Pizza! Everybody Loves Pizza, But…
(See M. Johnson, pp. 76–77, December 2016 Proceedings)
Commander Mark Swinger, U.S. Navy––Kudos to Commander Johnson for his excellent analysis on why we all lose with the current Navy standard core menu. It is easy for everyone to complain about the food on board ship, but Commander Johnson actually tells us why simply heating up frozen food and serving it is bad for everyone. His analysis and reasoning strongly support a change to this frustrating program.
The sailors are not happy with the food, and the sailors who joined the Navy with the intention of actually learning how to cook and take that skill-set with them after the Navy are left wanting. Even worse, I have seen over five deployments that the morale of our hard-working culinary specialists (CSs, or a Navy Occupational Code of B650) has taken a hit. This is especially troubling since one of the primary reasons given for the Navy moving away from the long-running enlisted rating program was to ensure that sailors would be better trained and qualified for employment in the civilian sector after separating or retiring from the service.
Combined with Commander Johnson’s excellent analysis, this reasoning suggests that moving away from the Navy standard core menu would be much more appetizing for everyone.
Rear Admiral William J. Holland Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)—Commander Johnson’s wonderful professional note struck a chord. The second most important man on board a deployed ship is the cook! Crews will defend their commanding officers, but they will fight over who has the better cook.
Commander Johnson’s contribution emphasizes the cost and clumsiness of doing away with the cook, but he overlooks the penalty associated with this mindset in the degradation of habitability when moving the crew’s mess from a good Greek diner model to Papa John’s. The tiny size of the mess hall in a Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine reflects a similar ignorance of the importance of crew gathering space and social adhesion. One of the original plans for the LCS did not include any cook(s).
Who is designing these ships, and who is approving them? Did he/she ever serve on board a ship? Time for those who actually go to sea to take a hand in designing and manning ships with live crews.
Maritime Hybrid Warfare Is Coming
(See J. Stavridis, pp. 30–33, December 2016 Proceedings)
Thomas J. Culora, Dean, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, Naval War College—Admiral Stavridis unpacks the strategic and operational implications and identifies the challenges presented by this asymmetric form of warfare. I commend Admiral Stavridis and the Naval Institute for highlighting this important issue.
Admiral Stavridis admonishes the Naval War College to “take the lead on analyzing this phenomenon, working with the various community tactical centers.” I am pleased to report that during the past two years, the Naval War College has been engaged in a range of efforts across all military and constabulary operations, international law, freedom-of-navigation operations, cyber, and other areas attendant to many of the challenges called out in the article.
This past summer, when the Center for Naval Warfare Studies developed its research agenda for 2017 through 2018, “Gray Zone Conflict” was singled out as a priority for a comprehensive, interdisciplinary research effort in the next 18 months and beyond. This effort will build on the groundbreaking published work by our China Maritime Studies Institute (CMS) faculty on China’s maritime militia as well as the research of many other faculty members. The leadership and the faculty understood that, while we had addressed many of the hard and soft power elements, the only way to uncover innovative methods to counter this form of hybrid warfare is through a multidisciplinary, structured approach.
Admiral Stavridis provides a consolidated accounting of the key tenets of hybrid warfare ashore that he rightly suggests provides a framework for analyzing and developing “hybrid warfare from the sea.” Any research and analysis in this area intended to build a comprehensive strategy, outline a concept of operations, and develop the tools and tactics to counter this form of warfare would do well to use these tenets as the foundation for creative thought.
Building on this foundation, it is essential to remember that the current gains garnered by both the Russians, on land in Georgia and the Ukraine, and the Chinese, in the South China Sea, were achieved through well-calculated risk that triangulated an incremental series of steps to gauge potential opponents’ tolerance and reaction. This was coupled with the use of non-traditional, hazy, hybrid forces and underpinned by classic deception and disinformation campaigns leveraged by the millennial tools of the internet, social media, and offensive cyber activities highlighted in the article. Most things worth achieving involve some level of risk; Moscow and Beijing have not shied away from taking risks and are reaping the rewards of their shrewd calculations.
Thus, approaches to counter gray zone exploits by would-be aggressors, be they nation-state or transnational actors, must address the range of risks and the attendant opportunities. To date, countering gray zone operations is seemingly intractable, as evidenced by the either anemic or non-existent responses to current and past activities. Any analysis conducted by the Naval War College, or others elsewhere, must candidly identify to U.S. military and civilian leadership the risks and rewards among a range of whole-of-government, cross-domain activities and provide a menu of options and actions. Without a full appreciation of the risks and rewards, and the grit and fortitude to take those risks, countering maritime hybrid warfare will remain intractable. As does Admiral Stavridis, we at the Center for Naval Warfare Studies take this challenge very seriously.
Future Carrier Strike Is Unmanned
(See N. Woodworth, pp. 38–42, December 2016 Proceedings)
Rear Admiral Terry B. Kraft, U.S. Navy (Retired)—I always enjoy Proceedings, but the December issue was especially outstanding. It is certainly time to have deep discussions about hybrid warfare, combat networks, and how maritime forces will integrate into the Third Offset Strategy. In exploring future warfare, I was particularly interested in Commander Woodworth’s article on unmanned capabilities for our carrier strike groups (CSGs). As a former CSG commander and leader of Navy unmanned programs for the CNO, I found his comments spot-on.
Commander Woodworth makes a cogent argument on the current limitations of our carrier air wings in terms of reach and endurance while noting that in an expeditionary and contested environment, non-organic assets are often not available to the CSG commander. As the Navy moves toward defining the requirements for the MQ-25 carrier unmanned aircraft, it is important that we take advantage of the most important assets of unmanned platforms—their unprecedented reach and endurance for blue-water operations.
In Strike Group 12, one of my biggest frustrations was not having needed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance during periods when the air wing was not flying. A properly configured unmanned aerial vehicle could easily cover this “down time” while providing critical information to the battle group. Commander Woodworth is absolutely correct that it is not about stealth, it is about information and power projection. While the MQ-25 is being designed to fill the role of a tanker in order to free strike fighters, it is important to think about how we will spiral future capabilities into these aircraft.
Although Commander Woodworth discusses strike warfare specifically, we cannot stop there. These aircraft will team with existing air wing assets to complement and amplify what they do, all while adding time-critical cueing at range. In this construct, it is easy to see how unmanned aircraft, operating well forward of the carrier, could enhance other mission areas such as ballistic missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, electronic warfare, or airborne early warning. It also makes sense to examine how distant unmanned “nodes” could fit into existing networks such as Navy Integrated Fire Control and Cooperative Engagement Capability.
Most important, it is time for our most lethal and visible asset, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, to enter the unmanned age. The advantages of unmanned aircraft have been combat proven for more than a decade while amassing more than 4 million flight hours in the process. It is an absolute imperative that we provide these advantages to our future maritime leaders.
DoD Can Close the Civil-Military Divide
(See A. Aliano and N. MacKenzie, pp. 48–52, December 2016 Proceedings)
Captain Bill Pike, U.S. Navy Reserve, Science & Technology Manager, Medical Simulation Research, U.S. Army Research Lab—The December Proceedings presented a point of view that indicated the author saw the value of reservists (“Reservists Make Ideal Cyber Leaders”) and another that missed the mark with respect to the worth of the reserves (“DoD Can Close the Civil-Military Divide”).
Lieutenant Aliano and Mr. MacKenzie suggest that one potential solution to closing the civilian-military gap is through “detailing the mission to an existing flag or general officer.” I don’t follow the logic—why appoint someone who has spent 30-plus years in uniform to resolve this issue? Admirals and generals have gotten to the levels they are by being outstanding military leaders. To suggest these officers understand the civilian world and civilian mindsets may be a bit of a stretch.
Instead, why not form a joint task force composed solely of drilling reservists from across the services, at various levels of experience? I drill with an Office of Naval Research (ONR) unit. Across the ONR Reserve Component, there are dozens of college professors and deans. I believe they are more suited to gauge civilian opinion of the military than a career, active-duty flag or general officer. Likewise, across the reserve components of the services, there are reservists who work in a vast number of civilian communities—“butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers,” if you will. The reserves and National Guard draw members from almost every conceivable walk of life; one member of my unit is a part-time stand-up comedian. Only the reserve component can touch the vast spectrum of civilian backgrounds.
Likewise, we are a geographically dispersed group, especially if you take into account Army and Air Force reservists and National Guard. Concentrating in certain population centers, as Aliano and MacKenzie suggest, is a solid approach for expending limited active-duty resources. A cross-functional, geographically dispersed joint reserve solution can provide a far larger aperture on the problem.
Spark an Intel Revolution
(See A. Xenachis, pp. 38–41, October 2016; W. Manthorpe, p. 8, December 2016 Proceedings)
Frederico De Los Rios—Lieutenant Xenachis is right; we need to spark an intelligence revolution and improve our intelligence forecasting to fight terrorism more effectively. But there is a very important subject missing in his essay: propaganda. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been very successful exploiting the power of the internet to spread its evil propaganda, inspiring and recruiting thousands of followers willing to commit terrorism around the world.
We must start a very strong propaganda war using all the media tools available to us to show how we and our Muslim allies are winning and send a clear message to ISIL that defeat for its followers is near.
AI Goes to War
(See B. D. Sadler, pp. 43–47, December 2016 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Colonel David G. Bolgiano, U.S. Air Force (Retired), author of Fighting Today’s Wars (Stackpole 2012)—Captain Sadler’s timely and interesting article touches upon some important topics that leaders and designers ought to anticipate before sending high-end robotics to war. But one issue I must comment upon is the faulty notion that the U.S. Army must abide by Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) may wish it to be settled law, but fortunately, the ICRC is not the final arbiter of such matters. This appears to be nitpicking an issue, but it is an important nit.
The United States vigorously must oppose these globalists on such matters. Nationalism is not a dirty word. Why else do we fight except in the belief that our way of life is superior to the tried and failed socialist way of life?
The ICRC and the European Union are the sine qua non of globalism, and we ought to never cede important points such as Protocol I to them or any other international body.
(See R. Smith, P. Bly, and J. Port, pp. 44–45, November 2016; S. Ragsdale, p. 85, December 2016 Proceedings)
Captain Steven L. Hull, U.S. Navy (Retired)—The point/counterpoint regarding the Navy enlisted rating system leaves several impressions:
• The Navy’s decision to do away with the rating system was announced to the service and the public as a fait accompli.
• The Navy’s rationale for such a revolutionary change is murky and appears to lack substance.
• Furthering “jointness” was a likely motivation for the change.
The Navy must continue to evolve to remain effective and relevant. That is a given. Tradition is never an acceptable substitute for fighting efficiency. However, everything this change will purportedly improve, according to Master Chief Smith and Senior Chief Bly—detailing transparency and flexibility, skill translation into the civilian world, and “other” benefits—clearly could be done through the Naval Enlisted Classification Code (NEC) system, as Master Chief Port states. Neither Smith’s and Bly’s contribution, nor what the Navy has released to the public so far, has convincingly shown otherwise.
Master Chief Smith’s and Senior Chief Bly’s historical information used to justify the change seems to be incomplete or only partially true. Yes, the Navy rating system shrunk precipitously between 1947 and 1948. Did the massive global war the Navy was engaged in from 1941 to 1945, the consequent growth in personnel from 337,000 to 3,400,000 during those years, and the subsequent decline to 484,000 people in 1947 have anything to do with this shrinkage?
With respect to when sailors began wearing their ratings on their left sleeves, Smith and Bly claim that didn’t occur until 1949. This may be true with regard to dungarees. However, many pictures I have of my World War II ARM 1/C (aviation radioman first class) father show a sailor in crackerjack blues/whites with his rating on the left sleeve. I still have in my possession this blue uniform with his E-6 rating sewn on, as well as his E-4, -5, and -6 blues/whites rating badges.
Commissioned Warrant Officer 3, Chuck Berlemann, U.S. Navy (Retired)—More than 45 years ago, while serving in an A-6 squadron we had an aviation maintenance senior chief who was proud of the fact that he had survived the sinking of two carriers in World War II. He was tough and colorful, but a fair guy who used a lot of one-liners to accentuate his speech. One of his favorites that would be appropriate to think about while considering this present kerfuffle over eliminating Navy ratings is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In fact, the Navy rating structure has served the service well over the years, and the only real problem it has is that several of the ratings names contain the horribly hurtful (to extreme liberals and feminists) word “man.”
At a time when funding is so tight that F/A-18 squadrons use half their planes as parts bins to keep their other half flyable, people in the Secretary of the Navy’s office want to spend considerable amounts of money to meet a politically correct goal that contributes nothing to readiness. In addition, the advancement system that is built around the rating structure will be thrown into turmoil, most likely for several advancement cycles. I know that we are not supposed to be political, but this crazy idea is being driven by the party that is about to leave the executive branch. Maybe the new folks can fix their mistakes by just going back to the way it was.
To Honor the Fallen
(See K. Germano, N. Murphy, D. Sheehan, S. P. Cooledge, C. Pillai, J. G. Haynie, J. M. Plenzler, pp. 18–21, November 2016 Proceedings)
Donald Wambold Jr., Hall of Heroes Research Coordinator—Bravo Zulu for remembering and honoring our veterans. It must have been quite difficult to choose which remembrances to include, and perhaps Proceedings will continue to do this, especially for Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day.
We in Chester County, Pennsylvania, also remember those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice. Our Hall of Heroes monument, on which are engraved the names of 600 men and women from our county who died in service in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the War on Terror, was dedicated on Veteran’s Day 1999. The county sponsored a website in 2002 on which the bios of our heroes are posted: www.chesco.org/heroes. To date, 390 stories are posted, involving thousands of hours of research and more than 150,000 words.
Among those honored is Patternmaker First Class Richard LaRue, who served on board the USS Joseph Hewes (AP-50) for the landing in North Africa. LaRue went ashore treating wounded, often under fire, bringing some back to his ship for care. When the Joseph Hewes was torpedoed, he helped transfer the wounded to the nearby USS General T. H. Bliss (AP-131). After working 72 hours straight saving lives, LaRue was ordered below for food and rest, when his new ship was torpedoed.
Marine Private George Johnson of Coatesville helped save his patrol on Tulagi, and the city named a street to honor him. Lieutenant Osborne Wiseman settled in Kennett Square after graduating from the Naval Academy. He had wanted to be a naval aviator since his youth and finally got his chance. He was the pilot of the SBD that spotted the Japanese pickets during the Doolittle Raid, and later flew both strikes in the Battle of Midway, hitting the fourth enemy carrier.
In the current war, Marine Corporal Anthony Williams is honored by a poignant remembrance of his fiancée, Bobby Jo. Marine Corporal Kyle Renehan is honored by remembrances of fellow Marines and sailors, and even by one Irish lass who never met Kyle but was so moved by the postings that she added a blessing to his memory.
Plenty of Blame to Go Around
(See Paul Stillwell, et al., pp. 56–64 December 2016 Proceedings)
Barrett Tillman, author of numerous naval aviation books—Twice in my presence, retired Admiral Tom Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that around 3 or 4 December 1941, the chief of staff of Patrol Wing Two, Lieutenant Commander Logan Ramsey, told Mrs. Moorer, “We’ll be at war this weekend.” The assumption, of course, was that it would start in the Philippines. Ramsey is best known as author of the 7 December alert to all ships in Hawaii: “Air raid on Pearl Harbor. This is no drill.
Department of the Navy Organization Chart
(See p. 68, November 2016 Proceedings)
Commander Katie Shobe, U.S. Navy—The head of the Department of Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office is Ms. Jill Vines Loftus, SES-5. Major General Camille Nichols, who is listed, heads the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.