posted on July 01, 2011 00:18
July 2011 - Navy
By CMDCM Richard S. Dodd
As the Navy continues operations into
the second decade of the 21st century
and we move toward celebrating our
236th anniversary in October, I
thought I’d take a moment to think about the
Sailors who will take us into the next 100 years.
Naval Station Great Lakes is celebrating its
centennial anniversary this year. Since 1911,
Great Lakes has transformed civilians into
United States Navy Sailors, passing through the
“Quarterdeck of the Navy” to the fleet. Today,
every enlisted Sailor in our fleet passes through
this institution. As discussions emerge about the
challenges the Sailors before us encountered,
the challenges today’s Sailors face every day,
and the complex challenges Sailors of tomorrow
will face, the question “if the next generation is
up to the task” always arises.
As we continue into the 21st century, our
warfare methods continue to become far more
advanced than ever before. We continue to
move away from mass waves of humanity
“storming beaches” much the same way as we
moved away from ranks of Soldiers lined up on
a battlefield facing off to fire muskets at each other – a sort
of “last-man-standing” mentality. As we move to a more
precision strike, technologically advanced battlespace, the
often unspoken message is that people are valuable.
Sending people into battle has never been palatable, but,
unfortunately, often required. As a father of three sons, I
understand the pain felt when a child is lost. If technology
can prevent unnecessary loss of life, I’m all for it. Our
modern defense technology continues to advance and our
Sailors must be able to keep up with the technological
advancements in order to execute missions, and prevent
loss of life.
In the last century, our Navy ended the sail-versus-steam
debate; moved from coal-fired boiler propulsion systems to
gas turbines and nuclear power; aircraft flew at 100 kilometers
per hour and had just started to land on ships. Naval
Aviators now orbit the Earth. In the next 100 years, our
naval gunnery prowess will not be measured by the barrel
diameter but in mega joules. Radar suites may become
obsolete as stealth technology moves forward. Propulsion
systems may operate on a completely clean, renewable
platform yet to be discovered. All of these systems will need to
be operated, maintained and repaired by our Sailors just as
they are now and have been for the past two centuries.
The key to this continuous advancement is our ability
as leaders to remain flexible and to identify the value of
continuing to offer world-class training and education to
the generations following us. The young citizens entering
into the Navy today are equally capable as
those who preceded them. They are up to the
task of executing 21st century missions. Modern
Sailors were born and bred with technology
woven into the fabric of their lives, but they
must continue to grow through training and
education. This training and education is often
lengthy and expensive.
Our Navy did not develop into its current
state overnight. It has taken a voyage of over
two centuries, with many lessons learned
through bloodshed. As we move into the next
100 years, Navy leaders must continue to adapt
to the changing environment, innovate, and
ensure those they lead are properly equipped
to accomplish the mission. The investment
in our future must include our commitment
to continue to provide top-tier training and
education and is absolutely vital to our
sustainment as a viable force. Occasionally,
this investment carries with it tough decisions
– decisions today that will influence Sailors for
decades. Remember, at one point in our history,
many leaders were advocating square-rigged
ships over those with steam propulsion.
I never wonder if our young Sailors are up to the task.
As I stare into the mirror each morning, I wonder if the
person staring back at me is up to the task.
The author, Command Master Chief, Recruit Training
Command Master Chief Dodd is a native of Michigan
City, IN. He entered the Navy through the Delayed Entry
Program and completed basic training at Recruit Training
Command, Great Lakes, IL, in July 1984. He entered
various technical schools following Recruit Training in
preparation to his duty assignments.
Master Chief Dodd was selected into the Command
Master Chief Program in January 2006. In November
2008, he became the Command Master Chief of Recruit
Training Command, Great Lakes, IL.
He holds a Masters in Business Administration from the
University of Illinois and is an Executive Scholar at the
Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University).
His units and his crews have earned various awards and
(For his complete biography, please go to Web site