There are many reasons the U.S. Navy achieved victory in the Pacific in World War II; an important one was the Japanese flag officers’ misguided obsession with Alfred Thayer Mahan’s doctrine on the preeminence of “big-gun” capital ships.1 Mahan spoke of the importance of heavily armored battleships acting in a concentrated unit and delivering a stunning victory in a single decisive battle. But by the 1940s, victory no longer could be achieved within a limited battlespace by means of a cumbersome concentration of power. The war would be won on a stage of interconnected fronts where smaller, more lethal battlegroups would keep the enemy on the defensive. U.S. military strategists read the writing on the wall. They adapted. They engaged. They overcame.
The lesson is clear: when leaders are faced with a new pace that outruns conventional approaches to problem-solving, they must replace older, less-effective models with newer ones. This is especially true in the realm of character education.
1. Ian Toll, Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941–1942 (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2012), xvi–xix.
2. John Gottman, What Makes Love Last: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013), 59–64.
3. Donna Freitas, Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 126–66.
4. NAVADMIN 062/17.
5. Gottman, What Makes Love Last, 62–64.
6. Freitas, Sex and the Soul, 148.
7. Freitas, 148.
8. Aristotle’s Ethics: Writings from the Complete Works (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), 50.
9. Freitas, 153–54. See also: Donna Freitas, The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused about Intimacy (New York: Basic Books, 2013).
10. R. S. Gordon, Jr., “An Operational Classification of Disease Prevention,” Public Health Reports 98(2), 107–9.