Despite its reputation as the most impressive in the world, there is evidence that the U.S. Navy is in trouble. Inexpensive diesel submarines routinely beat U.S. nuclear subs - and those same diesel submarines have proven to be very dangerous to aircraft carriers. Air force pilots from various countries frequently beat Navy pilots, whose weapons are often improperly tested. U.S. Carrier Strike Groups have to use Canadian ships as escorts because the U.S. Navy doesn't have enough surface ships to protect its own capital ships. The "Up or Out" promotion system, massive personnel turnover, inexperience and drug and alcohol abuse have taken a huge toll also, and made it difficult for the Navy to build cohesive, well-trained combat units. "Lessons Not Learned" offers a compelling, often scathing assessment of the Navy and concludes that it has a learning disability in certain areas that should be cause for national concern. Author Thompson looks at indicators that suggest the Navy is mismanaged, overconfident, overweight, dependent, and plagued by systemic problems that many other navies have avoided.
Finally, he offers a firm argument for reform, improvement, and change so that the Navy can indeed be "the best" and not just the biggest.
Roger Thompson is a Fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, a member of the Research Committee on Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution (RC 01) of the International Sociological Association, and an internationally recognized authority on combat motivation, military sociology, regular/reserve total force issues, and military bureaucratic politics. His previous book was Brown Shoes, Black Shoes and Felt Slippers: Parochialism and the Evolution of the Post-War U.S. Navy.