBR) development activities. However, they also convey a very optimistic picture of the technical maturity of space-based ground moving target indication (GMTI) capability and the predicted cost of such a system. Although an operational GMTI capability has been in place for a number of years on airborne platforms such as the Joint Surveillance/Target Attack Radar System, no one has yet demonstrated the ability to detect moving ground targets from space. The Discoverer II program was supposed to provide this proof-of-concept, but as the authors state, it was cancelled in 2000. Congress cancelled the program in large part because of the projected high cost of the demonstrator spacecraft and follow-on operational vehicles in addition to the perceived technical challenges. The goal of $100 million per spacecraft for Discoverer II represents an order of magnitude cost reduction compared to other previous intelligence satellites. It has not been convincingly shown that such cost reductions can be achieved on these kinds of complicated spacecraft. Costs for a low-earth orbit constellation of SBR satellites could be staggering considering the fact that between 24 and 48 satellites would be required for real-time "continuous worldwide surface contact tracking." Moving the constellation to medium-earth orbit would significantly reduce the number of spacecraft required for global surveillance due to a wider field of view, but would greatly increase the technical challenge of providing a GMTI capability from a much higher altitude.
Another major source of costs that the authors barely touch upon is the tasking, processing, exploitation and dissemination (TPED) infrastructure—all the hardware and software required to get the SBR data to someone who can use it. Providing a real-time, constant stream of SBR imagery would result in massive amounts of data to be transferred to many different locations. Our naval communications infrastructure is inadequate to receive and store such large amounts of information. Consequently, the vision of SBR described by the authors would require huge investments in bandwidth and computers.
Nor do the authors discuss the controversial issue of saying who will control the satellites? SBR is being marketed as a system for direct theater support. This emphasis on direct support to military operations has resulted in demands for not only a direct downlink to theater forces, but also a direct uplink so military commanders can directly task the spacecraft. This has significant ramifications in terms of the associated costs for infrastructure that would have to be acquired to support this type of dynamic tasking.
Recently, concerns have been raised over the lack of investment in the tasking, exploitation, and dissemination infrastructure relating to other current intelligence systems under development. We should not make the same mistake with space-based radar. Everyone likes to talk about the spacecraft, but we often ignore the unglamorous yet essential (and costly) supporting infrastructure.
Although the authors minimize many of the technical and cost challenges associated with space-based radar, they make many valid points in terms of its specific utility to the Navy. The Navy certainly should play a more active role in the space-based radar development process.
"Broaden Armed Forces' Roles At Home and Abroad"
(See J. Kelly, p. 2, October 2002 Proceedings)
Ernest C. Reock Jr.—The only good thing I see in Captain Kelly's article is the note that he is retired. I would fear having an officer on active duty with his views of the war on terrorism. Except for dealing with armed insurrection, the armed forces are not, and never should be, designed to deal with domestic law enforcement. If they were, they would become ineffective as an agency of national defense. This would be like using a sledge hammer to deal with a mosquito. The national armed forces have been used to enforce domestic laws in other societies, commonly known as dictatorships.
Perhaps the scariest part of Captain Kelly's essay is his comment that military commanders need not worry about using their service members for domestic law enforcement because they are now in an all-volunteer force, and therefore would have no objection "to a role that could pit them against their neighbors." Is this why we have an all-volunteer force? If so, we truly are on a slippery slope.
I add that the choice of photograph to illustrate this essay only adds to the frightening prospects. The view of two Marines conducting riot-control training to subdue a protestor is not reassuring. Terrorists do not riot; they act by stealth, and they must be combated by stealth.
If, as Captain Kelly implies, the major opposition to use of the military for domestic law enforcement comes from police unions (which I doubt), I am prepared to make a contribution to my local Patrolman's Benevolent Association.
"JOs Can Help Reduce Unplanned Pregnancies"
(See G. McAllister, pp. 81-82, July 2002; J. Freeman, p. 22, September 2002 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Gregory J. Gahlinger, U.S. Navy—Ensign McAllister's Capstone Essay addresses an issue that every Surface Navy officer faces on a routine basis. Yet, we receive little in the way of training or guidance to deal with it. We are told to discourage sailors from becoming pregnant during sea-duty tours, but the Navy policy on pregnancy can be perceived as enticing to female sailors who want an early transfer from sea duty or simply wish to start a family on their own terms. Current policy is to remove pregnant sailors from sea-going billets by their 20th week and reassign them to light duties ashore near a Navy medical facility to support the sailor to childbirth. Upon giving birth, sailors who give birth are authorized six weeks of uncharged leave followed by an additional ten weeks of light duty before they are again eligible for sea-- duty assignment, providing they can make arrangements for childcare. If they are unable to make arrangements to care for the child while completing their obligation, they are eligible for early discharge. The entire period that they are ineligible for sea-duty assignment counts toward their enlistment obligation and deprives the Navy of sailors where it needs them most.
Unfortunately, Colonel Freeman offers no solution other than to vaguely state that we must avoid "playing the blame game and rise to the challenges of leadership." No officers I know are looking to blame anyone or avoid their responsibilities as leaders. We want a fair and easily understandable policy that is enforced across the board and aimed at maintaining our forces in the highest states of readiness. Colonel Freeman is correct when he states that most officers and senior enlisted leaders do not want to get involved in enlisted personnel's private lives, but the fact remains that pregnancy, albeit a very personal decision, has dramatic repercussions beyond the personal life of an individual pregnant servicewoman.
In the realm of mixed-gender small surface combatant crews, which average 20 to 30% females, the annual loss because of pregnancy of even 5 to 10 female sailors adversely impacts readiness and creates dissension within the ranks. The early loss of any male or female sailor with special naval enlisted classification codes, watch qualifications, and training cycle experience means that ships go without those skills until the Bureau of Personnel is able to provide a replacement or another crewmember is trained to take the lost sailor's place. Pregnant sailors can be retained onboard until their 20th week of pregnancy, but the Bureau does not have a ready pool of replacements for such short-notice manning shortfalls and often the billet goes gapped for many months after the pregnant sailor departs. During the 20 weeks, pregnant sailors often have to be left behind during underway periods or released during working hours in port to make medical appointments. No guarantee is made by the Bureau to provide a replacement prior to the 20th week. Somebody has to do the work, so the command's leaders often must "home grow" a replacement, requiring other personnel to be sent to additional training off ship to acquire the gapped skills.
This is not an attempt to blame the Bureau of Personnel or the methods by which they fill billets on ships. Nor is it an attempt to shirk a touchy leadership challenge. Rather, the fact remains that female servicewomen, like their male counterparts, willingly take the oath to defend their country and thereby are obligated to sacrifice some of their personal rights and privileges in the service of their country. Sea duty is arduous, and joining the Navy means you are supposed to be eligible to go to sea. If these sacrifices conflict with one's personal desires to plan on having children on one's own timeline, do not join the Navy. Unplanned pregnancies will occur, but Navy policy should be modified to keep pregnant women with valuable training invested in them performing their duties when back to their full capacity. Pregnant sailors should not be perceived as being punished for not completing a sea tour due to pregnancy, but they should be obligated to extend their enlistments commensurate with the amount of their enlistment time spent in light duty or uncharged leave status because of pregnancy.
The best solution is to prevent the loss of female sailors due to pregnancy, planned or unplanned, with good counseling and reasonable assistance in planning for future childbearing. Parenting is a lifelong obligation that should not be entered into lightly, and the Navy is a fulltime obligation with life-impacting consequences that also should not be entered into lightly. This must be made clear to potential recruits and they must be made to understand these responsibilities before accepting an enlistment or commission. Recruitment of some demographics may suffer, but those numbers should be compared to the number of trained sailors unable to complete an enlistment or sea tour due to pregnancy. Active-duty personnel need to be reminded of it as well. Ensign McAllister is right: leadership must counsel servicemembers about responsible personal choices with regard to pregnancy as well as their duty and obligations in the military service.
"The Marines Have Quit Their Posts"
(See W. Holland, p. 112, June 2002; B. Trainor, p. 12 July 2002; K. Kuklok, pp. 12-20, August 2002 Proceedings)
Captain Keith Kopets, U.S. Marine Corps—At a time when the exigencies of the war on terrorism have drawn the Navy and Marine Corps closer together, Admiral Holland's comments divide. He claims that the Marine Corps has transformed from the Navy's "security force into another army." That puts him in company with President Harry S. Truman, who called the Marine Corps the Navy's police force, and Army Brigadier General Frank A. Armstrong, who called the Marines "a small fouled-up army talking Navy lingo."
Not since the age of sail have Marines served primarily as the Navy's security force. Without a single organized company, with its men scattered in small detachments on ships at sea and Navy yards ashore, it wasn't much of a Marine Corps. Now the Corps maintains a three-division, three-wing force protected by law. What a strange turn of events. One can hear Commander William F Fullam howling from his grave: "Marines are not needed," he wrote in these same pages in 1890. "As long as the Marine remains, the officer will not learn to rely upon the sailor, nor to trust and develop the petty officer."
Security for the Navy is not a task "unworthy of the Marines." Nor is it a task unworthy of the Navy. Quite the opposite: force protection and intercoastal security is a task requiring contributions from all the sea services. The Marines Corps itself has an entire brigade devoted to the task.
"Two Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team [FAST] companies are advertised as SWAT-like teams, but their employment appears episodic thus far," Admiral Holland writes, "Certainly the Cole (DDG67) was left to her own devices in a high threat situation." True. Some points need clarification, though. The chief of naval operations (CNO) and his numbered fleet commanders deploy FAST Marines, not the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The CNO and the 5th Fleet dispatched FAST Marines from Norfolk and Bahrain to Aden, Yemen, in the wake of the bombing. And if you could catch up with a FAST Marine to pose the question, he would tell you his deployment cycle was anything but "episodic." "Grueling" would more likely be his adjective of choice.
As antiterrorist units, FAST companies are neither staffed nor equipped to protect every man-of-war in the Navy. Their mission is to reinforce existing security forces at bases and facilities and deploy to high-threat areas. Should FAST Marines have been on the scene in Yemen before the Cole pulled in? Though it doesn't say so in the executive summary of the DoD USS Cole Commission Report, the obvious answer in hindsight is yes. But foresight saves lives, not hindsight.
Admiral Holland writes, "Training electronics technicians, boatswain's mates, postal clerks, mess-management specialists, and other ratings to be guards is a stopgap measure." I don't think it is. This is the profession of arms. If one does not know how to bear arms, they are in the wrong line of work. And we as professional military officers have failed them.
The Navy and the Marine Corps need each other more than ever before. But the Marines are not the Navy's police force, nor is the Corps another army. The Corps is a combined arms force, naval infantry, aviation, and logistics. Its naval heritage is a source of pride and strength. It should not be a cross to bear.
"A 21st-Century Draft Will Not Work"
(See C. Briem, pp. 94-95, September 2002 Proceedings)
Captain Larry G. DeVries, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired)—Chief Briem lays out some of the facts against using a universal draft as we have in the past. But his arguments do not provide an option for the day when at least some additional personnel are required. We certainly need a plan to add personnel to the volunteer system. The current system cannot bring in and hold extra personnel on a continuing basis. A surge capability is needed. About 30% of young males feature behavior and life choices by the end of high school acceptable to the modern military. The remainder have used drugs, committed crimes, are functionally illiterate, or are otherwise unacceptable for the volunteer force. To provide the surge capability and to solve this personnel problem we need a program. In this particular case, the basis should be voluntary.
I suggest a program that would involve a young person submitting personal information into a voluntary pool from which the numbers and types of personnel can be pulled when and if needed. On acceptance, the individual would be subject to call-up under the general rules for implementation for a draft. His or her period of risk would be short (say from 17 to 23 years of age). The concept of entry of an individual's data into a voluntary pool would provide a large base from which the surge group could be drawn.
Volunteering for the pool would be an act of patriotism that still would allow an individual to go forward with plans for higher education, marriage, etc. It would provide the individuals with a decision of which they could be proud—having volunteered and been accepted. The risk would be unknown for the individuals over the period of their eligibility for selection, but the larger the pool of individuals the lower the risk of being called as an individual.
The "voluntary pool program" would need an incentive. This would be open for discussion. But perhaps entry into the voluntary pool would open up eligibility for education benefits following the individual's last year of an age range of the pool.
Chief Briem pointed out the problem with the old-style draft. But we do need a solution for a surge capability and that solution must provide personnel who are acceptable to the all-volunteer force.
"See the World? Travel with Congressmen"
(See A. Morrison, pp. 98-100, October 2002 Proceedings)
Captain Kenneth A. Lee, U.S. Navy (Retired)—What a wonderful, concise article describing the author's myriad duties as liaison officer for a post-11 September 2001 congressional delegation to the Middle East. Lieutenant Morrison's account gave a real-time flavor to the difficulties in shepherding a VIP group through multiple war zones and the bureaucracies of multiple governments. Lieutenant Morrison is a valuable national asset, and I hope her hard work is well-rewarded in future assignments. And somebody please find a way to reflect Lieutenant Morrison's experiences, skills, and enthusiasm into the recruiting process. After reading her article, I'm ready to join up again!
"Get Blimps into the Game"
(See W. Armstrong, p, 77, August 2002 Proceedings)
Lieutenant J. Gordon Vaeth, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired)—Blimps are exceptional observing platforms, as Captain Armstrong points out, and should be used for antiterrorism surveillance.
In their larger sizes once operated by the Navy, they could also assist homeland security in a different way. As airborne post-attack recovery vehicles, they could provide help to U.S. cities as they attempt to recover from a terrorist atomic blast. During the 1950s, one of these larger blimps, a naval airship of the ZPG-2 class, demonstrated it could fly 6,890 miles while remaining airborne, unrefueled, for 264 hours.
As a low-flying, slow, and long-endurance aerial command post, such a craft could oversee and direct the firefighting, decontamination, rescue, and damage control on the ground. It could operate as a carrier of electronic equipment to restore communications, illuminated billboards to spell out messages to survivors, and a powerful public address system to talk to people below.
The ZPG-2 is more than example of what could be done—it is the means to do it. Its basic design and engineering were completed long ago, and it should be returned to the air. Lighter envelope materials now are available, and present-day substitutes would need to be found for the reciprocating engines that powered it originally, but there would be no lengthy and costly development effort.
The logical location to base the first of these ships is the former naval air station at Lakehurt, New Jersey. Its airship hangars still exist, and it is only 60 from New York City. ZPG-2s out of Lakehurst could also reach and assist Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Boston. Norfolk and other key southern cities could be covered from another ex-Navy lighter-than-air base with hangar: Weeksville, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. And on the West Coast, there is the old naval air station Moffett Field, California, just south of San Francisco. The former Goodyear and now Lockheed Martine airship dock in Akron, Ohio, could homeport a post-attack recovery vehicle (PARV) unit to aid Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, and St. Louis.
Any of the services wishing to use airships in performing their homeland security responsibilities will have to create their own lighter-than-air service. The companies that fly advertising blimps can operate, maintain, and support the new ZPG-2s, doing so under contract.
"Quit Tobacco Now"
(See S. Escobar, p. 99, July 2002, Proceedings)
Lieutenant Colonel Neal Parker, U.S. Army (Retired)—Doctor Escobar cites tobacco use as a chronic disease and epidemic. This is surely a significant detriment to our forces' ability to fight. Suggested remedies include expanding periodic mandatory flag-chaired meetings and peer counseling for "users" to encourage quitting. He implies that smoke breaks (rewarding to smokers) should be prohibited.
Inasmuch as other behaviors that cause disease or otherwise harm the body are prohibited in the armed forces, why not consider prohibiting possession of tobacco for purposes of use or distribution on all ships, posts, camps, and stations to include military housing and clubs? Appropriately heavy penalties for violation would apply, of course. Dependent spouse or teenager caught smoking in government quarters? Eviction! Our nation can't afford to have military members subjected to second-hand smoke.
Mandatory testing and inspection will be easy. Further, make a special and obvious unfavorable notation on the fitness report and security clearance background investigation report of the "user/addict" or member whose dependant is a 11 user/addict." Put them on special unpaid administrative leave to enter a strict tobacco rehabilitation program, failure of which, or recidivism, results in discharge from military service. Do not accept tobacco user/addicts for enlistment or commissioning.
The Medical Corps could team with Naval Investigative Service and the Criminal Investigation Division to crack down in this important effort to restore fighting fitness. Then pregnancy could be officially declared a disease and that serious barrier to readiness could be removed. (But that's for another letter.) Puhleeze!