If you haven’t yet — vote

In the mail this past week, one of our readers wrote of something he noticed at the bottom of the email newsletter he’d recently received:

The U.S. Naval Institute is an independent forum founded in 1873 to advance the knowledge of sea power, to exchange ideas on national security issues and to preserve our naval and maritime heritage. Today, its publications, conferences, online content and blogs:
Advocate the necessity of global sea power for national security and economic prosperity
Support professional development of Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen
Honor those who have served the Nation

(emphasis added)

He wrote the Institute asking about the statement as he (as am I) was under the impression that this change was in fact, one of the items on the current ballot up for membership approval/rejection.

Not so fast.

Comes the reply from the Institute:

From: XXX@usni.org
CC: XXX@usni.org

Subj: Re: March 2011 News Letter/Mission Statement

Dear — ,

The words on the bottom of the March Newsletter are consistent with the proposed new mission statement, but they are not presented as “The mission of the Naval Institute is…” This was deliberate. Similarly, all of our business cards printed since September of last year contain the words “The U.S. Naval Institute is an independent forum advocating the necessity of global sea power for national security and economic prosperity” on the reverse. Again, deliberately omitted are any words stating that “The mission is…”

While the Board of Directors approved the proposed change to the mission last year, they are well aware of the fact that the Constitution and By-Laws of the Naval Institute cannot be changed until the membership gets a chance to vote. Specifically:

ARTICLE XVI Amendments to Constitution and By-Laws
Section 1. Proposed amendments to or changes in the Constitution and By-Laws must first be
approved by the Board of Directors. Then, they shall be circulated to the members entitled to
vote at least thirty days before the date the change becomes effective, if approved. Each such
member in good standing shall be furnished a ballot on which to record his or her vote, and no
amendment to or change in the Constitution and By-Laws shall be made without the favorable
vote of two-thirds of the members voting.

Since it is important that messaging be aligned, once the proposed change the the mission was approved by the Board, it made sense for USNI to begin using these words to describe who we are and what we do without presenting it as the new mission.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Warm regards,


(Emphasis added)

If you have been following these spaces, or over at Galrahn‘s or Phib‘s you know that there is a growing number of people objecting to this attempting hijacking of the Institute.  By changing the mission statement and focus, the net effect will be to be dilute (at best) all that the USNI has stood for and promoted since it’s inception. Quietly, subtly the powers that seek to make this change have been at work since last summer, banking that by keeping a low profile their efforts would remain unremarkable to the rank and file.  Because, after all, alignment of message is so very important.

It’s not going to work — but only if *you* take charge and add your voice in dissent via your ballot; to do nothing is an affirmation for the pirates.
Don’t Give Up The Ship

1 Comment

  1. Horatius

    My guess is the Board’s “run silent, run deep” strategy is not as successful as may be wished by some. No matter which way this thing turns out, it will be a matter of record. Period.

    The issue is thus not whether or not there will be an indepdent forum for the sea services. There will. The issue is whether or not it will be USNI, and how much turmoil there will be between now and then.

    All this can be avoided. The Board has already lost. They need to start recognizing that fact and surrender as gracefully as they can. But surrender they must.

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