Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Proceedings editorial board takes on Naval Institute board over their mission

Ulysses S. Grant famously commented that moral courage is rarer and more fleeting than physical courage. I thought of that observation when I read this open letter from the editorial board of Proceedings, the magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute, to the board of the USNI, objecting to the board’s foolish plan to abandon the ...

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marshallfoundation.org

Ulysses S. Grant famously commented that moral courage is rarer and more fleeting than physical courage. I thought of that observation when I read this open letter from the editorial board of Proceedings, the magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute, to the board of the USNI, objecting to the board’s foolish plan to abandon the traditional objective mission of the institute and instead become a lobby for sea power.

Proceedings stands out among the U.S. military’s professional magazines for its willingness to take on difficult subjects. Over the decades it generally has led the pack. Its editorial independence is especially important because the Navy’s own professional magazine, the Naval War College Review, is mediocre, which is surprising, because the Naval War College has the strongest strategy department in the professional military education business. (Too bad the big Navy isn’t much interested in strategy.) My test: I can’t remember the last time someone recommended that I read something in the NWCR.

The editorial board of Proceedings should be commended for their stance. It is never easy to take on the boss openly. And it is especially hard for journalists these days, because decent jobs in nice towns with good sailing waters are hard to come by in the industry, which is collapsing. As one magazine editor sighed to me, “I think I have gotten feelers from everybody in America who ever won a Pulitzer Prize.”  

The editorial board of Proceedings is hereby awarded the Golden Laptop, the Best Defense award for demonstrated moral courage in national security journalism.

And, speaking of doing the right thing, the VA has stripped a for-profit college of its ability to collect veterans’ education benefits. “Three separate campuses of Westwood College in Texas (Houston South, Dallas and Ft. Worth) were disqualified by VA under rules meant to protect students from schools that purposely deceive their students,” writes VA blogger Alex Horton.

Ulysses S. Grant famously commented that moral courage is rarer and more fleeting than physical courage. I thought of that observation when I read this open letter from the editorial board of Proceedings, the magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute, to the board of the USNI, objecting to the board’s foolish plan to abandon the traditional objective mission of the institute and instead become a lobby for sea power.

Proceedings stands out among the U.S. military’s professional magazines for its willingness to take on difficult subjects. Over the decades it generally has led the pack. Its editorial independence is especially important because the Navy’s own professional magazine, the Naval War College Review, is mediocre, which is surprising, because the Naval War College has the strongest strategy department in the professional military education business. (Too bad the big Navy isn’t much interested in strategy.) My test: I can’t remember the last time someone recommended that I read something in the NWCR.

The editorial board of Proceedings should be commended for their stance. It is never easy to take on the boss openly. And it is especially hard for journalists these days, because decent jobs in nice towns with good sailing waters are hard to come by in the industry, which is collapsing. As one magazine editor sighed to me, “I think I have gotten feelers from everybody in America who ever won a Pulitzer Prize.”  

The editorial board of Proceedings is hereby awarded the Golden Laptop, the Best Defense award for demonstrated moral courage in national security journalism.

And, speaking of doing the right thing, the VA has stripped a for-profit college of its ability to collect veterans’ education benefits. “Three separate campuses of Westwood College in Texas (Houston South, Dallas and Ft. Worth) were disqualified by VA under rules meant to protect students from schools that purposely deceive their students,” writes VA blogger Alex Horton.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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