If Proceedings is the flagship of the open forum, then its Comment & Discussion section (C&D) is the flagship’s combat direction center. My predecessor and mentor, Fred Rainbow, used to say, “Authors don’t have to be right!”—and C&D is where readers let us know when they are not. Over the years, your letters have continued the discussion, spotted errors, wrestled with controversy, and engaged directly with Sea Service professionals of all ranks and pedigrees. But with only a few pages in each issue, C&D necessarily has left out many excellent letters. In recent months, we have begun to think differently about how to share your participation. We have begun posting “More C&D” online around the first of each month, and with the September issue, we began listing in the magazine the names of letter writers included in the online post. In the coming months, we will experiment with other ways to capture in Proceedings the passion and energy of the forum that exists in comments posted on our website.
The October Proceedings is our annual submarine-focused issue, corresponding with the Naval Submarine League’s fall symposium in Virginia. Captains Dick Corpus and Kevin Eyer have written an excellent article, “Independent But Integrated” (pp. 28–31), explaining to the rest of the Navy what happened to submarines when they went away from direct support to carrier battle/strike groups starting in the 2000s. The smaller number of U.S. submarines and increased national-level tasking meant strike groups no longer had an SSN in direct support. In a war against a peer competitor, however, Corpus and Eyer argue, submarines will be there to support the fleet.
Naval Institute essay contests provide a wealth of important insights. In this issue, we feature the winner in the Rising Historian category in the CNO Naval History Essay Contest, winner of the Naval Intelligence Essay Contest, and the third-place winners in the Emerging and Disruptive Technology and Coast Guard Essay Contests. All contests are judged in the blind, and I am happy to see these winners all are junior officers—Lieutenant Robert Swain, USN; First Lieutenant Christian H. Heller, USMC; Lieutenant Commander Jacob Wilson, USN; and Cadet First Class Evan Twarog, USCG, respectively. History shows that junior officers who win Naval Institute essay contests often go on to be Sea Service leaders. Lieutenant Ernest J. King, USN, winner of the 1909 General Prize Essay Contest, comes to mind. Upcoming contests include the Leadership Essay Contest, due at the end of this month, and the General Prize Essay Contest, due at the end of December.
I have long been a fan of Proceedings Professional Notes. These tend to be short, tactically focused pieces that impart knowledge readers can apply. Lieutenant Joseph Lillie has written a fascinating tutorial called “Handling the Zumwalt-Class DDG.” In 1994, then-Commander Jim Stavridis wrote “Handling the Arleigh Burkes” while in command of the USS Barry (DDG-52). Though I was not a surface warfare officer, I enjoyed driving yard patrol craft on the Chesapeake as a midshipman and found Stavridis’s Note very interesting. Lieutenant Lillie’s advice on driving the Zumwalt is an equally good read.
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Life Member since 1993