Archive for the 'Midrats' Tag
Don’t be distracted about the Aegis, Russia, or China – the first thing you need to read in this December’s Proceedings is the “Nobody Asked Me, But …” contribution by Lieutenant Alexander P. Smith on page 12.
The most important ingredient to a successful Navy is not its ships, aircraft, submarines or secure budget. No, the most important part of our Navy is its intellectual capital, specifically the education of its officers.
The naval service will face a multitude of challenges that will require a true diversity of experience and education in its leaders in order for the best decisions to be made. If everyone brings the same tool-set to the table, you are in trouble.
There has been a long-dwell discussion in our Navy about what type of education our leaders need. For the last few decades, there has been a heavy bias towards technical education; a bias that is about to get heavier;
The tier system was developed in 2009 as a result of fewer NROTC and U.S. Naval Academy graduates entering the nuclear-reactor community. The Regulations for Officer Development and the Academic-Major Selection Policy direct that a minimum of 65 percent of NROTC Navy-option scholarship midshipmen must complete a technical-degree program before receiving their commissions. A technical degree refers to Tiers 1 and 2, which comprise all STEM majors. Tier 1 includes most engineering majors, and Tier 2 refers to majors in biochemistry, astrophysics, chemistry, computer programming/engineering, civil engineering, physics, and mathematics. All other academic majors are non-technical, or Tier 3.
As a result of the new policy, a high-school senior’s best chance of obtaining a Navy scholarship is to apply for Tiers 1 and 2, since CNO guidance specifies that not less than 85 percent of incoming offers will come from this restricted pool. In fact, an algorithm decides the fate of hopeful midshipmen, balanced in large part with their proposed major selection annotated in their applications.
This is a huge error. 65% one could argue if one wished, but 85% is simply warping to the collective intellectual capital of the Navy.
We don’t even need to review all the English and History majors that do exceptionally well in the nuclear pipeline – but to put such a intellectual straight jacket on the entire Navy over the requirements of one part, that is a sure sign of a loss of perspective.
In last Sunday’s Midrats, Admiral J.C. Harvey, USN (Ret) made an argument for technical education that is fine for the nuclear community, but the Navy is not the nuclear community. If you look at the challenges from Program Management to Joint/Combined Combat Operations; none of those are helped by a technically focused mind. Just the opposite, it begs for officers of influence with a deep understanding of economics, diplomacy, history, philosophy, and yes … even poetry.
One could argue that the problems we have had in the last few decades derive from a lack of nuance and perspective by officers who fell in love with theory and the promise of technology, who had no view to history, civilian political concerns, or even human nature. As a result we got burned out “optimally manned” crews, corrosion laden “business best practices” ships, and an exquisitely engineered if unaffordable delicate Tiffany Fleet – not to mention entire wardrooms in 2001 who couldn’t place Afghanistan or Ethiopia on a map, much less even had a brief understanding of the background of Central Asia or the Horn of Africa. Back to LT Smith;
Does the tier system produce better submariners or more proficient naval officers? If less than 35 percent of our unrestricted line officers have developed the ability to think comprehensively through critical reading and reflection, what will the force look like in 20 years? These are questions to ponder regarding the benefits and disadvantages of STEM graduates. We ought not to forget the value of future officers developing a keen interest in foreign affairs, history, and languages.
We actually know the answers to that. To this day, once you leave the CONUS shores, we lack wardrooms and Staffs with sufficient knowledge of any of those areas.
It is about to get worse.
If we really have a problem getting well qualified nuclear engineering officers on our submarines and carriers – then instead of having negative 2nd and 3rd order effects throughout the Fleet – then let’s focus on how we keep and manage the careers of our nuclear engineers. Do we need to look at the Commonwealth model? Do we need to look at compensation and non-Command career paths that can still get someone to CAPT at 30-yrs? Is the Navy having to serve the Millington Diktat as opposed to Millington serving the Navy?
Whatever the problem is – forcing a 85% STEM officer corps is not that answer.
What do we need our officers to be able to do? Be outstanding engineers? Well, as our friend LCDR BJ Armstrong, USN might ask, “What would Admiral Mahan say?”
Wouldn’t you know – we know the answer;
The organizing and disciplining of the crew, the management under all circumstances of the great machine which a ship is, call for a very high order of character, whether natural or acquired; capacity for governing men, for dealing with conflicting tempers and interests jarring in a most artificial mode of life; self possession and habit of command in danger, in sudden emergencies, in the tumult and probable horrors of a modern naval action; sound judgment which can take risks calmly, yet risk no more than is absolutely necessary; sagacity to divine the probable movements of an enemy, to provide against future wants, to avoid or compel action as may be wished; moral courage, to be shown in fearlessness of responsibility, in readiness to either act or not act, regardless of censure whether from above or below; quickness of eye and mind, the intuitive perception of danger or advantage, the ready instinct which seizes the proper means in either case: all these are faculties not born in every man, not perfected in any man save by the long training of habit—a fact to which the early history of all naval wars bears witness.
Doesn’t sound like an STEM heavy requirement to me.
Please join us at 5pm (Eastern U.S.), 4 Aug 13, for Midrats Episode 187: “From I to C of the BRIC with Toshi Yoshihara”:
Remember when “Afghanistan” became “AFPAC” in the second half of the last decade? Concepts morph the more you study them.
Just as you started to get used to the ‘Pacific Pivot” – in case you missed it this summer, it is morphing in to the Indo-Pacific Pivot.
Extending our view from WESTPAC in to the Indian Ocean, how are things changing that will shape the geo-strategic environment from Goa, Darwin, Yokohama, Hainan, to Vladivostok?
Our guest to discuss this and more will be Dr. Toshi Yoshihara, Professor of Strategy and John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and author of Red Star over the Pacific, which was just translated into Chinese.
A returning guest to Midrats, Dr. Yoshihara some of the last few months in China and India, bringing an up to date perspective on this growing center of power and influence.
Join us live or listen later from the archive by clicking here.
Join us this Sunday, 21 July at 5pm (Eastern U.S.) for Midrats Episode 185: Getting “Next” Right with John Nagl:
So, which is it? Do we forget our history and are therefore doomed to repeat it, or are we always preparing to fight the next war?
As we finish up the final chapter of our participation in Afghanistan after well over a decade, and reflect on the changes in the arch of the Muslim world from the Atlas mountains to Mindanao – what do we need, intellectually, to retain for what is coming “next?”
With one eye on historical patterns and another on developing economic, demographic, and political trends – what do we need to do to man, train, and equip the armed forces to be best positioned to address what we think we will face, but flexible enough to meet what we don’t know?
Our guest for the full hour will be John Nagl, Lt Col USA (Ret.), PhD, presently the Minerva Research Professor at the US Naval Academy, previously the President of CNAS.
Dr. Nagl was a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy Class of 1988 who served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years. His last military assignment was as commander of the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor. He led a tank platoon in Operation Desert Storm and served as the operations officer of a tank battalion task force in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Nagl taught national security studies at West Point and Georgetown University and served as a Military Assistant to two Deputy Secretaries of Defense.
He earned his Master of the Military Arts and Sciences Degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and his doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
He is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and was on the writing team that produced the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. His writings have also been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, among others.
Join us live on the 21st or, if you can’t make it, pick the show up later by clicking here.
By Mark Tempest
Join us for Midrats on 14 July 13 at 5pm Eastern for Episode 184: “The Big Man Theory”
For the first half of the hour we will have LCDR BJ Armstrong to discuss his book, 21st Century Mahan: Sound Military Conclusions for the Modern Era.
For the second half of the hour our guest will be Stephen Roderick to discuss his book, The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey into His Father’s Life.
LCDR BJ Armstrong is a Naval Aviator and an occasional naval historian. His articles have appeared in numerous journals including USNI’s Proceedings and Naval History, Naval War College Review, and Infinity Journal to name a few. He is a research student with the Department of War Studies at King’s College, University of London. He was recently named the 2013-14 Morison Scholar by Naval History & Heritage Command and was awarded the 2013 Navy League Alfred Thayer Mahan Award.
Stephen Rodrick is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and a contributing editor for Men’s Journal. He has also written for New York, Rolling Stone, GQ, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Men’s Journal, and others. The Magical Stranger is his first book.
Before becoming a journalist, Rodrick worked as a deputy press secretary for United States Senator Alan J. Dixon. He hold a bachelors and masters in political science from Loyola University of Chicago and a masters in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.
Join us live or listen later by clicking here
Here is your chance; its the end of 2QCY13 and you haven’t heard the topic you wanted on Midrats yet?
There is a question you would like to hear the hosts grapple with about maritime and national security issues?
Or, are you just interested in discussing the latest developments in unmanned systems, pacific pivot, budget battles, Russian relations, China intentions, and more?
On, above, and under the sea – we’ll cover it today for a full hour free for all. The phone lines will be open and we’ll also take questions directly from the chat room.
Come join us.
Join us live at 5 pm or download the show later by clicking here
Image: Russian made “Bastion” mobile shore-based missile complex (MSMC) with “Yakhont” unified supersonic homing anti-ship missile (ASM) from here. Components of this system have reportedly been provided to Syria, along with other weapons.
Join us Sunday at 5pm for Midrats “Episode 179: CIMCEC and the Marketplace of Ideas”:
In the best Western tradition, it is generally accepted that more ideas, and more discussion is better in working towards the best solution to any challenge – especially national security challenges.
One of the newer additions to the discussion are the writers at the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC)
Since they joined the conversation in force in 2012, what is their view of the state of vigorous debate in the maritime security arena? What do they see as the major issues no only on maintaining a healthy culture of “Creative Friction Without Confict” – and what do they see as the major subjects that naval thinkers need to concentrate on?
Our guest for the full hour will be Lieutenant Scott Cheney-Peters, USNR. Scott is a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy Reserve and government civilian on the OPNAV staff at the Pentagon.
Scott is the former editor of Surface Warfare magazine and served aboard USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and USS Oak Hill (LSD-51).
In 2012 Scott founded the CIMSEC, a non-profit think tank/website/group focused on maritime security issues.
Scott is a graduate of Georgetown University and the U.S. Naval War College.
Join us live or pick the show up later by clicking here
Join us for Midrats on Sunday, 2 June 13 at 5pm Eastern U.S.for Episode 178: USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS: Operation PRAYING MANTIS:
Narrow seas, unseen mines, punitive expeditions, and “come as you are” ASUW on the sea and in the air.
Yes, it has been a quarter-century, but little has changed since the USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG-58) struck a mine, and in retribution, the US Navy launched Operation PRAYING MANTIS.
The tactical and operational aspects of each, as well as combat leadership, remain constant even while the tools may have changed a bit.
To discuss this an more, our guest for the full hour will be BRAD PENIST0N, author of No Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf, recently released by the Naval Institute Press in paperback and on Kindle.
Listen live or listen later by clicking here.
Join us at Midrats on BlogTalkRadio, Sunday, May 19, 2013 for Episode 176: “Fallujah Awakens” with Bill Ardolino:
How did the US Marine Corps and local tribal leaders turn the corner in Fallujah? Who were the people on the ground, Iraqi and American, who were the catalyst for the change that brought about a sea change in the tactical, operational, and strategic direction in Iraq?
Our guest for the full hour to discuss that and more will be author Bill Ardolino. We will use as a base of our discussion his new book, Fallujah Awakens: Marines, Sheikhs, and the Battle Against al Qaeda.
Bill is the associate editor of The Long War Journal. He was embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, the Iraqi Army, and the Iraqi Police in Fallujah, Habbaniyah, and Baghdad in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and later with U.S. and Afghan forces in Kabul, Helmand and Khost provinces in Afghanistan. His reports, columns, and photographs have received wide media exposure and have been cited in a number of academic publications. He lives in Washington, DC.
Join us live at 5pm (Eastern U.S.) or listen later by clicking here.
Join us Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 5pm (Eastern U.S.) (yes, that’s 5/5 at 5) for Episode 174: “The New Shipbuilding Plan”:
Last month saw the U.S. Navy’s newest shipbuilding plan hit the streets.
Is this good news, more of the same, or are there some systemic issues that are being painted over?
What can the Navy expect over the next few years as the defense cuts bite deeper and the battle for wedges of the defense budget pie heats up.
Using their latest article in RealClearDefense as a starting point, our guests will be Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident Fellow at the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and Bryan McGrath, Director, Delex Consulting, Studies and Analysis.
Listen live (that’s on 5/5 at 5) or pick the show up later by clicking here.
|U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Jan Shultis/Released|
Join us this Sunday, 28 April 2013 at 5pm Eastern U.S., for Midrats Episode 173: Back to the Littorals with Milan Vego :
If the requirement is to be able to operate, fight, and win in the Littorals – is the Littoral Combat Ship the answer?
Other nations have the same requirement – yet have come up with different answers.
Are we defining our requirements properly in face of larger Fleet needs and the threats we expect?
What platforms and systems need to be looked at closer if we are to have the best mix of capabilities to meet our requirements?
Using his article in Armed Forces Journal, Go smaller: Time for the Navy to get serious about the littorals, as a stepping off place, our guest for the full hour will be Milan Vego, PhD, Professor of Joint Military Operations at the US Naval War College.
Join us live (or, if you can’t listen live, listen later) by clicking here.
- March 9 Midrats Episode 218: Abolishing of the USAF, with Robert M. Farley
- DEF[x] Annapolis: Encourage the Innovators
- A History of the Navy in 100 Objects #48: Models of HMS St. George (1701) and USS Missouri (1944)
- Engineering and the Humanities: The View from Patna’s Bridge…
- A History of the Navy in 100 Objects #47: British Dockyard Models