(See G. M. Snodgrass, pp. 84–89, May 2016 Proceedings)
Commander J. Patrick Thompson III, U.S. Navy—While Commander Snodgrass provided an excellent review of naval aviation, the editor failed to ensure that his article provided a balanced review. The article ignored the rotary-wing community that makes up one-third of naval aviation. An oversight such as this only helps to fan the somewhat irrational view of many that members of the Navy’s rotary-wing community are second-class citizens. Had the editor provided a more balanced view of naval aviation, he might have included the following:
• Homecoming of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 84 (HSC-84) after continuous deployment in the Middle East. Over the course of 12 years, the squadron amassed more than 14,000 combat hours and the capture of more than 700 high-value targets. The squadron’s return came as a result of budget battles that will cause the loss of one of the Navy’s premier, independently deployable Special Operations Support Squadrons.
• Recapitalization of the minesweeping community (HM), to include the establishment of a training squadron (HM-12) to support combatant commanders’ requirements for minesweeping.
• Advancement and deployment of externally mounted gun and rocket systems to the MH-60S, which increases the lethality of the aircraft and provides increased antisurface-warfare capability to carrier strike groups.
• Integration of the MQ-8 Fire Scout within helicopter maritime strike squadrons and helicopter sea combat squadrons in preparation to deploy as combined detachments of MH-60R/S and MQ-8s
• Tactical and procedural development, from increasing safety while landing on Arleigh Burke-class ships to using helicopters to counter unanned aerial vehicles.
(See A. Scott, p. 12, April 2016; B. D. Dunne, N. Lindemeyer, and B. R. Laub, Jr., pp. 10–11, May 2016 Proceedings)
Commander Terry J. McKearney, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Congratulations to Lieutenant Scott for speaking out on the madness that’s infected our sartorial sense and led us to the brink of unisex uniforms. The progressive march toward this misguided attempt to solve the Navy’s ongoing gender problems belies a simplistic approach: If we make the gals look just like the guys, then all the problems of gender integration will go away. Why, yes—the reason we still face unacceptable levels of “blue on blue” sexual harassment and assault is because, well, the women look like women. If we make them look like men, our problems are solved!
Levity aside, this is serious business. The numbers indicate that after almost 40 years of gender integration, we still have a long way to go in terms of making our female shipmates accepted and respected. The reports available indicate that there are about 1,200 sexual assaults a year in the service. And incidents of sexual harassment, an insidious precursor to this statistic, are all too common. For example, a good proportion of command position (CO, XO, CMC) firings are because of misconduct involving fraternization. We clearly have a long way to go in making sure that female service members are treated not only with professional respect, but with good old-fashioned dignity.
While I don’t have a large sample to draw from, I’d bet that most of the women in uniform today resent shallow and inept moves like unisex uniforms. The servicewomen I know are proud of their jobs and want to be recognized as women as well. They’re professional and want to look as such, and moves that make them look like Shirley Temple do worse than upset them; they undermine the message we should be sending everyone, that our service is made up of the best we have to offer, and we’re big enough to solve the tragic issues of sexual harassment and assault without the simplistic ruse of making women look more like men.
My time in command of mixed-gender units led to my firm beliefs on the topic of gender integration: command attention based on well-defined expectations and accountability, plus the realization that we have a lot of young men and women living closely together and constantly in each other’s company under stressful conditions. One other element is needed in the management of gender issues, that of strong leadership from the women leaders in the organization. I was blessed with it in those instances where I had mixed-gender forces, and it’s needed now even more.
Today’s Navy has no shortage of professional and dedicated sailors like Lieutenant Scott. I hope these very capable women stand up and say “enough” to the conditions and attitudes that contribute to the shameful legacy of sexual harassment and assault in our forces. While they’re at it, they should also say, “Give back our uniforms.”
(See F. G. Hoffman, pp. 22–29, May 2016 Proceedings)
Peter Lahti, Vistage Chairman, Omaha—I chair a private advisory board for CEOs and business owners.
Lieutenant Colonel Hoffman’s article is one of the clearest expositions on the subject of listening to an organization and acting on that learning I have ever read. I passed it on to my group and expect to use it as a discussion piece at our next monthly meeting.
BZ to Lieutenant Colonel Hoffman:
“All: I don’t often send out articles unless they really resonate with me as this one does. And I’m breaking my self-imposed length rule. So if your attention span is limited, use caution—this one is eight pages.
“The attached article from the May 2016 Naval Institute Proceedings is the clearest exposition I have ever read on the subject of encouraging information resulting from actual battle (read business), positive or negative, to quickly be absorbed and analyzed for its value and disseminated throughout a command (read business).
“That practice of actually listening, really listening, to front-line troops (read employees) can pay significant dividends.
“In the article, that behavior is compared and contrasted with a command structure that punished officers who spoke up or were critical of various aspects of the submarine command organization. For example, the Navy forced submarine captains to use torpedoes that didn’t work for the first few years of World War II. The admiral in charge of part of the submarine fleet would relieve captains of command who complained when the torpedoes didn’t work. Men died because of that behavior.
“While your business issues are not life-or-death in nature, the same principles apply. Do you have anyone in your organization who has either management style? With what result? Which one are you? Which do you prefer?”
Rolfe L. Hillman III—The author presented a focused look at the evolving and highly successful U.S. Navy submarine campaign during World War II. I suggest, however, that he omitted some factors in the U.S. Navy’s success and the failed Imperial Japanese Navy’s (IJN) submarine strategy/campaign.
First, the role of the U.S. code breakers in Pearl Harbor and the Ultra intercepts and the breaking of the IJN Grand Escort Headquarter’s “Maru Code” was given little attention. Thanks to the codebreaking, Vice Admirals Charles A. Lockwood and Ralph W. Christie were able to direct the U.S. Navy “wolf packs” to the general area where the Japanese merchant ships were operating and convey when they were anticipated. Once the bad torpedoes were fixed, the kills went up.
Second, a follow-on policy to the immediate reading of the patrol after-action reports was to conduct pre-patrol training exercises in the Pearl Harbor area before heading to the actual combat areas using the lessons learned and the latest intelligence from the patrol logs.
Finally, the IJN was slow to change their submarine- and antisubmarine-warfare (ASW) operations strategy. Japanese submarines’ original objective/strategy was to serve as the surface fleet’s scouts and to strike at U.S. Navy capital ships as targets of opportunity. It relegated attacks on convoys to a secondary priority, and it did not have an effective ASW campaign until late in the war when it expanded the use of convoys with escort ships and aircraft to counter the U.S. subs.
These comments aside, the article is a valued addition to the history/bibliography of the U.S. Navy’s World War II submarine campaign.
(See A. Gordon, pp. 54–59, May 2016 Proceedings)
Rear Admiral William J. Holland, Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)—Most analyses of Jutland in the English-speaking world focused on the roles of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe and Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty as much because of the controversy after the battle as their performance in the battle. Rarely did one read about Admiral Reinhard Scheer or give credit to the skills of the German fleet that made the difference between defeat and disaster. While Dr. Gordon’s reputation merits close attention to his opinions, the German contribution is missing from this analysis.
A quick review of the maneuvers (see the summary plots in the June 2016 issue of Naval History, pp. 22–23) shows the British Grand Fleet twice “crossed the T,” the classic move sought in every battle at sea after the introduction of steam and long-range cannon. Commentators overlook Jellicoe’s deployment of his huge force (24 battleships in six divisions) that put his enemy in the jaws of imminent defeat. But his adversary, Admiral Scheer, recognizing his dilemma, ordered “Turn 180,” a maneuver accomplished rapidly and precisely by his fleet of 16 battleships. Those who have experienced high-speed close-order maneuvers ordered by flag hoist appreciate the individual and collective skills of the many hands and minds that go into such maneuvers. That the Germans conducted such maneuvers three times, under fire in a smoke-filled twilight, reflects great credit on their training.
In battle, the opponent matters. As Dr. Gordon points out, Jellicoe worried about German torpedoes and submarines. Indeed, after-the-battle reports show that further movements to the east in pursuit of the retreating High Seas Fleet would have brought the British into an array of torpedo boats and submarines. The value of the pursuit in inflicting losses on the Germans versus the cost to British was not lost on Jellicoe, and while Dr. Gordon flays him with “great worriers are not great warriors,” rash action has its limits.
The urge to come to grips with the enemy is not an unmitigated virtue. The difference between Fleet Admiral William Halsey, Jr. and Admiral Raymond A. Spruance is instructive. Spruance was timid—turning east after Midway to avoid conflict with the Japanese surface forces and staying close to cover the landings in the Marianas. Halsey’s rush north off Luzon to get at the Japanese carriers left the Battle of Samar to jeep carriers and destroyers. The more cautious approach made for decided victories, and the rash was saved from ignominy by only the reluctance of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita to press home his attack.
Much of what Jutland taught is of little relevance today. Crossing the T is unlikely to ever be seen again. Operation of warships in close formations seems limited to logistic enterprises. But encouraging subordinates to take the initiative becomes even more important in loose formations or independent operations. The fog and friction of war, so evident in the operation of the British light flotillas, will be greater because of the multiplicity of signals and contradictions of sensors. The temptations of seniors to exercise “adult supervision” will be strong. The advice of Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, inventor of network-centric warfare, remains valid: “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.”
(See J. M. Dahm, pp. 36–41, April 2016, and P. Orlowicz, pp. 11–12, May 2016 Proceedings)
Commander J. Michael Dahm, U.S. Navy, author of “Innocent Until Investigated”—Mr. Orlowicz asserts that I advanced a number of errors and misconceptions in my article on whistleblower reprisal investigations conducted by military Inspectors General (IGs). The article was not intended as an assault on whistleblowers, as Mr. Orlowicz suggests, but did seek to juxtapose the legal advantages enjoyed by whistleblowers with the disadvantages faced by military members. I do welcome his points because they actually serve to further highlight the inherent flaws in military whistleblower reprisal legislation and IG procedures.
Mr. Orlowicz contends that I advanced a mistaken premise mixing civilian and military standards, but that responsibility falls to the IG. A Naval IG Investigation Manual (July 1995, pp. 10–14) directly links the Civil Rights Act—Title 7 discrimination standards—to how the IG investigates Title 10 Military Whistleblower Reprisal Act violations. I regret omitting the citation from the article.
In the 1989 debates over civilian whistleblower protection legislation, Congress made clear that the burden of proof should not be borne by whistleblowers because “the agency controls most of the cards.” That seems fair. But military IGs do not investigate government agencies or commands for committing whistleblower reprisal. The IG investigates individuals. An accused officer receives absolutely no support from his service, his command, or military lawyers but still bears the heavier burden of proof to counter prima facie reprisal allegations. Congress’ intent to protect individual rights against powerful government agencies has been turned upside down in investigations where the IG holds all the cards.
Mr. Orlowicz also observes that a large number of whistleblower reprisal allegations are dismissed or withdrawn after a preliminary investigation—60 percent in the past four years. Admittedly not all allegations are simply “assumed to be correct.” But of the 40 percent of cases assumed to be correct (807), only 11 percent of those were substantiated (91). The military IGs appear to invite a large number of reprisal allegations in what could be considered a witch hunt for corrupt military leaders.
Justice has certainly become overshadowed by the whistleblower persecution narrative. Take the recent case of Rear Admiral Brian Losey, Commander Naval Special Warfare Command. His whistleblower reprisal investigation, like my article’s case study, took more than three years. Unlike “Commander White,” Losey received his due process in a hearing before the Secretary of the Navy who subsequently cleared him of wrongdoing. Following correct legal procedure or “best practices” did not prevent senators of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus from holding up the substantiated findings of the skewed IG investigations, trying the admiral in the court of public opinion, and burning his career at the proverbial stake.
The military must absolutely continue to prosecute whistleblower reprisals. But desperately needed reforms guaranteeing balanced investigations and due process for military members are being impeded by the populist drumbeat for whistleblower rights.
(See P. Barkley, pp. 64–66, April 2016 Proceedings)
Dave Kisor—Although it may not be hideously innovative, what about adding 20 or so hours of sailplane training to the curriculum, along with at least five predetermined parachute descents? As long as midshipmen are taught how to drive a sailboat, shouldn’t prospective aviators learn how to drive a sailplane? The students should also read a recent and extremely relevant book on aviation history, Lance Cole’s Secret Wings of World War II: Nazi Technology and the Allied Arms Race (Pen & Sword Aviation, 2015). They may be absolutely flabbergasted at what had already been done, at least with models and gliders, in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
(See J. DiRenzo III and David Boyd, p. 80, May 2016 Proceedings)
Gail Nessell Colglazier, Executive Director, Orleans Historical Society and Museum—Readers of your article should know that the legacy of the famed Motor Lifeboat CG-36500 continues beyond The Finest Hours movie. The actual boat involved in the rescue, fully restored and operational, is owned by the Orleans (Massachusetts) Historical Society and still plies her home waters of Cape Cod 70 years after her commissioning.
Famous for her role in saving 32 men from the ill-fated tanker Pendleton during a ferocious winter storm in 1952, the boat herself is a rescue story. After more than two decades of meritorious Coast Guard service, the CG-36500 was retired in 1968 and sat neglected and nearly forgotten for years. The Society acquired the boat in 1981, and she has been carefully rebuilt and maintained by many dedicated volunteers with the support of generous grants and individual donations. Today she is the only operating survivor of her class on the East Coast and one of the few in the country.
This Gold Medal boat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and can be viewed throughout the summer at her Rock Harbor berth in Orleans. She recently attended the dedication of her successor, the CG-44301, which is now on permanent display at nearby Coast Guard Station Chatham. For more information, directions and the opportunity to support the CG-36500’s continued preservation, readers may go to www.cg36500.org.
The ability to stand in the same place as the boat’s four crewmen that fateful night, trying to imagine the towering waves, howling winds, and blinding snow those heroes experienced, is both humbling and inspiring.
(See J. Dolbow, pp. 100–114, May 2016 Proceedings)
Chief Radioman (Submarine Service) John Hummel, U.S. Navy (Retired), former member of the USS Redfin (SS-272)’s crew—I see that we will have new submarines New Jersey (SSN-796) and Indiana (SSN-789). I also see the John Warner (SSN-785) was placed in Commission, Special. Being an old-school submarine sailor, I still believe submarines should have remained named after things from the sea.
I do get the money angle, fish can’t vote and all that stuff. I do think we should call a time-out here and remember those boats that were lost during World War II and never had their names carried on to new boats. One that comes to mind is the USS Dorado (SS-248). She was lost in the Atlantic on her way to the Pacific. A crew of 84 men whom we have just forgotten. Now that submarines can seemingly be named after anything—such as the Sea Wolf class of three, with three different sources for their names (a former submarine, a state, and an ex-president)—could we not just squeeze a new Dorado into the mix and honor our fallen comrades?
The (Almost) Torpedo Crisis
Norman Polmar, author, The U.S. Naval Institute Guide to Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet—The U.S. Navy’s stock of submarine-launched, heavy-weight torpedoes is running low. The Mark 48 is the only submarine-launched torpedo in the U.S. Navy. None have been produced since 1996. Although much of the inventory has been upgraded, the latest variant being the Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS), there are issues that need to be addressed.
While the U.S. Mark 48 torpedo inventory is classified, various publications and Internet sites have indicated a current inventory of about 1,000 weapons.
Still, the U.S. submarine force is reliant on a single torpedo, which, despite updates, has been in service for more than 45 years. To meet the shortfall of torpedoes for the Navy’s 71 active submarines, the government is planning to restart Mark 48 production in 2016–17.
Last year the Navy awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin’s Sippican division for engineering services in support of “spiral development”—stepped improvements—to the CBASS torpedo. This effort could cover a wide range of support for a renewed development and production program.
The startup time could be lengthy in view of the production interval and the limited development efforts that have been undertaken in that interval. Further, there have been proposals to produce a “modular” Mark 48 that could accept different payloads, propulsion systems, and possibly guidance packages. Incorporating modular features could further delay the production restart.
Another consideration is the fact that the Mark 48 has been provided to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Turkey. It is highly likely that other countries—especially Russia—have had access to the weapon. The Soviets—now Russians—have long been the world leaders in the development of torpedo decoy and jamming devices. This situation could have serious repercussions in view of the U.S. Navy’s dependence on a single type of submarine-launched torpedo. (The Russian Navy as well as other fleets have several types of torpedoes in their submarines.)
Beyond the torpedo issue, the U.S. Navy is the only significant submarine operator that does not have an antiship cruise missile. The underwater-launched Harpoon and Tomahawk antiship missiles have long been discarded. This means that U.S. submarines have to close to within some 35,000 yards or less to attack an enemy warship.
This limitation could be overcome by the “distributed lethality” concept being put forward by Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces. This concept seeks to provide enhanced antiship weapons throughout the Navy’s surface forces and in submarines. Beyond the standard 21-inch torpedo tubes in submarines and the 21-inch diameter vertical launch tubes for Tomahawk land-attack missiles (TLAM), the Navy is now providing two, large-diameter tubes in the bow section of the latest submarines of the Virginia (SSN-774) class. Each large-diameter tube can hold six TLAMs or, in the future, possibly larger missiles. Similarly, the so-called Virginia payload module (VPM) will be added to new-construction SSNs.
The VPM is a 70-foot insert amidships that will have four of these 87-inch, large-diameter tubes that could accommodate a total of 24 TLAMs or other weapons. This could provide each SSN a total of 36 Tomahawk-size missiles plus internal stowage of about 25 torpedoes or other weapons for launching though four torpedo tubes.
The availability of this large number of launch cells in future Virginia-class submarines coupled with the concept of distributed lethality could—albeit belatedly—provide the U.S. submarine force with a powerful antiship-missile capability. Although the U.S. Navy has developed and produced impressive submarines, it has lagged greatly in the development of submarine-launched weapons.