Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation… Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Innovation is back! There is an undeniable renewal of interest and forward momentum in innovative thought in the United States Navy today. Why is this? What is driving the renewed attention to innovation?

Several factors influence innovation in both a positive and a negative way. Stephen Rosen discusses many of these factors in his book, “Winning the Next War: Innovation in the Modern Military.” Rosen talks about “technology push,” which occurs when new and disruptive technologies are discovered and sometimes reluctantly incorporated into our warfighting platforms. Though not immediately embraced, over time these technologies can – and often do – revolutionize how we fight. The triumph of steam over sail in the United States Navy is a good example, but one that was hard fought to incorporate or inculcate into the minds of naval officers of that era. Likewise, Rosen’s “demand pull” (or mission pull) stimulates innovation when there is a critical warfighting need and no platform or technology currently available to meet that need. Brave men fought the first and second Battle of the Atlantic in diesel submarines that were cold, cramped, noisy and vulnerable. The need to remain submerged and undetected for long periods of time created a mission pull for nuclear propulsion which contributed to our modern day fleet of highly capable nuclear powered submarines.

While we would have eventually figured out how to put an atomic pile inside a submarine, I think it is fair to say it would not have happened as fast without the contribution of a “maverick” like Admiral Hyman G. Rickover. He drove this process relentlessly and against much opposition, eventually putting to sea the modern SSN. Rickover was unconventional in his methods but he got results. Nowadays, mavericks must learn to work within an even more complex rule set and hierarchy which can stifle innovation. Today’s acquisition process is rather burdensome and although we make the best weapon systems in the world, we must be more responsive in pacing or better yet, exceeding adversary threat capabilities. This of course puts incredible pressure on traditional timelines in research, development and acquisition. Our ongoing efforts to introduce agility and speed into this process must continue if we are to remain a dominant power.

Beyond traditional red-tape, another factor driving – or inhibiting – innovation is money. With competing priorities in the President’s budget, some savings have been realized through reductions in defense spending. Budget reductions and periods of fiscal austerity invariably serve to stimulate critical thought and innovative ways of warfighting. Admiral Jim Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), often quotes a well-known figure in the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Jackie Fisher who said at the beginning of the twentieth century, “Now that the money has run out we must start to think!” SACEUR’s reference is poignant, as Fisher is primarily celebrated as an innovator, strategist and developer of the Royal Navy of the First World War era. When appointed First Sea Lord in 1904, he recapitalized older vessels still in active service but no longer useful and set about constructing modern replacements. Fisher is rightly credited with creating a battle fleet well prepared to fight Germany at sea during World War I.

By any account, our Navy budget is not insignificant, but we must continue to adapt to potential changes. Following Fisher’s suggestion to “think” may provide the catalyst to innovating our way past many of the challenges we face today. This may seem too obvious, for how else does one find an answer, except to think. But how frequently do any of us commit to the type of thinking required to fully understand issues and then devise possible solutions? Rear Admiral Terry Kraft, Commander of the Naval Warfare Development Center (NWDC) recently published The Innovators Guide which dedicates a full four pages to creative thought and generation of ideas. Thinking may not be as simple as it sounds, but we must commit to it in order to find the right solutions.

Recognizing these constraints, the CNO has challenged us to facilitate innovation across the Navy, and several organizations have taken great strides towards this end. The NWDC is a key stakeholder, and its mission is to “link tomorrow’s ideas to today’s warfighter through the rapid generation and development of innovative solutions to operational challenges.” This is done by operating at the speed of the Fleet and maintaining a focus on non-material solutions for the future. In this way, the NWDC serves as a “think tank” for how we fight tomorrow’s battles.

So why NWDC? I would offer that there are many lessons we must learn from history, and one of my favorites is examined by Barry Posen in The Sources of Military Doctrine, in his study of the German doctrine. He notes that Germany “won the battle of France and lost the Battle of Britain. She won the battle for which she had prepared and lost the one for which she had not. Her military doctrine had long envisioned major land campaigns on the European continent. Operations beyond its shores had been given little thought.” The doctrine worked well, until the context of the battle changed to exceed its design. In operating at the “speed of the Fleet”, the NWDC is positioned to look forward and adapt to the changing battlefield and its dynamic conditions.

I recently read RADM Kraft’s NWDC post entitled “Naval Innovation Reboot”, which provides thought-provoking messages about the rapid pace of communications facilitated by social networks where ideas are transformed into reality at a very high rate. He argues that the Navy has yet to capitalize on the benefits of these advancements, and suggests that we better empower our Sailors – already more than comfortable with this technology – to use it to our advantage. To more directly engage these junior leaders, last summer, the NWDC hosted a “Junior Leader Innovation Symposium.” The symposium was designed to educate these leaders on the importance of innovation, empower them to contribute new ideas, facilitate connected discussion and start to harvest their ideas. In keeping with their broad-based approach, NWDC also brings together leadership from industry, military and academia to ensure an awareness and openness to innovative solutions and ideas. In other words, Kraft knows that the water’s edge for innovation is NOT at the water’s edge.

One of the most recent efforts from NWDC examines the establishment of a Rapid Innovation Cell. In broad terms, the cell is envisioned as a mechanism to transform disruptive ideas into solutions and as an alternative path to fielding solutions.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is another highly-valuable player in this endeavor. As the Department of the Navy’s Science and Technology (S&T) provider, ONR leads the cutting edge of S&T solutions to address Navy and Marine Corps needs. This effort is developed within and among three directorates, one of which is committed to innovation. ONR’s Directorate of Innovation “cultivates innovative science and technology approaches that support the Department of the Navy and facilitate rapid and agile responses to our changing national security environment.”

Armed with state-of-the-art test facilities and a team of world-class scientists and engineers from a variety of fields, they are well-equipped to advance innovative solutions for the most challenging issues. ONR supports a number of programs aimed to streamline the fielding of technology to the Fleet and Forces. When urgent needs are identified through the Urgent Operational Needs Statement (UONS), Joint UONS (JUONS) and Joint Emergent Operational Needs (JEONs) programs, ONR experts are called upon to ensure available technologies are leveraged in solutions for the fleet. As a complementary process ONR also manages CNO’s Speed to Fleet program, which aims to provide quick-reaction mature and new technologies to deliver working prototypes to warfighters in high-risk or high-threat areas within 12-24 months.

Also within ONR’s quick-reaction S&T portfolio, the Tech Solutions program is a transformational business process created by the Chief of Naval Research to provide Sailors and Marines with a web-based tool for bringing warfighter needs to the Naval Research Enterprise for rapid response and delivery. The program accepts recommendations and suggestions, via an on-line submission form, from Navy and Marine Corps personnel working at the ground level on ways to improve mission effectiveness through the application of technology. It is solely focused on delivering needed technology to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, within 12-18 months, and moving the sea services toward more effective and efficient use of personnel. The program has a proven track record too, resulting in technology to the fleet including a Catapult Capacity Selector Valve Calculator (CSV) – a hand-held Flight Deck Ops Assistant which eliminates a laborious process of referencing paper manuals to determine catapult settings.

With NWDC and ONR working as partners, the Navy has an infrastructure which is well-postured to support innovation. Just a thought before I move on… One of our S&T scientists recently e-mailed me a link to the U.S. Coast Guard Innovation Program. It’s a five-page document which formally establishes the Coast Guard Innovation Program. There may be a risk of institutionalizing innovation, but we might also benefit from having a written plan which supports innovative thought. The Coast Guard has an Innovation Council not unlike the current effort undertaken by NWDC. It also recognizes innovation in the ranks with an annual award and incentive program and sponsors an annual USCG Innovation Expo in partnership with industry. Perhaps we should follow suit?

Innovation has been described as having several forms. These range from technological to strategic, and I’ll give a more detailed outline of my thoughts on some of these later, but we suggest we must also contemplate the nature of innovation we aim to achieve.

In a recent Proceedings article entitled Payloads over Platforms, the CNO calls for the “decoupling of payload development from platform development (to) take advantage of a set of emerging trends in precision weapons, stealth, ship and aircraft construction, economics, and warfare.” By tracing a timeline of successful payload shifts across the service of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), his article illustrates some innovative success the Navy has enjoyed, but these successes were a result of coincidence, and perhaps a dose of good luck, rather than initial design. And, even if the blueprints were drawn up to facilitate payload changes, this approach to design is not pervasive enough to support the CNO’s goals. NWDC and ONR have both adopted or structured approaches to facilitate significant changes like this. If we can successfully tap the ideas of our junior leaders on the deck plates, I believe we are well-suited to develop solutions to propel us in the direction the CNO is pointing.

We face difficult challenges, and innovation provides us one path to solving many of them. I encourage all of our Sailors to discuss ideas and contribute thoughts to this blog or any others I have referenced. We need solutions, and we must be open in our search for them. Is the Navy, as an institution best optimized to innovate? How can we do better? I yield to the “wisdom of the crowd” on this matter, and I am confident that many of you have outstanding ideas that we haven’t yet heard. Get ‘em out there!




Posted by RDML James Foggo in Aviation, History, Maritime Security, Navy, Proceedings


You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • http://blog.usni.org M. Ittleschmerz

    Admiral – we’ve been down this road before, at least the Surface Fleet has. Smart Ship showed us how to save time, and only 40% of the time savings was technology based. The Fleet Review Panel proved that more expensive paints saved money because they lasted longer, and that professional paint teams saved even more money because they had the time and training to do the job right.

    When money got tight the Surface Navy leadership took the savings, cut back on the programs, and moved on.

    The Balisle Report shows how stovepiped cherry picking of innovative solutions came close to breaking the Fleet.

    Two years later we are still a long way from fixing the Fleet.

    How are we guarding against the “innovation” of today being the “transformation” of a decade ago?

    Why can’t we use the lessons of the past rather than looking for new solutions to problems that should have been fixed long ago?

  • http://tobeortodo.com J. Scott Shipman

    Admiral,

    With all due respect, this seem like boiler-plate. How can Big Navy seriously talk about innovation when we have LCS and DDG1000?

    Our Navy would be better off reviving battleships, when compared to these thin soup designs. These ships are not designed to fight, but please congressmen and keep the pipeline open.

    True innovation obeys the laws of physics and the hostile environments our ships have traditionally sailed. Our Navy is doing a poor job, but holding their own given the op tempo, but that won’t last. We need more than pixie dust and PPT talk on innovation. We need ships that can take the fight to the enemy and prevail—nothing we’re now building save VA Class can do that and given the ubiquity of quite conventional subs, we must plan on losing a few in a hot war.

    We’ve dumbed down our Fleet on purpose; the folks needed to innovate are in other jobs. Very few have the courage to call our current ship-building program what it is—unmitigated BS and dangerous to our maritime future.

    So when you offer “innovation,” sir, I’d hope the innovation points us out of this death-spiral of ship-building and PPT thinking. Our Navy would do better talking with European ship builders, as they have tended to design and build more towards the reality of fighting than we have.

    Our ships must be warships first, prepared to engage and defeat the enemy, not some PPT presentation of pixie dust in wishful thinking disguised as “innovation.”

    True innovation will come when the USN recognizes and embraces their true purpose—everything else is window-dressing and inside the Beltway nonsense. We are a fighting force of warriors, who rate the best ships in the world–in this NAVSEA is failing spectacularly.

    Cordially, JSS

  • Robert_K

    Admiral,

    I have to agree with JSS on this one – your post was tough to read. Not because of the content, but rather because someone from the N-8, historically known for defending the status quo, is discussing innovation.

    To make your discussion of the OPNAV staff’s commitment to innovation more palatable, perhaps you can start with some examples of how the N-8 has evolved after reorg to become more innovation friendly? Have you implemented changes to PPBES to become more agile and more responsive to the needs of the fleet (hard to believe the words agile and PPBES just appeared in the same sentence)?

    That being said, excellent summary of the work Admiral Kraft is doing at NWDC. However, until the fleet can see some tangible changes of how big navy is actually evolving, innovation will be seen as another buzz word, on par with TQL.

  • The Bull Dogg

    Gentlemen,

    I believe you have entirely missed the entire point of RDML Foggo’s post completely. You are criticizing the very idea that he is opening himself up to: innovation.

    The entire point is listen to ideas and concerns we have from the fleet. Where is the recommendation to fix the issues you speak of? Do you have a better alternative? In this day and age, you should offer solutions along with associated problems to your skipper, CO, etc..otherwise it becomes..in short…whining. I think if we spent a little more time trying to fix what we have to move toward a better future, our time would be better spent then exhausting our energies complaining. We need more people in key leadership roles that will eventually return to the fleet and witness the direct impact/involvement they themselves once were a part of. It’s easy to criticize past decisions that were made, perpetually, it’s harder to speak up for what’s right in the face of adversity or “sticking your neck out” to go against the grain.

    The mere fact that we have leadership within the beltway that are willing to listen to alternative ideas, and ones that can make significant impact based on their leadership positions shows how truly innovative we are becoming. RDML Foggo is offering us all the opportunity to come up with ways to fix these issues and the chance to make a difference: You should take him up on it.

    I also know that leadership such as Fleet Forces are committed to ensuring that fleet concerns are communicated to the OPNAV staff.
    Having just left my second department head ride, I can attest to the fact that when ADM Harvey would come on board, be shown a problem, given a solution, and told what was needed, he always ensured that ship was given adequate help. They also communicated concerns up the chain of command.

    It takes more CO’s and deckplate leaders at every level to communicate what the fleet needs and be willing to engage in direct dialogue to their leadership, otherwise, the CNO is surrounded by “yes” men, who aren’t willing to speak up for what’s needed. Let’s all do the right thing and become part of the solution, rather than offering our respectful complaints.

    Sincerely,

    A concerned SWO

  • Robert_K

    BD

    The path between listening and outcomes is long and many landmines are emplaced along that path.

    I’ve heard Admiral Harvey speak twice in the 4 months before his retirement and on both occasions he mentioned the disconnect between the fleet and the OPNAV staff as a significant concern.

    Sure, I applaud Admiral Foggo for his comments and I have no doubt he is sincere but until we see top-down, systemic changes from the OPNAV staff, not sure how successful any grassroots effort for innovation will be.

    Equally as dangerous as a bunch of “yes men” are a bunch of no men who resist any meaningful effort to change and defend the status quo way of doing business.

  • Philip Munck

    A great place to begin innovating is with nuclear power. The last important innovation was the use of weapons grade material for fuel to extend core life.
    How about something really new – for instance thorium based molten salt. The world is begging for the benefits of this technology and the fleet would benefit from having more readily available fuel, reduced byproduct problems, higher temperature at lower pressure primary coolant and on and on.
    ADM Rickover pushed us into the nuclear age but unfortunately his legacy has been to freeze that technology solidly in the 1970’s.

  • ADM Jim Stavridis

    Jamie, it’s great to see blog posts from you; I have enjoyed reading them.

    As you know, I’ve always tried instilling a innovative mindset at my commands–sometimes the ideas work, other times they don’t.

    It’s been interesting to watch the initiatives you outline develop from over here in Europe. We just have to make sure we have the grit to see ideas through, and ensure they are implemented correctly.

  • http://usni.org James Foggo

    M. Ittlschmerz and Robert_K,

    Thanks for your response to my post gents. You have stimulated a couple of other responses and that’s what it’s all about–the dialog to determine a better way forward.

    I don’t agree that we are stifling innovation in OPNAV or that we are not responsive to the Fleet. As I stated, when the Fleet has an Urgent Operational Need (Mission Pull), we answer with the right R&D or Science and Technology effort to get a solution. In order to get something new funded and get it to the Fleet quickly, there are Speed to Fleet and Fast Lane initiatives created by CNO and DEPSECDEF respectively. If you read the press reports or watched the coverage on CNN over the weekend of the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) in the Arabian Gulf, you saw some of the results of these initiatives.

    As discussed, we do have to temper our appetite for the high end with due consideration of what’s in the budget. That’s why the Platforms and Payloads discussion is important. The platforms are becoming more like trucks capable of carrying variable and modular payloads. Let’s take Rail Gun or Directed Energy Weapons for example. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the terms, Google them and you’ll be blown away (literally and figuratively). Did you ever think that gunpowder would be replaced by electromagnetic energy? That your magazine could be infinite? They’re coming and that’s not “evolutionary” change in my book.

    Thanks for advancing the discussion and keep chargin’

    r/JGF

  • http://usni.org James Foggo

    Admiral Stavridis,

    Thank you for your response to my post sir. We follow your writings and postings in other media with interest.

    Couldn’t agree more on the importance of innovation in what we do. You set the standard with your Innovation Cells at SOUTHCOM and at EUCOM. Jay Chestnut’s work in mapping good ideas with sponsors and customers in need is well known back here. I just had a conversation with Dr. Larry Schuette about that last week.

    Like you, I put a lot of stock in our youth–the Junior Officers and Sailors with great education and lots of enthusiasm to help us find new ways of warfighting or deterrence.

    I’m in full agreement that once we choose a new capability, we need to be doubly sure that it’s going to work before widespread investment and deployment. I think that’s why R&D is so important and that it is OK if some of these ideas fail.

    Finally, like Google, we need to give our smart folks time to think! That may be the hardest part of the innovative process in this day and age of email and texting.

    Really appreciate your response. All the best to you and your staff in Europe. Thanks for all that you do on behalf of the Joint Force and the Navy!

    v/r

    Jamie

  • https://www.nwdc.navy.mil/ncoi/default.aspx CAPT David Tyler

    Many thanks to RMDL Foggo for teeing-up this important topic, and kudos to fellow commentators for jumping into the fray. We at NWDC have been grappling with the amorphous topic of innovation for well over a year, so allow me to share a couple observations.

    Let me start with the obvious statement that large organizations are inherently status quo oriented. By their very nature they resist change and abhor disruptive new ideas that can destabilize processes or staff hierarchies. Hence in a steady-state environment, the adoption of an innovative capability will face organizational resistance. However, when external pressures threaten the viability of an organization, the status quo becomes vulnerable, and innovation becomes more enticing. This effect can be seen in the Navy during the interwar period, when fuelled by an urge to exploit new technologies, the Navy overcame severe policy constraints, meager budgets, and obsolete viewpoints to design a radically different warfighting machine.

    This is why the topic of innovation is so important today; external pressures are forcing the Navy, as an organization, to consider alternatives to the present course we are on. The high OPTEMPO, ever emerging gaps in capabilities, and impending budget cuts, will, to say the least, shock the organizational system into considering new ways to do business. This, in my opinion is what the buzz on the fringes is all about: the conditions for change are arriving.

    We at NWDC are prepping the battlespace to embrace what could be a unique opportunity to move ideas from the fringes to decision makers that are hungry for new ways of gaining competitive advantages in the field of arms. We are however, not naive about the expansive scope, nor the gravity of this task. We recognize this will require broad changes in our organizational cultural; one where risks are addressed head-on and bold creative qualities are revered. Furthermore, we understand that innovation is not just about fielding new technology, but is also about the employment of new and old technology. In other words its about tactics, its about better maintenance practices, and its about all the other areas essential to our DOTMLPF warfighting machine.
    R/ CAPT Tyler, NWDC ACOS Concepts and Innovation

  • Mittleschmerz

    Admiral Foggo and Captain Tyler…my more succinct point is that innovation should not just equal technology. If we are not also innovating tactic, techniques, and procedures then we are missing out on what innovation means.

    Why are most ships not using Blue/Gold or Core/Flex watchstanding procedures?

    Why are we still stocking the lowest cost paint?

    Why are we will doing the “Christmas in September” budget drills?

    And I could go on and on and on.

    My point for Bull Dogg is that many of the “problems” we have were “solved” a long time ago and could see huge benefit and innovation from taking the time to look back rather than say “I need something that I can put this fulcrum on and move it from place to place…something round…hmmmm”.

  • Rob McFall

    RDML Foggo,

    Thank you very much for writing this thoughtful piece. I believe that your arguments are solid and that the innovation that ONR and NWDC is pushing could very well define the future Navy that we are going to live in.

    I believe that there is one other node in this innovation process however that is vitally important, and that is the Fleet. The technical innovation at ONR and the tactical innovation at NWDC will only be as good as the implementation and feedback that the fleet provides. This is a continuous loop of development where the creative spark could start at any point in the loop. No matter where the idea originates it is going to develop and mature as the scientists determine the technical feasibility, the tacticians determine how to add it to the battle problem and the fleet makes it operational. The grassroots, crowd sourced, approach that NWDC is taking is one way to get that Fleet buy in. The phenomenal turnout at JLIS showed that there a lot of junior leaders ready to be a part of the solution. In a continuing effort to drum up support, NWDC is having another symposium, the PACIFIC RIM Innovation Symposium in San Diego the 10th and 11th of October (https://www.nwdc.navy.mil/ncoi/pris/default.aspx).

    In response to some of the others that have commented, we as a Navy have seen this before. Innovation is not a new thing. There are examples of innovation being implemented poorly. However, there are so many more examples of sailors, both officer and enlisted, implementing innovative ideas to better the Navy in which they are proud to serve. It is so easy to stand by and say that the navy isn’t what it used to be. It is much harder to take after those like Sims and improve a process that ripples across and improves the entire fleet. We have gone from sail to steam, to gas turbine and nuclear. We went from black powder to GPS guided missiles. Innovation is in our blood. We as a naval force can take it in to the next century.

    VR,

    Rob McFall
    LT USN

  • Diogenes of NJ

    I have to agree with Philip Munck. Everything starts with energy and nuclear power is the best source the Navy has. The Rickover mafia has been living off the Old Man’s legend ever since the time that the Admiral retired.

    So is RDML Foggo would like to spin them up, here’s a suggestion:

    Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR). They’ve been around for a long time. The USAF was actually considering one to power a bomber. Thorium is plentiful when compared to Uranium – here’s a link to Kirk Sorensen’s 10 minute TED talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2vzotsvvkw

    There is also a wealth of ideas at the Naval Postgraduate School and here is a link to a few dozen of them: http://www.nps.edu/Research/Publications/NPSResearch.pdf

    Thorium Ship Power is the very last page.

    – Kyon

  • Robert Albro MM1 SS (SSN-664) (your Old A-Gang lead)

    RDML Foggo, (last time we talked it was ENS Foggo on the Sea Devil, congratulations on your progress), sir if you want to create innovation in the fleet, get rid of the spare part system. All it does is to make money for the contractors. I’m not saying get rid of the hard goods, but get rid of the circuit boards and plug in systems. Keep the basics like the resistors, diodes capacitors, or 0-rings back up rings ect. ect for mechanical systems. Train the enlisted to make the repairs, to think on their feet, make them the masters of their environment. Same for the O-gang tactics and engineering, master of the ship and boats, and operating on the edge of the envelope all the time with a minimal comfort level we never became a great boat by being average. The same applies for the contractors. The spec is the spec and the contractor must live by it. Have the enlisted and officers write the spec for the weapons systems and the boat. Yes it may be a camel designed by committee but the last racing cammel I saw was on the hood of a F1 race car in first place. Keep the systems simple and robust. The training excellent and the innovation will take care of itself. Sorry I missed you at MCPON’s retirment!

  • Robert_K

    The issue of spare parts illustrates the challenge of divesting ourselves from the status quo way of doing business.

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2011/10/10-digital-manufacturing-singer

    As Pete Singer from Brookings and ONI’s Dr. Larry Schuette discussed in their AFJ Article, Direct Digital Manufacturing could potentially be a game changer, particularly for the US Navy. However, our own internal processes may actually be putting us at a competitive disadvantage. Specifically, Singer and Schuette note,

    “Where this becomes even more concerning is that, unlike the last century of defense design and manufacturing, DDM is not an area where the U.S. defense industrial base can claim to be technologically ahead. Foreign development is advanced, and many other nations’ processes to work through the “ilities” (reliability, safety, maintainability ) are simpler and much quicker. This is not just a concern when it comes to other states, but DDM may even become a game changer for adversaries ranging down to the insurgent level, who stand ready to gain design and manufacturing capabilities once limited to nation-state arsenals. 3-D printing bureaus and do-it-yourself rapid prototyping machines are located around the world. If a university team can already design and build a small aircraft for fun, so can someone with more nefarious purposes in mind.”

    Further :

    “Still, a DDM future will happen only if we begin to work through the processes and procedures today. One hurdle is establishing the necessary certifications and testing regimes on both the industry side and within the acquisition community. The actions we take in the near term in establishing the ground work for DDM will largely determine whether the defense industrial base forges ahead in the 21st century, or falls behind.”

    If the technology and concepts are here today and the benefits are clear, will it take 10-15 years to navigate through our own internal bureaucracy to field this game-changing capability?

  • http://usni.org James Foggo

    To MM1 Robert Albro,

    Robert, so sorry to have missed you at the retirement ceremony for MCPON West! I do remember our time on SEA DEVIL and you are absolutely right1 Whatever happened to “micro-miniature repair” onboard ship? But even though we “plug and play,” I think in time of crisis, our Sailors could figure out how to fix our ships to fight another day. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I ran into one of my buddies from the Naval Academy who was CO of USS COLE. After the attack in Yemen, the crew saved the ship, saved shipmates and repatriated her to CONUS for repairs and to return to duty as a full-up round that materialized on my watch at Sixth Fleet in my last job in Naples. All the best to you and our fellow shipmates from USS SEA DEVIL. I sure learned a lot from you guys and I thank you for it. I wish every American could have a similar experience. Warm personal regards, Jamie

2014 Information Domination Essay Contest