(See M. Murphy, pp. 37–41, March 2013 Proceedings)
Dr. Edgar Bates (former Director, Maritime Domain Awareness, Naval Forces Europe/Naval Forces Africa)—Dr. Murphy is on target when focusing on the endemic corruption in Africa. Arguably, the Niger Delta’s illicit activity is caused because oil revenues are being siphoned off by government officials, and therefore the citizens do not see any tangible benefits from oil extraction, and they want a piece of the action. Equally pernicious, corrupt public officials in Africa are tolerated by their supporters as long as some of the spoils are shared with them, so reforms are not always welcome.
A significant mismatch is having the Navy component (NAVAF) perform law-enforcement training instead of allowing the Coast Guard to take the lead on providing fisheries enforcement and drug-interdiction training to African forces. With perceived deep pockets, the Navy is being tasked with noncombat activities that should be the responsibility of other government entities. In the words of former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, “We are not going to have a successful system if one part of the government is on steroids and the rest is on life support.”
As globalization forces the world’s economies to become more closely integrated and dependent, the Naval Studies Board concluded a few years ago that it is critical that nations coordinate and collectively integrate their maritime security activities by developing maritime partnerships. Notwithstanding the challenge of AFRICOM to first more effectively plan, prioritize, align, and implement U.S. government activities in a collaborative interagency environment, a more concerted effort is essential to coordinate activities with African countries and our European partners who have long-established equities and operational relationships. Having this sort of regional “scheduling conference” would reduce duplication of effort, create synergy, and conserve scarce resources. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been critical that while some capacity-building activities appear to support AFRICOM’s mission, others do not because “AFRICOM is generally not measuring long-term effects of activities.”
The Maritime Domain Awareness Capability Maturity Model (MDA CMM) is a tool for assessing a country’s ability to monitor, patrol, and maintain its maritime environment; it was created at NAVAF for the exact purpose of providing key decision makers the metrics that measure return on investment and gauge a country’s relative improvements in maritime safety and security. According to the MDA CMM, the first of five levels is characterized by countries whose MDA systems are inadequately sustained, whereas at the optimum level countries take a leadership role in regional information sharing. The CMM is responsive to the GAO’s concerns and should be adopted by AFRICOM to help shape an effective investment strategy.
(See R. S. Bell, pp. 78–79, March 2013 Proceedings)
Captain David Scott, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy Reserve (Retired)—Lieutenant Commander Bell overlooks several important points when advocating for basing the USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) in Guam. First, the delay in the arrival of the Mercy in Indonesia was not so much transit time but conversion from a reduced operating state to full operational readiness. To permanently maintain this vessel at full readiness just in case a humanitarian crisis should occur is not cost-effective, particularly in the current economic environment. Second, the LHA/LHD classes of amphibious ships offer far more versatility in the early stages of natural disasters. While the Mercy must have either a deep-water port accessible or rely on helicopters and limited small-boat access, the amphibs’ organic landing craft offer far more flexibility in moving patients and landing supplies under austere conditions. Their capacity to transport Marines or Seabees may be vital when security or infrastructure damage interfere with a medical mission.Finally, I am skeptical that many of the patients transported from Okinawa to Hawaii or to facilities in the continental United States would have been treatable on the Mercy, or that such an option would have been seen locally as preferable.
(See H. H. Mauz Jr., pp. 45–49, February 2013; and S. Arthur and E. R. Hatcher, p. 8, March 2013 Proceedings)
Rear Admiral William W. Cobb Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)—Admiral Mauz has written a superb article putting into perspective the recent fallout from the Navy Inspector General (IG) report concerning the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and the subsequent removal of its top two leaders. To me, his main points are that NPS is an outstanding graduate school that contributes directly to national security, that despite the administrative shortcomings pointed out by the IG, the school turns out leaders of great future promise for our defense establishment and that of our allies, and that research conducted at the school significantly enhances the overall worth of the students and their professors and is exactly what various government agencies need to further their goals. Lastly, a strong NPS Foundation can and does make a positive difference in the academic and social life of the school.
As a graduate from the Operations Research Department in 1975, attendance at NPS opened doors to professional opportunities I could not have predicted and changed my personal life forever. For those who cling to the tired argument that the Department of Defense could send its members to civilian institutions, getting the same degrees and saving money, the reality is that notion is shortsighted. In my curriculum, we took almost double the normal graduate hours to earn our master’s degrees than would have been required in most civilian universities. Of the many positive consequences of this rigorous study, one that stands out is that we were able to examine the subject matter in much greater detail. As almost every former graduate will attest, this fine school enhanced and enriched their lives.
Finally, the NPS Foundation, of which I am a proud founding member, exists only to help the school. Academia and industry alike are strong supporters, and we should continue to further the aims of the Foundation. In this time of declining budgets and national-security challenges, the Naval Postgraduate School is a bargain for our warfighters. As Admiral Mauz writes: “Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Mitchel L. Winick, President and Dean, Monterey College of Law—The dismissal of Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) President Dan Oliver and Provost Leonard Ferrari was a shock to the Monterey Peninsula community. Leaders here have worked closely with these two professionals for many years. They are highly respected colleagues who have represented NPS, the Navy, and our region with integrity and honor. This is an opinion shared by the distinguished NPS Board of Advisors in Washington, D.C., quoted in a recent Monterey Herald newspaper article as saying, “Their [Oliver and Ferrari] exemplary leadership and professional contributions have added substantially to the quality of NPS.”
Reading the published IG reports did little to clarify the reasoning behind the Secretary of the Navy’s actions in removing Oliver and Ferrari. Although it is difficult for an outsider to understand the intricacies of Navy rules and regulations, the reports did not substantiate the claims against Oliver and Ferrari of intentional wrongdoing, gross mismanagement, and wasteful spending.
What the reports did make clear is that there is an apparent culture clash regarding the mission and leadership of a public institution that answers to two masters—military and civilian. There also appear to be confusing and competing management and accounting regulations that overlap when civilian and military programs attempt to coexist.
Perhaps most important, we also learned that there was not a single example or finding of illegal activity or improper personal enrichment related to Oliver or Ferrari. In addition, it was confirmed that management decisions, although not always popular, were made in the normal course of business, documented fully, and processed through appropriate departments for review and approval.
Oliver and Ferrari responded to a call by previous Navy leadership to modernize military education; that mission was defined in the published report of the Committee of the Future of NPS. Furthermore, NPS recently completed a comprehensive accreditation review by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Both of those recent reports reviewed NPS from top to bottom over a similar period of time as that reviewed by the IG report. It is impossible to reconcile the Committee and WASC reports that publicly praised NPS leadership, management, and academic programing with the IG report that reviewed the same institution and leadership—during the same time frame—and described what the IG observed to be a culture of wasteful spending and gross mismanagement.
The authority and right of the Secretary of the Navy to change NPS leadership is not at issue. What is concerning is that in this recent transition of leadership, there appears to be an intentional effort to destroy the professional careers and reputations of two dedicated and distinguished colleagues who are well known and highly respected. The facts represented by their record of professional success and in the published Navy and WASC reports directly contradict the claims against them.
Our local academic community looks forward to meeting and working with the new leadership of NPS. However, we also ask the Navy to reflect and review their recent actions, and reconsider recognizing the dedicated efforts, distinguished careers, and institutional success of Oliver and Ferrari. President Oliver, Provost Ferrari, the NPS faculty and students, and our community deserve nothing less.
(See M. Junge, pp. 26–31, February 2013; and T. A. Davis and M. F. Romagnoli, pp. 8–9, 84, March 2013 Proceedings)
Thomas Motika—I read the article on Navy ethos and wondered what phrase could express the sailors’ world the way Semper Fidelis does that of the Marines.
I went to back to my college Latin and tried different phrases. Then I turned to the Navy Hymn. I realized that to be in the Navy is always to be “in harm’s way.” Every ship leaving port is surrounded by the unfathomable power and changeability of the sea.
Danger is not just from the sea, but from battle in the littorals, cyber warfare, and the endless uncertainty of living and fighting in a three-dimensional battle space. Facing the danger means setting and maintaining a course that guides the Navy like a polar star. The course and the sailors must be constant and true.
My suggestion is to use the Latin phrase Semper Constans or “always constant (trustworthy).” The Latin word constans is defined as “steady, firm, unchanging, constant, and unwavering.”
There is even a Latin expression Constans and Fidelis, “trustworthy and faithful.” This concept unites the Navy and the Marines.
The expression “Every sailor is a sailor” comes alive when we look at the Latin equivalent: Semper Nauta or “always a sailor.” No matter what the job or where it is, being in the Navy is to be first and foremost a sailor.
The Navy needs an expressive motto to reflect the commitment and dedication of its people. While I was attending college taking Latin, many in the Navy defended this country from threats abroad. Please accept the above suggestions as my thank you for their efforts.
(See B. LeFebvre, p. 12, February 2013; and P. McGinn, p. 84, March 2013 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander Eric A. Coop, U.S. Navy—Disclaimer: I’m an active-duty surface-warfare officer and don’t claim to understand how the Coast Guard does business regarding warfare insignia. I do think, though, that this discussion could be had across all services. I would like to explain why I disagree with Commander LeFebvre, at least from my black-shoe perspective.
First, he dismisses warfare insignia as divisive and goes so far as to suggest that personal and campaign awards are not too far behind. He suggests service members are concerned about sniffing each other out and making jokes about the other communities. I concede that we do all these things, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. We volunteered to join our respective communities. In most cases (aviators and special warfare are exceptions), we sign up for them. I told my friends and relatives I joined the Navy but didn’t know what I would actually do in the service at first. I think the same could be said of most of us—that our primary goal was to join our branch. I also believe we never really forget it. Nor do outsiders. I can be out in town in uniform and to a civilian who is unfamiliar with the particulars of our armed services, they see us as soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. I’ve been asked about my “water wings” on several occasions and what it means. I’ve also been asked if I was an admiral because of the line officer’s star on my sleeve. Our primary identity is with the branch in which we serve.
Second, I concede that we do “sniff” each other out. The commander states that decorations don’t tell our whole story. Of course they don’t. My ribbons don’t tell anyone how I got commissioned (my Naval Academy ring serves that function), where I grew up, or which ships I served in. They do tell that I only completed two full deployments (I completed the other two, just not 90 days), that I’m good with pistols but not rifles, that two of my ships earned the Battle E. My three “Comms” and two “Nams” suggest my captains thought I was good at my jobs. My NATO medal only states that I participated in a NATO operation. It’s not an “I’m better than you” game, as the commander suggests.
Finally, our branch is our primary identity, but our pin(s) are nearly as important. I am a sailor first, but a SWO always. I see another SWO and we instantly have a commonality and shared experiences from which we can forge a relationship. The same goes for any community.
In short, we should continue to wear our devices with pride. They define who we are within our respective branches of the service. They make for good icebreakers whenever we are introduced to another service member for the first time. We expect that our fellow service members have operational experience, and we expect that each has a story to tell.
(See J. T. Manvel, pp. 20–25, February 2013; and N. Polmar, pp. 84–85, March 2013 Proceedings)
Sheldon Lang—Captain Manvel’s article was extremely interesting, but as someone who is old enough to actually have been on board the Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3), I would like to point out some inaccuracies in his description of the two former battlecruisers. In the period that he writes about, instead of only two twin 5-inch mounts there were two 8-inch turrets forward of the bridge. One of these can be seen in the photo printed in the article. Instead of an “array of smokestacks,” a characteristic of the original 1916 battlecruiser design, there was a massive single trunked funnel. This was followed by two additional 8-inch stern-facing turrets. Evidently the original designers envisioned a possibility of independent action for these two giants.
(See T. Rowden, pp. 16–21, January 2013 Proceedings)
Captain Frederick S. Adair, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Admiral Rowden makes a compelling case for the littoral combat ships (LCSs) and their multi-mission capability. While doing so, he discusses a number of unresolved LCS issues. Given the LCS history to date, I am moved to doubt that as many as ten LCSs will be operational by the end of this decade.The Navy League 2013 Almanac states that all guided-missile frigates (FFGs) are scheduled to be retired by the end of the decade. The same source says that mine-countermeasures ships (MCMs) will be replaced by the LCS. Thus, we may see some MCMs beyond 2020.
However, MCMs are far from the capability of FFGs. Admiral Rowden delineates the many planned LCS missions. They are important missions, but most can and should be served by less than guided-missile destroyers (DDGs), and there are other missions for DDGs. I believe there is a need for at least 20 LCSs/FFGs in unrestricted service for the immediate future. It likely would be well beyond 2020 before that number could be realized with just the LCS.
My guess is that at least 14 FFGs would need to be operational in the year 2020. Probably after 2020, and maybe somewhat before then, some FFG savings could be realized by some reductions in FFG capability and, concomitantly, in the size of their crews.