“Because we’ve always done it this way,” might be one of the most dangerous phrases used in the Navy. It is oppressive to talent, innovation, and ideas that could potentially be the difference between winning or losing the war at sea.
However, the Navy would be remiss if it completely discounted the practiced, seasoned, and experienced approach of a sage, old sailor. You cannot train experience. It is hard-earned and irreplaceable.
There is a side of the Navy that seems to be abandoning history, heritage, and, at times, respect for senior personnel—what some call the old guard who stand in the way of progress. There seems to be a caricature of a weathered gatekeeper who is tightly clutching dated instructions and a disdain for change. Alternatively, there is a side that looks at junior sailors and perceives them as entitlement personified, glued to their phones and overly-sensitive. The word “millennial” is thrown out with a side eye and a sigh whenever there is talk about the new generation of sailors coming on board (including Generation Z).