"You’re not very good at this are you?” asked a British naval officer during a major multinational exercise where I was representing the United States. The comment came as I bumbled about a weapon system on which I was technically qualified. I was a little offended but more embarrassed because he was right. I had attended the school for the missile system but had trained on it only once or twice. The sad reality is that U.S. sailors frequently are ill-prepared for warfighting. The Navy’s warfighting ability is atrophying, and a rapid course correction is needed to maintain its superiority.
One of the most glaring issues facing the surface Navy is its diminishing ability to create and field efficient teams. The Navy’s focus on individual achievement and advancement has created an environment where the buzzwords and certificates that look good on an evaluation are more important than leadership savvy and team building.