"Why Are Victims Our Only War Heroes?"
(See R. Grassland, pp. 42-43, April 2004 Proceedings')
"The Legend-and Lessons-of Jessica Lynch"
(See J. Kelly, p. 2, March 2004; L. Benson, pp. 12-14, April 2004 Proceedings)
Captain Pete Sandrock, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired)-I am not worried about the resolve of the American people to fight terrorism. With or without battlefield heroes, Americans understand the bloody strategies of terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and the threats they pose. That is why there was and continues to be broad support for the war in Afghanistan.
It is true that Americans' resolve is weakening for the war in Iraq, but that is because they are beginning to question whether this war is a smart way to fight teiTorism. Their questions deserve straightforward answers; our heroes deserve recognition. Let's not confuse the two.
Tom Gussey, James B. Stockdale Chair of Leadership and Ethics, Naval War College-Captain Grassland writes: "Most Americans who lived during the Vietnam War era still can recite the names of one or two POWs. Far fewer can name a single Vietnam battlefield hero." Unfortunately, in retired Air Force historian Lawrence Benson's laudatory letter of the heroism that would earn Navy SEAL lieutenant Thomas Norris the Medal of Honor, he twice spells his name "Morris."
"Assassination and Abduction: Viable Foreign Policy Tools?"
(See J. Collins, pp. 66-67, April 2004 Proceedings)
Colonel W. Hays Parks, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Retired); Pentagon attorney since 1976-Regrettably, I believe Colonel Collins is misinformed as to history, the law, and long-standing U.S. policy. I have worked for more than 30 years on the issue of assassination. I felt it important to respond.
There has been an executive order providing parameters for intelligence activities since the Ford administration. It prohibits assassination without defining it and endeavors to put a lid on unilateral intelligence activities not authorized by the President. The executive order complies with existing treaty obligations, as assassination is prohibited as murder for political reasons. Neither treaty law nor the order prohibits lawful attacks in self-defense, a constitutional responsibility of the President.
Confusion surrounds the term assassination. Hollywood uses it to describe almost any killing. The term often is used pejoratively for political reasons, to condemn a lawful killing that an individual or group does not like.
In 1988,1 prepared an unclassified official memorandum providing clarification (contrary to Colonel Collins's claim that no official source defines the term). It was coordinated within the Department of Defense, with the Departments of justice and State, and with the Central Intelligence Agency. It has been described as a standard reference within these agencies. It was provided to the congressional intelligence oversight committees. It was published in The Army Lawyer in December 1989 and by the U.S. Department of State in its Cumulative Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law in 1995. It contains no revolutionary thinking; it merely distinguishes acts of assassination from lawful attacks on legitimate targets, many of which have been mischaracterized as assassinations. One example of a legitimate attack incorrectly described as an assassination is the 18 April 1943 U.S. Army Air Corps' interception and downing of the Japanese aircraft carrying Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku over Bougainville, killing Admiral Yamamoto.
In decrying the limitation on assassination, care must be taken in ascertaining reasons for caution, which vary from administration to administration. The adage "The law is the first refuge of the scoundrel" is germane. Lawful attacks were thwarted by senior officials in a previous administrations on the ground they might be illegal. The law provided useful cover for a policy decision not to act. In contrast, the cry to waive the executive order prohibition frequently is heard whenever a new U.S. enemy is identified, when in fact what is being suggested is lawful attack of a legitimate target. Neither international law nor the executive order prohibition has inhibited U.S. operations in the war on terrorism. For example, the limit on assassination was not an obstacle to the successful Predator attack on terrorist Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi and other al Qaeda members in Yemen on 5 November 2002. Similarly, sending special operations forces to capture or kill Osama bin Laden does not constitute assassination. Colonel Collins has not made the case that "a reassessment of assassination and abduction as U.S. foreign policy tools . . . seems desirable."
Colonel John M. Collins, U.S. Army (Retired)-My assessment of assassinations as national policy instruments contains a section on unintended consequences. The 22 March 2004 assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founding father, spiritual leader, and mentor of Hamas, may occupy that category, given initially negative responses that spread far beyond Gaza. If so, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, like Samson, may have pulled the temple down on his own head, encouraged Hamas to attack U.S. assets throughout the Middle East, concurrently complicated U.S. peacemaking operations in Iraq, and made it exceedingly difficult (perhaps impossible) for Egypt and Jordan to participate in any peacekeeping process that involves Israel and Palestinians.
A colleague asked me why killing Yassin was any different from killing Osama bin Ladin and his chief deputy, which U.S. forces long have sought to do. My answer is that al Qaeda already is virulently anti-United States (which Hamas was not until now) and already operates on a global basis. Related threats would not disappear if Osama and his deputy died today, but the scope and intensity of threats that al Qaeda poses would not expand appreciably either. Loss of brain power at the top of al Qaeda's totem pole might be somewhat beneficial when viewed from that perspective.
Jonathan E. Sanford, specialist in international political economy, Congressional Research Service-Every action, even the most benign, has unintended consequences. The issue in this case is more whether the killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin had unanticipated consequences. I find it hard to believe the government of Israel could not have known this killing would provoke powerful feelings on the part of the general Palestinian populace, even among persons not previously supportive of Hamas. Hamas will not dry up and blow away because this leader is dead. If the Israelis foresaw the reaction and went ahead anyway, they are behaving recklessly, almost inviting their enemies to attack. If they did not foresee the reaction, then they do not know their enemy and they are operating blind.
I fear that, at this point, both Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy are symbolic rather than operational targets. If they are not indispensable figures in the chain of command, then attacks on them should be weighed for their symbolic value. Killing bin Laden would do us little good and much harm, as would have been the case with a dead Saddam. On the other hand, having the ability to track him down and capture him could be invaluable, because it would tell everyone we have the reach and the capacity to find them, defeat them, and deny them the martyrdom they seek. It also would give us implicit bargaining tools with the lower ranks still in the field, because they might fear further action by them would work to his disfavor.
Colonel Bob Killebrew, U.S. Army (Retired)-This talk about whether Hamas is anti-American or not misses the point. Terrorists long have worked together when their interests coincided-hence the Irish Republican Army popping up in Columbia. The three causes that unite terrorism in the world today are hatred of Israel, hatred of the United States, and money. just as al Qaeda will not go away when we eventually get bin Laden, neither does it matter what particular group of terrorists a terrorist comes from; they don't wear uniforms or pay dues. They are all dangerous to us.
I agree with those who say it was a good thing to nail the sheik, whether or not he was in a wheelchair or coming from prayers. Doing it or not will not add or subtract from Israel's friends or enemies. But it is interesting that with the assassination came an Israeli announcement that they are going after everybody in the Hamas movement's leadership. I suspect things are a little sweaty in the upper echelons right now, as Hamas members ask themselves, "How did the Israelis know he would be coming out of the church just then? How did they know in what car and when Ahmed would be traveling when they hit him with a missile? I wonder who among us are the informers?" I wonder indeed.
You can believe the moderate Palestinian leaders are not unhappy to see the hard-liners eliminated either, though of course they are outraged. Outraged!
"Take the Roll of the Dice Out of the Selection Process"
(See C. Graham, p. 59, December 2003; M. Yates, pp. 18-19, January 2004; T. Brooks, p. 27, February 2004; R. Ricardo, p. 28, March 2004; T. Kramer, p. 28, April 2004 Proceedings)
Commander Rick Ferez, U.S. Navy-Commander Kramer makes some good points regarding the screening process. I would, however, like to address the subject of life after not being screened. Commander Graham states, "The prospect of no advancement while enduring the hard work and long months of family separation leaves one with no choice but to retire at 20." No one likes to not make the cut-but the best advice on handling the "pervasive attitude displayed to noncommand screened officers" is to ignore it.
I did not screen, yet have been able to enjoy what I consider a rewarding career. When I became a nonscreened commander I was in the middle of a tour as a department head for a naval air station. While there, I led sailors and Navy civilians and learned the fine art of leading and managing this diverse organization while learning the logistics involved in running a major naval air station.
Using experience I had gained in a previous ship's company tour, I contacted my detailer over a year prior to rotation and volunteered for the weapons officer job on an aircraft carrier home-ported nearby. I selected this because I knew I would continue to get a chance to lead sailors. The weapons department had more than 230 assigned and in this case included the security division, which consisted of the ship's master at arms (MAA) and related security forces. While this was not a command tour, I consider it one of my most professionally rewarding tours; aviation ordnancemen and MAAs are a proud and professional bunch. I also had the added benefit of being able to keep my family in the same house we had been living in-a plus for stability.
Having punched my sea tour ticket I was detailed to a billet as Department of the Navy liaison to the Federal Aviation Administration at a regional office. This billet has led to my working with Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force air traffic control personnel along with federal and state aeronautical agencies. We are at the forefront of ensuring access to the national airspace system for Department of Defense aircraft. The threat of encroachment on our special-use airspace and offshore warning areas is constant.
I will not be promoted to captain, yet I have been able to work in areas of great responsibility and have learned a lot in the process. By not being on the professional treadmill that comes with being on your community's fast track, you can select billets and locations that are good for your family. This is also the time to start thinking of what comes after the Navy. What contacts are you making? Are your non-Navy counterparts enjoying what they are doing? Are you involved in the Chief of Naval Operations lifelong learning process and thus preparing for transition? You can do all this while doing your job.
Being a commander in the U.S. Navy is something of which to be proud. If you decide to retire at 20 years of service you have a decent retirement that would be the envy of many civilian midlevel executives, yet you are young enough to reinvent yourself in a second career. Better still, you can continue to serve and use your experience and commitment to take part in the transformation of the Navy. You can make the Navy a better place to serve. You will be surprised at how successful you can be!
"U.S. Shipyards Navigate between a Rock and a Hard Place"
(See S. Truver, pp. 80-92, March 2004 Proceedings)
Commander Louis D. Chirillo, U.S. Navy (Retired)-No one should doubt Scott Truver's opinion. The existing U.S. industry for building oceangoing commercial and naval vessels cannot survive without orders for U.S. Navy ships! The events leading to this circumstance started in 1951 when National Bulk Carriers (NBC) of New York leased half of an undamaged naval dockyard in Kure, Japan, to build bulk carriers. The NBC manager in charge, Elmer L. Hann, had been the general superintendent of Henry Kaiser's Swan Island Shipyard in Portland, Oregon, during World War II. Perhaps because of that association, Hann had acquired an open-mindedness about ideas for productivity improvements. Moreover, NBC placed orders for ships to be built at the Kure facility.
Just the year before, well-known statistician Dr. W. Edwards Deming started making a series of visits to Japan to introduce statistical methods that identify how work processes perform. "Accuracy and productivity are linked," he advised. Not long afterward, the Japanese shipyard managers reached a level of statistical control that permitted them to incorporate their accuracy standards in shipbuilding contracts.
Also in the 1950s, Dr. Peter E Drucker, who articulated concepts that professionalized management, began to lecture in Japan. His influence caused Japanese shipbuilders to develop product orientation-to focus on the nature of the parts, subassemblies, and larger assemblies needed to erect ships.
Per Drucker's belief that the most important asset of any organization is its people, a shipbuilding system emerged in Japan that features people, information, and work organized in the same productoriented manner. An organized workforce skilled in problem solving emerged. The result was a constantly self-developing manufacturing system that simultaneously produced ships, specifically including warships, and other heavy-construction end products.
In 1956, it was Great Britain, not the United States, that Japan overtook to become the world's leading shipbuilder. U.S. shipbuilders continued to exploit traditional methods, probably because of pride in their accomplishments during World War II, when the objective was many ships at any cost. It is especially startling that the rationalization in Japan was motivated by Americans, yet the same methods revolution did not start in the U.S. shipbuilding industry until 1979, when the U.S. Maritime Administration created the National Shipbuilding Research Program.
Even so, and to this day, the U.S. shipbuilding industry has not matched the degree of productivity improvement observed in Japan-probably, as some believe, because of lack of incentives caused by cost plus, or de facto cost plus Navy contracts, and the fact that the Naval Sea Systems Command (NavSea) insufficiently exercises the Navy's power as a customer.
Further regarding the shipyard in Kure, it eventually became part of Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (IHI), after NB C's ten-year lease expired. In 1963, shipbuilding started in IHFs Yokohama Shipyard, then under construction. The yard's layout is physical evidence that rationalized processes dictated its very efficient and compact design. In 1973 (before the impact of the Arab oil shock slowed the pace of shipbuilding), that yard, with just two 120-ton cranes and one 30-ton crane, delivered one ore carrier and four tankers from a single dry dock. Each ship was unique and for a different owner, and each exceeded 200,000 deadweight tons.
Certainly, the Japanese advances influenced the development of shipbuilding in South Korea. While Japan managed an orderly decrease in its shipbuilding capacity since the oil shock, Korea made huge investments in facilities to the extent that now Japan and Korea are almost tied for new building tonnage. The People's Republic of China is already in third place and on a fast track.
Thus, the U.S. industry for building oceangoing commercial and naval vessels, no matter how effective it becomes, will be further dependent on orders for ships from the U.S. Navy. However, such de facto subsidy does not have to be continued at any cost. There are some very significant proven disciplines NavSea has so far virtually ignored that can improve greatly the U.S. shipbuilding industry's effectiveness. Chief among these is statistical accuracy control. Accuracy during hull construction improves resistance to high-impact shock, allows submarines to dive deeper, facilitates repair of combat damage, and, among other things, facilitates two or more shipyards manufacturing outfitted and painted hull blocks for the same warship, perhaps per the one-shipyard concept.
In his article in Professional Mariner (April/May 2001, pp. 47-54), "Heavy Lift Brings USS Cole Home, Richard O. Aichele notes, "A decision was made to cut two holes in [heavy-lift ship] Blue Martin's cargo deck in order to permit the propeller blades to project through the holes. The planning had been done based on Cole's construction drawings, but the ship turned out to be slightly shorter in length than the drawings indicated. . . . Because of her slightly shorter-than-expected length, Cole's two screws did not drop into the holes previously cut in Blue Martin's deck." The fix, however nominal, required additional time in a region where another suicide-bomber attack was feared.
"Where Are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?"
(See R. Riggs, p. 106, March 2004; P. Malonc, W. Ellsworth, p. 10, April 2004 Proceedings)
Private First Class Frank M. Possen, U.S. Marine Corps-Why publish such an article when the President is seeking reelection? More liberal bull.
"I do not know if these weapons exist or ever existed." "I have begun to question our motivations." What happened to this lieutenant commander? We bought him books, but he ate the covers! Was not history part of his studies? Did not Hussein use these weapons against the Kurds and Iran? They did exist. And we let Commander Riggs launch missiles! The only salvation in this article is that somewhere in his chain of command his writings will be used to prevent him from achieving a higher platform from which he can again use his freedom of speech to tarnish a president who gave him pride in his service and substantial pay raises and benefits.
Former lieutenant Robert A. Melley, U.S. Naval Reserve-While Commander Riggs has the right to make these comments, I doubt if he did his career any good by playing the part of an acolyte bearing David Kay's baggage. As an interested former naval officer, I researched some of the Web sites that regularly cover such items. They reported that in the months before Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. and Israeli spy satellites identified convoys of large trucks leaving Iraq and heading across the Syrian border. Further, other sources mentioned three sites in the Bekka Valley where material from Iraq was now safely hidden.
While this may not constitute absolute proof there were secret transfers of weapons of mass destruction from Iraq to Syria, I'd bet there's some truth in the reports. Commander Riggs either doesn't read the regular intelligence reports that are available to active-duty officers with the proper clearance, or he isn't willing to make a commitment to his superiors, who obviously have access to more data then he or David Kay.
Commander Riggs should leave military service and find something more soothing of his cynical nature. The 21stcentury U.S. military needs clear-thinking officers who can carry out the orders given to them by superior officers, and who better understand the reason to carry out the assigned mission.
John McClaran-The unfortunate thing about the question posed by Commander Riggs is that it has become election-year political fodder, masking the serious implications for civil-military relations in general and military leadership in particular.
Invariably this question elicits a number of justifications for our commitment in Iraq, including the following: Sadaam Hussein was an evil dictator who tortured and killed his own people; it is the natural extension of the war on terror; the weapons are hidden or were shipped to Syria; Sadaam had the capacity to create weapons of mass destruction and was historically inclined to do so; we are installing democracy in Iraq to ensure the long-term peace and stability of the Middle East. The hard truth is that this nation was committed to war based on evidence that the capability for weapons of mass destruction possessed by the Iraqi regime posed an imminent threat to the United States. This is what the political leadership of our country presented to the American people and the world. This was the grim specter that rushed us to war. What happened?
Is it possible that, after more than a decade in which allied air power occupied the majority of Iraqi airspace, frequently in contact with Iraqi forces, we could have misjudged the threat so badly? What role and how much influence did military leaders have in this decision? Did the military consider Iraq to be an imminent threat? Was it the deployment timeline that forced our hand?
Commander Riggs has every reason to question our motivation for war with Iraq and to demand accountability from leaders. This is not about politics, but rather leadership and the process by which this country commits itself to war. I agree that war is no time for a captain's call, but this issue demands more than the political jokes we get from one side and the political spin we get from the other. It is not funny, and war is not the time to wage politics.
"The Services Need Reserve Veterans"
(See R. B. Stewart, p. 88, February 2004 Proceeding)
Paul Barents-I can think of several veterans who would be proud to take up arms or do whatever is necessary to make our military a better instrument of foreign policy. The problem with the proposal as outlined in this article is that there is a maximum age limitation of 53. As a 59-year-old Marine who has not seen active duty since 1967,1 still feel I am capable of fulfilling some useful role. I know I am not alone.
"MBAs Build War Fighters"
(See N. Kring, pp. 76-78, March 2004; M. Spaniol, D. Stephens, pp. 10-12, April 2004 Proceedings)
"Graduate Schools Want You"
(See C. Michel, p. 112, March 2004 Proceedings)
Captain Williarn H. J. Manthorpe Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired); Adjunct Professor, Joint Military Intelligence College-It is interesting to see two articles emphasizing the utility and availability of MBA programs for naval officers. There is no doubt the Navy needs excellent mangers. As lieutenant Kring rightly notes, "Naval officers are both leaders and managers." The commander or officer at the head of any organization in the Navy is responsible for assuring the organization gets both outstanding leadership and excellent management. The Navy needs both outstanding leaders and excellent managers at each level of its organizational structure.
But as John P. Kotter pointed out when discussing "What Leaders Really Do" (Harvard Business Review, May/June 1990, reprinted December 2001), "leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary systems of action. Each has its own function and characteristic activities." Furthermore, Abraham Zaleznick, professor of psychology at the Harvard Business School, concluded 25 years ago (Harvard Business Review, May/June 1977, reprinted January 2004) that, "Leaders and managers are basically different types of people. . . . managers and leaders have different attitudes toward their goals, careers, relations with others and themselves. . . . leaders are of a psychologically different type than managers. . . . the conditions favorable to one may be inimical to the other." he has expanded on the meaning of that difference for organizations, saying as recently as 1996 that "leaders have more in common with artists, scientists and other creative thinkers than they do with managers" (The Economist/Kom Ferry International study, "Developing Leaders for the 21st Century").
Any officer who has taken the Myers-Briggs Test Instrument will recognize this fact. No person innately exhibits all the behaviors and can develop all the skills required to become both an outstanding leader and an excellent manager. An officer always should be developing new leadership and management skills, whether or not they come naturally. Yet when someone is behaving out of character or using newly developed skills, they are not always performing at their best.
Thus, it is difficult for one person to be both an outstanding leader and an excellent manager. A good example is General George McClellan, who proved himself an outstanding leader on taking over the Army of the Potomac after the Union defeats at Bull Run. Recognizing that, President Lincoln offered to relieve him of that post and make him Chief of Staff of the Army. McClellan replied that he could do it all. But his management duties and their political ramifications engaged all his time and interest and he never got around to leading his Army into battle.
The Navy needs outstanding leadership and management at all levels. That is why, traditionally, every Navy organization has been headed by a leadership-management team consisting of commander-chief of staff, commanding officer-executive officer, organizational head-executive assistant. Each has a primary role: commanders and commanding officers focus on leadership-inspiring the people of the organization and setting goals for the future of the organization-and their number-twos focus on management-the processes of the organization and its day-to-day mission. Because leadership and management are complementary and often overlap, each assists the other in their role.
To make that system work, however, it is important that officers understand the differences between leadership and management, the role each plays in the organization, the skills required to carry out each, and when do lead and when to manage. It is encouraging that lieutenant Kring highlights the "leadership and organizational behavior" aspects of his Harvard MBA, but discouraging that leadership seems to be subsumed into being just one more aspect of management equivalent to "finance, accounting, operations management."
While many undergraduate schools have begun to offer a curriculum in leadership, it is disappointing that our professional schools, such as the Harvard Business School and even the Naval Post-graduate School, have not seen fit to emphasize leadership as a different discipline for which as much education and study is required as for management.
Thus, it is not unusual for junior officers to call for the officers of the Navy Department to be leader-managers (see Captain Kirk L. Freund, U.S. Marine Corps, "Management Is a Vital Part of Leadership," Proceedings, November 1994, pp. 84-86). Those calls often arise because junior officers find themselves overwhelmed with both leadership and management functions during their early tours. They, and sometimes their seniors, fail to recognize that in those initial years junior officers should be getting on-the-job leadership training, practice, and experience and should have a senior non-commissioned officer help with that leadership while being the manager of the organization.
Unfortunately, those calls will continue until the Navy makes it clear that, while a naval officer at the head of any organization is responsible for both leadership and management, most officers cannot be both an outstanding leader and an excellent manager, especially at the same time. Officers must understand that leadership and management are different functions and that each command or organization should be led and managed by a leadership-management team. Somehow, the Navy must make it clear to junior officers that MBAs do not make war fighters. Leadership education, training, and, especially, practice and experience make war fighters. MBAs make managers who provide the critical support war fighters need to succeed.
"What We Can Learn from Jackie Fisher"
(See F. Hoffman, pp. 68-71, April 2004 Proceedings)
Allan T. Ames-Colonel Huffman's article was interesting and informative but contained a glaring error. The remark, "there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today," is indeed famous but he attributes it to the wrong officer. Vice Admiral David Beatty made the remark after seeing three of his battle cruisers blow up under German shellfire with the loss of some 3,000 souls. Beatty's superior, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, not only did not make the remark, he was unaware of the losses for some time because of Beatty's failure to report them.
"We Need Another 'Greatest Generation'"
(See D. McCarthy, p. 30, March 2004 Proceedings)
Roger W. Mueller-This article touched on a theme our family recognized a long time ago. Here is an excerpt from a hometown newspaper article about my favorite uncle, who served in World War II:
"Pvt. Andrew Mueller Back on Duty, Wounds and Malaria Put Him into Three Hospitals"
Pfc. Andrew L. Mueller was inducted into the Army at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and reported for active duty there on October 20th, 1942. . . . Pvt. Mueller . . . took part in the campaigns on Russell Island, New Georgia, and at Vella Ia Vella.
Pfc. Mueller was wounded in the legs, back and head at Vella Ia Vella in November of 1943 and was evacuated to an Army Hospital in New Caledonia and during his service in the islands had suffered eight attacks of malaria. he says the hospitals in New Caledonia are excellent and they received very good care while there. . . . The combination of malaria and wounds prevented him from rejoining his outfit and he was evacuated to the States on January 15th, 1944.
. . . Pfc. Mueller was then given convalescent leave and returned to the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hartman Mueller. he left Monday for Fort George G. Meade in Maryland for reassignment to duty. Pfc. Mueller says he hopes to remain in the army for the duration of the war, but will not be able to return to active infantry duty for some time. he is a modest youth, prefers to minimize his wounds and service and is one of those boys who refused a Purple Heart award because he did not wish his parents to worry about his wounds.
The last sentence of the article says it all for me. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1959 to 1963.1 was assigned to a unit that went to the South Pacific myself, but one that saw no active combat. But, in my mind, it was as though I had left the states in 1960 believing we were in a continuation of the "Greatest Generation." I returned to a different country, one of depressing dishonor and in-my-face protest.
Although Brokaw quoted from a few of the true heroes of that era, there are perhaps thousands of stories similar to that of my uncle. I would indeed like to see another "greatest generation."