Be careful what you wish for. That old adage might be gnawing at the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). Admiral John Richardson engaged with a seemingly modest initiative that took place in San Diego the day before the annual WEST 2017 Conference, cosponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA International in late February. What he got in return was eye-opening. And what the CNO chooses to do in response could have profound implications for the Navy.
For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Naval Institute hosted a day-long brainstorming session about critical Navy issues. Sixty “young Turks”—some 40 mid-grade active-duty personnel and 20 civilians—came together for a “discussion” about two topics proposed by the CNO. “Discussion” is an understatement, because it was a nine-hour structured exercise in design thinking. Intense, sometimes tense, and often provocative, the exercise was moderated by Professor Michael Meyer of the University of California San Diego’s Rady School of Management and Navy reservist Joshua Welle. The effort was appropriately named DARE 2017.