Skip to main content
Needs and Opportunities in the Modern History of the U.S. Navy banner - NHHC image USN 1130804

Needs and Opportunities in the Modern History of the U.S. Navy

On 12 November 2015, the Naval History and Heritage Command launched a new program with the first in a series of ten talks on the historiography of selected topics on Needs and Opportunities in the Modern History of the U.S. Navy with the presentation of a talk by Dr. Thomas C. Hone on the historiography of Navy programming and acquisition since 1950. Nine talks followed, the last being delivered in August 2016. You will find eight of the essays based on those talks posted here. We intend the series to serve as a guide, and in many ways set the agenda, for the study of modern U.S. naval history for the next twenty years.


The Naval History and Heritage Command engaged scholars from outside its bulwarks to report on ten areas of the Navy’s recent history, identifying topics needing original or additional study, and opportunities for making such studies. The subject areas are the ones Navy leaders, the Navy’s historians, and outside experts consulted by the Naval History and Heritage Command identified as having the greatest potential benefit to the Navy. These subjects are: forward presence, intelligence and information warfare, logistics, operations, personnel policy, programming and acquisition management, science, social history, strategy, and technology. Given that the most neglected period of the Navy’s history is the most recent, the scholars were enjoined to focus on the decades since World War II and especially the years since the end of the Cold War. The essays concerning intelligence and information warfare and logistics are unavailable at this time.


There is one more area of the recent history of the Navy among those of primary interest for which there is no historiographical essay: the U.S. Navy’s institutional and cultural history between the end of World War II and the present. Needed are studies that consider the Navy’s heritage and institutions, media image and popular representation, and the distinctive institutional culture of its various warfare communities — studies of the essence of what the Navy has been. In other words, what is the history of the Navy’s institutional mindset since the end of World War II? None of the outside scholars whom the Naval History and Heritage Command approached was willing to tackle the subject. Perhaps you will be the exception and pursue a topic within this subject area!

Published: Wed Mar 28 17:11:43 EDT 2018