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With this issue of the SUBMARINE REVIEW I bow out as the Editor – being relieved by Captain Jim Hay. This ending to a seven year stint with the REVIEW generates a philosophical look backward to see how sound and useful was the effort.

As conceived, the SUBMARINE REVIEW was and is a “professional” magazine for the “profession of submarining.” I believed at the outset that the submarine profession was the most important, satisfying, interesting, challenging and dynamic profession within the military establishment. It seemed to me that a high-quality, very readable journal for this profession would move the U.S. submarine force ahead in its evolution towards a particularly important national and world influence on military-political affairs. This was sound, providing that the submarine force would use this journal to test their ideas, introduce new ideas relative to submarines and submarining, learn from the past history of submarine activities, get the public more interested and get submariners in submarine matters themselves more interested in their profession.

Ensuring the production of high quality material for the REVIEW seemed possible even though too many in the Submarine Service, past and present, have seemingly subscribed to the idea that it’s best to remain a “silent service” — not recognizing that the silence of submariners has been for the most part in their written words, certainly not in their great amount of “quack-quack” whenever a few have been gathered together. Today, however, silence only too often seems to be generated by security concerns. In fact, it is possible that silence is placed well ahead of improvement of the profession. By not having a discussion of present-day problems within the submarine profession, the profession might be losing its dynamic and satisfying quality. But up to now there has been a sufficient dialogue of high quality, within the REVIEW to make those in the Submarine League who monitor this journal believe that a valuable service is being carried out by the REVIEW for the Submarine Service. I would note however, that contributions from the active senior submariners have been for the most part lacking. Yet, it would seem that they should benefit most from such a platform for their submarine interests. Perhaps it is the younger officers who feel less constrained by past practices and who want to further their profession, who will become the major part of the dialogue in the REVIEW. There are certainly some excellent, articulate young submariner writers producing very good things for other magazines who might become more active in the SUBMARINE REVIEW. What is hoped is that this small, concise, informative journal can achieve some of the great success enjoyed by such professional magazines as the American Medical Journal, Electronjcs, and Forejin Affairs.

As for readability, that’s been more clear cut. By having a journal with articles no longer than about 2200 words -because that’s about the outer limit for holding the attention of today’s technological man — and by eliminating blockages to a continued “reading” of an article, it becomes likely that an article will be read in its entirety, and not speed-read (see Polaris and Red Rayborn). Thus, acronyms have been virtually eliminated since they only too often cause one to stall and search for their meaning. Footnotes are out because they interrupt one’s reading-flow. Notations to a bibliography at the end of an article are also eliminated to check on the source, etc. And, by having the authors’s name at the end of the article and no pedigree attached, it seemed that an article would be read, not for its authorship so much as for its subject matter. I did a good deal of checking with potential readers on who they would read and found that it was virtually useless to have a woman as an author of an article on submarine matters of one sort or another – so I decided on the use of anonymity in articles. In addition, there were certain writers against whom strong biases were held. Again, recommended anonymity. And then there were writers whose pedigree wasn’t sufficiently attractive to coax a potential reader into sailing through the article. As for the pedigree business, I had the thought that my only excuse for writing for the REVIEW was because “I was a life-long student of warfare.” Who would read any further? So short descriptions of who the author might be wouldn’t always help readability. Submariners are a strange breed of animal, it would seem — but to cater to their reading patterns was absolutely necessary. And having a journal which could be carried around easily in one’s pocket helped insure that it would be read in spare moments. One will note in their reading of the REVIEW that there are frequent violations of good syntax, but these have invariably been in the cause of better readability. One must recognize that the submariner, as a generality, is rarely a great reader — unlike those in the academic community. Submariners are men of action who want to read “what’s necessary” and get it over with.

I have been distressed at criticisms of the REVIEW as to having too much historical input — too many World War n submarine-patrol stories, and too much use of past submarine experience to validate present submarine matters. Going back over the last twelve issues, I find five articles on U.S. war experience and four on foreign submarine war activity. In aU cases, these historical things were printed because your editor felt that they contained valuable lessons for today’s submariners and today’s likely submarining problems. Men like Admiral Arleigh Burke have stressed the necessity of understanding the history of one’s profession (see the article in this issue Submarine Power- the Final Arbiter) in order to improve it — and that has been the intent of such articles in the REVIEW. In World War II there was a torpedo problem for the submarine navies (except for the Japanese). Is it worth worrying about what went wrong in torpedo peacetime development before World War II or should one believe that with the intr.oduction of nuclear-powered submarines this kind of history lost its meaning. The latter thought is worrisome because the young submariners who feel that they are living a new profession with little relation to the profession which I knew, are losing a sense of tradition and identity with “the old submariners” who proved their worth in war and who are today pretty much the backbone of the Submarine League with its hopes of building an even finer tradition for present submariners.

There is also a seeming belief that only technical articles in depth are of true value to the submarine profession. Broad generalities, philosophy, conceptual thinking, strategic thinking (strategic in the classical sense), following today’s submarine developments worldwide, posing present day scenarios, – these are all areas where the SUBMARINE REVIEW can have a useful unclassified dialogue. Bringing the submarine militaryindustrial-scientific communities together through dialogue might be one of the most important functions of the SUBMARINE REVIEW and so far this objective has progressed.

Interestingly, I have found that submarine wives read the REVIEW and many report that they read each issue cover to cover. Perhaps they are proud of the submarine profession and like to identify with it, rather than with a society of nuclear-power engineers.

There’s been some worry that the SUBMARINE REVIEW is insufficiently scholarly in its approach. More reliance on credible submarine “authoritative” writings, it has been felt, would generate more articles from the academic community and get the SUBMARINE REVIEW used a lot more as a reference for scholarly writings on submarine matters. That’s still being held in abeyance. Ensuring the accuracy and reliability of matter discussed has been my toughest job, but rarely is any material in an article brought to task for being mistaken. It is certain that the SUBMARINE REVIEW is being referenced as an authoritative publication and that literally thousands of copies of specific articles from the REVIEW are being reprinted for use in service schools, for correspondence courses and for other publications, even in foreign navies.

A few final thoughts. It bas been difficult to hold the line on being a strictly “submarine” journal. When one gets into ASW, for example, writers want to cover the whole business — air, surface, submarine, mines, intelligence, etc. Hence to edit such submissions to apply only to the submarine contribution seems arbitrary and lacking in understanding of the total problem. It is. But setting this as a ground rule has, it is felt, been absolutely necessary. A further thought is that there should be no intent in the REVIEW to provide strong advocacy for any present specific submarine programs — that’s the job of the active duty professionals.

The SUBMARINE REVIEW is trying to make a valuable contribution to the submarine profession and should continue to do so through its new editorship.

[ Presidents’ Note: I want to acknowledge here as I have done elsewhere Bill’s major contribution to the NSL and the Submarine Service. He has masteifully played the role of EdiJor which we often conjure up from watching the movies. He has been stubborn, irascible, precise, inventive and persistent, but also he loves and believes in the role and destiny of submarines and the people who drive them. There have been many “ups” and a few “downs” these past seven years. He has tried to do a good job and he has succeeded. As he assumes his new responsibility as EdiJor Emeritus, I wish to convey my personal and the NSL ‘s thanks. Well done, Bill/

Al Kelln 


Congratulations to the winners of the 1990 Literary Honoraria for articles published in the Submarine Review:

First Prize: $200 each to Dr. Jon L Boyes and William J. Rube for their article Tridents in the October ’89 issue. Second Prize: $250 to Dr. John M. Weinstein for his article Command and Control of Strategic Submarines in the January ’90 issue. Third Prize: $150 to Edward L Beach for his article The Influence of the Submarine Upon Sea Power in the April ’90 issue.


  • Win up to $700!!
    • Separate prizes for Senior and Junior Active Duty Members.
    • Judging occurs in January 1991.
    • See April 1990 Submarine Review, page 102 for details .


T HE SUBMARINE REVIEW is a quarterly publication of the Submarine League. It is a forum for discussion of submarine matters. Not only are the ideas of its members to be reflected in the REVIEW, but those of others as well, who are interested in submarines and submarining.

Articles for this publication will be accepted on any subject closely related to submarine matters. Their length should be a maximum of about 2500 words. The content of articles is of first importance in their selection for the REVIEW. Editing of articles for clarity may be necessary, since important ideas should be readily understood by the readers of the REVIEW.

A stipend of up to $200.00 will be paid for each major article published. Annually, three articles are selected for special recognition and an honorarium of up to $400.00 will be awarded to the authors.

The views expressed by the authors are their own and are not to be construed to be those of the Naval Submarine League. In those instances where the NSL has taken and published an official position or view, specific reference to that fact will accompany the article.

Articles should be submitted to the Editor, SUBMARINE REVIEW, P.O. Box 1146, Annandale, VA 22003.

Comments on articles and brief discussion items are welcomed to make the SUBMARINE REVIEW a dynamic reflection of the League’s interest in submarines. The success of this magazine is up to those persons who have such a dedicated interest in submarines that they want to keep alive the submarine past, help with present submarine problems and be influential in guiding the future of submarines in the U.S. Navy.

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