The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87) on June 24, 2016. US Navy Photo

Those who follow naval history will note the recently marked 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland—a story masterfully told by Dr. Andrew Gordon in his book, Rules of the Game. Great Britain’s naval mastery was perceived as a birthright, but after what Gordon termed “the long, calm lee of Trafalgar,” he assessed that the Royal Navy had strayed away from its fighting past. The Royal Navy was undeniably full of what Gordon termed “regulators” – people who advanced within the established bureaucratic framework and were comfortable thinking inside the box – rather than the “ratcatchers” who were dearly needed… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by VADM Tom Rowden in Hard Power, Innovation | 
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Please join us at 5pm EST on 6 November 2016 for Midrats Episode 567: Goldwater–Nichols; Problems and Solutions The systems that trains, mans, and equips our military – and provides guidance and support to their civilian masters is broadly shaped by Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. There is much discussion that in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century, is there a better system to serve our national security requirements than one designed at the height of the 20th Century’s Cold War? Using his article in War on the Rocks, Don’t Rush to “Fix” Goldwater-Nichols as a starting… Read the rest of this entry »


On 4 August 2016, the Navy released a message announcing the eventual elimination of the original Type I Navy Working Uniform (NWU). The uniform, long a subject of wide criticism, was finally being replaced with something more versatile, more breathable, and more well-liked by Sailors who had tried it out. Navy Times praised the fact that we were “dumping the dumbest uniform ever.” Only one small problem seems to have been overlooked by the Navy: It’s green camouflage. Having never tried the Type III NWU myself, I trust the claims of my peers that it is more acclimated to warmer… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by LT Al Perry in Navy | 

Institutions are just like people in some ways. When situations allow, there is a drift towards the easy and the comfortable. Not the most efficient and productive – that would be ideal – but towards the point where there is a conservation of effort satisfactory enough to get by but still get the job mostly done. Without external stresses, firm leadership or an institutional bias towards creative destruction, difficult progress will lose out to comfort. We can build our own myths to explain why things are the way they are. They don’t have to be correct at war, just comfortable… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Army, Hard Power | 

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 30 Oct 16 for Midrats Episode 356: Fall Free For All Spooktacular! Midrats is back live! With a week left to go till the election, I am sure you are about done with all the political talk, so join us at 5pm Eastern this Sunday, October 30th as we cover the the globe on the breaking national security and maritime issues that have come up over the last month. From FORD to KUZNETSOV; from The Baltic to Yemen we’ll have it covered. As always with our Free For Alls; it is open mic… Read the rest of this entry »

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (June 11, 2016) -- Tug boats maneuver Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), into the James River during the ship's Turn Ship evolution. This is a major milestone that brings the country's newest aircraft carrier another step closer to delivery and commissioning later this year. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell)

Consider for a few moments two benchmark facts. 1. Aircraft Carriers are the premier capital ship in our navy and for navies throughout the world. Sorry submarine bubbas, it’s true. 2. By the time he leaves office, SECNAV Mabus will have been on the job roughly eight years. Mid-month, SECNAV put out this rather remarkable comment; “The Ford is a textbook example of how not to build a ship,” Ford told reporters. “(We were) building it while it’s still being designed” — which results in costly do-overs of already-finished components — “(and) trying to force too much new and unproven… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Aviation, Navy | 
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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 | 

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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