Articles

Stalin and the Confederacy

The matter of Confederate icons, statues, and base names has consumed a great deal of press recently. Two separate arguments have prevailed: one that says that changing the Confederate landscape in the United States would somehow "change history," while the other indicates history can't be changed by removal of icons, but the glorification of the [...]

13 Lessons from the Crozier Controversy

This was the fourth in a series of 4 articles written on the Crozier affair. This one was published in Defense One on July 9, 2020.   Much has been written these past few months about Capt. Brett Crozier’s response to the coronavirus outbreak on board the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. The general theme of [...]

Reinstatement: What’s Right Got to Do With It?

This was the third in a series of 3 articles written on the Crozier affair. The first piece was written in reaction to the significant lack of balance in national coverage of the USS Theodore Roosevelt COVID issue, which seemed to ignore national strategic implications of a COVID infection that started in China and then [...]

Command at Sea: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

This was the second in a series of 3 articles written on the Crozier affair. The first piece was written in reaction to the significant lack of balance in national coverage of the USS Theodore Roosevelt COVID issue, which seemed to ignore national strategic implications of a COVID infection that started in China and then [...]

A Failure of Discipline Under Captain Crozier’s Command

This was the first piece written in reaction to the significant lack of balance in national coverage of the USS Theodore Roosevelt COVID issue, which seemed to ignore national strategic implications of a COVID infection that started in China and then took out of action the only American aircraft carrier deployed in the China theater [...]

Correcting the Legacy of Los Angeles-Class Submarines

This article was written following my attendance at the commissioning ceremony of USS Indianapolis (LCS-17), when speaker after speaker highlighted only the Cold War contributions of the submarine I commanded, USS Indianapolis (SSN-697). It became clear that many senior Navy leaders misunderstood the significant impact of the Los Angeles class of submarines during the post-Cold [...]

This is the submarine to ride: “The Wolf’s Call.”

After being asked to watch and review the horrible limited series remake of Das Boot on streaming TV, I decided to write this review of the French submarine movie, "Call of the Wolf," to point the requestor towards something that wouldn't drive a submariner crazy while watching. First published in IMDB. After forcing myself to [...]

Das Boot: Abandon this Ship

I was asked to do this review of the new submarine miniseries that was streaming on Hulu. Having loved the Wolfgang Petersen movie of the same name, I had high hopes for this remake. As you will read below, I was sorely disappointed. As a submariner, an aficionado of submarine movies, and someone who loved [...]

Sometimes Wonderful Just Comes Too Late

In August 2017 I had the bittersweet task of notifying survivors of World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) that their ship had been discovered. After years of anticipation, I expected an exuberant reaction. This article describes how it really went down. Within all the bad news coming out of Seventh Fleet these days, there [...]

Collisions: Did Culture Trump Technology?

The collisions of two Navy Aegis guided-missile destroyers cannot be considered to be not random, chance events. They were not torpedo attacks inflicted by an unseen enemy. The events were eminently avoidable, and thinking otherwise can kill a crew. Is there something about the culture of US Navy surface warriors that increases the potential for [...]

Musings on Some Myths about the Attack on Pearl Harbor

On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the December 7th 1945 attack on Pearl Harbor, I thought I would bust a few myths associated with the attack. I won’t be touching the mini-submarine inside Pearl Harbor issue in this post, leaving that to my friend and classmate Parks Stephenson who discovered that historical anomaly. [...]

Full Spectrum ASW

During the Cold War, the US Navy (particularly the submarine force) force specialized in, and excelled at Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) against the Soviet Union. But with the demise of the Soviet Union, ASW was put on the back-burner as an activity irrelevant to modern warfare. Over a decade passed before submarines would again be considered [...]

The Exoneration of Captain McVay

I wrote this in 2014 as a follow-up to my 1999 article, “The Sinking of the Indy and the Responsibility of Command,” to reveal events that I did not feel comfortable exposing while I was still on active duty. It was submitted to US Naval Institute Proceedings for consideration, but was rejected on the basis [...]

Three Thousand Antoinettes

My narrative of the Pentagon attack on September 11, 2001. First published in the Washington Times on October 11, 2001. Later used as the opening passage for the 2006 Random House book of writings by military veterans titled Operation Homecoming. In the month since this agonizing atrocity began, there has been only one moment when [...]

DoD’s Tail Is Wagging the Dog

"Why does a dog wag its tail? Because the dog is smarter than the tail. If the tail were smarter than the dog, the tail would wag the dog." My impertinent challenge of the primacy of defense agencies over the military services, first published in June 2001. This tease line from the movie Wag the [...]

Confessions of a Reformed Revolutionary

A follow-up to my article titled, "Stop the Revolution, I Want to Get Off." First published in US Naval Institute Proceedings, May 2001. Last year I wrote a piece titled “Stop the revolution, I want to get off” where I tried to make the point that many of the goals espoused by advocates of the [...]

Defense Force Charades

Originally published in the Washington Times on April 23, 2001, this article was a response to the growing discourse that seemed to believe that the age of the aircraft carrier had ended. Pushed largely by an Air Force hungry to divert resources away from the Navy, defeating this canard was like playing a game of [...]

Evolution Meets the Real World

The impact of Moore's Law is commonly misunderstood by system developers. In 1968, Gordon Moore, then chief executive officer of Intel, correctly predicted that computer hardware, specifically processing capability, would continue to advance at a pace of about one generation every 18 months. This remarkable prediction, which has come to be known as "Moore 's [...]

Stop the Revolution I Want to Get Off

First published in US Naval Institute Proceedings in July 2000, this is the article that caused me to be seen as a Revolution in Military Affairs skeptic. My favorite joke is one I learned from my grandfather. It goes like this: A man walks into a market and inquires about the price of tomatoes. (Italian [...]

The Sinking of the Indy & Responsibility of Command

The 1945 sinking of the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) by the Imperial Japanese submarine 1-58 has been called the last, great naval tragedy of World War II. It is the stuff of legend: after delivering the atomic bombs to Tinian, the Indy was torpedoed, sinking in 12 minutes. At least 800 crew members survived [...]

Preventing a Chinese Ultimatum on Taiwan

First published in the Asian Wall Street Journal following the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1996, this article was intended to argue for a restoration of nuance that was obliterated by Clinton Administration misstatements on the matter of the "One China policy." With Taiwan’s presidential election over, the tension between China and Taiwan appears to be [...]

US Military Strategy and China

Letter to the Editor: Washington Post March 25, 1996 As the Navy fellow at the Brookings Institution, I might be expected by The Post to support my Brookings colleagues Mike Mochizuki and Michael O'Hanlon as they lobby for a naval response in dealing with China ["Slow Motion Crisis, W Outlook, March 17]. Their proposal is [...]

Who Needs the Space Force?

First published in April 1995, twenty-five years before creation of the Space Force, this article pointed towards the absurdity of the way the US military was dealing with space. The silliness of the US military's approach to space can be reflected by a real statement made in my presence by a "space officer," that things [...]

The Cost of the Oceans

This article was first published by the Washington Times on March 15, 1995, under the unfortunate title "What does Brookings know about defense?" While that title greatly increased readership, it changed the meaning of the article and therefore became an unnecessary distraction. The real issue discussed in this article remains germane today. The Johnson administration [...]