Monday, February 28, 2011

United States Naval Institute: An Open Letter From VADM Bob Dunn

Naval Institute Mission

One day shortly you will be receiving a ballot from the Naval Institute. Among the more important items on which you will be asked to vote is the Mission , listed as Issue 2 on the ballot. What that proposed change would do is to change the current 138 year old Naval Institute Mission from,

" ...provide an independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write in order to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense,"

to one of advocacy.

In the event you have not seen the proposal I have attached it for your review. The USNI has well served the sea services and the Nation by providing a forum. Neither the Navy nor the other sea services need another advocate. There is already a plethora of organizations and the Navy's own CHINFO and Chief of Legislative Affairs that do just that. Advocacy is specifically not what the Naval Institute should be all about. In fact, in personal conversation some former CNOs have said to me, “I don’t need another lobbyist.”

Yet, to my knowledge there has not been a discussion of this most important and basic change in the Mission outside the Board of Directors and, I understand, there is no literature with the ballot that offers an explanation.

I most strongly recommend you vote, No, to the change.

Let me also stress how important it is that you vote. The Naval Institute, like so many other membership organizations, seldom garners more than fifteen percent of the members' votes in an election of any sort. When those who care don't vote, those with an agenda will carry the day. If those with the agenda of changing the mission carry the day in this instance, the Naval Institute as it has been known since 1873 will degenerate and eventually pass into history as just another of the plethora of naval oriented organizations and Proceedings will degenerate along with it.

Please vote!

By the way, I write from the perspective of a Golden Life Member, a former chairman of the editorial board for Proceedings, a former interim Naval Institute Press director and a frequent contributor to the forum.

VADM Bob Dunn


If you vote using the online ballot system set up at the United States Naval Institute, you may notice the first vote on the ballot is for the Board of Directors. It can be a bit confusing and doesn't come with an instruction manual, so this short tutorial might be useful for those willing to express a sense of opinion towards those who are involved in pushing this change to the mission statement of the United States Naval Institute.

On the first page, you may notice you are asked if you are FOR or AGAINST the election of the nominees listed for Board of Directors. If you choose FOR then select the option at the bottom of the page to "Record my vote Now" you will cast a vote for every member of the Board of Directors. If you choose the AGAINST option, you are taken to a page where you can be more selective. For example, on the first page I choose AGAINST and then selected the option to "Record my vote Now":
After I choose the AGAINST option, I am taken to page 1a where I get to be more specific about my vote. The default on the page is everyone checked, but you are specifically asked to "un-check the nominees you'd prefer not to vote for." There was only one person that I wanted to vote for, so my selection looks like this:
I do not know anything about Mr. Cady or Mr. Miller, but after putting together the extraordinary number of rumors circulating around the roles in the current mission statement change of the other seven people on the list, I feel very comfortable with my vote on this ballot.

I encourage every member of USNI to vote against the proposal to change the mission statement. Previous information on this discussion can be found here and here.

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