Restore Progress Through Mentoring
By Captain Wayne P. Hughes Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)
If our best officers are not enlightened early in their careers, they will leave the Navy to do something they think is more rewarding, such as making money. The loss of a talented officer is invisible in a system that can only work with what it has. To restore progress in the U.S. Navy, I believe we should adopt a method of grooming leaders that has worked in the past: Having the best senior officers mentor the best junior officers, quietly and almost invisibly.
When I was a junior officer, two things kept me in the Navy, which at that time did not seem to be preparing me for a career of excitement or even danger. The first was an executive officer of my first ship, who proved to me in many late-night discussions that there was more to being a seagoing line officer than being a good officer of the deck. This Rhodes Scholar also recommended that I take graduate education in the then-new and scarcely known field of operations analysis.