You’ve heard me talk about good storytelling.
Today, I want tospend a little time on good writing and speaking.
‚Adm. Jim Stavridis once said that all military officers should
learn a second language.
I think he’s right.
I think thatlanguage
should be English.‛
That’s the way Mary Walsh, Pentagon producer for CBS News, kicked
off a talk recently to students at Defense InformationSchool. The line drew chuckles, but it also hit home with me.
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard Adm. G
Navy leaders to ‚say it in plain English,‛ well, let’s just sayI’d have a pot full of nickels.
And yet I’m amazed at how often
we continue to ignore him.
I don’t think it’s intentional, this butchering of our own
It’s more a crim
e of neglect. I think many of us havesimply forgotten what it is to write well and speak well. Weknow good writing when we see it. We know a good speech when wehear it.
But for some reason, or maybe lots of reasons, we can’t
measure up to the task ourselves.
For one thing, we’ve never met an adjective or adverb we didn’t
We don’t ‚exploit operations in the electromagneticspectrum.‛
We fully exploit them.
We don’t integrate functions;
we seamlessly integrate them.
And it’s not sufficient t
We need to remind you they are ‚essential, long
term‛ investments, because, hey, some of our other investmentsaren’t really all that important.
According to this year’s Navy program guide, the world isn’t a
It’s a ‚
dynamic and complex international
And the Navy’s ‚most pressing challenge‛ in comingyears ‚will be sustaining Fleet capacity while maintainingrelevant capability.‛
I guess I just assumed all our capabilities were relevant.
And why can’t
we talk about problems? When did that word becomeso bad? Everybody has problems. Problems are real. Problemsare what we get paid to solve. But no, we in the military havechallenges to meet, face, overcome, deter, or defeat.