On 1 July 1970, Admiral Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt, Jr., was sworn in as the Navy’s 19th Chief of Naval Operations. At age 49, he was the youngest CNO in history, and his three decades of experience had taught him that traditional methods of change often led to the slow death of initiatives, that nontraditional ideas usually were swallowed up by a slow process of approval made slower by the reluctance of conservative senior commanders. He came to believe that ideas that went against the grain of tradition could survive only if they were suddenly brought into the open where they could not be ignored. This philosophy soon brought unprecedented changes to the Navy but also had the corollary effect of creating vehement factions.
Lest We Forget - 'Z-Grams' vs. 'Chicken Regs'
By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)