Return to Frequently Asked Questions page.Return to Z-Grams

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Z-gram # 117: (Good Order and Discipline); dated 14 November 1972

CNO {Z-117}
TO: NAVOP
UNCLAS //N00000//
141300Z NOV 72

1. IT IS MY DESIRE THAT THIS Z-NAVOP RECEIVE THE WIDEST POSSIBLE DISTRIBUTION TO ALL HANDS ON BOARD.

2. ON 10 NOVEMBER I ADDRESSED THE QUESTION OF RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF ASSURING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND FOSTERING MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING IN RACE RELATIONS AT ALL COMMAND LEVELS OF THE NAVY. MY REMARKS WERE DIRECTED PRIMARILY TO ALL IN A POSITION OF LEADER SHIP URGING THEM TO DIRECT THEIR FULLEST EFFORTS AT ENSURING THESE PROGRAMS WERE BEING CARRIED OUT IN FULL.

AT THAT TIME I ALSO STATED THAT THERE MUST BE NO SUBSTITUTION OF ONE PREJUDICE FOR ANOTHER. THAT THE PREJUDICE AGAINST GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE IS AS BAD AS THE PREJUDICE OF RACE. IT IS TO THIS POINT THAT I WOULD ADDRESS ALL HANDS.

ADMIRAL ERNEST KING, IN SPEAKING TO MY GRADUATION CLASS, STATED THAT TRUE MILITARY DISCIPLINE IS THE "INTELLIGENT OBEDIENCE OF EACH FOR THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ALL." AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE, IT IS THROUGH ENLIGHTENED LEADERSHIP THAT WE OBTAIN THAT TRUE MILITARY DISCIPLINE ABOUT WHICH ADMIRAL KING SPOKE SOME 30 YEARS AGO.

DURING THE PAST 28 MONTHS I HAVE SET AS MY OBJECTIVE BRINGING ABOUT A NAVY ENVIRONMENT THAT WOULD ASSIST OUR NAVAL COMMANDERS IN PROVIDING THAT ENLIGHTENED LEADERSHIP THAT WOULD ENSURE "INTELLIGENT OBEDIENCE FOR THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ALL." I BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL. WE HAVE OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY OUR PEOPLE WHO HAVE RESPONDED WITH BRAVERY AND DEDICATION TO THE RECENT MASSIVE INVASION OF SOUTH VIETNAM. THEY HAVE DONE SO IN THE FACE OF GREATLY EXTENDED AND EARLY DEPLOYMENTS, REDUCED SHIPBOARD MANNING AND OVER-LONG HOURS SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. NAVYWIDE WE HAVE SEEN OVERALL DISCIPLINARY AND CONFINEMENT RATES REDUCED FROM THEIR EARLIER FIGURES WITH COMMENSURATE REDUCTIONS IN SHORE PATROL REQUIREMENTS. I AM PROUD OF NAVY'S PERFORMANCE, FOR IT HAS TRULY BEEN SUPERB.

ON THE OTHER HAND, IT OCCURS TO ME THAT THIS IS PERHAPS A GOOD TIME TO REITERATE TO THOSE OF OUR MORE JUNIOR PERSONNEL WHO HAVE ENTERED THE NAVY IN THIS PERIOD OF TRANSITION AND WHOM I HAVE

NOT HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK WITH IN THE PAST YEAR, MY PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY REGARDING THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO LEADERSHIP IN OUR NAVY. I DO THIS ESPECIALLY SINCE I NOTE THAT, OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN RECENT INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE OR OTHER DISRUPTIVE ACTIVITIES, THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY ARE THOSE IN THE 18 TO 20 YEAR AGE CATEGORY AND WITH LESS THAN ONE YEAR OF NAVAL SERVICE.

THIS SAYS TO ME THAT MANY OF THOSE WHO ARE NEW TO THE NAVY VERY WELL MAY NOT BE AWARE OF THE FRAMEWORK WITHIN WHICH WE HAVE BEEN WORKING TO MAKE THE NAVY A CHALLENGING, INTERESTING AND REWARDING CAREER, NOR OF WHAT THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES ARE TO THE NAVY WITHIN THAT SAME FRAMEWORK.

LET ME SPEAK TO YOU, IN TURN, OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE NAVY AND OUR COUNTRY. WHAT IS REQUIRED OF YOU IS SELF DISCIPLINE, ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES OF EXTENDED DEPLOYMENTS AND REDUCED MANPOWER. IT IS YOUR DUTY TO YOUR SHIPMATES AND THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WELFARE IN TIME OF PEACE AND ESPECIALLY IN TIME OF WAR TO CONDUCT YOURSELVES IN A MANNER THAT CONTRIBUTES TO THE OVERALL GOOD AND WELFARE OF YOUR DIVISION, YOUR SHIP, YOUR STATION AND, IN THE LONG RUN, OF YOUR COUNTRY. YOU HAVE TAKEN AN OATH TO DO SO AND THE NAVY WILL EXPECT NOTHING LESS NOR WILL IT ACCEPT ANYTHING LESS.

THIS SELF DISCIPLINE AND SUBORDINATION OF SELF FOR THE GOOD OF ALL IS ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY FOR ANY ORGANIZATION, CIVILIAN OR MILITARY, TO FUNCTION PROPERLY. IT CANNOT BE ANY OTHER WAY.

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMMAND ARE NOT EASY IN THIS MODERN DAY OF COMPLEX MACHINES AND EVEN MORE COMPLEX MEN. YOUR COMMANDING OFFICER HAS RESPONSIBILITIES TO HIGHER AUTHORITIES AND TO HIS COUNTRY THAT STAGGER THE IMAGINATION AND THE MAGNITUDE OF HIS RESPONSIBILITIES HAS BEEN MADE EVEN GREATER BY THE FACT THAT. WORLD TENSIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT WE WOULD LIKE THEM TO BE. THESE PAST NINE MONTHS HAVE BEEN EVEN MORE STRENUOUS BECAUSE OF THE INCREASED EFFORT OFF HE COAST OF VIETNAM.

ON THE DAY THAT I TOOK COMMAND OF THE NAVY I SAID THAT I WAS ASSUMING AS MY FIRST TASK THE IMPROVEMENT OF ALL ASPECTS OF THE - NAVAL CAREER. I HAVE DEDICATED MYSELF TO THAT TASK AND HAVE MADE MANY CHANGES DESIGNED FOR THAT PURPOSE. I ALSO SAID, AND I REPEAT, THAT THOSE CHANGES WILL ONLY BE MADE WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE MAINTENANCE OF GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE, AND THAT THOSE FEW WHO WOULD ABUSE THESE PRIVILEGES MUST BE HELD TO ACCOUNT.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NEW TO THE NAVY OR WHO MAY NOT BE AWARE OF MY STATEMENTS IN THIS REGARD, LET ME ASSURE YOU THAT I MEANT WHAT I SAID THEN AND HAVE REITERATED IN EVERY SUCCEEDING CHANGE THAT COULD BE INTERPRETED TO HAVE AN EFFECT ON PERSONNEL BEHAVIOR. I EXPECT, AND WILL CONTINUE TO INSIST UPON, THE STRICTEST POSSIBLE ADHERENCE TO OUR DISCIPLINARY STANDARDS IN EVERY RESPECT. THOSE WHO DO NOT ACCEPT THESE STANDARDS CAN EXPECT TO BE PROMPTLY AND FAIRLY DISCIPLINED AND HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE UCMJ.

OTHER CHANGES MADE DURING THE PAST TWO YEARS ARE DESIGNED TO ASSIST BOTH THE INDIVIDUAL AND THOSE IN COMMAND TO DRAW ON THE ASSISTANCE OF THEIR SUPERIORS TO RESOLVE PROBLEMS BEYOND THEIR IMMEDIATE ABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY. THESE INCLUDE MATTERS SUCH AS PERSONNEL ASSIGNMENTS, TRANSFERS, PERSONAL SERVICES, ETC. THESE ARE NOT INTENDED NOR IN ANY WAY CAN THEY BE CONSTRUED TO MEAN AN ACCEPTANCE OF "SHORT CIRCUITING" THE LEGITIMATE CHAIN OF COMMAND. COMMANDING OFFICERS RECOGNIZE THESE FOR WHAT THEY ARE--A TOOL TO BE USED WHEN SOLUTIONS ARE OUTSIDE HIS AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY. YOU SHOULD ALSO RECOGNIZE THEM FOR WHAT THEY ARE, A SOLUTION TO PROBLEMS THAT CANNOT BE SOLVED WITHIN YOUR OWN COMMAND STRUCTURE.

FINALLY, LET ME CONCLUDE BY ADDRESSING THE MATTER OF YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE MAINTENANCE OF GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE, FOR IN THIS MATTER THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE. I ADDRESSED MYSELF TO OUR NAVAL LEADERSHIP ON THIS SUBJECT ON 10 NOVEMBER. NOW LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I EXPECT OF YOU. I AM FULLY AWARE OF THE EXTRA HOURS WORKED AND THE OVERLONG DEPLOYMENTS EXPERIENCED BY MANY, BUT THE NAVY IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER INSTITUTION IN THAT IT REQUIRES COMPLETE AND TOTAL OBEDIENCE. IT CAN BE NO OTHER WAY.

I PLEDGE MY CONTINUING EFFORTS TO ENSURE THAT ALL OF OUR NAVY MEN AND WOMEN WILL CONTINUE TO RECEIVE MY FULL SUPPORT IN MAKING THIS NAVY OF OURS AN EXCITING, CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH TO WORK AND LIVE WITH THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY WHICH CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED WITHIN A FRAMEWORK OF DISCIPLINE. IN TURN I LOOK TO YOU TO MATCH THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THOSE WHO ARE YOUR SENIORS IN WORKING TOWARD THE SAME GOALS.

E.R. ZUMWALT, JR., ADMIRAL, U.S. NAVY,
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS

Note: The original unclassified message is entirely double-spaced with all letters capitalized.


4 February 2000