Naval War College Policy Re Faculty Pubs

I have been so busy recently that I have not done any blogging for Anchor Rising. I thank Justin for posting something about my recent pieces on energy in the ProJo and the Wall Street Journal.

Justin’s post elicited a response from “Ken” concerning the way in which I am identified and the fact that there is no disclaimer to the effect that my opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Naval War College, the Department of the Navy, or the Defense Department. I have been writing pieces for various publications since I arrived in Newport 21 years ago. Although not everyone has been thrilled by my views, the War College’s policy has been that my pieces are covered by the principle of academic freedom.

The first time I wrote for the Wall Street Journal several years ago, I added a disclaimer. But the policy of the WSJ was not to publish disclaimers. When I asked why, the editor said, “well, no one is going to confuse you with the secretary of defense.”

During the administration of Bush 41, some brainiac in DoD came up with the bright idea that all pubs by War College faculty should have to be scrubbed for policy. As soon as he got wind of the proposal, Adm. Joe Strasser, then the NWC president, got on a plane to DC. He made the simple point that if DoD wanted to ensure a fifth-rate War College faculty, this policy would achieve that goal. The proposal was withdrawn.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
15 years ago

Thank you Mac for Naval War College policy clarification.
I would imagine a person in your position would also have checked OPM as a GSA employee for rules using your GSA position to promote private publications.
As I mention, when I had articles published while working GSA for Navy in Newport my publications had to be reviewed both Newport and DC before going to press.
Which is still policy today because before I retired and left RI some military personnel working with me were interviewed for a non-military publication and I was required to make sure all comments and questions were reviewed and cleared by the military public affaires officer both in RI and in DC before going to press. Of course this was military being quoted in a private publication.
Being a public servant federal, state or municipal with all the extra laws and rules one must follow can be a pain unlike the real private business world.

15 years ago

The dilemma arises from the fact that the War College is both a government institution and an insitutition of higher learning. If one is an active duty member or a civilian employee working for a goverment agency, the disclaimer would be appropriate. When I was the director of legislative affairs for the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Weapons Programs, or when I was on the staff of a US Senator, I always used a disclaimer.
But the rules differ for an insitution of higher learning. Many of my colleagues disagree with my views (As a matter of fact, based on my own experience, I believe that there is more diversity of opinion at the Naval War Collge than at many, if not most, civilian institutions). If Harvey Mansfield writes a piece, no one expects him to issue a disclaimer to the effect that his views do not necessarily reflect those of the administration and faculty of Harvard University. The War College practice has been to work under the principle that, with certain clear exceptions, e.g. personal attacks on individuals, members of the Naval War College faculty are more like Harvard faculty than employees of a normal government agency.

15 years ago

“As soon as he got wind of the proposal, Adm. Joe Strasser, then the NWC president, got on a plane to DC.”
If Uncle Joe were more ecologically sensitive he would have taken a train.
Average Citizen

15 years ago

“If Uncle Joe were more ecologically sensitive he would have taken a train.”
Or, better yet, stayed in Newport and developed a solar-powered tank.

15 years ago

Bravo, in your weak attempt at sarcasm you have stumbled upon a truth. Indeed he should have stayed home. Proving again that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn.

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.