Naval Education, Rich People, and the Future of National Security

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Dear Rich People,

Thanks. THANKS A LOT. You just jeopardized the future of our national security.

Because of you, now I can’t rely on my parents to bribe officials to get me into Naval University. The Navy has this great new continuous education initiative, and now I have to earn my way in! To be fair, Naval University is actually the logical synthesis of three schools: the Naval Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, and Naval War College. I’m a little old for the Naval Academy, and NPS and NWC are . . . like . . . hard.

You just haaaaad to go and get caught paying millions of dollars to coaches and administrators to get your kids into elite schools. And you got caught EXACTLY ONE MONTH after SECNAV released the results of his Education for Seapower study. SECNAV seems pretty convinced of his intuition that “the intellectual development of our naval leaders is the most critical warfighting capability for our national security.” See the problem here? I’m a millennial. I need my parents to help me get through adult life.

Now what am I supposed to do? Go to Naval Community College? Community college is for people who can’t qualify or can’t afford to get into the big boy schools. Oh wait, I read that wrong. Naval Community College is for enlisted sailors. And Marines.

Even if I don’t go to NPS or NWC, the Navy will soon require me to go to grad school before I can qualify for major command. Who am I supposed to bribe now? Tutors, so I can be admitted based on merit? You want me to demonstrate critical thinking, analytical, and technical communication skills on par with the skills my subordinates already have? Get real.

SECNAV is also creating a Chief Learning Officer and a Director of Warfighting Development. Hey, maybe I could land a job as one of their aides and then they could hook me up with an honorary MBA? The Navy needs more of those, right?

What happens next? Thanks to your recklessness, there’s no telling how far Navy leaders will go in reforming our continuous education system. They might even outlaw gouge! You know . . . those thinly veiled cheat sheets masquerading as study guides in our training centers and schoolhouses. How am I ever going to pass exams without robotically memorizing the entire question and answer database?

Look, everyone knows the normal rules don’t apply to the rich and famous. That’s the whole reason I joined the Navy. So I could become an admiral and get rich and famous. The problem is you all are getting sloppy! There’s a saying I picked up in Annapolis: “You rate what you skate.” Get your act together! We can all agree that meritocracy is a farce, and you’re just making it harder for future generations to skate their way into success.

The War College has a saying: “It’s only a lot of reading if you do it.” That’s the spirit! To succeed in Great Power Competition, the Navy will need proficient, intelligent, ethical, and dedicated professionals in all levels of leadership. Well, that’s not going to happen. So, the next best thing is a horde of career survivalists who accumulated the requisite certifications through intrepidity, innovation, and a tenuous grasp on morality.

Not to be outdone, the fleet has a saying of its own: “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” Well, rich people, you need to try harder! Otherwise, I might never get to join you!

With much irritation,

Salty

P.S. Speaking of Great Power Competition, can someone please email me the gouge file for defeating the Chinese PLA Navy at tsm@saltyherald.com? Thanks!

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