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Writing to Think: The Intellectual Journey of a Naval Career

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Newport papers no. 41

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The purpose of this volume is to honor the work and thought of Robert C. Rubel, Captain, U.S. Navy Ret.. Since his retirement from the Navy, Robert a.k.a. Barney Rubel has held senior positions in the Center for Naval Warfare Studies CNWS, in the Naval War College, in Newport, Rhode Island first as deputy dean, then as chairman of the War Gaming Department, and finally since 2006 as dean. During this period, not only has he presided effectively over a complex and in many ways anomalous institution, but he has found the time to create a substantial body of published writings about naval warfare and war, or strategy generally. In the process, he has quietly established himself as one of the Navy s most innovative and wide-ranging thinkers. This volume brings together a selection of Rubel s short papers from over the last decade and a half. Many of these have appeared in the Naval War College Review, but others are scattered and less accessible. Viewed as a single body of thought Rubel himself indicates in his introduction that his basic views have not appreciably altered over these years, they gain in weight from being read and considered together. It is hoped, therefore, that this volume will provide a basis for a better and more enduring appreciation of Rubel s contribution to the intellectual capital of today s Navy. Perhaps the key characteristic of Rubel s writings is their self-conscious return to the classical naval strategists especially the American Alfred Thayer Mahan and the Briton Julian Corbett as guides to the concerns of military analysts of the present and near future. While he nowhere directly addresses methodological issues, Rubel clearly intends to distinguish his own approach from the only too prevalent tendencies of analysts to follow fads of the moment, to overrate the importance of technology, and to embark on futuristic speculations detached from political and historical context.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Naval Surface Warfare

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