Chaplain O'Callahan is awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman at the White House, 23 January 1946

I had the opportunity to attend the program on 24 September to celebrate the College of Holy Cross NROTC Unit’s 75th Anniversary. I received Naval Institute CEO Vice Admiral Peter Daly’s permission to post his abridged remarks here. * * * . . . This superb NROTC unit whose 75th anniversary we salute came into being in 1941. Pearl Harbor was just 90 days away when the first 115 NROTC students enrolled. J. William Middendorf and Edwin Meyer—here tonight—were in that first group. In those days, Holy Cross enrollment was about 1,200 male students, taught primarily by Jesuit priests. They… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Commander Kenneth J. Marra, U.S. Navy (Retired) in Training & Education | 
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One of the primary responsibilities of leaders is to be an example to junior personnel. The expected ideal is to “lead by example.” That “example” is understood to be a positive one, but often it is not. On occasion a leader becomes a negative example – “that guy” who everyone is told not to be. This week we saw one of the last parts of Act-III from the tragedy of General James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, USMC (Ret.). Josh Rogin over at WaPo outlines the story and its context well, and we’ll get to that later on in the post, but… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Policy | 
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French and US leadership and Sailors aboard the USS Ross (DDG 71), Oct. 13, 2016. Ross is providing multi-warfare defense support to FS Charles de Gaulle (R91) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (Personal photo courtesy of Vice Adm. James Foggo III)

A Farewell to Arms is the title of one of Ernest Hemingway’s best works and a book that reflects some of his own personal experiences on the battlefields of World War I. The story unfolds right here in Italy. The title is somewhat metaphorical because it represents LT Frederic Henry’s farewell not only to the honorable profession of arms, but also to the arms of his beloved compatriots that he leaves behind. At the end of October, I will complete my tour as Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet and Commander, Striking and Support Forces NATO and return to Washington, D.C. for… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by VADM James Foggo III in Navy, Travel | 
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Now that everyone has absorbed the impact of the announcement last week ditching the Navy ratings system, let’s talk about the what and why. Let us talk as adults. It is the mutually respectful thing to do. Brush aside the spin, the squid ink, the general excuse making and post-decision 2nd and 3rd order effect justification on why this change was made, for what purpose, and what manner. Things such as giving a job description that will help a Sailor or Marine have a better civilian resume. Really, just stop. No one is buying it, and trust me, as someone… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Innovation, Navy | 
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There are a lot of people who are convinced that unmanned aircraft, ships, and subsurface craft are the future of warfare. Not just surveillance and reconnaissance, but full spectrum combat. At least for the Western democracies, my initial push-back has always been that regardless of how good your AI gets the legal/ROE issues will get in the way if you cut away the man-in-the-loop such that we have now in the TLAM to Reaper spectrum of autonomy. Other parts of the world? Not everyone has the niceties that we are used to when it comes to moral or safety considerations. You… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Cyber, Innovation | 

A Word about Ratings

October 2016


Man the Rails

Last week, the Navy’s top leadership announced the swift transition from traditional rates to alphanumeric Navy Occupational Specialty (NOS) codes. In the matter of a three minutes and thirty-four second video, over two-hundred years of U.S. Navy Ratings – and traditions – were history. Gone. Finished. Dead. Never-to-be-talked-about-again. But not so fast, everyone. Just minutes after the release of NAVADMIN 218/16, Facebook and social media seemingly deteriorated into a bomb box of antipathy, false equivalencies, and irreverent commentary. Public manifestos protesting the continued tyranny of Secretary Mabus’s tenure inundated message boards and status updates. Nuclear meme proliferation. To be fair,… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by LT Alex Smith in Innovation, Naval Institute, Navy, Policy, Proceedings, Strategy | 
Sailors assigned to The U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band perform at a cultural celebration in Panza, Ischia Sept. 27, 2015.  (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 3rd Class by Marco Di Rienzo)

When I say “The Navy conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa,” I truly mean the full spectrum of operations. That includes both the treble and bass clefs. Within the DoD the Navy takes on a diplomatic role, showing the flag and defending American interest abroad. The Navy is in the vanguard, representing American foreign policy and values as her ships steam across the world’s oceans. The disadvantage of our inherently maritime presence is that a ship underway is often “out of sight and out of mind.”… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by VADM James Foggo in Navy, Soft Power | 
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Norfolk, Va. (Oct. 23, 2004) Ð The many rates that make up the crew of USS Virginia (SSN 774), stand at attention during its commissioning.  It is the first nuclear-powered fast attack Virginia class submarine and ninth U.S. naval vessel to be named for the "Old Dominion".  It is the Navy's only major combatant designed with the post-Cold War security environment in mind.  Virginia Class capabilities include anti-submarine; anti-surface; covert strike; covert special operations; covert mine; and covert intelligence, reconnaissance and electronic warfare.  U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Johnny Bivera.  (RELEASED)

General Omar Bradley—an Army officer, and the last man to hold a 5-star flag in the US armed forces—once said, “Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.” As we face change, we must not forget what makes us who we are. The United States Navy has experienced a lot of change over 241 years. From wooden ships with sails to submarines and aircraft carriers powered by nuclear reactors, from crackerjacks and dixie cups to a myriad of Navy Working Uniforms, from John Paul Jones to Delbert Black, change seems to come and go… Read the rest of this entry »


Please join us at 5pm EDT on 2 Oct 2016 for Midrats Episode 352: Building Resilience in the Face of Man Made & Natural Threats At the height of hurricane season, people think of the impact such storms can have on the security, economy, and even the political direction of places if hit by such huge events such as Katrina. As we saw in the attacks in New York City in 2001, terrorists are trying to create those same effects, along with a few more. With a global economy, local events can have international impact. How do you best to… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Mark Tempest in Cyber, Homeland Security, Podcasts, Policy | 
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A republic of ideas like the United States makes a poor imperial power. By birth, design, and national character – it just isn’t us. Look at all the nations we invaded (often like Haiti multiple times) and then left as soon as we could with the hope the “natives” would make the best of the opportunity and we wouldn’t have to come back. The closest we came to empire was with the former Spanish colonies we took after the Spanish-American War. We never really wanted Cuba and let them go. We didn’t quite know what to do with The Philippines… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Foreign Policy, Soft Power, Strategy | 
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