It is time for the Navy to take professional reading to a new level. John Adams, a founding father instrumental in the creation of our service, once challenged his fellow patriots to do just that—to "read and to think in order to cherish the means of knowledge." He warned that a fighting spirit, without knowledge, "would be little better than a brutal rage."
Only with a clear understanding of history, warfare, technology, culture, and leadership can we successfully defend in this new century the ideals on which our nation was founded. And only through that understanding, cultivated by reading, can we distinguish ourselves as American professionals in arms. Put simply, reading fosters critical thinking, and critical thinking makes us better leaders and better warfighters.
That is why this month, on the Navy's 231st birthday, we will unveil the Navy Professional Reading Program (NPRP). No mere static reading list, this innovative program seeks to encourage Sailors of all stripes and pay grades to read by making books readily available to them and by giving them, the readers, a voice in the process.
Let me explain.