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U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE, ANNAPOLIS, MD. March I, 189a
Presidtnt ef the U. S. Naval Instttutt.
The naval policy of the United States, confirmed by many years of practice, is to maintain a very small floating force. That a similar policy will be continued in the future there can be no reasonable doubt. Such is the will of the people, and naval officers, while accepting the popular decree, must endeavor in good faith to make up for numerical inferiority by excellence of organization and thoroughness of drill. Military and naval histories are not wanting in great examples of discipline more than compensating for disparity of numbers.
Hence, as a supplement to the policy of keeping up a comparatively small navy, must come the policy of greatly increased attention to the question of reserves and to all the exercises which can best prepare the personnel for the great object to which it owes its existence —war. To furnish the best results, these exercises should be carried on systematically and progressively from early youth to mature age.
War is the best school of war; but if we can substitute some other and less expensive method of instruction, we go just so far towards attaining that state of preparation which is the surest guarantee against war. For if war is the great object in maintaining a military and naval establishment, the prevention of war is a still greater object. That fact cannot be too strongly emphasized. The prophylactic system is the wisest in this as in other cases, and it is just here that we find ourselves in touch with the Universal Peace Societies.
It is the trained athlete who enjoys the greatest immunity from aggression. The cloud of war which has so long been hovering