It is a great pleasure for the Naval War College to publish Admiral J. Paul Reason's Sailing New Seas as the thirteenth in our series of Newport Papers. The purpose of this series, now in its eighth year, is to bring significant topics of national and maritime interest to the attention of a select group of readers.
This Newport paper presents the ideas of one of the Navy's most senior leaders. Admiral Reason's topic is the course the United States Navy should steer in the "typhoon of change" characterizing today's and tomorrow's world. He begins by describing what the technological, managerial, and social hurricane of the Information Age means for warriors who go to sea. He then addresses, in general terms and in specifics, the response such an upheaval requires. While acknowledging the traditions that made the Navy great, Admiral Reason proposes a new way to think about the fleet as a whole, one that discards the "industrial age model" in favor of the "flight deck paradigm" of a high-performance organization operating at the edge of chaos. He concludes by stressing the importance of rapid adaptability to the Navy's paramount measure of performance warfighting.
This is an insightful blending of the implications of the "trans-industrial age" to future warfare, the criticality of data, the relevance of an extraordinary naval model of leadership, and the requirement for a new mind-set in the United States Navy. It is a brief essay, because the author recognizes that quickness and individual initiative are far more important than "top-down direction" and "the voice of experience" in readying today's Navy for tomorrow's challenges. "The task at hand," he writes, "is to lever the Navy from the Industrial Age to the trans-industrial age, using data-based arguments to increase the efficiency and quickness with which it accomplishes its missions."
I invite the reader to embark with Admiral Reason for a high-speed sortie into the future.
| Robert S. Wood |
Dean of Naval Warfare Studies
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