This month we are focused on naval training and education. On 25 October, the Naval Institute–Naval Academy conference—“Critical Thinking: Our Greatest Weapon to Winning Tomorrow’s War?”—will also highlight the importance of training and education as military advantages.
Retired Navy Captain John Hanley’s “Navy Campaigns of Learning” recalls the rigorous learning culture that prepared the Navy for World War II—a culture, that could be revived now to help deter or win the next war. Navy Commander Matt Wright offers ways to “Bring the Naval War College Into the Future.” Wright argues that many mid-to-senior grade Navy officers avoid in-residence joint professional military education (JPME) at Newport because of the effect two permanent change of station (PCS) moves in a year have on spouse careers and children’s schooling. Remote full-time JPME, as was done during the COVID-19 pandemic, could be done in fleet concentration areas, saving PCS money and raising the take rate.
In “Invest in Enlisted Education,” Marine Corps First Sergeant Brandon Smart and Professors Erik Helzer and Jennifer Heissel describe a pilot program at the Naval Postgraduate School that provides Marine Corps staff NCOs advanced education pertinent to their military occupational specialties. Enlisted education opportunities and benefits have largely been touted as enticements for enlistment, but the authors found a significant correlation between education and career advancement, superior performance, higher reenlistment rates, and fewer discipline problems. Enlisted education, therefore, is not just a member benefit but a warfighting edge.
Writing about training, Navy Lieutenant Nathan Sicheri’s “Redesign the SWO Junior Officer Pipeline” offers ways to revamp surface warfare division officer training and career paths. Our editorial board conversation about this article centered on the theme of “while the ideas might not all fly, this is a discussion that must be had.” We encourage letters to Comment and Discussion.
One of the Professional Notes this month is a terrific training aid. Navy Lieutenant Anthony Carillo’s “Watchstanders Must Get Better at Calculating Vessel Meeting Points” reminds readers of the close call between two Navy ships in San Diego Harbor last fall and walks them through a time/distance equation and how to create a waypoint spreadsheet.
In this month’s historical look-back, Denis Clift sums up more than a century of “Naval Comms.” Spanning technologies as disparate as carrier pigeons, flag hoists, and satellite communications, he shows that how ships and Marines have communicated has always been a major topic in our pages.
This month’s American Sea Power Project article is about military planning. Retired Navy Rear Admiral Patrick Piercey describes the balance between science and art as well as the importance of operational design and commander’s intent in “Planning for the Next War Must Be a Mixture of Art & Science.”
Finally, in his CEO Notes, Pete Daly announces his retirement this fall and the selection of retired Navy Rear Admiral Ray Spicer as his relief. During his 12-year tenure, Pete transformed the Institute. He oversaw the digitization of our content; the creation of USNI News; the design, fundraising, construction, and “IOC” of the Jack C. Taylor Conference Center; tremendous growth in the reach and impact of our content; and a massive improvement in our financial health. Our staff will miss Pete’s vision, passion, drive, and sense of humor—and we look forward to the next leg of the journey with Admiral Spicer at the helm.