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The CNO-Professional Reading Program consists of 12 books, and is a mix of writing genres including fiction, non-fiction, military, strategy, management, and technology, among others. The goal of the program is to contribute to a culture dedicated to warfighting and learning, while simultaneously supporting the personal and professional development of Sailors beyond that of their primary designator or rating.
A learning mindset is essential to accelerating our warfighting advantage. A Navy that learns, adapts, and improves the fastest will be the most successful. Knowledge sharing is essential to creating a learning culture. We are driving a fleet-wide campaign of self-improvement and we must foster an organization that supports and empowers Sailors to have an independent quest for knowledge through reading and information sharing. What you know and how fast you learn is relevant in this era of strategic competition.
M. M. Gilday
Admiral, U.S. Navy
Chief of Naval Operations
By Bruce Jones
[ Link to the E-book ]
For centuries, oceans were the chessboard on which empires battled for supremacy. But in the nuclear age, air power and missile systems dominated our worries about security, and for the United States, the economy was largely driven by domestic production, with trucking and railways that crisscrossed the continent serving as the primary modes of commercial transit. All that has changed, as nine-tenths of global commerce and the bulk of energy trade is today linked to sea-based flows. Bruce Jones conducts us on a voyage through the great modern ports and naval bases—from the vast container ports of Hong Kong and Shanghai to the vital naval base of the American Seventh Fleet in Hawaii to the sophisticated security arrangements in the Port of New York. Along the way, the book illustrates how global commerce works, that we are amidst a global naval arms race, and why the oceans are so crucial to America’s standing going forward. Jones reveals the three great geopolitical struggles of our time—for military power, for economic dominance, and over our changing climate—are playing out atop, within, and below the world’s oceans.
By James Holmes
A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy is a compact introductory work aimed at junior seafarers, those who make decisions affecting the sea services, and those who educate seafarers and decision-makers. It introduces readers to the main theoretical ideas that shape how statesmen and commanders make and execute maritime strategy in times of peace and war. Following in the spirit of Bernard Brodie's Layman's Guide to Naval Strategy, a World War II-era book whose title makes its purpose plain, it will be a companion volume to such works as Geoffrey Till's Seapower and Wayne Hughes's Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, the classic treatise that explains how to handle navies in fleet actions. It takes the mystery out of maritime strategy, which should not be an arcane art for practitioners or policy-makers, and will help the next generation think about strategy.
By Michael. A. McDevitt
Beginning with an exploration of why China is seeking to become such a major maritime power, author Michael McDevitt first explores the strategic rationale behind Xi’s two objectives. China’s reliance on foreign trade and overseas interests such as China’s Belt and Road strategy. In turn this has created concerns within the senior levels of China’s military about the vulnerability of its overseas interests and maritime life-lines. McDevitt dubs this China’s “sea lane anxiety” and traces how this has required the PLA Navy to evolve from a “near seas”-focused navy to one that has global reach; a “blue water navy.” He details how quickly this transformation has taken place, thanks to a patient step-by-step approach and abundant funding. The more than 10 years of anti-piracy patrols in the far reaches of the Indian Ocean has acted as a learning curve accelerator to “blue water” status. McDevitt then explores the PLA Navy’s role in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. He provides a detailed assessment of what the PLAN will be expected to do if Beijing chooses to attack Taiwan potentially triggering combat with America’s “first responders” in East Asia, especially the U.S. Seventh Fleet and U.S. Fifth Air Force. This book concludes with a forecast of what Xi’s vision of a “world-class navy” might look like in the next fifteen years when the 2035 deadline is reached.
By Mary E. Sarotte
[ Link to the Audio book ]
Based on over a hundred interviews and on secret records of White House–Kremlin contacts, Not One Inch shows how the United States successfully overcame Russian resistance in the 1990s to expand NATO to more than 900 million people. But it also reveals how Washington’s hardball tactics transformed the era between the Cold War and the present day, undermining what could have become a lasting partnership. Vladimir Putin swears that Washington betrayed a promise that NATO would move “not one inch” eastward and justifies renewed confrontation as a necessary response to the alliance’s illegitimate “deployment of military infrastructure to our borders.” But the United States insists that neither President George H.W. Bush nor any other leader made such a promise. Pulling back the curtain on U.S.–Russian relations in the critical years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and Putin’s rise to power, prize-winning Cold War historian M. E. Sarotte reveals the bitter clashes over NATO behind the facade of friendship and comes to a sobering conclusion: the damage did not have to happen. In this deeply researched and compellingly written book, Sarotte shows what went wrong.
By Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.)
The Sailor's Bookshelf offers synopses of fifty books that illustrate the history, importance, lore, and lifestyle of the oceans and of those who “go down to the sea in ships.” Divided into four main categories—The Oceans, Explorers, Sailors in Fiction, and Sailors in Non-Fiction—Admiral Stavridis’ choices will appeal to “old salts” and to those who have never known the sights of the ever-changing seascape nor breathed the tonic of an ocean breeze. The result is a navigational aid that guides readers through the realm of sea literature, covering a spectrum of topics that range from science to aesthetics, from history to modernity, from solo sailing to great battles. Among these eclectic choices are guides to shiphandling and navigation, classic fiction that pits man against the sea, ecological and strategic challenges, celebrations of great achievements and the lessons that come with failure, economic competition and its stepbrother combat, explorations of the deep, and poetry that beats with the pulse of the wave. Some of the included titles are familiar to many, while others, are likely less well-known but are welcome additions to this encompassing collection. Admiral Stavridis has chosen some books that are relatively recent, and he recommends other works which have been around much longer and deserve recognition.
By Paul Scharre
A Pentagon defense expert and former U.S. Army Ranger explores what it would mean to give machines authority over the ultimate decision of life or death. What happens when a Predator drone has as much autonomy as a Google car? Or when a weapon that can hunt its own targets is hacked? Although it sounds like science fiction, the technology already exists to create weapons that can attack targets without human input. Paul Scharre, a leading expert in emerging weapons technologies, draws on deep research and firsthand experience to explore how these next-generation weapons are changing warfare.
By Vice Adm. Barry M. Costello, USN (Ret.)
Fortune Fortunes Boldness documents the incredible professionalism of the Sailors and Marines who operated in harm's way in the dangerous waters of the Northern Arabian Gulf, on the ground in Iraq and in the air over the country in 2003. It tells a story of epic events and bravery from the perspective of retired Vice Admiral Barry Costello.
By James Hornfischer
“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.” With these words, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland addressed the crew of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts on the morning of October 25, 1944, off the Philippine Island of Samar. On the horizon loomed the mightiest ships of the Japanese navy, a massive fleet that represented the last hope of a staggering empire. All that stood between it and Douglas MacArthur’s vulnerable invasion force were the Roberts and the other small ships of a tiny American flotilla poised to charge into history.
By Craig Symonds
World War II at Sea is a complete narrative of the naval war and all of its belligerents, on all of the world's oceans and seas, between 1939 and 1945. Opening with the 1930 London Conference, Symonds shows how any limitations on naval warfare would become irrelevant before the decade was up, as Europe erupted into conflict once more and its navies were brought to bear against each other. World War II at Sea offers a global perspective, focusing on the major engagements and personalities and revealing both their scale and their interconnection: the U-boat attack on Scapa Flow and the Battle of the Atlantic; the "miracle" evacuation from Dunkirk and the pitched battles for control of Norway fjords; Mussolini's Regia Marina-at the start of the war the fourth-largest navy in the world-and the dominance of the Kidö Butai and Japanese naval power in the Pacific; Pearl Harbor then Midway; the struggles of the Russian Navy and the scuttling of the French Fleet in Toulon in 1942; the landings in North Africa and then Normandy. Here as well are the notable naval leaders-FDR and Churchill, both self-proclaimed "Navy men," Karl Dönitz, François Darlan, Ernest King, Isoroku Yamamoto, Erich Raeder, Inigo Campioni, Louis Mountbatten, William Halsey, as well as the hundreds of thousands of seamen and officers of all nationalities whose live were imperiled and lost during the greatest naval conflicts in history, from small-scale assaults and amphibious operations to the largest armadas ever assembled. Many have argued that World War II was dominated by naval operations; few have shown and how and why this was the case. Symonds combines precision with story-telling verve, expertly illuminating not only the mechanics of large-scale warfare on (and below) the sea but offering wisdom into the nature of the war itself.
By Gayle T. Lemmon
A New York Times bestseller, Ashley’s War is the story of a groundbreaking team of female American warriors who served alongside Special Operations soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign
Relations, uses firsthand reporting and an understanding of the complexities of war to tell the story of Cultural Support Team (CST)–2, a unit of women handpicked from across the Army. Lemmon reveals how First Lieutenant Ashley White and the pioneers of CST–2 worked to earn the respect of combat–tested special operations warriors and illuminates the very human stakes of their battlefield successes. Transporting readers into the little–known world of the CSTs, a community of fierce women bound together by valor, danger, and the desire to serve, Ashley’s War is a gripping combat narrative and a testament to the unbreakable bond of friendship born of war.
By Brene Brown
Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential. But daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start. In this book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions of readers have come to expect and love. Brown writes, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart.”
By Carol Dweck
The updated edition of the book that has changed millions of lives with its insights into the growth mindset. After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.
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