Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a change of office ceremony for the Navy Chief of Information (CHINFO) in the “Sail Loft” of the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast Washington, D.C. It was a gala event, that paid tribute to the incredible work ethic, energy and achievements of RDML Denny Moynihan during his four and a half-years on the job. RDML Moynihan was relieved by RDML John Kirby, another super-charged officer who is highly regarded in the Navy and the Navy Public Affairs community for his support of Admiral Mike Mullen as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and most recently, as the military spokesman for Secretary Leon Panetta in OSD Public Affairs.

By nature of his position as CHINFO, which supports the Office of the Secretary of the Navy and the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, RDML Kirby will have a direct impact on the Navy and Navy programs and people every day. He has myriad responsibilities that he will want to prioritize, but in many cases, the 24 hour news cycle will modulate and modify his priorities as current events involving U.S. Naval Forces unfold around the globe. As CHINFO, he will be one of the most important architects of the Navy’s Strategic Communications strategy.

Accordingly, he may want to examine our current “brand.” In enterprise terms, Strategic Communicators employ the marketing strategy of “branding” to focus on the objectives achievable with the goods and services that the company can offer its clientele. For example, the American Marketing Association (AMA) definition of a “brand” is a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

Sounds very business-like doesn’t it? But, let’s agree that the Navy has achieved some incredible efficiencies by adapting industry best practices to streamline support to the warfighter-Lean Six Sigma for example. So it follows that we might embrace “branding” as a method of unifying our strategic message to a target audience.

Since I joined the Service, we’ve adopted many different brands, even before the term and the enterprise approach became popular. Do you recall:

“It’s Not Just a Job… It’s an Adventure!”

“Let the Journey Begin!”

“Navy, Accelerate Your Life!”

And our current brand. “Navy. A Global Force for Good!”

Defining the target audience is part of the discovery process in adopting a brand. Those in the Human Resources aspect of what we do tell me that the target audience is the quality young men and women that we recruit annually to join our Service. We want the best and brightest from the pool of eligible young Americans. With an all-volunteer force, opportunities to learn new skills and be assured of job security, although necessary, are not enough – you need an appealing tagline! Human Resource specialists tell me that our current brand sells well with the Millennial Generation. Those joining our ranks today want job skills and a career, but they also want to make a difference-to be a part of a global team that has a raison d’etre- i.e. to make the world a better place. Recruiting, however, is normally tied to the economy and right now, our recruiting and retention statistics are pretty good. That could all change in a heartbeat with a major change in our economy, so it makes sense to keep a regular drumbeat on the theme of recruiting. Our brand is intended to attract and retain the very best, our challenge is to identify the Navy as a choice worth considering in the minds of those choosing and the minds of those providing advice and counsel.

I wonder however, if new recruits are the only audience? Shouldn’t our brand also appeal to the American taxpayers and their direct representatives on Capitol Hill? To the teachers, counselors, parents and coaches—those figures America’s youth look to when trying to figure out their personal way ahead? The point is that the “brand” has to appeal to a broad audience, with different levels of experience and different perspectives. The challenge is to reach and appeal to this wide audience with a clear and concise message of who we are.

In the marketplace, brands appeal to consumers and stifle the competition. Consumers of our brand are the American people, who want a safe and secure environment with conflicts resolved far from our shores. Our competition in the market of national security could be a peer competitor, a downright enemy of the state, or worst case – apathy and the belief that national security is someone else’s job. So, how will our brand keep us moving forward and deter our adversaries? This is an important question, if in fact you subscribe to the theory that our brand has multiple target audiences. Could we or should we change our brand to send a different message or a message to a different audience. I don’t have a good answer to these questions, so I thought we might benefit from the wisdom of the crowd–hence the reason for this blogging effort?

The CNO has given us three simple tenets and only six words on which to base our day-to-day fulfillment of our duties: Warfighting First! Operate Forward! Be Ready! Does our brand convey these three tenets? Do we need more than one brand for more than one audience? Do we need a brand at all?

I always liked the poster of the Aircraft Carrier that you see in many Navy Facilities-“90,000 tons of diplomacy.” A picture is often worth a thousand words, but that picture combined with that caption conveys many things about our Navy and our great country. It champions our industrial base and the United States’ ability to construct and operate not one but eleven nuclear powered aircraft carriers. It illustrates our ability to operate from our sovereign territory—the flight deck of the carrier—anytime and anyplace where our national interests may be threatened or where a helping hand may be needed. It epitomizes our ability to take the fight to the enemy far away from our shores. Finally, it sends the message that when diplomacy or deterrence fails, standby! American resolve and wherewithal will be there, ready to act if called upon. Perhaps we should adopt a brand that does all that?

Posted by RDML James Foggo in Aviation, From our Archive, History, Maritime Security, Naval Institute, Navy, Proceedings

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  • Nathan G. Bein

    Good on you Jaime, GO NAVY!



  • Bucherm

    Actually, I think “A Global Force for Good” has much more widespread appeal then you give it credit for. I frequent messageboards that tend to run to the left of the spectrum and, far and away, the “GFG” ad campaigns resonate more with people who have a general dim view of the military then other service ad campaigns. Phrases like “the army should hire the USNs marketing team” are thrown around.

    The GFG campaign really does a good job of conveying important duties that the “peacetime” service does, ranging from anti-piracy to Tsunami relief. It’s much harder for someone like Rachel freakin Maddow to knock spending when the narrative is that without capital-instensive assets like naval warships major humanitarian relief operations wouldn’t be able to be carried out.

    (The Mother Jones crowd can be pretty much written off, however.)

  • Admiral:
    First – welcome aboard one of the finest MILBLOGS around.

    Is it time to replace “A Global Force for Good”? I think so.

    To me there was always an element of apologizing for what we do that seemed, at least, tangentially connected with that campaign. But frankly, wasn’t that much of a fan of “It’s not a job/it’s and adventure” either and I’m from that era. Rather, keeping to the maxim of simplicity, I have been a fan of the immediate post-9/11 theme – “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it” (example here). As a Cold Warrior (and unrepentant at that) and a survivor of the Pentagon attack it eloquently spoke volumes and I think, resonated with the American people (and one presumes, by extension, the appropriators).
    Your serve –
    w/r, SJS

  • The Marines have a simple message that never changes (the words may change but the message doesn’t) – and it works! It works because it speaks to the very core of who the Marines are and the place they hold in America’s heart. What is the Navy’s simple, never changing message? If you can answer that, there’s your “brand”.

    Global force for good??? That’s for the Peace Corps or eco-warriors.

    Forgive me RDML but if you have to ask us what the Navy’s brand is after serving a career then either you failed totally to “get” the Navy or the Navy has failed to “get” itself. Can you picture a Marine asking someone else what message he should convey?

    I’m not trying to be mean or flip, here, I’m just trying to point out that the mere fact that you felt compelled to write a post asking this question is a failure in itself and reflects how wrapped up the Navy is in political correctness.

    Let me see if I can prod your memory. “Don’t give up the ship”. Pearl Harbor. The Big E (WWII). USS Constitution. “I have not yet begun to fight”. Mush Morton. John Paul Jones. The Sullivans. … Stop me if any of this sounds familiar. If this doesn’t suggest to you what the Navy’s message should be then I can’t help you.

    Let the Journey Begin??? What are we, a travel agency?


  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III


    Beyond branding is culture, a brand is just a simple moniker to convey that culture. If you look to how social media makes brands available, what you see is that a culture is built around that brand.

    Rather than sticking to branding, I personally look to how our culture is established by what we say, and what we say about what we do. The later of the two being the most important. The Navy has many problems in how we establish our culture through our words–through PA, StratCom, and all the rest of it. There’s problems with how we talk to Congress, there’s problems with how we talk to the Public, there are problems with how we communicate internally. There are even problems with how we establish our culture because of all the rest of it.

    In StratCom terms the key influencers we need to engage are here on the blogosphere, as well as certain journalists. In PA terms we need to move our message beyond slogans/brands that only appeal to those we’ve already won (Navy parents, new recruits, and some vets). I’ll even go as far as to point out what the Duffleblog is able to do with satire written in PAO-speak, to outline our challenges (though I won’t link to it from here).

    What our culture is in the Navy is not what is represented to Sailors by Big Navy Public Affairs often enough. What results from this is a certain cognitive dissonance, in that what the average Sailor is day-to-day is not what the Navy wants the Nation and World to see, even though that ‘average Sailor’ is not all that bad to begin with. To continue this cognitive dissonance I’ll point out how what is said and backed-up with documentation on blogs tends to be significantly different from the official word from the Navy.

    But, it’s not all bad, we’ve made strides towards improving how we communicate. Certainly the priorities that the CNO has outlined are fantastic and electrify those of us who sail ships into harms way. An even greater cause for optimism is the ability for the PA professionals to take the steps they feel is necessary to engage publicly (Millington flooding, for example). We’re getting there, there is a lot more to be done, but I think we’ll do it.


  • Admiral,

    “A Global Force for Good” is actually the best motto for these times. It is a positive spin on defense in depth. As we say, preventing war is as important as winning them. “A Global Force for Good” not only implies we are forward-deployed, but we are actively engaging in the diplomacy necessary to create a stable and secure environment around the world. It embraces the subtleties and scope of our mission abroad, and “good” doesn’t necessarily mean “peace.” As St.Thomas Aquinas said, there are greater injustices than war.

    LTJG Hipple

  • Admiral,

    Let me join everyone with a “welcome aboard!”

    I think you hit on a key disconnect; “Global Force for Good” is not aligned with the CNO’s “Warfighting First! Operate Forward! Be Ready!”

    I think the “CNO Three” is very good and is a solid structure to build a lot of messaging around.

    I don’t think we can go back to the ’70s, “Sailors Have More Fun” bumper sticker – but we do need to look back and forward for something better the GFFG.

  • Hi Admiral,

    We met at the London conference in March of this year.

    We need a clearly articulated message of why our Navy is relevant. As a maritime nation, we need to highlight the consequences of no Navy/a weaker force. I signed up in 79 at the height of the Cold War because I knew there was a mission.

    Today, we seem to hide behind slogans at the expense of a dangerous world. It seems disingenuous to attempt to attract talent to the Navy using the thin soup of a “Global force for good”—-what does that mean and who defines “good?”

    For too long, every CNO seems to have to have his own “branding” slogan, but we are a maritime nation and without a Navy presence the world would be even more dangerous than it is now (witness the current piracy problem). BTW, building a real strategy on six words isn’t a good path—and many would respond by asking what the last four words meant. This is stuff only palatable around the beltway—no one talks like this.

    I like 90K tons of diplomacy, too—I like the implication. One doesn’t need a “brand” or a Madison Ave meaningless slogan to interpret—but this points to a larger problem our Navy has: build ships that are credible—not this LCS PowerPoint trainwreck, and the Zumwalt DDG doesn’t seem much better. A navy can’t talk/PowerPoint their force to victory—-to be successful they need ships that can back up the rhetoric, and we’re running out too fast.

    This sort of “branding” comes with credibility and an articulated mission—won’t need all the sloganeering, because the need will be self-explanatory. We have a paucity of honesty and thinking at the top of our Navy—so thin, rhetoric is amusing in lieu of honest, courageous, and thoughtful action.

  • TerminalCDR

    I work in a command with a number of international officers and most of the snicker when they see the commercials. Of course it is apparent they are doing this to hide their true feelings on the matter and when pressed on this the response is along the lines of don’t you think that’s awfully arrogant. My response is yes. We’re in the profession of arms, not here to hand out hugs and kisses. What ever happened to “Don’t give up the ship” or “Damn the torpedeos, full speed ahead”? Oh, never mind, such slogans are too insensitive and no longer politically correct. Our organization is dedicated to protecting the peace through force when called to do so, period.

  • BJ Armstrong

    RDML, it’s great to see you here at the Blog helping to encourage the conversation.

    On a personal level I agree with SJS, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of all who threaten it” has been my favorite. However, Scott brings up an important point. The continued and expanding application of principles and ideas from the business world to naval affairs concerns me. I understand that the recruiters and PAO’s need to have something to hang their cover on, but that’s all it is, a crutch or a coat rack. How about we build the “brand” not by sloganeering but instead by actually engaging with the American public in a meaningful discussion of what the USN actually does every day. The documentary “Carrier” did a great job…but wasn’t great for branding because it was honest, and some PAO’s freaked out because of the inability to “control the message.” We’re not a political campaign, we’re the United States Navy. Honesty is better.

    I know that we teach Commanding Officers the MBA mantra of the importance of mission statements, and core values, and guiding principles not as ideals but as documents that must be written and re-written and the used for the basis of all leadership in the command. However, in doing so you ensure that the message to the Sailor on the deckplates or the flight line changes every 15 to 18 month Each CO is taught that he must come up with his own way of saying what’s important. What gets lost is a sense of tradition and a sense of belonging to something greater than just a group of people who work together, identification with a unit and the military brother/sisterhood. The changing of our messaging and branding every couple of years may do the same thing at the Macro level.

    Does GFFG work? In some markets, I think it does. I also think that there may be more resonance with younger generations (which is really all the recruiters want). Maybe we go back to the start…

    Non Sibi sed Patriae
    The United States Navy: Not for Self, But for Country.

    LCDR B. Armstrong

  • Thank you, Sir, for your participation. Perhaps a new motto lies within the CNO’s three tenets:

    First. Forward. Ready.

  • I gotta go with LCDR Armstrong here.

    Having said that…

    As a former (Army) recruiter, I understand that the purpose of the GFFG tagline is mostly as a branding tool in the sphere of recruiting. The reality is, once sailors are in the service, the tools used to recruit them are almost irrelevant (provided they weren’t obviously fraudulent). That is to say, today’s deckplate sailors may not be enamored of the line, but if it works, then it isn’t that bad. Sure, I’d like to see something along the lines of “Kicking the crap out of America’s enemies for over 200 years” but that won’t do a whole lot to entice young Americans to sit down with a recruiter.

    A desire for service to country is rarely the sole reason for an enlistment, but is in fact almost always present. Adventure, training in a skill, money, and of course, educational opportunities are often primary motivators. But almost every enlistee also has some desire to be a part of something larger than themselves, something worthy. LCDR Armstrong’s suggestion is a good start.

    Now if I can only convince the Army to go back to “This We’ll Defend.”

  • Daniel J. Bense

    The USN is the only service that does not use the latin motto format. In years past an unofficial latin moniker for the Navy has been “SEMPER FORTIS”…: Always Strong.

    Doesn’t this motto take everything that has been mentioned from the first posting to the last, in to account. We’re a global force for good, for warfighting, for diplomacy, for secuity, etc.

    Why not make it the Navy’s banner ?

  • Tom Van Leunen

    LCDR Armstrong, I agree with you that the Navy should be out ‘engaging’ with the American public. And apparently they are. The Navy was recently awarded a Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America for running the best government community relations program in government – federal, state or local.

    Over a 10-month period in 2011, the Navy Office of Community Outreach executed 21 Navy Weeks across America, with more than 1,500 individual outreach events that exposed nearly 100 million Americans to their Navy.

    As we speak today, six Navy flag officers are engaged in Chicago, Knoxville and Atlantic City. U.S. Navy ships are visiting Chicago for the first time since 1999.

    The Navy recently participated heavily in the movies Act of Valor and Battleship. To say that we’re not out in the community and engaged is just disingenuous.

    I would also completely disagree with your statement that PAOs “freaked out” about Carrier because we couldn’t control the message. If anything the PA community fought hard to keep the documentary going forward when non-PA leadership grew concerned about what the final result would be. Carrier was a significant risk that was the result of a lot of hard work by CHINFO.

    We can certainly discuss whether the Navy’s branding efforts and tag lines are effective, memorable or right for today’s times but the Navy is fully engaged in getting to the American people.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    I don’t remember what the canoe club motto was during Vietnam, but I do remember: “Sailors Have More Fun” after things calmed down some.

    My advice is to pick one and stay with it – like Semper Fidelis, Semper Paratus or (God forbid) Semper Procinctum.

    The current motto is pure bilge – kinda like “An Army of One”.

    If the Navy follows their current policies to a logical conclusion the motto “A Global Farce for Good” (as in from now on) will fit; and you will only have to change one letter.

    BTW has anyone thought of new hats yet?

    – Kyon

  • TheMightyQ


    I’ve also got to agree with LCDR Armstrong. “Non sibi sed patriae” should be the basis of the message we send. It encapsulates a message that is repeated by COs the fleet over, albeit on a smaller scale: Ship, Shipmate, Self. It ties one to a larger group, currently and historically, and allows one to find one’s place in that group. It is honest, above all. It indicates that sacrifices will be required of one, to which any Sailor would attest.

    As was mentioned earlier, the consistent message that the USMC has been able to send is one of “What we do is hard and dangerous, but if you can hack it, we have a place for you.” The Navy would do well to learn from them.

  • JBAR

    How can we come up with a realistic slogan amid the Navy’s own identity crisis? Our service seems to have changed from a war fighting Navy to a humanitarian Navy. It also seems that the Navy is more concerned with being socially and politically correct and avoiding hurting any identified unique personality. It seems to be happening on a broader scale among the entire military. Are we a fighting military machine ready to pounce on an enemy and destroy every patch of ocean or land that they even think of being on, or are we all of the above? How can us Sailors even identify ourselves if the messages and action from the “Big Navy” are all over the place. I keep hearing that war fighting is our primary focus, but that is not what I observe from social content, from the work atmosphere, and from professional development guidelines being enforced in the workplace. It seems that war fighting has taken a back seat to everything else. Collateral duties, training on everything but war fighting material, etc. is the plan of the day, not kicking butt. It seems that if we were to focus on fighting and using a fighting slogan, that it would not even have a chance of being used. In the past it was SOP to have fear inducing logos, patches, and identifiers such as: “Snake Eaters”, skulls, missiles, and blowing things up. Now? We are restrained from having any type of “fighting ” moral material all together because it may not be liked by some single person. Are we trying to hide or promote being a war fighting force? I know that being in the military has always been related to fighting and duty to country in my mind and I think it still exists an a majority of others. Beyond that, how can we strike fear into our enemies with our current atmosphere?

  • Dee

    With 70 percent of the world covered in ocean, 80 percent of the world’s population living near coasts and 90 percent of the world’s commerce traveling by water, America’s Navy continues to be forward deployed as a global force for good.

    I think reminding people of that much of what we take for granted in the global market is as a consequence of free trade in economic commons. I think stating the business case or branding makes good sense.

  • Rob McFall


    I think that this is a fantastic conversation that is vitally important to the future direction of the Navy. I would offer that as we go forward, as SEA POWER 21 stated, “preventing war is as important as going to war”. With that said, whatever brand we establish should probably be a hybrid of the two environments in which we have to prepare ourselves.

    One possibility comes from the motto of USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL. “In war resolution… In peace goodwill”. This is of course taken from a well known Churchill speech and could not be used in its entirety. The marines have a line that is similar which came from General Mattis “No better friend, no worse enemy”.

    The reality is that we are not just warfighters anymore, we have to be that and much much more. Every sailor has to embrace the scale of operations that our service is called upon to do. The extremes of this scale are exemplified by the SEALs on one side and the Hospital Ships on the other.

    Lucky for us, the millennials that are joining the military by in large understand this need. Like the generations before them, they are joining the military because they want to be a part of the military tradition and all that stands for. However, they also have the volunteer background that previous generations did not exemplify as much. Organizations like Key clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts etc have boomed during this generation. Colleges and work places all ask about volunteer activity. This is because our society, and this generation, believes that we should all try and help where we can.


    Rob McFall
    LT USN

  • Phil

    I endorse the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph. Far, far too much management attention is forfeited in the pursuit of renaming things, designing catchy logos, branding and other fluff — all of which yields imperceptible value and is too frequently motivated by an individual hubristic commander’s desire to leave a legacy. It adds more confusion than clarity. Oh, and we should stop redesigning uniforms, too. (U’-ni-form, adj., constant, unvarying, undeviating).

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Thanks for making it a point to come to the USNI and asking the question. I very respectfully hope this will not be a one-time “drive by” but the beginning of a sustained and respectful conversation. Rather than suck up bandwidth here at the blog, I have responded to you over where I occasionally voice thoughts, here:

    I hope that whomever you’ve asked to monitor responses or you will take a few moments to read my thoughts. Thanks again, sir, for coming by and especially for asking such a thought-provoking question.


  • Bucherm,

    Thanks for your response. I was glad to see that there were both pros and cons on GFFG. It’s good to seek the pulse of the readership on what’s working or not working and provide these suggestions back to the leadership.

    Keep chargin’,

    JG Foggo



    Thanks for your reply. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of all who threaten it…” I love it!

    r/JG Foggo


    YN2 Gautthier,

    Thanks for your very thoughtful and well written response. As for the Strat Comms side of the house, you are right. We are just now getting in the saddle on how we handle it and employ it to get our message across. Millington flooding is a GREAT example.

    I’m also glad you are on the pointy end of the spear and that you liked the CNO tenets. Short, pithy and meaningful.

    We’ll keep working the brand to find something as good.

    Keep chargin’

    JG Foggo


    LTjg Hipple,

    Spoken like a true scholar! Thanks for your feedback and you’ve given us all a different perspective to think about. Kind of like deterrence–it’s a mission failure if you have to push the button to launch. There’s a big stick behind GFFG… we just have to ensure our adversaries understand that we’ll use it.

    Keep chargin’

    JG Foggo


    CDR Salamander,

    Thanks for your input!

    I’m with you and think we can always evolve our message as we do our warfighting prowess.

    Keep chargin’

    JG Foggo


  • Moe Delaun,

    First, forward, ready!

    I like it!


    JG Foggo


    LT Rob McFall,

    Thanks Rob, loved the Churchill quote–one of my favorite orators.

    Couldn’t agree with you more on this generation of new recruits–the quality and desire to serve is eye-watering.

    I subscribe wholeheartedly to CS21 “Preventing War is as important as going to war…” Several miscalculations in the early 20th century in this regard left the world in a mess. It’s all about deterrence.

    Appreciate your input. Keep doing what you’re doing and keep chargin’

    JG Foggo


    Andy at JADAA:

    Thanks Andy, and I promise, not a one time drive by–too many important topics to crowd source not to do it.

    Keep chargin’

    JG Foggo

  • Not sure why we shy away from advertising that our job is to put ordnance on target and break stuff…ours is not a gentle profession.

    “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of all who threaten it” is a damn fine motto. Certainly better than the many that have come before it. It espouses the “no better friend, no worse enemy” aspect of the US Navy – we are perfectly happy pursuing life, liberty, and happiness but if you want to mess with us we are perfectly willing/happy/ready/willing/capable of opening a can of whoop ass on you. Your choice.

    Do not apologize for who we are – we are the US Navy, perfectly capable of sinking your ships and creating another Iron Bottom Sound. We are the “enemy” Ramius warned his crew about…


  • How about a single word


    with pictures of USS Constitution and later warships

  • Charles Berlemann

    You mean like this old recuriting poster of old?

    I am a kid of the 1980’s Navy when my dad was in and have this poster in my room all the time. However, to decorate my “I love me wall” at my house I found just a couple of old school like this one to put on the wall next to the “Hertiage” poster

    I really think that we need to get rid of the idea of a slogan and instead maybe have a series of one-liners like “Travel”, “Hertiage”, “Trades” and have pictures of our sailors or ships in foregin locals, Navy generations together (which happens more often then most know), or show a job like Aviation Electronics Tech near automatic test equipment. We should look to use some classic US Navy quotes with modern imagery such as the USS Cole in Yemen and “Don’t Give up the Ship” or “We can start at once” quote with a picture of the disaster relief ops going on.

    If you want to sell the brand that the CNO is putting forward, then take a look at taking a page from an old school TV show Dragnet to create a memoriable recuriting theme. Open up with a section of the “Anchors Aweigh” or the “Navy Hymn” and then have the opening Narration of “Ladies and Gentleman, [insert some date time group] and then say you are a… on the/with the [insert a command name]” in the background you see a rating symbol or an officer’s warfare pin during the narriation. It cuts to a quick three minute review of a job with actual sailors in it. Whether that is a LtJG in charge of 1st boat crew helping to rescue stranded Iranian mariners whose dhow is on fire, a RP3 is helping to administer Sunday services in the field someplace so that Marines and Sailors can still have service, or even a MSSN who is serving Christmas meal during a deployment to smiling faces; it doesn’t matter just show all of the jobs (not just the sexy ones like SEALS/EOD or flight deck crews) and then cut back to the rating and ask, “Do you want to be this sailor?”
    Make it so that a US Citizen wants to have pride in the US Navy and show them all of the jobs in the Navy in a positive light even if it is a horrible job. Another way to spin this as well is to use the same idea and show a sailor transitioning from Sailor to Civilian and into a civilian job of the same type they just did in the Navy (or something similar) where we can talk about how we are always ready even in the civilian sector.

  • virgil xenophon

    When I was on active duty in the Air Force in the 60s/70s the motto was: “The Mission of the USAF is to Fly and Fight and Don’t You Forget it!”
    Sadly, the USAF, like the Navy, has since strayed into more PC territorial skies/waters, but the essence of the sentiment expressed by the quoted mission statement should, I feel, be at the core of any new mission statement the Navy chooses. The Navy’s primary reason for being is NOT to trundle Care Packages to and fro..

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Welcome to the shark tank.

    I was at the Naval War College when a female Admiral showed a wargame crowd one of these first “global force for good” commercials a few years back. Lots of video of food being handed out, and smiling civilian faces, and houses being built, and female sailors holding babies. It was as if the Kiwanis Club bought their own helicopters and ships.

    Reaction in the room ranged from amusement to disgust. The Marines in the room, all combat veterans, shook their heads knowingly.

    This little video was shown literally minutes after a SWO participating in the exercise objected vociferously to being called a “killer”, informing the discussion that he was a technician and a manager.

    Coupled with Admiral Bird’s rather absurd assertion a few months earlier that the Navy’s job was “not to fight”, but to deter, the introduction of “Global Force for Good” as a marketing slogan confirmed the Navy’s utter rejection of any vision of itself as a warrior culture. That rejection is reinforced by the intense focus on peripheral (social) issues, at the expense of training and readiness of the Navy’s sailors.

    The US Navy has a long list of things that it should be able to accomplish. The one thing it MUST accomplish is fighting and winning battles. That requires war-fighters and a warrior culture. “Global Force for Good” doesn’t answer the mail in any way, shape, or form.

  • Paul Campagna

    RDML Foggo,

    I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this on an open forum, providing access to senior leaders with unfiltered feedback. It is not without risk but a communication venue we should all embrace.

    The entire slogan is not Navy, a GFG, rather America’s Navy, a GFG. Subtle, but on every uniform I’ve worn it says U.S. Navy. Our seal says United States of America. I understand this brand is more inclusive and represents the diversity of our force and our hemispheric partners. However difficult it is to articulate, I felt the slogan was disingenuous, a hat tip to marketing professionals who had obviously not looked in the mirror each day and seen U.S. Navy on their chest.

    I believe Sailors appreciate being part of a noble service, something bigger than themselves that is enduring and relevant today, and Latin phrases are excellent: we wore one in my last unit. Nothing captures this sense of honoring those who have gone before uslike LCDR Armsrtong, well done.

    Non Sibi sed Patriae
    The United States Navy: Not for Self, But for Country.

    Thank you for this opportunity,


    CDR Paul Campagna

  • Historyguy99

    -”90,000 tons of diplomacy.” = “Speak softly, and carry a big stick” the first brand slogan, as the US came of age on the world stage. Time for soft words, but from a position of strength. “A global force for good” sounds like the slogan for an NGO.

  • In some respects the current slogan with its emphasis on civic action, disaster relief, and drug enforcement is disingenuous because it is such a small part of what the Navy does and it certainly does not justify the cost of the Navy since the Navy’s Budget is about 13 times that of the Coast Guard, and they really do more humanitarian work.

    The Navy is a “Defense” program, it should emphasize it defense value. Britain had its “wooden walls” the US has its “Ironsides.”

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    “U. S. Navy, arriving. Good news for all but the bad”.


    “Hollywood makes movies about the U. S. Navy making history. Make some history in the Navy, maybe someday take your Grandkids to a movie about you doing it.”

  • Charles Berleman,

    Great ideas Charles. We can take a good lesson from the Marines who have some terrific recruiting commercials that transcend just recruiting… I marvel at the last two years worth of video statements that the Commandant and his CSMG give at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. Just eye watering stuff.




    Virgil Xenophon,

    Good to have you guys in light blue as partners in Air Sea Battle!





    Thanks for your comment. With respect to deterrence and warfighting, I think we do both. Obviously in peacetime, we deter cconflict from happening by nature of our forward presence, but in the event that limited, regional or major theater conflicts occur that threaten our interests, it is our duty to fight to win!




    Paul Campagna,

    Not for self, but for country… I like that Paul. Thanks for your post.



  • UltimaRatioReg

    With due respect, I get deterrence, and the idea of forward presence. But it becomes a rubber check when/if someone has the means and will to challenge it and finds the warfighting end wanting. Influence squadrons become targets in a hurry. (See: Asiatic Fleet, ca 1942)

    Warrior cultures can learn quickly to do everything else. Non-warrior cultures may be proficient at everything else, but if they cannot fight like lions, there is little value in any of it.

  • virgil xenophon

    URR speak heap Big Medicine!

  • virgil xenophon

    PPS: Dunno about today’s AF, but in MY day it was AIR FORCE BLUE, Admiral..

  • Dee

    Coupled with Admiral Bird’s rather absurd assertion a few months earlier that the Navy’s job was “not to fight”, but to deter, the introduction of “Global Force for Good” as a marketing slogan confirmed the Navy’s utter rejection of any vision of itself as a warrior culture. That rejection is reinforced by the intense focus on peripheral (social) issues, at the expense of training and readiness of the Navy’s sailors.

    I’m not so sure that that is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the “Global Force for Good.” In and of itself in isolation of context it seems a dichotomy of the fact that we are talking about warships. However we as a nation are not always involved in Naval military engagements and nation state combat. The statement: “With 70 percent of the world covered in ocean, 80 percent of the world’s population living near coasts and 90 percent of the world’s commerce traveling by water, America’s Navy continues to be forward deployed as a global force for good.” Speaks to the times of peaceful operations. I think that some here confuse “corporate branding” with a “corporate mission statement.” The two are different.

    When I first saw the ad on NFL Network I thought to myself that it was very very effective.

    GE: “we bring good things to life”, composed by David Lucas
    Campbell Soup: Uhm-Uhm Good!

    It would have only been bad if the ad stated: We prevent bad stuff from happening and are ready to fight.

    Where the presumption is:

    A. bad stuff happens
    B. You have to fight (by logical extension bad.)

    Much better to focus on the word “good” and provide a rationale of service to substantiate that claim. Leadership will find a way to prepare these young sailors for the dirty work of war if it is necessary, otherwise Tsunami relief, humanitarian efforts, and other visible acts (deterring piracy, drug interdiction, human trafficking) are acts of global “good.”

    I see no harm in it and thought the ad highly effective.

  • virgil xenophon


    On one analytical level you are correct, Dee. And in that vein I agree with the thrust of your argument.Your point about the difference between “Coroprate Mission” and “Coroporate Branding Statement” is a good one. I think few here would obj to the slogan “Global Force For Good”if not for all the PC Cultural baggage “management” is forcing down the throats of the Force and the blindingly obvious all-too-clear belief almost uniformly held by “management” that “Diversity Directorates” are not only as EQUALLY as impt as combat effectiveness, they are in many ways MORE SO. Lets not kid the troops, here, sportsfans–we ALL know what’s going on in today’s PC armed services, unlike, say, in the heyday of SAC when NO ONE was in ANY DOUBT as to what the “corporate culture” of SAC was all about under Curt LeMay. Hence SAC’s slogan “Peace is Our Profession” emphasizing deterrence was more than acceptable because everyone–from enemies to friends alike–was well aware that SAC was well equipped, maintained, and led by someone not hesitant to pull the trigger. Sadly, imho, NONE of those three things obtain in today’s Navy. It is ill-led, ill-equipped and ill-maintained. And it does no good to argue that many of its woes are macro budgetary ones out of the hands of leadership. Leadership has been particulary feckless in making the case for expanded budgets and pushing hard and making the case publically even at the risk of careers. Rather, it has been the first to volunteer to help re-arrange the deck-chairs on the proverbial Titanic–omly too willing to “go quietly into that dark night” rather than protest budget cuts and force reductions that even the most obtuse unknowlegeable 8th grader would know after a 10 minute briefing are TOTALLY unsustainable unless one thinks a glorified Coast Gard is sufficient to defend the Republic. Couple these facts with the statement by the Super of Annapolis that “Diversity is our *number one* priority!” when, I would suggest, recruuiting personnel with the ability to acquire the minimal competence to keep watch so as to keep out of harm’s way of civilian tankers might be a goal of a higher order and urgency. Considering the present state-of-play in the “Corporate culture/ethos,” types such as myself, URR and others might be forgiven if we view ANYTHING with the SLIGHTEST hint of squishy PC sentiments with a jaundiced eye..

    If the Navy (and the other branches as well) spent HALF as much time on training and readiness as it does on the PC zampolitz and multicultural sensitivity training, the Navy someday JUST might be able to defeat the Navy of Paraguay should push come to shove..

  • Kurosawa45

    A post that lays out the ways in which your office fits into the Navy budget development process might prove more interesting to readers of this blog. Given the expertise on branding displayed here, there are probably scores of strategists and budgeteers awaiting an opportunity to make suggestions.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Leadership will find a way to prepare these young sailors for the dirty work of war if it is necessary…”

    Dee, you have that precisely backwards. Hence the problem with the slogan and the mindset that created it.

    Ernest Evans, not Mother Teresa.

  • Admiral,

    Thank you for bringing this topic out of the shadows into the light; I believe it’s a discussion that needs to happen if we are to go forward and be able to effectively “sell” the Navy to the American people. While we are a war-fighting institution — despite our transgressions into the PC-culture, etc. — we still must sell ourselves as a business in order to justify our existence. If not, we risk running into the same problems as we did back in Jefferson, Carter, Clinton, and countless other presidential administrations who did not see a need for the Navy and/or did not want to spend the money in order to keep one.

    Part of selling ourselves is having a brand: It must be simple, easy to remember, and be able to describe the mission of the USN in a nutshell. That mission is to project power from the sea in order to protect American interests around the globe. With that in mind I believe the best way forward is to follow in the Marines’ footsteps. They have never lost the point. They are The Few and The Proud. We are the many but we have a long history of selfless service and protecting American interests around the globe 24/7/365. I think our first GFFG ad captured that while speaking about Honor, Courage, and Commitment, but the tagline stank. I like the 100% On Watch ad that has been playing recently but I don’t think it addresses the esoteric aspects of our profession. I agree that something like “Always Strong [Semper Fortis]. Always On Watch.” would be an excellent tagline allowing the framework for the ads to speak on topics of Duty, Honor, Steadfast Courage, and the like.

    In short, we have some of the greatest sailors in the world. I’m humbled every day by just how hard my snipes work in support of the mission. We owe them to show the rest of the country that their tax dollars are not spent in vain.

    ENS, USN

  • Fouled Anchor

    Admiral Foggo,

    Welcome to the blog and thank you for posing these questions.

    The single-word recruiting posters that Charles Berlemann provided links to offer a great idea. We could have an entire series around just three individual words. That series could portray the U.S. Navy’s vital combat and peacetime missions. It could offer a compelling argument for why the Navy is an honorable way to serve your Nation and her people. It could portray what we seek in recruits, what expect of our Sailors, and what we believe in as an organizational. It could explain the meaning and not just use the words of Non Sibi sed Patriae. These three words are the U.S. Navy brand because they are our culture.

    Honor. Courage. Commitment.

    The Navy Core Values are all the brand we need. Build an advertising plan around them for both internal and external use. Add Semper Fortis to the rotation for good measure.

    Fouled Anchor

  • JAV

    Another vote for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it”. Almost good enough to be a Marine slogan…

    Semper Fidelis

  • Diogenes of NJ

    @Virg –

    Well said. When men like Curtis E. LeMay were in charge of our military we were a first rate nation that was feared by the enemy. I still remember the equation for Deterrence

    Deterrence = Capability * Will

    The reason individuals such as you, URR and myself get so spun up is that we fear the demise of our once great nation, especially if we continue along the path directed by the “sloganeering” and “diversity” crowd. Well what do you expect from an organization that would pluck the cigar from a fighting man’s mouth?

    An item of interest – the 2013 Submarine Veterans of WW II calendar is out. The title of this year’s calendar is: “The Victors”. So I pose a sincere question to the Admiral as a submariner who has worn his Dolphins longer than the CNO – what lesson does history teach us about taking a fight to the enemy?

    Gentlemen – we all know where this is going.

    In 2063 the Association of Chinese Submariners may publish a calendar titled the “The Vanquished”. Today we still have the opportunity to insure that our grandchildren’s pictures are not in that calendar. It is up to the courage of the people now in charge.

    All my best to the Admiral.

    – Kyon

    P.S. Google it – they sell out quickly.

  • Invictus

    First, I’d get rid of the “Global Force for Good” slogan–it sounds like you are catering to the anti-war crowd, and you may find yourself recruiting a group that doesn’t fight very well.

    Second, don’t get too carried away with the “incredible efficiencies by adapting industry best practices” piece. I’ve worked this from both sides of the fence, and while we’ve reduced the depth and redundancy of our force, we haven’t done anything to cure the bureaucracy and the waste that comes with it.

  • Mike the Marine

    I have to agree with some of the posters above. What is the Navy doing here…a “Global Force for Good”? Is this the Peace Corps or the U.S. Navy we’re talking about. I’m reminded of Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet steaming around the globe in 1907-09, the primary purpose of which was to showcase the strength of the Navy. Way down on his list of priorities was something about a good will tour.

    If the Navy doesn’t have a brand, if the Navy doesn’t know who they are, if the Navy needs to go ask some HR “weenie” what brand will appeal to the millenials, then the Navy has a problem…and a big one.

    For the first 200 years of it’s existance, the brand of the Marine Corps was “A Few Good Men”. This first appeared on a recruiting post in 1779. That brand lasted up until the end of the Vietnam War when two things happened. First, the draft ended. Second, women were being integrated into the Corps more fully. The Marine Corps realized they needed to update their brand and, in 1975, they adopted “The Few, The Proud, The Marines” which has been their brand ever since, and probably will be for the rest of time, unless we allow some “feel good marketing strategist” inside the beltway muck it up.

    I’m reminded of some recuiting posters which I saw back in the mid-90’s. One was of a female Navy jet aviator walking off the flight line with her fellow aviators. The tagline mentioned that her goals were something along the lines of becoming a department head, going to PG school, getting married, and raising a family. The other poster was of a young Marine recruit, face wincing in pain, sweating, dirty, stiving. The tagline merely said pain is weakness leaving the body. If I had been at the recuitering office to sign up and saw these two posters, which one would a future warrior looking to serve and defend his country turn to?

    The reason you can’t “sell” the Navy to the American populace is that it has lost touch with its military. During WWII, 1 out of every 11 Americans was in uniform. If you didn’t have a family member in the military, you almost certainly had a friend, classmate, or co-worker who was. Today about 1 out of every 220 is in uniform. Add to that the fact that today’s military if all-volunteer and you have wide swaths of the American population that have never met, let alone talked to a serviceman or woman. They only know the military through the media (Hollywood and the MSM). If you wan’t to make the Navy “sellable” to that demographic, then you may as well give up your mission of defending our nation and step out boldly with your mission of being a global goodie two-shoes.

  • Dee

    virgil xenophon….

    Interesting statement:

    I’m reading a fascinating book called China Aerospace Power: Emerging Maritime Roles. It is a compilation of essays about the role of Chinese airpower in China’s oceanic frontier. One of the writers (his name escapes me at the moment) discusses China’s carrier plans at length.

    He does not see China producing carriers to challenge those of the USA on the high seas. China will use carriers, rather, to menace unruly neighbours (Vietnam, the Philippines) in South China Sea territorial disputes. Since helicopter AEW&C systems are inferior to fixed-wing types such as the USA’s E-2C Hawkeye, China’s carriers will be more effective (not to mention less vulnerable) if covered by fixed wing AEW&C assets operated from bases in China.

    During peacetime, the ship will be used for both flying the flag and helping out with international humanitarian efforts. “He writes that China was embarrassed by its inability to lend a hand after the 2004 Tsunami that devastated Indonesia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.”

    Perception is reality and a global force for good is not that bad of a thing.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Japan would like not have “menaced” the United States but for the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and the considerable US presence in the Philippines.

    Is there some restriction that those PLAN carriers cannot both intimidate neighbors and challenge US seapower, if the force ratios (which are all heading in their direction) are advantageous?

  • Barney Rubel

    You know where the current slogan came from and are very famililar with the logic behind it. With CS21 we tried to seize the moral high ground in order to help generate the global maritime partnership, and it worked. Now, five years later, the cocktail of geostrategic problems has been remixed. The CNO’s drive to revitalize the Navy’s institutional warfighting reflexes has come at a critical time and, as a vet of the 1973 Yom Kippur War standoff with the Soviets, I know well the nasty feeling of not being ready when a sea control threat popped up. His six word mantra is just right to motivate everyone in uniform; the question is whether this adjustment in institutional emphasis ought to be reflected in our recruiting ads. I think we need to be careful about what we mean by branding. You want a recruiting ad that draws young people in, but does no harm to the strategic messaging that our maritime strategy attempts to convey. I am no ad man, but it seems to me you could get most of the nuances in with something like “The Navy: Poised and Ready For Anything.” It has the additional virtue of being true.
    Vr, Barney

  • chris v

    how about, “The United States Navy, Protecting the seas since 1775”

  • Jon P. Rodgers


    Bring the deckplates of the Fleet closer to the readership. No actors, real Sailors anchored on the immortal words from JOHN PAUL JONES: “Come Sail With Me”

    Videos of Sailors introducing themselves and what they are doing:

    My name is Petty Officer Smith from Barnhill, Tennessee, I am deployed in USS SHIP/SUB/SQDN keeping the sea lanes open for trade. I am seeing the world in a noble profession. “Come Sail With Me!”

    My name is SN Jones, I am deployed in xxxxxxxx. Last month I graduated from Humboldt High School. Last week we saved the lives of 12 fisherman stranded at sea. “Come Sail With Me!

    End the various segments with: Hello, we are the Sailors in the United States Navy, the best Navy the world has ever known. Come Sail With Me!

    The fresh faces and missions would keep the new slogan current/relevant and in touch with Sailors, constituents, families and industry.

    V/R JR
    Captain Jon P. Rodgers “JR”

  • Richard Krystof

    From the first time that I heard the new slogan, one thought has stuck in my mind. “A Global Force for Good,” simply stated, means that the need to have a strong Navy is an enduring requirement (“for good”) and as such will never go away.

    The ad featuring CVN 76 illustrates this, by pointing out the 24/7/365 criticality of the maritime (70% of the globe), to the worlds population (80% near the maritime), and its economy (90% of worlds commerce), defended by our Navy being on-station 100% of the time.

    V/R Rick Krystof
    MSOC, Naval War College

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