Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Naval Institute Coast Guard Essay Contest! I mention every year that the number of entries we receive in this contest is higher than one might expect from the smallest Sea Service—and the quality is exceptional as well. Commander Craig Allen, U.S. Coast Guard, took the top spot again this year with “Expeditionary Cutter Deployments Should Not Be a Mission to Mars.” This is Commander Allen’s fifth win in the past seven years, prompting us to wonder if he might be the Alfred Thayer Mahan of today’s Coast Guard.
Second prize went to Lieutenant Holden Takahashi for his essay “The World’s Fishermen as a Maritime Sensor Network.” Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a major problem, decimating fish stocks around the world and depriving coastal states of their natural resources. Lieutenant Takahashi envisions an app-based, crowdsourced domain awareness tool that can notify users of the location and activity of vessels engaged in IUU fishing. Lieutenant Christopher Booth and Auxiliarist Mark Snell took third prize this year with “Lost at Sea: Teaching, Studying, and Promoting Coast Guard History”—a call for more formal and widespread study of the service’s rich history. Special thanks to Susan Curtin for helping us sponsor this year’s contest.
We continue our series on Maritime Counterinsurgency, which kicked off in the July issue and has garnered international attention, particularly in Asia. This month brings “A Campaign Plan for the South China Sea” by Captain Josh Taylor, U.S. Navy. Josh is a former member of our Editorial Board and has a lot of experience in the Pacific. His article is a rarity in the “good idea” category—an implementable plan the U.S. Navy and Indo-Pacific Command could put into action quickly.
The fire that consumed the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) two years ago was a stark reminder that large, metal ships surrounded by water can burn like Roman candles. Navy Commander Joel Holwitt, a submariner, and Captain Mary Hays, a surface warfare officer, teamed up to write, “Every Sailor a Firefighter,” sharing lessons from the in-port fires on the Bonhomme Richard and on the USS Miami (SSN-775), eight years earlier in 2012. This article is a “must read” for all who serve in ships.
In April, we started putting the Ukrainian flag on the corner of the cover in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, who have shown incredible tenacity in the face of Russia’s brazen, brutal, and illegal invasion. Five plus months into the conflict, our support and prayers for Ukraine continue.
Whether you look at it from Moscow or Kyiv’s perspective, the war is not going well. Russia’s unprofessional military has lost more than 25,000 killed in action—more than in 10 years in Afghanistan. Russia’s sheer mass allows it to inflict heavy damage on Ukraine—much of it on the civilian populace and infrastructure. The coming months promise to be a test of wills and a lesson in the political ends of warfare. We invite articles and comments on the unfolding lessons from this gruesome war.
Next month is our annual focus on naval aviation. Ward Carroll and I look forward to being in Reno for this year’s ’Hook, celebrating 100 years of carrier aviation. If you attend, please stop by the Naval Institute booth.