Changes at USNA


Jun 15, 2006
There seem to be a lot of rumblings coming out of Annapolis about changes in the way things are being done by the new administration. My retired Master Chief plebe parent thinks they are great.

All I have heard is rumors. Anyone got any good gouge that they might want to share with the forum??
I'm sure he came into the command with specific sailing orders detailing the areas that had been identified as needing improvement. When my son did his CVW in March, I was astonished with the numbers of MIDN on liberty, in town, on a Thursday night during an academic semester.

"The slight deprivations midshipmen will experience at the Annapolis institution are nothing compared to eight-month tours at sea or ever-extended duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said."

Agree. These "deprevations" are nothing compared to a Port/Starboard watch standing, GQ for hours, drills and the constant strain of shipboard life on war footing deployment.

"New slogans are coined, new rules are issued, old ones suddenly focused on," said Bruce Fleming, an English professor at the academy for 20 years. "After a few years, they're gone and the cycle starts again. It would be better if they came in and got the feel of the place for a while."

Sorry, I'm intemporate with academics: JUST SHUT UP!!!!

"Another change could be a major reduction in sailing instruction, which Rempt had beefed up as a way to teach leadership; it culminated in a two-week summer sailing cruise when boats manned mostly by midshipmen would travel to and from Annapolis and Newport, R.I."

Disagree-I am a sail-sailor too and understand the lessons that sailing teaches: An enduring knowledge of the power of current, wind, and weather on a ship/boat in the ocean; The need to look over the horizon and close aboard for the hazzard that may cause harm to your ship; The need to issue and take orders with confidence and resolve to manuver your craft in all circumstances.

Bottom line: Improvement.
Don't recognize the name Bruce Fleming. He must be new. There has to be a list passed around the DC area by reporters of a list of profs guaranteed to say stupid things every time they are interviewed.

I agree with you about the sailing and it is one of the few things I don't understand at all. I do know that one of the Luters has been delivered to Puget Sound for the West Coast ROTCs. Don't know if it is an old one or if he is already decimating the fleet.

Maybe it is an organization thing. During my son's day, they went to Nova Scotia. The firstie on board did not know a lot about sailing. My son who had sailed big boats his entire life "ran" the boat and brought back a boat that had more duct tape than anything else holding it together. The squadron commander was a classmate of mine, and for the following several years, every time he saw me, he simply shook his head side to side. There was not a lot of discipline and organization learned on that boat that particular summer. I have no idea if this was in any way typical.
The best quote in the article is this one:

"We are being treated like children, not soon-to-be officers," said one midshipman, who asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak to a reporter. "Even enlisted sailors don't get treated like this."

Well I hate to break it to that young midshipmen, in the past some of the midshipmen acted like children, and when one screws up, everyone pays. I missed many liberty nights when one persons space failed to pass field day inspection, so we all stayed behind on a Friday night to "help" the delinquent sailor.

These young men and women signed up for the US Naval Academy to get an education and a career, not to go galavanting around town every night. Maybe they need to start standing port and starboard watches as well? Nothing like a good dog watch every other day to make you appreciate it when you do get liberty.
"Even enlisted sailors don't get treated like this."

Squid, maybe the doc is onto something here. They will definitely find out more about what the "real" Navy is all about "haze grey and underway" than galivanting off the coast in a sailboat dressed in topsiders and khakis.

I saw a post once that one could interpret that midn are being issued topsiders. That, I feel, if true, in itself would be enough of a reason to curtail the program.
"Don't recognize the name Bruce Fleming. He must be new. There has to be a list passed around the DC area by reporters of a list of profs guaranteed to say stupid things every time they are interviewed."

Bruce Fleming is a longtime English instructor and author of "Annapolis Autumn." But I bet he IS on reporters' lists as a prof likely to stoke controversy. He's stirred the pot in the past, and while at least one other parent disagrees w/ me, I found his book snide, and self-aggrandizing. He seemed to find mid's shallow and robotic, which sure hasn't been my experience. As I read the book, I kept asking myself, "Why is he still THERE if he finds the place and the system so intolerable?" His remark in this article sounds as if he's marking time 'til his retirement kicks in.
Cap, Doc's absolutly correct. I didn't include MIDN Whiner's bellyache, hoping it was not representative of the Brigade. However, after a little more research and phone calls, the Sailing Center is not so much a "Leadership Lab" as much as it is a Preppie Yacht Club. Seems that a few Mids, who actually have prior sailing skills, manage to get the Luters to where they need to be while the rest of the "crew" is on suntan R&R, cruising off to Newport for more cruise activities.

They should go back to the teak deck yawls I remember dodging (in a 9' sailing pram) on the Chesapeake many(read:very many) years ago. Learn how to holy stone a deck and how to use a marlinspike to splice a line, not how to make a Margaritta!

Yeah, I think the SubSkipperSup may have it right so far but I would like to see a legitimate sailing program at Canoe U. Wooden Ships and Iron Men and YADA YADA YADA.
Bruce Fleming is a longtime English instructor and author of "Annapolis Autumn."

God, I am getting old (and senile). Can't believe I didn't recognize his name. I have "Annapolis Autumn" around here somewhere. Or probably threw it away. Tried to read it a half dozen times. I agree with you completely.


" It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy be a capable mariner. He must be that of course, but a great deal more. He must be a gentleman of refined manners, liberal education, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor. "
-John Paul Jones

My thoughts are that the liberal education that the father of the Navy meant was for a well rounded individual. The focus is about producing a good officer, one that can grasp the larger picture as well as the insides of a nuclear reactor. As far as the personal honor goes, it comes from within and from whence they come. I see many post here and other places of kids already trying to work the system as in "if it was only a ________ offense should I tell them about it?" or how much information do I need to tell them about my __________ medical condition? Parents need to show the way in the begining, and Honor will follow. It may be learned at the USxA but it is probably already "burned into the program" of many a kid before they get there. As in everything every time we had a COC we got new rules and new liberties. I was on Ike when we set one of those endurance record cruises back in the 80's. (broken by now) So a little liberty more or less is no big deal. You live with it. The pendulum swings both ways, and there will be one thing for certain. There will be more to come. Semper Gumby to all and to all a good day.:thumb:
I agree wholeheartedly with my distinguished Shipmates above, be they Almuni or otherwise. With the possible exception of the sailing program (see below), what the new Sup is doing is basically returning the place to what it was when I was there.

I actually wish they'd make the place harder and perhaps even extend the commitment. I know I would have benefited from it in my day. Bottom line is that the Sup is right: we need to be training people to be leaders in the Naval Service during time of war, not limp-wristed pseudo-warrior intellectuals who only seem to play Navy on the weekdays.

As for the English prof, who gives a damn what he thinks? He should be dragged before the Sup in chains and be ordered to shut up or get out. "Academic freedom" my ass; if he wants to speak crap, let him go to Berzerkley and do it. :mad:

Sailing can, in fact, be a great leadership lab. However, as already stated, if it degenerates into a mere yacht club, then it's no good at all.
Okay, here is the litmus test. Let's assume the problem is that the administration feels that Midshipmen activities have become too diverse and are detracting from the mission of the Academy. Some have to be cut back. With that in mind, evaluate each dropped EC based on the following:

The Mission of the Naval Academy:
To develop midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and
to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and
loyalty in order to provide graduates who are dedicated to a
career of naval service and have potential for future
development in mind and character to assume the highest
responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.
Interestingly enough, I'm one of those nutballs who believes that every Midshipman should be SCUBA qualified prior to graduating. No, the fact that I was Scuba Club 1st LT during my 1/C year has nothing to do with it.

Hell, I'd even be willing to throw in an Airborne requirement....
From the Annapolis fish wrapper. Actually two pretty good articles.

Academy to become more like military
New chief wants more ship time, fewer distractions

By EARL KELLY, Staff Writer
Published August 19, 2007
The Naval Academy will become more like a military installation and less like a college, the school's new superintendent indicated Friday. In his first meeting with the media since becoming superintendent on June 8, Vice Adm. Jeffrey L. Fowler spoke of "a nation at war," and emphasized that the changes he is implementing are not a "we-need-to-fix" the academy but are instead "we-must-improve, or-we-will-fall-behind."
"We want fewer distractions and fewer excused absences from important developmental events like class and study hour," said Adm. Fowler, a former submarine commander and a 1978 graduate of the Naval Academy.
"This is not just a college scholarship program," Adm. Fowler said. "The taxpayers have paid money to develop officers here, and it's my job to ensure we minimize those distractions."
Henceforth, according to the superintendent, upperclassmen will have more required study hours and less free time away from the campus, or 'the yard,' as it's known in the military.
According to the commandant's office, which handles day-to-day operations at the academy, mandatory study period is being reinstated at nights, from Sunday through Thursday, for all midshipmen. Freshmen and sophomores will have mandatory study hour Friday nights as well.
Previously, midshipmen had mandatory study period from 8 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Friday, but many sophomores and nearly all juniors and seniors were exempt.
A number of academy students have said they skip meals to study or do other chores, and upperclassmen often were in downtown Annapolis having dinner during the week. But that is about to change.
While previous regulations set aside only Wednesday evening for mandatory dinner for the entire student body, the new regs require that from Sunday evening to noon Friday, all mids eat all meals in the academy mess hall.
Another change is that seniors must wear the Navy's khaki uniform, to distinguish them from other midshipmen, who wear a dark blue utility uniform. Seniors will be expected to mentor and lead younger students.
And, so they can focus more on the basic requirements of becoming officers, midshipmen's extra curricular activities will be more limited - both in the kind of activities and the amount of activities.
Adm. Fowler spoke of "the privilege of serving as leaders of sailors and Marines who volunteered to serve their country during wartime." It is a theme he also expressed June 27, during Induction Day, when the Class of 2011 began their time at the academy.
Midshipmen need more real-world experience, Adm. Fowler said, and academy officials plan to revise summer training programs to get more mids onto ships or into Marine Corps units.
Adm. Fowler said he briefed the 4,400-member Brigade of Midshipmen on the changes on Thursday, their first day back from summer training.
To drive home his point, Adm. Fowler told the mids that the crew of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower recently spent more than 230 days at sea, with only 15 days in port.
That kind of environment is where seniors will be finding themselves in only nine months, Adm. Fowler said, and they need to start getting accustomed to it.
Navy Capt. Margaret Klein, the academy's commandant, could not attend the briefing Thursday, but issued a statement explaining the changes being made at the academy.
"We are a nation at war; we do not have the luxury of letting our midshipmen learn about life in the Fleet and Marine Corps once they get there," she wrote.
Adm. Fowler, the father of three teenagers, said he wants to "minimize distractions which are normal for people of that age."
"I know how easy it is to get distracted, and sometimes, given the choice between some tough mission-related activity and something that may be a little more relaxing but not related to the mission, my teenagers at home, and a lot of our midshipmen, may choose the easier path. We just don't have time to do that - our nation is at war, and our sailors and Marines are depending on them to be ready."
Adm. Fowler said he is implementing the new polices after consulting the academy's "senior leadership team" that includes Capt. Klein and the dean of admissions, the academic dean and the athletic director.
The changes, while purportedly to prepare the midshipmen for service, also may help keep some out of trouble.
Earlier this year, a group of midshipmen on a spring-break cruise became intoxicated and rowdy, and it came out during two recent court-martials for sexual misconduct that the alleged victims engaged in underage or binge drinking at area bars shortly before the incidents.
As a result of publicity generated by these events, Adm. Fowler's predecessor, Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, faced criticism for allegedly punishing men more severely than women in cases of misconduct.
Adm. Fowler said he wasn't concerned about criticism, and would take it "case by case."
"I take the whole thing into account, and I really don't care about their background or gender or whatever," he said.
Adm. Fowler, formerly the Navy's chief recruiter, said he plans to work to recruit more minorities.
Adm. Fowler called the Naval Academy "the face of the Navy," and said its student body must become more diverse, to match the rank and file members of the military.
Adm. Fowler emphasized that any changes he is making at the academy are to prepare for the future, not to criticize the past administrations.
"There is no crisis at the academy," he said.

Liberty time reduced, study time going up at U.S. Naval Academy Readers' tools:
By BRIAN WITTE, Associated Press Writer
Published August 17, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy are going to be spending a lot more time in mandatory study periods during the academic year and working with leathernecks in the summer.
After a tough year of distracting sexual misconduct cases and a wild Caribbean spring break booze cruise, the academy is reducing liberty time and increasing mandatory study hours with an eye toward better focusing midshipmen on becoming leaders while the country is at war.
"This is not just a college scholarship program," Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler said in his first meeting with reporters since taking command in June. "The taxpayers have paid money to develop officers here, and it's my job to ensure we minimize those distractions."
As a result, the military institution is reinstating mandatory three-hour study time for Sunday through Thursday nights for all classes of the 4,200 student Brigade from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The rule has applied to first-year students, known as plebes, but it's being extended to all classes. The study period will be in effect Friday night as well for first- and second-year students.
The change means that there will be no weeknight liberty for midshipmen, time when they can leave academy grounds. Students in their final year may have a chance to earn limited weeknight liberty for outstanding performance.
In breaking the news to the future junior officers, Fowler said he told them about a recent seven-month deployment for the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower being extended to 233 days - with just 15 days in port.
"We're a nation at war," Fowler said. "We're not just doing short deployments or even six-month deployments. Sometimes they are longer, and our midshipmen need to understand that that's what their sailors are going through and that's who they're going to lead."
Academy officials also are reviewing summer training programs, with an emphasis on getting midshipmen more exposure with naval operations outside the classroom.
"As we are a nation at war, we do not have the luxury of letting our midshipmen learn about life in the Fleet and Marine Corps once they get there," said Capt. Margaret Klein, commandant of midshipmen, in a statement announcing the changes. "They need to be ready to lead sailors and marines the day they graduate from this institution."
Fowler said that could include more summer cruises on warships and "more leatherneck" work that gets them out with marines.
"We need to train as we will fight," Fowler said.
The new superintendent underscored that the added study time "is not punishment."
"It's preparation for the real world," he said.
The regulations come in wake of a disappointing year at the academy, where athletes were accused of sexual misconduct, a former medical officer was charged with taping midshipmen having sex, a link was made between an instructor and a prostitution ring, and a group of midshipmen got rowdy on a spring break cruise.
Fowler said he will keep hammering home that midshipmen who are of legal drinking age must use alcohol responsibly. He said he has told midshipmen about a time when he was the deputy commander of the Sixth Fleet in Italy and had to apologize for sailors and marines who drank too much and embarrassed the service.
"It is my job to teach them here what proper responsible drinking is so that when they get out to the fleet they're leading their sailors and setting the right example and they understand what is right and what is wrong," Fowler said.
Fowler's predecessor, Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt came under some criticism from alumni for perceived discrepancies in how men and women were treated during disciplinary proceedings, appearing to focus more on retaining women instead of men. Fowler said his experience has made him realize "every case is unique" and that he will consider matters on a "case by case" basis.
"I take the whole thing into account, and I really don't care about their background or gender or whatever," Fowler said. "It's how are they going to represent the fleet. Are they ready to lead sailors and marines?"
In some other directives:
- Midshipmen will be required to attend mandatory meals, starting with the Sunday evening meal and ending with the Friday noon meal. Midshipmen will sit at tables with their squads. Before, midshipmen used to have dinner meals free.
- Extracurricular activities are being limited, both in the number midshipmen can participate in and when they may take part.
- Midshipmen in their last year will wear a summer khaki uniform to underscore their class distinction as leaders in the Brigade.
Supts Letter to Parents

Supts letter to parents:

Dear Parents,

I am honored and humbled to be serving as the 60th Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy. Since my change of command I have been using the Chief of Naval Operations’ approach for taking on a new position of responsibility: listen, learn, and lead. I have spent the summer listening and learning, and now it is time for me to lead. My Senior Leadership Team and I want to make sure our course is set to prepare your sons and daughters to become the best junior officers in the Fleet; officers with competence, character, and compassion. Because you have entrusted us with America’s best and brightest, we would like to share our vision with you.

A nation at war. There is no doubt that September 11, 2001, changed the face of America forever. Our enemy is ruthless, and the Global War on Terror is going to last throughout the entire commissioned career of the midshipmen attending USNA today. We must ensure that every midshipman has heard the call to duty and is prepared to defend a nation at war.

Developing Midshipmen. Every member of our Naval Academy team must be focused on developing midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically for the privilege of serving as leaders of Sailors and Marines who volunteered to serve their country. Develop is an active verb requiring intrusive leadership from staff, faculty, and coaches. We must direct and facilitate the development of our midshipmen to accomplish the mission with a sense of urgency. We must ensure our Ensigns and Second Lieutenants are ready to lead starting on the first day of commissioned service.

Face of the Navy. The Naval Academy is a showplace. Every year millions of Americans view the Brigade in Annapolis or on television and walk away believing they have just seen the best of the United States Navy. We must remember that our midshipmen represent Sailors and Marines who have made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those who are forward deployed in harm’s way. Our behavior as an institution must reflect a commitment to excellence in everything we do.
The support you give to our midshipmen and the US Naval Academy is priceless. You have raised a son or daughter who has felt the call to serve the finest Navy and Marine Corps team in history. There is no higher civic responsibility or more honorable calling. I look forward to seeing you on the Yard and across the country as we support the Brigade.


Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
Well Zaph, it appears that scuba club may get little if any support. All of the ECs are being reevaluated and tiered and those down the line will get little support, either financially or for meeting times in the future. Also the "GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY" will be a thing of the past if the current administration has anything to do with it. Last night at the 2009 commitment dinner, it was requested to eliminate the slogan from the end of the singing of the Blue & Gold in respect for our fellow servicemen. I suspect that I will hear a very loud "GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY" at the first home football game. :smile: I can almost hear them laughing at WP now.
I have read this thread, plus the two currently ongoing over at CC, with great interest. Mostly, I have been trying to glean some kind of OFFICIAL list of REAL changes before I comment further.

I can tell you right now that I agree with most of the changes I have seen listed, and disagreed (with varying levels of intensity) with the rest. No one is perfect. The whole "BEAT ARMY" thing, however, is simply rediculous. As already mentioned by 69 at CC, I also guarantee you that the "BEAT ARMY!" that will emanate from the stands the next time the alumni are gathered to sing Blue and Gold will make the earth under Fowler's feet rumble. I hope I'm there to participate.

As for the rest, if anyone could please provide me with some kind of official list of changes, I'd appreciate it. I tried Google, but all I found was the threads here and at CC, and a few repetitive news articles. Since I trust the mainstream media to accurately report the truth (especially concerning things military) about as much as I trust Osama Bin Laden to open a Jewish Center in New York, I'm not too inclined to go with that as my sole source.

??? how will the large corporate donors react???


So much of the budget of USNA is from outside sources(large corporate donors, NAAA, Alumni, and charitable endowments) More than many people actually know about. Wesley Brown field house would not have been built without outside funding, as well as the sailing programs 44's and many too numerous to name. Will these wonderfull and generous companies and individuals open their checkbooks if they feel as though they are being left out or if their EC was taken away. (most have ties to USNA through a personal history or a family member) ???
EXAMPLE:#1 Will the CEO of _____________ Corp. Class of ______ continue to generously give XXX thousands of $$$ if they took away his beloved_______ EC. The EC that gave him a chance to decompress during that difficult XX year.
EXAMPLE:#2 Will Mrs. _________ (WHO BY THE WAY IS WORTH 9 FIGURES)mother of _____ class of ____ who's daughter played_______ and was a member of _______ continue to give?????

I wonder???????
Wesley Brown field house would not have been built without outside funding

Frankly, I wish it hadn't been. They should have just renovated Halsey or just knocked it down and built a new one. USNA does not need TWO field houses.

The land that Wesley Brown is being built on could have been put to better use building shipboard simulators or something more practical, as well as less imposing.