Reports that the Navy is re-evaluating its
355-ship goal in the wake of the new national security strategy are
a good sign. That said, those who are thinking the number should be
lower are all wet. Ideally, the Navy will revise that number
The U.S. Navy, at present, is arguably the
most powerful navy in the world. Its 11 nuclear-powered aircraft
carriers can operate four squadrons of multirole fighters and
assorted support aircraft. Its major surface combatants, the
Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers and the Arleigh
Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, are arguably among the best
in the world, and there’s a lot of them. Nuclear-powered attack
submarines, like the Virginia, Los Angeles, and Seawolf classes
pretty much rule under the sea.
There’s just one big problem. As
impressive as these ships and submarines are, there is one
capability they don’t have, and won’t have, barring some
breakthrough from the realms of science fiction: the ability to be
two places at once. The Navy has 288 ships in service of all types.
Thirty years ago, according to the Naval Historical Center, the Navy
had 592 vessels, more than twice the current number, with a force of
15 aircraft carriers, plus one more for training. In 1999, 10 years
later, that number dwindled to 336 and 12 carriers, largely due to
the “peace dividend.” By 2009, the Navy was down to 285 ships. Under
former President Barack Obama, the force stagnated at that level,
and at times dropped to as few as 10 carriers.
Some of the ships decommissioned during
the “peace dividend,” aging guided-missile destroyers of the Charles
F. Adams and Farragut classes, as well as the Leahy and Belknap
classes of guided-missile cruisers, were due for replacement. That
was a total of 51 ships, and the planned 62 Arleigh Burke-class
ships would have replaced them with a decent margin of error.
The problem was, the Navy retired another 40 ships — the Spruance-class
destroyers, the Kidd-class guided-missile destroyers, nine
nuclear-powered guided-missile cruisers, and five Ticonderoga-class
cruisers — and also wanted the Burkes to replace them. Then 21 of
the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigates were retired,
along with the 46 Knox-class frigates. Those 67 vessels were not
immediately replaced. That meant the Burkes had to replace 167 ships
as opposed to 51. Production of the Burke-class has re-started, but
with 62 Burkes currently in service, the difficulties are apparent.
Resuming production of the Zumwalt-class destroyers to the 32 ships
originally planned would help.
The submarine force has also seen its numbers decline. The “peace
dividend” saw the warranted retirement of the aging Permit and
Sturgeon classes of nuclear attack submarines, but the Seawolf-class,
intended to replace the older subs, was halted at three vessels.
Worse, the early Los Angeles-class attack submarines were retired
instead of being refueled. The force is now roughly half of what it
was in 1989. Again, the Virginia-class submarines are incredibly
advanced, but they do not have the ability to be in two places at
The decline has been bipartisan. While former President Bill Clinton
and Obama did a lot of slashing, former President George W. Bush did
precious little to reverse the decline. In some ways, it was
understandable, given that we were fighting the global War on
Terror. While his administration did develop the littoral combat
ship, both classes were badly underarmed. He also missed the
opportunity to license production of Spain’s Alvaro de Bazan-class
guided missile frigates to start replacing the Perry-class vessels.
There is hope, though: The Navy’s FFG(X) program does offer one
chance to start addressing the shortfall. The Bazan design is one of
five competing for the contract, so are variants of both classes of
littoral combat ship. In addition, a version of the Coast Guard’s
National Security Cutter is also in the mix. Buying all four of
these designs would help alleviate the shortfall of hulls in the
The Navy has suffered decades of cuts, leading to a dwindling force
structure. That can be reversed, but ships take a long time to
build. The Navy can get out of the present hole, but the work must
A Navy Ship Sailed to Hawaii and
Back With No One on Board
132-foot-long self-driving ship made history
by traveling from San Diego to Hawaii's
Pearl Harbor and back again without
sailors aboard to guide its way.
Hunter, an autonomous trimaran developed for
submarine hunting and counter-mine missions,
traveled thousands of miles between San
Diego and Pearl Harbor last month. Naval
was first to report on the ship's
Crew members from an escort vessel
boarded the Sea Hunter for short durations
to check electrical and propulsion systems,
according to a press release from Leidos, a
science and technology company that designed
and built the Sea Hunter. For most of the
voyage, though, the ship was unmanned.
"The recent long-range mission is the
first of its kind and demonstrates to the
Navy that autonomy technology is ready
to move from the developmental and
experimental stages to advanced mission
testing," Gerry Fasano, the defense group
president at Leidos, said in the release.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR), which
led the test transit to and from Hawaii,
declined a request for an interview, citing
operational security concerns.
Dan Brintzinghoffer, with Leidos'
maritime systems division, said the idea
isn't to replace ships with vehicles like
Sea Hunter, but to free up personnel aboard
bigger vessels to take on more complex
"Autonomous vehicles will likely focus on
the 'dull, dirty or dangerous' missions sets
and could operate around the world's
oceans," Brintzinghoffer said. "For example,
an autonomous vessel can conduct
hydrographic survey missions, freeing manned
ships to accomplish other missions."
When the Navy christened the Sea Hunter
in 2016, officials said it could
change the nature of U.S. maritime
operations. It uses a suite of
navigation tools and automated lookouts that
allow it to safely sail near other vessels
in any weather or traffic conditions during
the day or night.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency led the design and construction of
the vessel and then teamed with ONR for
The project was fully transferred to ONR
in early 2018, said Bob Freeman, an agency
spokesman, when it moved into a "much more
security-sensitive area of research."
Leidos is currently building a second Sea
Hunter hull, Brintzinghoffer said. The
company was awarded a $43 million contract
to start construction on the ship that will
build on some of the first Sea Hunter's
capabilities, Leidos announced last month.
About 60 years ago, when I was a
sophomore in high school, my mother caught me in
a lie regarding my grade on a geometry
examination. As I remember, my rationalization
for the lie was that I did not want to
disappoint my mom. After some tense discussion
with her, I thought the counseling was over and
went back to my daily routine.
The next day as I prepared
myself for school I found the poem below taped
to my bathroom mirror:
The Man in the Glass
When you get what you
want in your struggle for self
and the world makes
you king for a day
Just go to the mirror
and look at yourself
and see what that man
has to say
For it isn’t your
father or mother or wife
whose judgment upon
you must pass
The fellow whose
verdict counts the most in your life
is the one staring
back from the glass
Some people may think
you a straight-shooting chum
and call you a
But the guy in the
glass says you’re only a bum
if you can’t look him
straight in the eye
He’s the fellow to
please never mind all the rest
for he’s with you
clear up to the end
And you’ve passed your
most dangerous difficult test
if the man in the
glass is your friend
You may fool the whole
world down the pathway
of life and get pats
on the back as you pass
But your final reward
will be heartaches and tears
if you’ve cheated the
man in the glass.
The poet, Dale Wimbrow,
reminds us that you can trick everyone and
have everything, but if you do not respect
the ways you have done it, you have cheated
yourself. You have to live with yourself,
your actions, and your decisions until you
die. If you cheat yourself, you will regret
it your entire life.
I did not discuss the poem
with my mother until decades later. She
remembered the occasion and the poem as if
the event had occurred yesterday. During our
discussion, she mentioned that back in 1959
she had hoped that “The Man in the Glass”
poem would provide me some self-direction as
I navigated life.
I keep “The Man in the
Glass” on my desk at home along with an old
fortune cookie saying that simply states,
“Successful leader knows the way, shows the
way, and goes the way.” Over the decades, I
have found that self direction and a game
plan are helpful as we navigate the ups and
downs of life and seek to know the way, show
the way, and go the way.
We all need a game plan to
maximize our effectiveness in life. We do
better when we know that our lives are
planned, when we know how to control a
thought, when we know what we stand for, and
when we are able to focus our dreams for the
future. When an individual ignores his or
her game plan, any direction or focus is
possible, and results often are not what
were desired. This situation reminds me of
grocery shopping without a list. The results
often are not what was desired or needed!
Your personal game plan
does not need to be formal and should be a
list of traits that you hope to emulate over
life. Investor’s Business Daily (
IBD ) has spent years analyzing
leaders and successful people in all walks
of life. The publication’s research
indicates that most successful people share
ten important traits, the “
Ten Secrets to Success ”:
How you think is
everything. Always be positive. Think
success, not failure. Beware of a
Decide your true
dreams and goals. Write down your
specific goals and develop a plan to
Take action. Goals
are nothing without action. Just do it.
Never stop learning.
Go back to school or read books. Get
training and acquire skills.
Be persistent and
work hard. Success is a marathon, not a
sprint. Never give up.
Learn to analyze
details. Get all the facts. Learn from
Focus your time and
money. Don’t let people or things
Innovate and be
different. Following the herd is a sure
way to mediocrity.
Deal and communicate
effectively with people. Learn to
understand and motivate.
Be honest and
dependable. Take responsibility.
Otherwise, numbers one through nine
These traits nicely lend
themselves to the development of a game plan
to provide self-direction. They can provide
value in recognizing your strengths and
playing to those strengths, but also in
recognizing one’s weaknesses so an
individual is able to work to improve these
areas or at least be cognizant they exist.
At the end of the day,
each of us needs to be able to look in the
mirror and honestly evaluate whether we have
screwed something up and how we could do
better the next time.
I often tell young folk
that all it takes is trying and getting a
little better daily in our personal and
professional lives. When you think this way
and continue to move forward in life you
soon will be successful. Self-direction, a
game plan, and personal honesty provide a
map to success, happiness, and fulfillment.
Vice Admiral Konetzni
, known as “Big Al, the Sailor’s Pal,”
served as the deputy and chief of staff to
the commander, Fleet Forces Command, before
retiring from the Navy in 2004. Prior to
Fleet Forces, he was commander, Submarine
Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. In 2016, he
retired as vice president and general
manager of Oceaneering International Inc.’s
Advanced Technologies Marine Services
Rising tide: Submarines and the future of undersea
submarine is the single most powerful piece of military hardware
ever devised. Inside the hull of a single nuclear ballistic missile
boat is more firepower than was unleashed by all the armed forces of
the world during the Second World War. Submarines played a key role
during the Cold War, and in a modern world marked by globalization
and emerging regional powers these undersea behemoths are more
important than ever. But what role does the submarine play in the
21st century and how will emerging technologies change it?
The next time you're on a ship or at the ocean shore, look out at
the water. It might be a quiet day with the sea as calm as a mill
pond. There might not be a single vessel in sight from horizon to
horizon, suggesting a scene as it was a million years ago. And yet,
beneath that placid surface, silently cruising hundreds of feet
below, may be a submarine – unseen and undetected.
And that is the essence of a naval submarine. Although the term
"stealth" conjures up images of futuristic angular aircraft that can
evade radar, military submarine development has been driven by a
quest for stealth since their earliest days. Their job is not to be
seen, to go where no ship can go and, if necessary, to strike
In many ways, the submarine is the opposite of the surface ship.
Where an aircraft carrier gains much of its strength from being
visible, the submarine is invisible. The carrier can show the flag,
make a nation's presence known in disputed waters, act as a show of
force, or display support for an ally via a friendly visit.
The submarine, on the other hand, is discreet. In volatile
situations it can be quietly dispatched to keep an eye on things or
it can apply pressure without being overt. In fact, being invisible
means that a naval power can simply drop hints that a submarine is
in an area and it can have the same effect, whether it's there or
This stealth allows a submarine to put a
massive amount of uncertainty into the
mind of an enemy, forcing them to waste
resources trying to hunt down subs that
they aren't sure are even there, or
cause them to completely abandon an
area. During the Falklands War in 1982,
for example, the sinking of the General
Belgrano by HMS Conqueror kept almost
the entire Argentine fleet bottled up in
From a strategic point of view, this
element of uncertainty has been key to
nuclear deterrence. An enemy might be
able to so precisely locate another
nation's missile bases and airfields as
to make a nuclear first strike something
worth considering, but a submarine armed
with nuclear missiles will still
represent the threat of devastating
retaliation, which is part of the reason
the US keeps half of its nuclear forces
– and the UK its entire deterrent – on
Small wonder that submariners regard
their vessels as the true capital ships
– whatever the carrier fans might say.
Last survivor of Doolittle Tokyo
Raiders still tells stories of WWII raid at age 103
(Base Life Member Don "Mac" Smith Shares)
The last surviving Doolittle
Tokyo Raider is still telling his World War II stories, and
he enjoys hearing new ones that have been passed down to younger
Retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole recently celebrated his 103rd birthday.
And he’s getting ready to attend another air show, this one in
Hillsboro, Oregon, starting Sept. 28. The Comfort, Texas, resident
attended one in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this summer.
Youngsters tell him about their
great-grandfathers’ World War II memories.
“It’s fun,” Cole, originally from Dayton,
Ohio, said by telephone Thursday. “You meet a lot of people and
shake a lot of hands. I like to talk to kids.
“I enjoy it, and I think they do, too,
because they keep coming back.”
He was mission commander Jimmy Doolittle’s
co-pilot in the 1942 bombing attack less than five months after the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The bold raid on Japan is credited
with lifting U.S. spirits and helping turn the tide of the war in
“I think the main thing was that you had to
go in with a positive attitude,” Cole said of the against-the-odds
mission. “I really didn’t worry about it. It was our job, and we
knew what to expect.”
The 80 Raiders were four years ago honored
with the Congressional Gold Medal for their “outstanding heroism,
valor, skill and service to the United States.”
Three Raiders died trying to reach China
after the attack, and eight were captured by Japanese soldiers.
Three were executed, and a fourth died in captivity. Cole
parachuted, and he and other Raiders were helped to safety by
Cole has attended Raider-related events over
the years, including funeral services in Missoula, Montana, in 2016
for retired Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, the 79th Raider to die. He
also participated in 75th anniversary events in 2017.
Cole said since he was older than many of the
other Raiders, he didn’t expect to be the last.
“I figured that Mother Nature and the good
man upstairs would pick the time, and I wouldn’t have any control
are a whole lot of things that won’t be happening anytime soon. Pigs
flying, for instance; that won’t happen. All of the raindrops
becoming lemon drops and gumdrops; that won’t happen either. And
despite what you have been reading practically everywhere today, no,
China won’t be deploying a submarine capable of moving at 6,100 mph
(9,800 k/h) and covering the distance from Shanghai to San Francisco
in 100 minutes—at least not in anything remotely like the near
Let’s begin with the source of the story: engineer Li Fengchen, of
the Harbin Institute of Technology, the project’s lead researcher.
Mr. Li is surely an impeccably honest man and a very good engineer,
but the Chinese government has not always covered itself in glory
when it comes to candor and there’s no reason to believe they’d
start with a program as sensitive as this.
“The idea that any Chinese
research association would talk about its best ideas is ludicrous
beyond words,” says physicist and naval weapons expert Norman
Friedman, of the U.S. Naval Institute. “They simply don’t go public
with this kind of project, though they do sometimes show off things
that don’t exist.”
The bigger problem involves a couple of matters Friedman knows a
thing or two about: physics and engineering. The technology that has
caused all the buzz is something called supercavitation, and there’s
nothing fanciful about it—it’s been around since the Cold War,
though it’s been used only in torpedoes. Supercavitation involves
agitating water in such a way that it forms a bubble of vapor
completely surrounding the moving body, dramatically reducing
friction, and dramatically increasing speed. Traditional propellers
can’t be used to generate that speed, since they have to touch the
water and all any part of the sub or torpedo touches is vapor.
Instead, rocket engines provide the push, relying on the same
action-reaction principle rockets use in space.
“It’s not a friction-free ride,” says Friedman, “but you do get some
distance out of it and it can move at high speeds.”
But how much distance and how high a speed? There, it turns out, is
the rub. The best-known supercavitating torpedo, the Russian Shkval—or
squall—achieves a speed of around 200 knots (230 mph), according to
Friedman, but it’s a short-range weapon, able to sprint only about
10,000 yards, since it must be stuffed with enough hardware both to
churn water to vapor and run the rocket engines and still have
enough room left over for an explosive charge. With all that, it can
carry only a limited amount of fuel.
A submarine, Friedman estimates, could possibly stretch the range to
40 mi. (64 km). But as for somehow increasing the speed from 230 mph
to 6,100 mph? Even the Chinese spokesfolks who are talking so freely
don’t pretend to have an answer for that one.
Finally, there’s the problem of trying to point the sub where you
want it to go. For both surface vessels and submersibles, that job
is achieved by turning a rudder against the water, but poke a rudder
into the water of a supercavitating vessel and you pop the bubble
that surrounds the ship—not to mention snapping the rudder
completely off when it suddenly encounters resistance. “Steering,”
Friedman says, “wouldn’t be any fun.”
None of this is to suggest that these problems won’t be solved some
day. But that’s true of almost any technical challenge you can name.
Despite what China is saying, the submarine’s some day isn’t a soon
work? In today's
taking a look at
Submarines - New
Secret US Army
the dreams of
able to strike
from out of
limited in just
how fast they
typically with a
top speed of 29
mph (46 kmh),
which is well
short of a
speed of 40 mph
targets or lurk
in sea lanes and
wait for an
enemy to stumble
into them. But
what if subs
could move much,
much faster than
do? Hello and
we're taking a
US Navy's new
Guardian of the Seas' Offers Breathtaking Look at Navy Technology
IMAX smash "Aircraft
Carrier: Guardian of the Seas" has just
been released by Shout Factory home video in
a 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital Copy set.
IMAX movies have been a great source of 4K
home video content, and this film is one of
the best you can find for a home setup.
The film joints the
Nimitz-class carrier Ronald Reagan as it
participates in RIMPAC, the world's largest
joint maritime training exercise. Nothing
compares with the overwhelming experience of
being on one of these ships in person, but
this movie does an admirable job of
capturing the scope and size of life on an
Most importantly, these visuals do not
disappoint. One of the complications of
owning a fancy new 4K HDR television and the
still-expensive 4K Blu-ray players is that
many filmmakers aren't yet adapting their
working styles to take advantage of the new,
"Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas"
was conceived for the giant, immersive IMAX
format, and the stunning visuals required
for that setting translate beautifully to
4K. If you've got the right home setup, this
one is a great choice that will let you
enjoy your investment to its full potential.
Recent Improvements to SWO
Training Are Not Enough
Surface warfare officers (SWOs) tasked
with safely and effectively operating U.S. Navy ships are no longer
expert mariners. A lack of standardized, practical training prior to
commissioning, changes to post-commissioning instructional courses,
and a lack of focus on classic deck officer skills account for SWO
Following the 2017 ship collisions in the Pacific, the October 2017
“ Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents ”
highlighted a multitude of deficiencies at the ship and fleet level.
It recommended corrective action to many facets of early SWO
training, but failed to call for a large-scale transformation in
training. As a result, action beyond a slight increase to the rigor
of Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) has not been taken. It is
time expansive change to SWO development programs be made. Anything
less is setting our SWOs up for failure.
A History of SWO Training
From 1970 to 2003, all newly commissioned SWO candidates reported
first to the Surface Warfare Officer School Division Officer Course
(SWOSDOC) based out of Newport, Rhode Island, and, for part of that
period, San Diego, California. During an initial course of
instruction lasting up to six months, SWO candidates received
intensive training on deck officer skills, shiphandling, seamanship,
and the basic responsibilities of a division officer.
Responding mainly to budget constraints, the Navy replaced SWOSDOC
in 2003 with a new SWOS-At Sea program that promised more affordable
and practical, hands-on instruction . SWO candidates reported
directly to their ships with a set of CD-ROMS covering the basics of
navigation, combat systems, and engineering. The officers were
required to complete the computer-based training (CBT) at their own
pace while also meeting their division officer responsibilities.
Hershberger, WMUR News Updated: 6:45 PM EST Feb 8,
KITTERY, Maine —
memorial will be dedicated this fall in Arlington National Cemetery
in memory of the USS Thresher, a submarine that was lost off the New
England coast more than 55 years ago.
The memorial was announced Friday at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,
where the submarine was built.
Carol Norton said she remembers every detail of the day in 1963 she
learned that her father was lost at sea. Her mother told her and her
brother that the USS Thresher sank, killing her father, Fred Philip
Abrams, and 128 other men.
"Our collective loss was devastating," Norton said. "Our families
were torn apart, and life as we all knew it would never be the same
The submarine was doing test dives when it sank, killing everyone on
The USS Thresher and the crew will now be given a memorial at
Arlington National Cemetery. It's a project that has been years in
the making, and those who fought for the recognition said they
believed it was important to recognize the gravity of the sacrifice.
The legacy of the tragedy is the institution of the Submarine Safety
Program, a system of safety guidelines that was put in place after
the USS Thresher sank.
"The SUBSAFE Program that resulted from the loss of the Thresher has
meant that, since that time, no SUBSAFE-certified submarine has ever
been lost," U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said.
"He did not die in vain," Norton said of her father. "This is a
memorial for all the crew on the USS Thresher, and it is very
important that people know the story." ^
Sailor's Combat Death
Leads to Navy-Wide Policy Changes
officials are changing what a top admiral
called "fundamental flaws" in its waiver and
appeal process for commissioning programs
after a sailor who was denied a chance to
pursue a career as an officer was sent to
Syria, where she was killed in a suicide
Adm. William Moran, vice
chief of naval operations, sent a letter
detailing the changes to the family of Chief
Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive)
Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.
The action follows a call
from seven lawmakers demanding that Navy
leaders explain how they planned to update
the policies that left Kent
deployed to the war zone after rejecting
a plan that would have allowed her to pursue
a doctorate degree as part of a
The Navy denied Kent's
plans to attend a clinical psychology
Stripes reported, because the
35-year-old mother of two had previously
been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Despite
that, the service considered her fit to
deploy, and the linguist landed on her fifth
combat tour in November when she was sent to
Syria where she -- along with 18 other
people -- was
killed by a suicide bomber on Jan. 16.
In his Tuesday letter,
Moran told the Kent family he had reviewed
and discussed "every aspect of the policies
and processes in place during Shannon's
application to become a clinical
psychologist," according to Stripes.
"There were many
shortcomings in Shannon's case, mainly in
our communications throughout and in
fundamental flaws in our waiver and appeal
process -- I offer no excuses," Moran wrote
to the family. "... We believe this new
policy will improve the quality, fairness,
and consistency of the medical waiver
process for all enlisted to officer
commissioning programs, and I will report
back to you in one year to inform you of our
Now, sailors who are
deployed and seek a waiver, like Kent did,
will have the highest consideration,
according to a memo detailing the changes
that Moran’s office provided to Military.com.
The Navy will also standardize its appeals
process, including peer reviews for waivers
and an option for sailors to get a second
medical opinion, the memo states.
Kent's family had asked
Moran to review the policies after her
death. It's work Kent started last summer
when she, along with her husband, sought the
help from lawmakers after her waiver
requests to pursue her doctorate had been
Enlisted troops who want
to become officers must meet higher medical
standards than those already in uniform,
Stripes reported. Since Kent had previously
been diagnosed with cancer, she was
Rep. Walter Jones, a
Republican congressman from North Carolina
who has gone to bat with several Pentagon
leaders on troops' behalf, wrote to the Navy
secretary last summer to get that rule
changed. He called the policies
discriminatory, adding that they prohibited
upward mobility for enlisted personnel.
When asked whether the
Navy would take the policy review a step
further by allowing personnel who have
previously been diagnosed with cancer but
are now in remission a chance at a
commission, Chief of Naval Operations Adm.
John Richardson told reporters last week
that it would require help from Defense
"That's a DoD rule,"
Richardson said. "The first thing we ought
to make sure is that we honor Chief Kent for
her tremendous sacrifice and her commitment
to her oath to support and defend the
constitution. We want to be mindful that
we're ... communicating with her family
first and foremost as we work through this."
Kent's family told Stripes
they hope to take up the issue with Defense
Department leaders next for a military-wide
fix. In the meantime, Kent's husband said he
is pleased with Moran's response.
"The Navy has done all
they can and moved rather quickly," Joe Kent
told Stripes. "They "changed as much of the
commissioning process and waiver process as
they can in their capacity as an individual
like upper echelon including congressional
oversight covering their tracks by
deflecting to a "commissioning" subject/ed)
Captain Sentenced in Sweeping Corruption Case
Navy captain has been sentenced to six
months in prison for moonlighting for a
Malaysian contractor nicknamed "Fat Leonard"
at the center of one of the maritime
service's worst corruption scandals.
Prosecutors say Breslau
ghostwrote emails and provided talking
points to the contractor, Leonard Francis,
to help him win over five Navy admirals and
land lucrative contracts for his company
that supplied ships in the Pacific.
Prosecutors say Francis
overbilled the U.S. Navy by more than $35
million for services for ships.
Nearly two dozen people
have pleaded guilty in the case.^
Chinese Student Sentenced to 1 Year for Taking
Photos of Key West Naval Base
MIAMI -- Zhao Qianli says he's a musicology
student from China who traveled to the United States for a summer
exchange program. After he finished his studies in September, he
booked a flight to Miami and then headed for Key West.
But rather than see the Hemingway House and other sights, Qianli got
caught by Key West police for trespassing onto the high-security
Naval Air Station. He later told federal authorities that he lost
his way on the tourist trail and did not realize it was a military
Investigators found photos and videos on Qianli's smartphone as well
as on his digital camera that he had taken of government buildings
and a Defense Department antenna field on the military base.
Qianli, 20, who is being held in Monroe County Jail, pleaded guilty
Tuesday to one count of photographing defense installations at the
Key West military facility and was sentenced to one year in prison
by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. The judge gave him the
maximum sentence, which was higher than the sentencing guidelines
between zero and six months. The U.S. attorney's office sought nine
months in prison.
Five other counts in his indictment were dismissed as part of
Qianli's plea deal. He made his appearance via a remote video hookup
from the federal courthouse in Key West, with his defense attorney
by his side. He admitted
through a Chinese interpreter that he took the unlawful photos on
Sept. 26 while trespassing the restricted grounds of the Naval Air
Station, but expressed no remorse.
Although federal authorities
charged Qianli with photographing defense installations, they
implied in court filings and during Tuesday's hearing that he was
not just a tourist but rather a possible spy for the Chinese
government who lied when he was questioned by FBI agents after his
Federal prosecutor Michael Sherwin said that Qianli waded into the
water in his clothes to go around the security fence on the southern
end of the naval base, where signs say it is a restricted area --
and to keep out. He said that, contrary to his claim that he was
just a tourist and got lost, FBI agents found no pictures of the
typical tourist spots such as Mallory Square on his smartphone or
"The primary pictures on that camera were of the military facility,"
Sherwin said, noting that a witness saw Qianli go directly to the
Defense Department antenna field and snap pictures. "It did
not have the hallmark of a tourist who got lost and wandered onto
the military facility."
But Qianli's defense attorney, Hongwei Shang, repeatedly said her
client was a college student at North University of China who was
visiting Key West as a tourist after completing a summer exchange
"He's not a spy," Shang argued at Tuesday's hearing. "A spy would
not do things like him. There's no proof. ... He committed a stupid
mistake. He confessed to it. He just wants to go home."
Shang talked about Qianli's parents and their desire to see him
again, as she choked up during her comments to the judge.
Seeking mercy for her
client, Shang talked about North Korea's detention of an American
student, Otto Warmbier, who was released in 2017 after 17 months in
captivity and one year in a coma. Warmbier, a Ohio native who later
died, had visited North Korea with a tour group after traveling in
China. He was charged and convicted of a "hostile act" -- trying to
steal a propaganda poster -- against North Korea's authoritarian
Shang's reference to that highly controversial case clearly offended
the judge, who noted that Warmbier was not caught taking pictures
and videos of North Korean military installations, as her client did
at the Naval Air Station in Key West.
Qianli's conviction and sentencing followed a recent CNN report that
said U.S. intelligence officials have warned that China is enlisting
some of its students studying in the United States to act as spies
in gathering information on business, technology and science for the
Lest We Forget: Fishtailing on
the Franks at Leyte
The war came into sharp focus for
Quartermaster Bak on the morning of 25 October, during the Battle of
Leyte Gulf. The loudspeaker sounded general quarters.
We ran to our battle stations. I ran to the bridge and looked out,
and I saw what looked like toothpicks on the horizon, right across
the horizon—many, many ships.
Our carrier planes started taking off. We were protecting the jeep
carriers at that point, the USS White Plains [CVE-66], St. Lo
[CVE-63], and Gambier Bay [CVE-73].
When the Japanese fleet was
coming at us, our job was to stay between the carriers and the
We were going back and forth,
sort of fishtailing, because our carriers couldn’t go too fast.
The Japs were shooting at us and dropping shells around us, 150, 200
yards. We were going right full rudder, left full rudder, right full
rudder, and the shells were coming all around us. We were told to go
in for a torpedo run. Then, they decided it was crazy to go in. They
found a couple of ships had been sunk.
We were told to lay a smoke
screen between the Jap fleet and the carriers—all the time
I was on the bridge at the quartermaster station, putting entries in
the ship’s log. The shells were dropping around us. I went under the
chart table, which was a ridiculous place to go. Then I was on a
long glass, and I couldn’t believe you could see these ships so
close. I couldn’t believe
that that fleet had got so close to us without our admirals knowing
about it in advance. It was Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita’s fleet, the
Japanese commander involved.
From about 0715 to 1030, it was several hours of not knowing what
was happening. We did see some burning out there. We got a report
later that the burning was our ships being sunk. If we had held one
course, they would have blown us out of the water that day. That’s
what I liked about our skipper,
Commander David Stephan. He was out there giving orders, right full
rudder, left full rudder.
For some reason, later on the Japs turned around and went the other
way. They left us when they could have had a kill. They didn’t
realize what they had. I believe, reading back in history,
they thought our destroyers
During all this, the planes were taking off and landing. I remember
getting behind these carriers. We had sort of dual duty,
fishtailing, trying to pick our pilots out of the water when they
crashed or went overboard, and keeping between the Jap fleet and the
escort carriers. I saw the smoke and the hit when the Gambier Bay
went down. The jeep carriers didn’t have the maneuverability we had.
In a fight like that, when you’re quartermaster, you can see what’s
going on, but the people below decks can’t. The captain would give
the results later on to all hands, but never during the battle.
Mr. Clift is the
U.S. Naval Institute’s vice president for planning and operations
and president emeritus of the National Intelligence University.
Fighting To Serve
The first African American sailors—including
the noted “Golden Thirteen”—suffered
discrimination, but their service and successes
paved the way for future African American
sailors and other minority groups.
Throughout U.S. Navy history,
African Americans have sought to serve, despite
not having the same rights, respect, and
privileges enjoyed by other Americans. My
grandfather enlisted in 1942 and was assigned
the rating of carpenter’s mate third class in an
all-black Seabee battalion. The Seabees were one
of the few battalions in the Navy that permitted
black enlisted men to serve during World War II,
albeit as segregated units.
I remember vividly my
grandfather’s story of what inspired him to
join the Navy. On 7 December 1941, Japan
attacked Pearl Harbor. After hearing
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous
“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” address,
my grandfather, like many Americans, was
galvanized and volunteered his services to
the nation. He not only would see combat in
the South Pacific and help construct forward
operating bases such as those in Hollandia,
Papua New Guinea, but also would endure
abject racial discrimination. For example,
his unit was not allowed to socialize with
white enlisted units, and they had to ride
in segregated train cars on the long journey
from Portsmouth, Virginia, to Shoemaker,
experience with racial inequality did not
discourage him from serving his country in a
time of need. His actions and those of other
African Americans of his generation
ultimately opened doors for future
minorities, women, and eventually lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals
to serve honorably in the Navy.
During World War II,
African Americans were allowed to be
commissioned as officers, albeit against
great opposition from Secretary of the Navy
Frank Knox and Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs,
Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel. The
attitudes of such top Navy leaders created
environments that were conducive to
hostilities toward African Americans.
Indeed, the first black sailors selected for
officers’ school at Great Lakes Training
Station would endure significant
discrimination and had to prove they were
just as capable as—or even more capable
than—their white counterparts.
In his oral history with
the U.S. Naval Institute, James E. Hair, one
of “The Golden Thirteen,” explained, “We had
to do a lot of things in order to get where
we got. But the way I look at it is that all
of our achievements were great in view of
the situation at that time, because Jim Crow
ran the Navy at that time.”
The men were kept
segregated, and their training was just half
the normal period, but they came together
and taught each other. Their initial
examination scores were so high the Navy
ordered that they be retested. The results
were even higher.
Graham Martin, who held a
master’s degree from Howard University, was
another of the Golden Thirteen. While at
Great Lakes, he initially was not allowed to
play on the all-white football team. When
the Navy kept losing, however, the head
coach went to the black camp to recruit
players, including Martin. The team would go
on to win nine games and endure only two
losses after Great Lakes allowed the black
officer candidates to play.
Others of these 13
officers told of not being welcome in the
Officer’s Club or having sailors cross the
street to avoid saluting. They were not
accorded a graduation ceremony.
Nevertheless, these men worked hard, were
successful in whatever assignments they were
given, and became role models for future
African American sailors. They paved the way
for other men and women who would make
significant contributions to the Navy:
Michelle Howard, the first black female
admiral and Vice Chief of Naval Operations;
Samuel Lee Gravely Jr., the first black vice
admiral; and Carl Brashear, the first black
Navy master diver, among others.
Diverse Fighting Team
Before the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, or affirmative
action, the military was working to ensure
the rights of minorities. What started with
the honorable service of many black sailors
was formalized in 1948 with President Harry
S. Truman’s executive order mandating the
“equality of treatment and opportunity for
all persons in the armed services without
regard to race, color, religion, or national
In 1969, Secretary of
Defense Melvin Laird issued the first Human
Goals Charter, which established the
Department of Defense’s goal to “provide
everyone in the military the opportunity to
rise to as high a level of responsibility as
possible, based only on individual talent
and diligence.” 3 As a result,
more doors were opened to African Americans,
women, and other minorities to pursue
careers as commissioned officers. Many
African Americans who sought to join the
Navy as officers, myself included, benefited
tremendously from this initiative.
I was commissioned as a
lieutenant through the Navy’s direct
commissioning program. This program was
designed to allow prior enlisted or
civilians with professional degrees in
medicine, nursing, the natural and physical
sciences, engineering, mathematics,
religion, the humanities, or sociology to
join the Navy as staff officers. After
completing Officer Development School in
Newport, Rhode Island, I had the opportunity
to manage and lead teams of civilian and
military personnel in forensic drug-testing
laboratories. This likely would not have
happened in the civilian sector as it
typically takes a scientist several years to
become a lead or manager in the
pharmaceutical industry and academia. In
addition, being a member and officer of such
organizations as the Medical Service Corps
Officer Association has allowed me to
develop friendships with people from many
A Call to Serve
In his September 2016
message, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral
John Richardson stressed, “A culturally
diverse team enables the U.S. Navy to build
partnerships with other cultures, which
should ultimately build trust and
confidence. Without trust, it is impossible
to win the tough fights.” 4
Individuals from diverse backgrounds bring
different views and ideas to the table. By
increasing the enlistment of minority
sailors and commissioning of minority
officers, the Navy can make itself an even
stronger combat-ready organization.
1. Paul Stillwell, T he Golden
Thirteen: Recollections of the First Black
Naval Officers (Annapolis, MD: Naval
Institute Press, 1993).
2. Bruce Lambert, “James E. Hair, 76,
Naval Officer Whose Unit Broke Color Bar,
Dies,” The New York Times , 11
3. S. D. Hosek, P. Tiemeyer, R. M.
Kilburn, D. A. Strong, S. Ducksworth, and R.
Ray, Minority and Gender Differences in
Officer Career Progression (Santa
Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2001).
4. “One Navy Team,” Chief of Naval
Operations Message, 27 September 2016.
Lieutenant Commander King
is a Navy biochemist serving at the
Naval Medical Research Unit in Dayton, Ohio.
He holds a bachelor of science degree in
biochemistry from Florida State University
and a Ph.D. in cell biology from the
University of Alabama at Birmingham.