Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Open Letter From Dr. Jack London, Member US Naval Institute Board of Directors

Subject: Opposition to the USNI Ballot

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board,

As you are aware, since last summer I have had many misgivings about the direction of our board actions.

I was skeptical about the ‘advocacy’ word going into the mission statement from the first. With the way this entire matter has been so poorly handled and presented to the USNI membership, I strongly oppose the improper course we are now following. I am also deeply concerned about the board’s flawed ‘governance’ processes.

I conducted an extensive survey, contracting 5 CNO’s, 2 SECNAV’s, 16 four star naval officers in all, and NONE supported the explicit ‘advocate’ role for USNI. We should heed their response.

We gain absolutely nothing from a word change to “Advocacy,” that justifies diminishing our image and heritage as the “independent forum” for seapower and maritime policy and service matters. This is our brand, our uniqueness.

Lastly, I believe we have been presumptuous and failed in our duty to our membership (read “shareholders”) in not properly informing them of these actions ahead of time – due care. We have not brought this matter properly to our membership for their knowledge and debate.

I further believe we have not given proper notice about this change, the ballot and the board slate.

These failings must be corrected.

In any case, I will vote against the proposed change. I should hope you will all do the same.

Always my best’

J.P. London


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Tom Ricks has also published a piece by Captain John Byron (ret) on this issue. CDR Salamander goes long, and has some insider and background.

And finally someone posted on this issue at the US Naval Institute blog. I've been instructed that I cannot do that (ironic and telling, eh?), but I have a feeling the very last thing some folks on the Board of Directors are going to do is tell an enlisted staff member of ADM Stavridis that he can't speak his mind at USNI.

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