This annual Naval Review issue is loaded with Sea Service information: chain-of-command information for the Department of Defense, Navy Department, Homeland Security, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine; listings and photos of the top leaders of the Sea Services; and reviews of the year’s activities for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. Readers often tell us if they keep only one issue from the year, the May Naval Review is the one.
The winning essays from the General Prize Essay Contest (GPEC) are a significant part of this issue as well. First-time author Hunter Stires, a student at Columbia University and researcher at the Naval War College, took first prize this year with his essay, “The South China Sea Needs a ‘COIN’ Toss.” Hunter describes the struggle between China and the other South China Sea littoral nations as a maritime insurgency and offers concrete steps for the United States and its allies to fight that insurgency with counterinsurgency tactics. It is insightful analysis from a new Proceedings author. Navy Commander Graham Scarbro took second prize with his essay, “Go Straight at ‘Em.” Retired Navy Captain George Galdorisi took third prize with “The Navy Needs AI—It’s Just Not Certain Why.” The General Prize Essay Contest dates back to 1879 when Commander Alfred Thayer Mahan won first prize. Like all our essay contests, it is judged in the blind—a true meritocracy of ideas, sponsored by Andrew and Barbara Taylor.
Last fall, retired Fleet Master Chief Paul Kingsbury joined the Naval Institute staff. Paul is a force of nature and a strategic thinker. He won several essay contests and served for 16 months on the Naval Institute’s editorial board during his active-duty career. Just before retiring he wrote “Make Better Use of the ‘Super Chiefs,’” a thought-provoking paper on the role of senior and master chief petty officers. In the 36 years since I joined the Navy, the roles, expectations, and capabilities of senior enlisted people have grown. Paul provides some important history of the chiefs’ mess and argues that some jobs currently filled by officers could be filled by E-7s, E-8s, and E-9s.
On 25 April we recognized the GPEC winners, the winners of the 2018 Midshipmen and Cadets Essay Contest, and the Proceedings and Naval History authors of the year during our annual meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. The annual meeting is always a great event, and the Proceedings staff enjoyed the chance to meet and talk to authors, prize winners, and members. If you weren’t able to attend this year, plan to next April. It’s free to members, a great networking event, intellectually stimulating, and fun to see friends and shipmates.
Finally, I am blessed to work with an amazing team of editors, designers, and researchers at the Institute. The launch of our newly redesigned website two months ago has energized our thinking about how to embrace our digital future. One good problem we confront every day is that we have more great content than we can publish in the monthly print magazine. Our new website—plus the Naval Institute Blog and the Naval History Blog—allows us to publish everything in the print issues of Proceedings and Naval History online—and much more. As a team we are working to publish the best content at the right time on the right platform. And we are using feedback from Google Analytics, reader/member surveys, Comment and Discussion, and the online Disqus platform to adjust fire. We always want to hear from our readers and members—please let us know what you think.
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Life Member since 1993