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ment of sub-departments for the proper consideration of matters coming under its cognizance, but there was no call for the abolition of the Board of Inspectors, and the wisdom of the step taken is questionable. As a result, we have, to-day, seven separate and distinct bureaus, each working independently, and following out the ideas of its own head without regard to the plans of the others. The lack of unity consequent to this arrangement, and the necessity for a superior controlling power, have on many occasions heen only too obvious.
I recommend, therefore, that a board of commissioners be estahlished as an Advisory Board to the Secretary of the Navy. At the same time the Secretary of the Navy should be given a seat in each House of Congress ; in either of which he could, when necessary, appear personally to answer interrogatories in regard to the Navy, and to propose, explain, and advocate measures calculated to increase its efficiency. By this arrangement, the Secretary of the Nary, who is not, ordinarily, conversant with the details of the Naval Service, would have a board of officers, selected for their professional attainments, ready at any moment to give him the benefit of their knowledge and experience; while the Navy would have, what it so greatly needs, a statesman, eloquent and ready in debate, to defend it in the Houses of Congress against the attacks of unwise economy, and to advocate those measures upon which its future welfare depended. The Board should be composed of the senior admiral on the navy list, presiding officer ex officio, and of two other officers, of a grade not lower in rank than commodore, to be selected by the Secretary of the Navy and appointed by the President. The Board should have the power of selecting, as secretary, an officer of a grade not lower than commander. It should hold its meetings at Washington unless otherwise directed by the Secretary of the Navy and the members and secretary should be entitled to the sea pay of their grades. The evils inherent to the bureau system being now counteracted, the Bureaus should be maintained and the chiefs should be held responsible for the economical and thorough execution of such work as would be entrusted to them. The Board should have power to call upon the chiefs of bureaus for the information they naturally as specialists would collect.
After such a long period of inactivity, our policy should be to advance as rapidly as consistent with safety. Radical changes, except where necessary for the cure of existing evils, should be avoided. The conservatism natural to a board constituted as I have recommended would prevent too much innovation on the one hand, and attain increased efficiency on the other. Appropriations should be husbanded, and unexpended balances at the end of the year should be turned not into the treasury as at present, but over to a general construction fund, which should also receive the sums accruing from the sale of condemned stores and vessels. The attention of the Board should at first be given to determining the best means for satisfying our requirements, (1) for the naval defence of our coasts and sea ports ; (2) for the protection of our commerce and the destruction of an enemy's; (3) for the destruction or capture of the men-of-war of an enemy; (4) for carrying the war into an enemy's country.
(1) The determination of the best means of defending our coasts and seaports would involve a thorough course of experiment and investigation in regard to torpedoes, steam rams, and floating batteries. Officers of the line, stationed at or in the neighborhood of the different naval stations, should be required to thoroughly acquaint themselves with the approaches from seawards, and to suggest the most advantageous positions for the placing of sub-marine mines and torpedoes, and for the concentration of the means of naval defense ; in fact they should be expected to prepare careful plans for the defence of the naval stations and the adjoining seaports. In this connection, I would recommend that no officer of the line, be promoted to the grade of lieutenant until he has passed through the course of instruction at the torpedo school; and, after the lapse of a suitable time, the same restriction should apply to those now occupying the grades of lieutenant, lieutenant-commander, and commander.
(2) Enquiries as to the best means of protecting our commerce, and destroying an enemy's, would involve the selection of the best type of a vessel for a cruiser, which would combine speed with economy of fuel and at the same time carry a sufficiently powerful battery to defend itself against the corresponding class of an enemy's vessels. Also the methods of convoy sailing, and the points to which cruisers should be despatched upon the declaration of war, for the purpose of capturing an enemy's merchant vessels, should be discussed. Lists of merchant vessels capable of being converted into swift, light-armed cruisers should be kept. As coal in time of war is virtually contraband of war, the question of coal supply and coaling stations would be a necessary adjunct.
(3) By far the most important question to be decided by the Advisory Board would, however, be the selection of a model for the construction of an offensive, sea-going, armored man-of-war. Upon this
point there is such a conflict of opinion, some eminent authorities claiming the superiority of topedoes over iron clads, others as strenuously advocating the claims of the steam ram, that only after careful and patient investigation, and calm and mature deliberation could a decision be arrived at. The rival claims of torpedo, ram,
and iron-clad would first be considered ; and if, as I think, the palm were awarded to the iron-clad, the questions of iron-clad ship construction and of armor plating, the material, the manner of fastening, the angular inclination, the thickness of plates and their manufacture ;-these questions and many more, intimately allied, would require careful reflection. The kind of gun, ammunition, and projectile, the style of carriage, and the manner of delivering the fire would require a continued series of experiments before determination.
For the purpose of encouraging discussion and stimulating enquiry, the Advisory Board should be empowered to offer, annually, or even semi-annually, suitable rewards for prize essays upon these and other subjects so intimately connected with the future of the Nary.
The experiences of the leading naval powers of Europe for the last fifteen or twenty years in the construction of armored men-of-war,
and the series of experiments in the contest between guns and armor, though by no means ended, would materially aid us in arriving at satisfactory conclusions. And I recommend the appointment of a naval officer, as naval attachè to each of the legations inaintained by the United States in Europe, in order that we may obtain early and trustworthy information in regard to all matters going on of interest to the naval service. The officers to be selected for this important duty should have, in addition to the special qualifications of suitable rank and of familiarity with European languages, professional attainments of a high order. They should take advantage of every opportunity offered to make themselves acquainted with the naval strength of the country to which they are accredited and with the details of all esperiments in which naval materials or implements are concerned, embodying the results of their observations in confidential reports to the Advisory Board.
(4) The custom of imposing heavy war indemnities upon the conquered combatant seems to have become prevalent of late years in Europe; and, consequently, the immense advantage to be derived from the occupation of a portion of an enemy's country as a pledge for payment, can be readily seen. Plans of naval cainpaigns should then be prepared, involving combined naval and military operations against assailable portions of an enemy's territory. Lists of merchant vessels
capable of conversion into transports should be made and constantly corrected, and the manner of marine counter-mining and of removing torpedo obstructions should be thoroughly discussed. In addition, officers on foreigu stations should be required to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the approaches to the various ports visited, their means of defence, and the best positions to be occupied as points d'appui for operations against the surrounding country.
In addition to determining a policy to be followed by the United States in regard to these most vital questions, the attention of the Advisory Board might be turned with advantage to the consideration of matters of minor importance. The Board should require careful estimates for the repairs of naval' vessels and in any case where the cost of such repairs would exceed one half the original cost of the vessel, the vessel should be broken up or sold, and the proceeds devoted to the fund above mentioned.
The uniform for the officers and men of the Navy as now established should not be changed except by Act of Congress, upon recommendation of the Advisory Board. With such a law in force, the body of officers and men composing the Navy would not be compelled to make a change in their uniform, unless the advantages to be gained therefrom were greater than the satisfying of a caprice of a few individuals.
Again, the Advisory Board, after a careful consideration of the laws passed by Congress, should compile a complete system of rules and regulations for the government and discipline of the Navy of the United States. The want of harmony at present existing among the different branches of the naval service is well known, and that it detracts from the efficiency of the Navy as a whole, is undeniable. This lack of concord so necessary to the prompt and efficient execution of duty is partly due to the existing ill-digested and self-conflicting set of rules and regulations by which the Navy is governed, but more so to the evils arising from special legislation by Congress. All special legislation in regard to individuals, and branches of the Navy should be stopped and no such bills should be considered by the Naval Committees of Congress except upon the favorable recommendation of the Advisory Board, or, failing that, of the Court of Claims. The rights and duties of all officers and men being, then, clearly defined by law, and the hopes of individuals or branches of selfishly gaining advantages over others, by special legislation, being cut off, the former harmony which existed among the various branches of the Navy would be restored and the efficiency increased in a corresponding degree.
To briefly summarize, the first step in the future Naval Policy of the United States should be the establishment of a Board of Naval Officers, which, under the supervision and direction of the Secretary of the Navy should consider and determine :
(1) All plans for the construction, alteration, repairs, equipment, and armament of the vessels of the Navy.
(2) A system of rules and regulations for the government and discipline of the Navy.
(3) Plans for naval campaigns, both offensive and defensive.
(4) Minor matters affecting the welfare of the officers and men of the Navy; and all claims requiring legislation for the benefit of individuals or branches of the Naval service.
They should also collect and compile, ready for reference :(1) Information in regard to the naval strength of foreign nations.
(2) Lists of merchant vessels suitable for transport service, or for conversion into light-armed cruisers for destroying an enemy's
(3) The number and capacity of private ship-building yards, ironworks, and rolling mills.
(4) And any other information likely to be serviceable in time of
The question of promotion is always, in time of peace, one difficult of solution. The many years that must pass before the casualties incidental to the service enable a young officer to gain his promotion are apt to deaden the ambition which should urge him to keep abreast the wave of advancement which appears to be sweeping over the present era. As an incentive to emulation and self-improvement, I renture to recommend that the present system of promotion by seniority be so far modified as to allow every third promotion to a grade to be made by selection from the officers, having a required amount of sea service, in the grade next below that in which the vacancy occurs. Again, this would in a few years enable the selection of two members of the Advisory Board to be made from officers who had advanced themselves by constant application and by devotion to the details of their profession. In order, however, to make vacancies on the active list, I recommend that officers be permitted to retire, at any time after ten years sea service and a course of instruction at the torpedo school, upon half pay. A number would annually avail themselves