Saturday, October 27, 2012

Read to Be Ready

CNO Adm. Jon Greenert reintroduced the Navy Professional Reading Program this week, with updated titles, access and focus tied to his sailing directions and navigation plan -- always being ready for warfighting and operating forward. “Admiral Greenert has directed the most significant changes to the Navy’s professional reading program since it was established in 2006,” said U.S. Naval War College professor John Jackson, the program manager.

Built around "warfighting first," "operate forward" and "be ready," titles are presented in essential, recommended and suggested lists for the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program. Greenert said, "Reading, discussing and understanding the ideas found in the CNO-PRP will not only improve our critical thinking skills, but will also help us become better sailors, citizens, and most importantly leaders."

The titles on the essential list include several reviewed on Navy Reads:

Books will be available at major commands and in e-reading versions via Navy Knowledge Online, Greenert said.  Look for more reviews in support of Navy's "read to be ready" professional reading program in the months ahead.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Warfighting: The Fight Against Cyber War

Review by Bill Doughty

Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard A. Clarke.
When Richard A. Clarke says “sometimes the boy who cries wolf can see the wolf coming from a lot farther away than anyone else,” he might be describing himself.  

Once a passionate voice for counterterrorism in the Clinton and Bush II administrations continually warning against Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda -- before 9/11 -- he should now be looked upon as a Paul Revere for the 21st century.  This time the wolf is cyber warfare, defined by Clarke as “actions by a nation state to penetrate another nation’s computers or networks for the purposes of causing damage or disruption.”

Assisted by Robert K. Knake, Mr. Clarke lays out the case that the U.S. is at greater jeopardy because of its advanced technologies, reliance on a computerized grid, and -- the very thing that makes the United States strong -- our freedom and openness.

“Cyber War: the Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It” is new on the CNO’s updated Navy Professional Reading Program list.  It offers a surprising number of references to the U.S. Navy and its role in the development of cyber warfare and defense.  Clarke sees a parallel between cyber warriors and the codebreakers of World War II and what a false sense of invulnerability brings.

“Some historians believe that the U.S. Navy defeated the Imperial Japanese Navy precisely because of code-breaking skills.  Certainly the decisive U.S. victory in the Battle of Midway was due to the advanced knowledge of Japanese plans gained from code-breaking.”

Just as they played a key warfighting role in the War in the Pacific, the Navy’s aircraft carriers would be critical in a cyber war. In a hypothetical exercise, Clarke shows that if cyber war were to be declared by an enemy of the United States, carrier strike groups -- always ready to operate forward -- would respond anywhere in the world.

Today Russia, China and North Korea are actively developing cyber warfare strategies, including using civilian hackers, “hacktivists.”
The Navy trains to provide cyber security.

Clarke reminds us how quickly we can come to the brink of world war. In the late 60s, during the height of the Vietnam War, President Nixon considered bombing North Korea in response to the capture of USS Pueblo in January 1968 and the shooting down of an Air Force EC-121, in which all 31 Americans on board were killed.

In “Cyber War” Clarke mentions USS Gato, USS Baton Rouge and USS Yorktown as he gives historical examples of why the nation’s defensive strategy needs to adapt to include cyber security.

He outlines five vulnerabilities of the Internet, gives a 20-question quiz about cyber security, and offers a 3-point “defensive triad” to show how to develop “credible defense” -- a strong backbone of tier 1 ISPs, a secure power grid, and stronger defense “of defense itself.”  He describes DoD’s NIPRNET, SIPRNET and JWICS and discusses methods for adding protection to those systems.

Vice Adm. Michael Rogers, Commander, U.S. 10th Fleet/U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, 
arrives aboard USS Porter (DDG 78), June 26, 2012.  (Photo by Alex Forster)
Clarke shows how the cyber threat will inevitably be part of combat unless steps are taken to mitigate the risk.  Now, he says, the United States is greatly at risk from invisible attacks from an unseen enemy that can knock out the nation’s infrastructure silently and quickly, crippling defense and command-and-control means for preventing escalation of an all-out kinetic war.  He warns against initiating cyber warfare without understanding the potential consequences.

“If you are going to throw cyber rocks, you had better be sure that the house you live in has less glass than the other guy’s or that yours has bulletproof windows.”

Clarke ties in great military strategy thinkers Sun-Tzu, Clausewitz and Herman Kahn on the importance of defining and redefining strategies -- accepting change, innovation and new technologies as realities.  An underlying message seems to be: one cannot live in the past, and if there’s a desire to continue living in the present then be ready for future threats.

His discussion about Kahn’s deterrence theory shows the power of the pen. Kahn’s “On Thermonuclear War” and “Thinking About the Unthinkable” were widely read by global leaders in the 60s.  About Kahn, Clarke writes, “His clear matter-of-fact writing about the likely scope of destruction undoubtedly helped to deter nuclear war.”

Other writers discussed are Thomas Friedman, H.G. Wells and Barbara Tuchman.  Clarke uses movies to make his point, too: “Crimson Tide,” “Ocean’s Eleven,” “War Games,” “The Italian Job,” and “Team America: World Police.”

“Cyber War” is an easy-to-read, informative and contemporary warning and prescription from the voice of the “boy who cried wolf” -- and the man who really sees a wolf coming.

Retired Rear Adm. Donald Showers, a codebreaker from World War II, explains the beginnings of Naval Intelligence during a visit to U.S. Pacific Feet headquarters June 1, 2012. Showers was a member of the team that broke the codes to win the Battle of Midway in 1942.  (Photo by MC2 David Kolmel)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Warfighting: 1775-1812-2012

Review by Bill Doughty

On Friday, October 13, 1775, meeting in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress voted to fit out two sailing vessels, armed with ten carriage guns, as well as swivel guns, and manned by crews of eighty, and to send them out on a cruise of three months to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores to the British army in America.”  Thus begins a description of the birth of the United States Navy 237 years ago on the Naval History and Heritage Command website.

Over the next 37 years the fate of the Navy hung in the balance as Republicans, Federalists and independents either fought against or for a standing Navy.  Donald R. Hickey describes the politics, tactics and strategies in his 1989 detailed work, “The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict.”

It took a second war with Great Britain for the Navy to prove its worth.

Having to compete with privateers and fight for resources, the Navy languished in the decade prior to 1812 -- not yet a ready force, barely able to forward and not fully tested as a warfighting force with a clear vision.

In the early 1800s anti-Navy forces “had taken a heavy toll on the navy, but seventeen ships still survived in 1812,” writes Hickey.  “Seven were frigates.”  The were Constitution, President, United States, Constellation, Chesapeake, Congress and Essex.  “The frigates were the heart of the navy.”

“The nation also had the advantage of a rich maritime tradition.  Officers and men alike were excellent seamen and skilled marksmen with cannon and small arms.  Most of the officers had seen action in the Quasi-War (1798-1801) or the War with Tripoli (1801-1805).  Many of the men had fought in those wars, too, or had served on British warships.  The morale of the service was high, and the men were trained incessantly to perfect their skills.  In addition, the navy did not face the same logistical problems as the army.  The fleet was small, and once supplied a ship could remain at sea for months.”

The book provides a deeper look into the causes and effects of the war and takes in Canadian, American Indian and European perspectives.  It is dense and more heavy-handed than Daughan’s “1812: The Navy’s War,” a title on the CNO’s Professional Reading List.

Hickey, however, does provide interesting details of life for Sailors in 1812, when they were as likely to serve on lakes and rivers as on ocean-going vessels.

“The usual term of service for navy personnel was a year, and normally there was no bounty.  The pay ranged from $6 a month for boys and landsmen to $20 for sailmakers. Ordinary seamen earned $10, able-bodied seamen $12, and gunners $18.  Most could earn more on a merchantman and a lot more on a lucky privateer.  To compete, the navy began offering incentives on some stations as early as 1812, a practice that became almost universal by the end of the war.”

Hickey shows how the War of 1812 validated the Navy, stimulated peacetime defense spending and promoted nationalism as well as sectionalism, setting the stage for stronger states’ rights arguments in the south and the abolitionist movement in the north.

“The war had a dramatic impact on the American economy, too,” Hickey contends.  “For most Americans, the economic opportunities were greater before and after the war than during it.”

President James Madison
The War of 1812 marked a turning point for the nation and Navy.  New, more progressive army officers moved up the ranks.  “A number of navy officers also burned their names into the history books during the conflict,” Hickey writes.  “Among these were Perry, Macdonough, Hull, Bainbridge, Decatur and Stewart.”

National leaders now saw the need for warfighting readiness, including through a strong Navy.  

“President Madison echoed an old Federalist plea by calling for preparedness,” Hickey writes:

“Experience has taught us that a certain degree of preparation for war is not only indispensable to avert disasters in the onset, but affords also the best security for the continuance of peace.” -- President Madison.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Warfighting: Belief in Service

Review by Bill Doughty

Lt. Michael Murphy, Navy SEAL.
Michael P. Murphy, the Navy SEAL who fought and died in Operation Red Wings, is the namesake of the Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), commissioned today in New York, not far from the 9/11 Memorial (#murph).  Lt. Michael Murphy was the first service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor since Vietnam.  His life and legacy personify service to others. 

At today’s commissioning ceremony Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus spoke about Murphy’s courage, selflessness and dedication to protecting his teammates and country.

The ordeal of Operation Red Wings (also referred to as Redwing) was chronicled in SEAL of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of Michael P. Murphy, USN” by Gary Williams and in “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell.  Williams’s book is an essential book -- one of six in the Warfighting First section of the CNO’s Professional Reading Program.

Luttrell’s latest, “Service: A Navy SEAL at War” is a 2012 book about Navy SEALs that respects operational security and privacy.  It continues Luttrell’s own saga and his ongoing commitment to honoring the service of SEALs and their families.

This time, Luttrell teams up with gifted author James D. Hornfischer (“Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal,” “Ship of Ghosts,” and “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.  (“Neptune’s Inferno” is on the CNO’s essential list of Operate Forward titles).

The collaboration with Hornfischer results in a powerful, coherent reflection on the war in Iraq, focusing on “the teams’” battle for Ramadi in Anbar, Iraq and operations in Afghanistan.

Hornfischer told Navy Reads earlier this year, “The book follows the legendary SEAL back to war after Operation Redwing -- this time to Ramadi, Iraq, as SEAL Team 5 takes on Al Qaeda and other insurgents in the most violent city in the Middle East. Marcus gives tribute to all the warfighters who helped his teammates get the upper hand in 2006...”

Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell at a book signing for "Service."
“Service,” filled with strong characters like Cowboy, Boss, Spanky, JT and Fizbo, presents personal stories of commitment and courage, including from family members -- strong women who are “warriors in their own right.”

“Service” reflects on Homer’s “Iliad” and, as in “Lone Survivor,” includes frequent references to the Bible and faith.

Luttrell writes:

“Service is selflessness -- the opposite of the lifestyle that we see so much of in America today.  The things that entertain us don’t often lift us up, or show us as the people we can rise up to become.  he people who appear in this book -- and others who did things I can’t talk about -- are my role models.  They quietly live out the idea expressed in the Bible (John 15:13): ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’  But you don’t have to be a Christian, or even particularly religious, to serve... You look after others and put their welfare ahead of your own.”

Hornfischer and Luttrell’s “Service: A Navy SEAL at War” is a powerful read, especially today, Oct. 6, as the Navy remembers and honors Lt. Michael P. Murphy in New York.  The book not only recounts warfighting but also reflects on why Sailors and their families serve.
USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112). Photo by U.S. Coast Guard PO2 Erik Swanson

The book’s dust cover sums up this concept:  “A thrilling war story, Service is also a profoundly moving tribute to the warrior brotherhood, to the belief that nobody goes it alone and no one will be left behind.”