In an article in this journal last year titled “What’s the Matter with Mahan?” Dr. James Holmes encouraged students of 21st-century naval affairs to return to the 19th-century works of the modern sea service’s intellectual father.1 Through voluminous articles and books—including his seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660–1783—and his lectures at the Naval War College, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan established the foundations of naval and global strategy in the years leading up to World War I. Though known for writings that focus on strategy, policy, and theory, those same works also illuminate the essential qualities of good naval and military leadership.
Leadership and Command
You thought Mahan was all about battleships and grand strategy? Well, he also was quite erudite about what it takes to be a good naval officer.
By Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Armstrong, U.S. Navy