We’re honored to start off this month by marking a very special milestone: the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Navy Reserve. In celebration of this centennial year, the Chief of the Navy Reserve, Vice Admiral Robin Braun, reflects on the organization’s history, the contributions of its men and women in every major conflict since World War I, and how it has evolved to best serve the Navy and the nation. While reminding us of the key role the Reserve played during the 20th century, she especially highlights the valuable missions it has performed since 9/11, such as homeland defense, logistics support, combat casualty care, and filling individual augmentee billets across all military specialties. Reserve Seabees were among the first troops to arrive in Afghanistan in late 2001, and several Reserve aviation units made numerous deployments in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. As Vice Admiral Braun observes, “The Navy Reserve will celebrate its rich heritage and legacy as it embarks on a second century of service—providing trained and ready forces to the Navy where and when it matters.”
Each year at this time, we pose a question to the commanders of navies worldwide. In light of international security developments in 2014, we wondered what change in their state’s security situation they see most impacting naval operations and force-posture requirements. We also asked them to weigh in on the role of naval partnerships. A shared sentiment among commanders from Benin to Brazil is that demands on navies will only increase in the coming years and that managing the complex maritime-security environment requires pooling of resources and capabilities. As the commander of the Colombian Navy succinctly noted, “Today, no one navy can singlehandedly respond efficiently to the diversity of threats and challenges of the maritime domain.” And of course it wouldn’t be the March issue of Proceedings without Eric Wertheim’s masterful annual offering, “World Navies in Review,” a detailed, country-by-country, region-by-region rundown of global naval developments. As always, a highly informative piece from the editor of The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World.
Does the U.S. Navy have a public awareness problem? Do the American people truly appreciate what their Fleet does for them every day? While the newest commercials targeting potential recruits are a great improvement over previous offerings, the service still has difficulty reaching the general population, for which it is often “out of sight, out of mind.” In this issue, the Naval Institute Press’ director of professional publishing, retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, sounds an alarm that the Navy has a crisis on its hands, and the time has come to do something about it. He maintains that the American public needs to be taught about naval strategy so that those taxpayers will buy into the fact that the nation needs its Navy, and it is worth the money we pay for it. He even proposes having the Chief of Naval Operations appear on late-night television and enlisting the help of celebrities to spread the good word. A sound naval strategy, he writes, “empowers the nation to achieve its policy goals without having to resort to conflict at sea or on land through power projection.”
But no matter how sound the strategy, it will be toothless without the proper forces to execute it. Retired Navy Captain Robert C. Rubel offers his assessment of what Navy leaders must do to preserve the service’s longtime trademark forward presence as the number of ships in the Fleet continues to dwindle. In the process, he warns against trying “to reconcile difficult dilemmas via creative semantics” and believes that “some straight talk on forward presence” is needed lest planners “fool themselves into thinking particular force levels can do things they really cannot.”
It is our great pleasure to announce the Naval Institute’s 2014 Authors of the Year for Proceedings, Naval History, and the Naval Institute Press. Proceedings has selected Captain Arthur H. Barber III, U.S. Navy (Retired), as its Author of the Year for his articles “Rethinking the Future Fleet” (May) and “We Must Own Access” (December). Captain Barber has a long and distinguished Navy career, first on active duty as a surface warfare officer and subsequently as a Senior Executive Service civilian. He was most recently the Navy’s chief capability analyst as the Deputy Director of the Chief of Naval Operations’ Assessment Division.
Charles E. Brodine Jr. has been chosen as Naval History’s Author of the Year for his article “War Visits the Chesapeake” (October), which brought the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay theater to life. The Naval Institute Press has named Captain Bernard Cole, U.S. Navy (Retired), as its Author of the Year for his collection of work, The Great Wall at Sea: China’s Navy Enters the Twenty-First Century (First and Second Editions, 2001 and 2010, respectively) and Asian Maritime Strategies: Navigating Troubled Waters (2013). The Great Wall at Sea was selected for the CNO’s Navy Reading Program. Captain Cole teaches at the National War College in Washington, D.C. Bravo Zulu to all our winners!
Paul Merzlak, Editor-in-Chief