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Subject: John Lehman Naval Institute Proceedings Article
CJH    9/18/2011 6:26:11 PM
Is Naval Aviation Culture Dead?

"‘Break the Culture’ 1991 marked the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the end of the Cold War. But as naval aviation shared in this triumph, the year also marked the start of tragedy. The Tailhook Convention that took place in September that year began a scandal with a negative impact on naval aviation that continues to this day. The over-the-top parties of combat aviators were overlooked during the Vietnam War but had become accidents waiting to happen in the postwar era. Whatever the facts of what took place there, it set off investigations within the Navy, the Department of Defense, the Senate, and the House that were beyond anything since the investigations and hearings regarding the Pearl Harbor attack. Part of what motivated this grotesquely disproportionate witch hunt was pure partisan politics and the deep frustration of Navy critics (and some envious begrudgers within the Navy) of the glamorous treatment accorded to the Navy and its aviators in Hollywood and the media, epitomized by the movie Top Gun. Patricia Schroeder (D-CO), chair of the House Armed Services Committee investigation, declared that her mission was to “break the culture,” of naval aviation. One can make the case that she succeeded.

What has changed in naval aviation since Tailhook? First, we should review the social/cultural, and then professional changes. Many but not all were direct results of Tailhook."

Wikipedia-John Lehman

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CJH       9/18/2011 6:47:13 PM
Also interesting -

Perhaps the greatest and least known contribution of naval aviation was its role in bringing the Cold War to a close. President Ronald Reagan believed that the United States could win the Cold War without combat. Along with building the B-1 and B-2 bombers and the Peacekeeper missile, and expanding the Army to 18 divisions, President Reagan built the 600-ship Navy and, more important, approved the Navy recommendation to begin at once pursuing a forward strategy of aggressive exercising around the vulnerable coasts of Russia. This demonstrated to the Soviets that we could defeat the combined Warsaw Pact navies and use the seas to strike and destroy their vital strategic assets with carrier-based air power.

Nine months after the President’s inauguration, three U.S. and two Royal Navy carriers executed offensive exercises in the Norwegian Sea and Baltic. In this and subsequent massive exercises there and in the northwest Pacific carried out every year, carrier aircraft proved that they could operate effectively in ice and fog, penetrate the best defenses, and strike all of the bases and nodes of the Soviet strategic nuclear fleet. Subsequent testimony from members of the Soviet General Staff attested that this was a major factor in the deliberations and the loss of confidence in the Soviet government that led to its collapse."
I wondered why the Soviets, having inaugurated a bellicose policy of nuclear intimidation aimed at Western Europe and the US did not actually chose war. They must have known that their economy was failing and that only the injection of plunder from Western Europe and possibly also the Middle East oil fields could secure the USSR's survival.
If that is so, then we must have been in greater danger of war then than almost anyone here knew. Reagan's Soviet policy, so misrepresented in the MSM as irresponsibly bellicose, was a very wise one in that by convincing the Soviets that they could not succeed militarily, Reagan averted the possibility that the Soviets might make a desperate bid for the survival of their system through war.
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CJH       9/18/2011 6:48:57 PM
"On the professional side, it is not only the zero-tolerance of infractions of political correctness but the smothering effects of the explosive growth of bureaucracy in the Pentagon. When the Department of Defense was created in 1947, the headquarters staff was limited to 50 billets. Today, 750,000 full time equivalents are on the headquarters staff. This has gradually expanded the time and cost of producing weapon systems, from the 4 years from concept to deployment of Polaris, to the projected 24 years of the F-35"
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