Welcome to 2019! This issue marks the 13th straight year that the January Proceedings has been focused largely on the Surface Navy—corresponding with the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium. A year ago, much of the focus was on the “Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents” and the Secretary of the Navy’s “Strategic Readiness Review.” Both of those documents received a lot of attention in 2018 and continue to guide changes in the surface force, but significant focus is now shifting toward the strategies, tactics, and force structure needed for peer competition.
Our surface force coverage this month begins with retired Navy Captain Trip Barber’s examination of future fleet design (pp.18–22), in which he writes the Navy must move away from a force comprising a few large, manned, multimission platforms to a force that has many small, medium, and large unmanned platforms that augment the manned platforms. Captain James McGrath’s article, “Engineer–Warriors or Engineers and Warriors?,” reprises the long-running debate on whether the surface navy would be better splitting its officer corps between deck/navigator types and engineers, as the Royal Navy and many others do. Lieutenant Commander Jennifer Riehl, a naval aviator, takes a new look at sea control, what it means, whether the U.S. Navy still has it, and strategic implications. A nice leadership essay from the Coast Guard that pertains to all mariners is Lieutenant Commander Jeff Janaro’s “Leadership Lessons from America’s Tall Ship” on pp. 60–63. There are also three great Professional Notes that pertain to the surface navy.
Last May and continuing all year, Navy Captain Dale Rielage’s prize-winning essay, “How We Lost the Great Pacific War,” garnered a lot of attention. Riffing off Rielage, Rear Admiral Christopher McMahon, U.S. Maritime Service, and retired Navy Captain Doug Burnett have written a merchant marine addendum: “Losing the Great Pacific War for Lack of Ships and Mariners.” (pp. 40–43) For those who are not experts on the merchant marine aspects of national power, this is a must-read article that packs a similar punch as Captain Rielage’s 2018 winner. In other words, it is sobering.
Long-time readers of Proceedings may remember a funny satirical article from 1993 called “I Went Joint (But I Didn’t Inhale)” by Larry DiRita, who told of his experiences as one of the Navy’s early assignees to a “joint command,” forced to work alongside Army, Air Force, and Marine personnel. In this issue, Navy Lieutenant Commander Graham Scarbro’s “Rethink the ‘J’ in JPME,” (pp. 48–52) humorously compares how much current Navy officers know about the joint force as a result of the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols legislation with how little they know about the rest of the Navy. If you are a fan of Duffel Blog, you will enjoy Scarbro’s piece. From time to time, Proceedings needs a little humor, I think.
As this issue went to press, our staff had just finished reading the 86 entries in the first-ever Midshipmen and Cadet Essay Contest. It is encouraging to see the breadth of topics covered and the depth of thinking by young authors at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Naval Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, NROTC units, and Officer Candidate Schools. We plan to publish the winning essay in February or March.
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Life Member since 1993
Where We Were
January 1919 Proceedings—With World War I just ended, in “Afterwards!” Lieutenant Commander K. C. McIntosh, Pay Corps, U.S. Navy, wrote, “We obviously cannot keep a regular, standing Navy of four hundred and sixteen thousand officers and men. We don’t want them, we can’t afford them, and we have no real use for them. If we can build a reserve that can come aboard with the knowledge our present reserve will have when it goes ashore and musters out, we shall have found the real answer to sea-going preparedness, economy, and safety.”
January 1969 Proceedings—Looking at the Navy’s most senior leaders in World War II in his essay “The Command Personality,” Professor E. B. Potter wrote, “Admirals Spruance and Halsey have been likened to Admirals Jellicoe and Beatty, successive commanders of Britain’s Grand Fleet in World War I, and the comparison is apt. Spruance was remote, austere, methodological, and intellectual, and was little known to the public. Halsey was dashing, colorful, somewhat slapdash, salty of tongue, a popular hero. Perhaps Admiral Nimitz has left us the best brief description of his top fleet commanders: ‘Bill Halsey was a sailor’s admiral and Spruance, an admiral’s admiral.’”
January 1994 Proceedings—“In the case of integrating women into nontraditional combat roles, cultural transformation is not just an available tool; it is a necessity,” Captain James F. Kelly Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired) wrote in “Less Punishment & More Patience.” “For centuries, sailors have gone down to the sea and left their women and children behind. Soldiers marched off to war to fight for God and country, and for the women in their life. From now on, women will be lined up beside them on the firing line and in the combat zones. Patience will be needed: less punishment and more patience.”
A. Denis Clift
Golden Life Member