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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USCG photo

The following appeared under the heading “Answering the Call” in the January 2009 issue of Proceedings. It is based on an interview conducted by Senior Editor Fred Schultz, who pointed out that the two were fellow Pennsylvanians—Palmer from Latrobe and Schultz from Gettysburg. Palmer replied, “One of my best friends lived in Gettysburg. His name was “Ike.”   ‘To Mature and Grow into a Man’ Since joining the professional ranks after winning the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1954, he has won 92 national or international golf competitions, 61 of which—including four Masters—have come on the PGA tour. Voted Athlete of… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Fred Schultz in Coast Guard, From our Archive, Proceedings | 
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An F-14 Tomcat from fighter squadron 102 (VF-102) escorts a Soviet TU-95 "Bear D" surveillance aircraft in 1985. USNI Archives

Earlier this month, a Russian Su-27 Flanker came dangerously close – within 10 feet – of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon operating within international airspace over the Black Sea. This latest incident adds to an alarming pattern of aggressive interactions by Russian forces with NATO naval and air assets. Such interactions are reminiscent of Cold War behavior and the dangerous incidents between U.S. and Soviet naval forces. This parallel allows us to examine the past to gain insights in dealing with these incidents on and above the sea, though we must not lose sight of the vastly different world we… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by LCDR Rachael Gosnell in Uncategorized | 
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Recently, we asked LTG H. R. McMaster, USA, to host a Q&A with Fox News commentator MG Bob Scales, USA (Ret.), author of Scales on War: The Future of America’s Military at Risk. Part I of their exchange appeared on the USNI Blog yesterday. Part II of their conversation follows.   McMaster: You begin chapter 11 with the observation that “good soldiers perform best under good leaders.” What attributes are most important in XXI century military leaders and how should the services develop those leaders? Scales: First, I’d be clear about what type of leader we are talking about. In… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by LTG H. R. McMaster, USA and MG Bob Scales, USA (Ret.) in Army, Books, Strategy, Training & Education | 
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