This mode of communication is sometimes silly and frivolous, but occassionally, the blogosphere gives us insights that would otherwise be unavailable.
CDR Salamander has been one of my go-to places for almost a decade now. You know his thoughts on matters naval are being heard when Undersecretary of the Navy Bob Work not only shows up in the comments, but spends considerable time responding to critics and answering questions. Go take a look. Much of the senior leadership of the Navy, such as ADM Harvey and ADM Starvardis, are active in social media, providing a level of access to their thinking that was previously unheard of. Senior Army leadership seems to not have grasped this avenue of communication, and the Army is worse off for it. You can disagree with ADM Harvey, ADM Stravardis, and Undersecretary Work, but you can’t say they are deaf to the concerns of the fleet.
I’ve heard rumors that people of influence have read this blog, but to the best of my knowledge, no GOFO or SES has ever commented here.
I have some areas of disagreement with Mr. Work, and I’m not nearly as sanguine about the long term shipbuilding budget as he is, but he does at least have the guts to address his critics, and do so well.
I’ll toss him a bit of a bone, as well. Most of the disastrous shipbuilding programs I’ve harped on over the years were actually spawned during the Bush administration. Challenged with running not one, but two land campaigns, the Bush administration seemed to content to let the Navy do whatever it wished in the realm of procurement. That was a poor choice.
Mr. Work’s defense of the high end combatant ships of the Surface Warfare community is strong. But then, few of us here spend a lot of time criticizing the Ticos and Burkes. Our particular heartburn has always been on the low end. We’re still convinced the LCS program is a dead end. Mr. Work and SecNav Mabus didn’t start the program, but they did have the chance to kill it. Still do, by the way.
At any event, before the blogosphere, how many of us had an opportunity to pose a question to senior leadership in such an open manner? I think that’s a good thing.