From the Editor’s Desk
This issue follows our annual WEST Conference in San Diego, which focused on the question “Are We Ready to Confront Great Power Competition?” The theme of this issue—Naval Expeditionary Warfare—dovetails nicely with many discussions at WEST, including comments made by Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday on distributed maritime operations and expeditionary advanced base operations. “This is the time when we have to get smaller to get better. If we’re going to . . . contribute to sea control, sea denial, then we’ve got to have capabilities we don’t have right now. We’ve got to hold at risk naval platforms, a body of water, a piece of littoral terrain,” General Berger said. As I predicted last fall, “naval integration” is driving the discussion of Navy and Marine Corps force structure.
Several articles this month imagine a significantly redesigned amphibious ready group (ARG) and Marine expeditionary unit (MEU). In “Blue-Green C2 for the Littorals” (pp. 24–29), Lieutenant Commander Jason Abernathy and Lieutenant John Miller write that the current concept of separate, coequal teams in the commander, amphibious task force–commander, landing force (CATF/CLF) relationship does “not permit the streamlined C2 required for land- and sea-based sea control operations.” In a similar vein, Lieutenant Commander Andrew Roscoe’s “Reimagine the ARG/MEU Team” (pp. 18–23) makes the case for every ARG/MEU to be transformed to an ESG with a flag officer and staff embarked during workups and deployment. He also argues that the MEU must be lighter and more weighted toward aviation assets, to take full advantage of the expanded flight deck capacities the San Antonio-class LPDs offer over the older LSDs.
This month’s “Need to Know” provides an update on Marine Corps air defense and tactical vehicles. The Marine Air Defense Integrated System (MADIS) can be deployed on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and a lighter version on the Polaris MRZR all-terrain utility tactical vehicle. Check out the pictures and details of this cool “kit” on pages 10–11.
I found Norman Polmar’s 50th anniversary recap of the 1970 Soviet Navy exercise Okean (pp. 90–91) quite interesting, especially because of my experience in the mid-2000s as a naval attaché to Russia. Okean (Ocean) was history’s largest peacetime naval exercise, and it featured some impressive highs and some glaring failures, including the loss of a nuclear-powered submarine.
At WEST, I had the opportunity to speak with a number of Proceedings authors, including: Marine Corps Major Brian Kerg, whose “Don’t Just ‘Shut Up and Row’” (pp.72–75) took third prize in the 2019 Leadership Essay Contest; Hunter Stires, whose “The South China Sea Needs a ‘COIN’ Toss” (May 2019 Proceedings) formed the basis for a terrific panel discussion; and Navy Lieutenant Commander Steven Moffitt, whose “Humility Is for Leaders” appeared in the March issue. Meeting authors face-to-face is one of the highlights of my job.
A number of young authors and midshipmen summer interns have asked us to energize our Instagram page. Already this year, we’ve increased the pace of Instagram posts and added several Proceedings and Naval History articles to our stories. Instagram will be a growth area for us! Check it out at www.instagram.com/navalinstitute.
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Life Member since 1993
Where We Were
April 1920 Proceedings
Captain Henry Williams,
U.S. Navy, documented in
“A Record in Destroyer
Construction,” the USS Reid
(DD-291) wardroom brass plate:
Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation
Fore River Plant, Squantum Works
Keel laid . . . . . . . . . . Sept. 9, 1919
Launched . . . . . . . . . Oct. 15, 1919
Builders Trials . . . . . Oct. 28, 1919
Official Trials . . . . . . Oct. 31, 1919
Delivered . . . . . . . . . Nov. 6, 1919
A World’s Record in Shipbuilding.
[Editor’s Note: There’s a lesson here for today’s Navy struggling to increase the size of the fleet. Industry can build ships quickly when they have to.]
April 1970 Proceedings—In “The NFO and Squadron Command,” Lieutenant Commander Peter T. Smith, U.S. Navy, wrote, “. . . the Honorable Carleton J. King (R-NY) went before Congress to introduce the proposed revision to Title 10. When . . . an NFO at last commands a fleet squadron, we shall be able to say that the Naval Flight Officer is a member of the “Aviation Line” in every sense of the word.
[Editor’s Note: In February 1970, President Nixon signed the naval flight officer bill into law.]
April 1995 Proceedings—“Women who successfully combine pregnancy and a military career are heroines in their own right,” Commander Julia T. Cadenhead, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy, wrote in “Pregnancy on Active Duty: Making the Tough Decisions.” “Pregnancy is a normal, temporary condition for a woman in her child-bearing years. A positive command environment, careful planning, and open communication will promote a high quality of life for all hands. Pregnancy on active duty is not for the faint-hearted. It takes strong character, personal power, and the team spirit that comes from being a responsible shipmate.”
A. Denis Clift
Golden Life Member