The Naval History and Heritage Command's Priorities on
Gaps in Writings on U.S. Naval History



Introduction

The field of U.S. naval history is vast and so much of it remains unwritten that the Navy's in-house historical research and writing program cannot document it all. We look to naval historians outside the service to help tell the Navy's story. Complementing the Naval History and Heritage Command's in-house program is the support and encouragement we give to non-official naval historians.

Opportunities for work on unexamined or understudied aspects in U.S. naval history are as unlimited as the historian's imagination and curiosity. Still, there are broadly identifiable specific gaps in the historical literature, because earlier studies were inadequate or are outdated, or because topics have been more or less ignored. Among those gaps there are certain ones that the Naval History and Heritage Command is particularly interested in seeing filled because they relate to issues of concern to the Navy today, or because they relate to things that we as historians think the service should know about itself.

We encourage work in these areas and dissemination of the resulting history in any form, traditional print, audio and video, web-based publication, and new media.

The following list of priorities excludes projects underway within the Naval History and Heritage Command.

The list is divided into the following categories: operations, force providing, broad topics, and biographies. There is no priority within the categories apart from a bias in favor of recent history.



    I. Operations. The most obvious need in the historical literature is in the area of recent operations. The major obstacles to researching, writing, and publishing on these topics are the classification of the records and the difficulty of accessing electronic communications. NHHC's historians and archivists are glad to discuss the possibilities with anyone wanting to work on recent Navy operations.

    • Cold War, Navy in
      • U.S. Navy's role during the Suez Crisis (1956)
      • U.S. Navy's role during the Lebanon Crisis (1958)
      • U.S. Navy's role during the Taiwan Strait Crises -- First Crisis (1955), Second Crisis (1958).
      • U.S. Navy’s role in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War
      • U.S. Navy’s role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War
      • Cold War forward SSN operations
      • As Warsaw Pact naval documents become available, corroborate US estimates of Soviet capabilities and effectiveness of strategies
      • Global War on Terrorism
        • Operation Noble Eagle (in support of Homeland Security)
        • At Sea: Maritime operations, particularly visit, board, search, and seizure
      • Joint and interagency operations
      • Navy operations in the Balkans in the 1990s
      • Operation Enduring Freedom (War in Afghanistan, 2001 and after)
      • Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011)
      • Riverine operations in Iraq
      • Operation Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector (vs. Gaddafi)
      • Operation Tomodachi (Japanese earthquake relief)
      • Expanded roles and forces for USN port and ship security operations in wake of USS Cole incident
      • U.S. Navy relationships with allied navies
      • Post -1945 regional/security studies
        • Mediterranean
        • Fifth Fleet area of operations
        • Caribbean
        • Latin America
        • Africa
        • China and southeast Asia
        • Korea


    II. Force Providing. Whereas operations (especially fighting) are the principal reason for the Navy’s existence, the service needs the people, equipment, and training to conduct operations. Today, it is the job of the office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) to provide fully manned, equipped, and combat ready naval forces to the joint combatant commanders (COCOMs) who use these forces in combat, operations other than war, and other kinds of missions. There exists a much larger body of unclassified records on the subjects of manning, equipping, and training the Navy since the end of World War II than on operations.

    • Manning the all-volunteer Navy
      • Manpower policy
        • Post 1976 “rainbow,” diversity beyond African-Americans and women
        • Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell implementation and revocation
        • Recruiting
        • Retention
        • Promotion
          • Policies since 1945
          • Flag selections
        • Discipline
        • Individual Augmentees
        • Naval Reserves
        • Professional Military Education Policies
        • Evolution of and changing rationales for Navy uniform policies
    • Equipping
      • Acquisitions
      • Research and Development/Science and Technology
      • Technologies, integrating new
        • Technological innovation and bureaucratic choice
        • Polaris missile system and its successors, development of
        • Unmanned aerial, surface, and sub-surface systems
        • Helicopters
        • Aegis, Tomahawk, and VSL triad
        • Ballistic Missile Defense
        • Changing propulsion systems (evolution of nuclear power, gas turbines, diesels, electric drive, etc.)
        • Computer-assisted networks
      • Program development
      • Ships and shipbuilding
        • Goals for the size of the Fleet
        • Costs of Navy’s ships
        • Board analysis of the development of naval architecture and warship design
        • Shipyard labor
      • Aircraft
      • Force Structure
      • The Defense Industrial Base of the Navy, especially post-1960
      • Uses of computers by the Navy
    • Basing
      • financing, location, upkeep, and relation to strategy and operations
    • Officer and enlisted education and training
      • Developments from 1945 to present
      • Evolution of navy officer capstone educational institutions: U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School
    • Organizing for operations and for administration (Formation and reorganization of OPNAV)
      • OPNAV since 1986
      • SEA Systems Command
      • Naval Inspector General and Board of Inspection and Survey
      • Fleet organization
    • The impact of Goldwater-Nichols on the U.S. Navy
      • Its impact on career paths
      • Its impact on acquisition
    • Policy development
      • Navy’s Role in National Strategy
      • Navy-Coast Guard relations
      • Interplay among offices of the chief of naval operations, the secretary of the navy, and the secretary of defense
      • Navy-Air Force relations
        • Navy dependence on USAF systems
        • Air-Sea Battle development and antecedents
      • Office of the Secretary of the Navy
      • Navy-Marine Corps relations
      • Office of the Chief of Naval Operations


    • III. Broad Topics. There are aspects of the histories of navies that have wide applicability and are able to give today's Navy planners and operators a background that will expand their understanding and enable them to make better decisions, not particularly by way of analogy but by way of knowledge of what was done in the past, understanding of the importance of contingencies, and a broadened sense of the possible. Aspects of naval history with broad applications in which NHHC particularly encourages historical work are the following. There are aspects of the histories of navies that have wide applicability and are able to give today's Navy planners and operators a background that will expand their understanding and enable them to make better decisions, not particularly by way of analogy but by way of knowledge of what was done in the past, understanding of the importance of contingencies, and a broadened sense of the possible. Aspects of naval history with broad applications in which NHHC particularly encourages historical work are the following.
    • Congressional relations
      • Congress and the navy during the Cold War
      • Contrast between Cold War and post-Cold War
    • Counter-piracy, from the Caribbean in the 1820s to Somalia today
    • Forward presence
    • Humanitarian operations and disaster response
    • Interdiction operations, from anti-slave patrols through illicit trafficking
    • International Partnerships
      • German Federal Republic, naval relations with since 1945
      • “The Special Relationship” with the Royal Navy since 1945
      • Japan and JMSDF, naval relations with
      • NATO
      • The Australian Navy
      • Ad hoc partnerships since 1990s
    • Medicine
      • modern battlefield
    • Personnel
      • Diversity, education, fleet synthetic training, reservists
    • Riverine/littoral operations
    • Navy public relations
    • Navy EOD, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan
    • Sealift and prepositioning forces
    • The U.S. Navy and the U.S. merchant marine
    • Evolution of Navy damage control
    • Evolution of Navy logistics
    • IV. Biographies.

      • Boorda, Jeremy
      • Brown, Charles R.
      • Burke, Arleigh
      • Holloway, James
      • Meyers, Wayne
      • Moorer, Thomas
      • Radford, Arthur W.
      • Reeves, Joseph
      • Sherman, Forrest
      • Wright, Jarauld
      • Yarnell, Harry
      • Zumwalt, Elmo R., Jr.
      • Campa Joe, first Hispanic to hold the position of master chief petty officer of the Navy
      • Clark, Vern
      • Danzig, Richard
      • Hildago, Edward, first Hispanic selected for the position of Secretary of the Navy
      • Holloway, James  L. III
      • Meyer, Wayne
      • Mines, Janie, first black female to graduate from USNA (1980)
      • Moorer, Thomas
      • Mullen, Michael
      • Murray, Robert
      • Norman, William, Special Advisor on EO to CNO Zumwalt
      • Radford, Arthur W.
      • Reason, J. Paul, first black admiral to be promoted to four stars
      • Sherman, Forrest
      • Stavridis, James
      • Turner, Stansfield
      • Work, Robert
      • Wright, Jarauld

      V. Collective and Comparative Biographies

      • Secretaries of the Navy since 1974
      • Chiefs of Naval Operations since 1972
      • USCINCPACs and COMUSPACOMs
      • Naval leaders of joint operations
        • Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, Joint Chiefs
        •  Unified Combatant Commanders
      • Integrators of new technologies
      • Reformers of the navy or major commands
      • Minorities and females who attained high rank
      • Dictionary of Admirals of the USN from 1919 to the present



About Us | Privacy Policy | Webmaster | FOIA request | Navy.mil | This is a US Navy website