Junior officers are overburdened with administrative duties that take precedence over learning to be proficient mariners and tacticians. Unfortunately, officers at all levels of shipboard organization are expected to split their time between managing personnel, supervising maintenance, and sundry other tasks, leaving little time for developing shiphandling skills or tactical acumen.
Fortunately, the surface navy can realize significant gains in warfighting readiness at little cost to existing personnel policies by modifying shipboard organization, making slight changes to billeting, and refocusing junior officers, limited duty officers, warrant officers, and chief petty officers. The Arleigh Burke–class destroyer will be used as an example of how this could be implemented.
1. T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose, and Robert Faturechi, “Death and Valor on a Warship Doomed by Its Own Navy,” ProPublica, 6 February 2019.
2. David B. Larter, “Troubling U.S. Navy Review Finds Widespread Shortfalls in Basic Seamanship,” DefenseNews, 6 June 2018.
3. Don A. Kelso, “The Role of the Chief Petty Officer in the Modern Navy,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 83, no. 4 (April 1957).
4. Master Chief Paul Kingsbury, USN (Ret.), “Make Better Use of the ‘Super Chiefs’,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 145, no. 5 (May 2019).