The U.S. Naval Institute on Naval Command

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In the U.S. Navy, “Wheel Books” were once found in the uniform pockets of every junior and many senior petty officers. Each small notebook was unique to the Sailor carrying it, but all had in common a collection of data and wisdom that the individual deemed useful in the effective execution of his or her duties. Often used as a substitute for experience among neophytes and as a portable library of reference information for more experienced personnel, those weathered pages contained everything from the time of the next tide, to leadership hints from a respected chief petty officer, to the color coding of the phone-and-distance line used in underway replenishments.

In that same tradition, the new Naval Institute Wheel Books will provide supplemental information, pragmatic advice, and cogent analysis on topics important to all naval professionals. Drawn from the U.S. Naval Institute’s vast archives, the series will combine articles from the Institute’s flagship publication Proceedings, selections from the oral history collection and from Naval Institute Press books to create unique guides on a wide array of fundamental professional subjects.

Command is the pinnacle of leadership in a military organization. Navy regulations define both the authority and the responsibility of command as “absolute.” This Naval Institute Wheel Book provides practical guidance and advice that actual and would-be commanders can use to carry out that absolute authority. Included in this carefully selected collection is the experience of those who have commanded as well as the expectations of those who are commanded. Aspirants as well as practitioners will do well to exploit this selected survey of what Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz described as the “one purpose” for entering the Navy.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"As with all anthologies, this book approaches its topic from a variety of perspectives. Officers new to command and seasoned admirals weigh in side by side. Some of the articles present a historical perspective while others look at globalization and politics in an attempt at definition. Other articles concentrate on case studies such as of the crew, and even navy spouses. Both theoretical and practical points of view are presented within this book's covers."  —The Mariner's Mirror
"Another of the excellent series of Naval Institute Press collections of well edited essays on particular aspects of a naval officer's career. With previously published essays from such notable authors as Ernest J. King and James Stavridis as well as lesser known and lower ranking officers with much to contribute, the quality of the content of this book is very high. Editor Cutler served the U.S. Navy for almost fifty years so has a great feel for his subject. This has facilitated his light but illuminating touch that can be seen in both his choice of essays and his treatment of them that only enhances their content. The Naval Institute Press plays a vital role in educating America's naval officers. Their counterparts in other navies are fortunate to be able to easily access so much of the Institute's valuable output. So, too, are the world's naval historians."  —Baird
"The U.S. Naval Institute on Naval Command offers a unique blend of reflections on leadership which transcend time and brief depictions of leadership at particular points in history. For both aspiring and experienced leaders, naval or otherwise, it is a worthwhile addition to a professional library, even if only for those essays most directly related to command leadership. And while the history presented is understandably brief considering the length and intended purpose of the book, maritime historians with an interest in the dynamics of naval command, past, present, and future, will also find something to pique their interest."  —International Journal of Maritime History