Fifty years ago, Vermont Royster wrote that “it may seem cruel, this tradition of asking good and well-intentioned men to account for their deeds.” This accounting should not stop with the commanders at sea, but should also go to actions ashore, including how incidents like this are handled, and learned from.
Navy culture builds on traditions of the sea and seafaring in a nearly unbroken line from the sailing fleets of the British Empire through today’s modern nuclear-powered ships of steel. One common saying is that the United States Navy is “over 240 years of tradition, unhampered by progress,” a simultaneous indictment of conservatism and a celebration of history and tradition. While the statement is not fully true, however, tradition is a such a cornerstone of naval life that tradition is an unofficial fourth core value and the single most common rationale for any action. Sailors cite tradition in many ways and forms, often interchangeably with custom and routine.
The Revolt of the Admirals was a reaction to a perceived threat to Navy funding and missions. The Trump Administration now seeks to create yet another military service—the U.S. Space Force. In an era of declining defense budgets and falling enlistment rates, a Space Force will be seen as a threat to the resources of the existing military services. There are lessons to be learned by reflecting on what happened the last time America traveled down this road.
This is an important study that dramatically advances our understanding of innovation and the importance of non-technological factors, particularly the development of learning systems, in successful innovation. It will be of use to scholars of both innovation and the U.S. Navy, as well as those with a general interest in those subjects.
When one picks up "The Free Sea: The American Fight for Freedom of Navigation" by James Kraska and Raul Pedrozo, they will soon find themselves asking if this book is a diplomatic history, a history of the merchant marine, a naval history, or a political history. The Free Sea is, in fact, all of these.
Secretary Lehman, awaiting the declassification of several key Cold War documents, recently published Oceans Ventured, meticulously documenting the Navy’s aggressive operations in the 1980s. Secretary Lehman’s readily accessible book tells the story as if you were having a casual conversation at the Black Pearl, listening to the reminiscences and sea stories of a well-traveled naval officer.
The patterns of Islamic seapower illustrated by MacDougall appear again in the present day. By engaging with this important book, modern naval and military thinkers will begin to develop an understanding of how naval and maritime power has been developed in the region in the past. This can result in a better framework for them to consider developments and naval strategy in the present and the future.
The kind of accident any organization should worry about is the one that seems impossible. In 2017, the U.S. Navy was rocked with two collisions at sea. These tragedies resulted in the combined deaths of 17 sailors. While both collisions were under different circumstances, and in-depth investigations remain ongoing, these events have triggered a service-wide review of the demands placed on surface warfare officers, including manning, sleep deprivation, and rising operational tempos. This article examines the way in which the Navy assigns officers to its surface vessels., and suggests improvements that could mitigate future collisions at sea.
We live in an era of instant connection and instant communication. For instance, when news of a military incident breaks, within seconds it can be rebroadcast around the world. Within minutes commentators demand that something must be done. Yet the speed at which the news breaks means that in an era where information flow has made it is easy for a military’s higher headquarters to be kept abreast of every tactical incident, we forget that the flow of information vastly outpaces than the speed of military deployment.
Crisis at Sea is an exhaustive study of the U.S. Navy in the European theater. William Still brings a remarkable attention to detail in his latest volume, providing a thorough account of America’s role at sea in the First World War. Eleven years after its publication, this is still the definitive resource for its subject, and likely will remain so for many years to come.
Fundamentally, naval maneuver is based on the ability of the naval forces to generate overwhelming operational tempo and a series of dilemmas for the enemy that shatters his cohesion through a multiplicity of rapid, focused, and unexpected actions. Generating and sustaining this necessary tempo requires keeping more ships in the fight longer, sustaining their maximum warfighting capacity, and delaying the fleet’s culminating point as long as possible. The logistical functions of supply and maintenance (to include salvage and repair capabilities) are critical to achieving this advantage.
The shared history of both the American and British people and their navies, in concert with shared visions for how the world ought to function is indeed special. But, beyond simply being special, this relationship is critical in underwriting global security. A Tale of Two Navies has a place on the shelves of all who study and strive to understand the importance of effective maritime partnerships and strategy.
The U.S. Navy faces a demanding challenge to recover its ability to generate high tempo unrelenting operations. A skilled naval maneuver warfare capacity creates a multiplicity of overwhelming dilemmas for an enemy that shatters the enemy’s cohesion through unexpected but highly coordinated actions on, over, below and from the sea, including fully employing the advantages of littoral and archipelagic terrain.
On 15 October 2036, the USS ZUMWALT (DDG-1000) glides through the Philippines Sea on the twentieth anniversary of its commissioning. Nearby, the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-80) launches both the F-35C and the unmanned F-47C to jointly conduct bombing raids on the Navy’s Western Pacific bombing range. Both ships, along with the entire ENTERPRISE Carrier Strike Group, are headed toward the South China Sea to participate in the annual US-India-Singapore naval exercise called DRAGON FURY. Below the surface, the USS MONTANA (SSN-794) deploys the unmanned underwater vehicle called SEA-EYE to assist in trailing a Russian Dolgorukiy class SSBN as it leaves port headed to its strategic patrol areas.
In the post-Cold War era, the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet has been operating around three general concepts: carrier strike group defensive protection, land-attack missions, and ballistic missile defense. In the absence of a blue water adversary, and few contested areas, the Pentagon emphasized these cost-saving and efficient concepts in an attempt to overcome an evolving threat environment. This article will define and explain a new concept of operations called distributed lethality.
This book contains a wealth of specific information about Congressional influence on the Navy. In my opinion, it will be especially useful for readers who are already familiar with the era in question, and are simply looking for reference material to support other research. Yet while general students of U.S. naval politics will find much to mull over in this book, only a specialist would take it on a long voyage.
Addressing risk in this case is a simple math problem. Either the strategy needs to be resourced with the appropriate number and type of adequately survivable warships, or the scope of the strategy needs to be reduced. Hesitance in taking either course of action is instead a de facto decision to accept dire risk to U.S. geopolitical strategy.