About Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Armstrong, USN

Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin "BJ" Armstrong is a naval aviator and PhD Candidate with the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London. His new book “21st Century Sims: Innovation, Education, and Leadership for the Modern Era” is available from the Naval Institute Press.

Recent Posts By the Author

Opinion: The Navy Needs a Wider Look at Wargaming

Opinion: The Navy Needs a Wider Look at Wargaming


Under the auspices of the Defense Innovation Initiative, announced by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel before he left office, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work has sounded a call to revive the practice of wargaming in the Department of Defense. In a memo issued Feb. 9, Work announced plans to “reinvigorate, institutionalize, and systematize wargaming across the Department.”

This memo is a vital first step, and should instigate a Navy wide re-examination of when, why, and how we conduct these evolutions across the force. Lessons learned a century ago demonstrate that the Navy should take the memo’s intent on board, but must go even further than Mr. Work’s suggestions in order to maximize the warfighting ability and innovative spirit of the fleet. Read More

What Would Mahan Do?

What Would Mahan Do?


“It seems demonstrable, therefore, that as commerce is the engrossing and predominant interest of the world to day . . . [t]he instrument for the maintenance of policy directed upon these objects is the Navy.”

— Capt. Alfred Thayer Mahan, USN

Much of today’s discussion of international relations is based on the core idea that globalization has radically changed the political landscape of the world. Today’s thinkers, writers, and strategists tell us that because the world is flat, and we are closer to each other than ever before, we are in uncharted seas. In 2011 LCDR Matt Harper suggested in an award-winning article in the pages of Proceedings that the economic ties between China and the United States, the “Walmart Factor,” made military conflict almost impossible. Recently the discussion has once again been taken up in the pages of Proceedings. In the April issue, Lt. Cmdr. Rachel Gosnell and Lt. Michael Orzetti wrote a piece suggesting that a great power conflict was still something that should be planned for in the 21st century. LT Doug Robb responded in May with his Now Hear This . . . “Why the Age of Great Power Conflict is Over.” He made a case familiar to readers of the contemporary writings of Tom Friedman or the idealism of Norman Angell early in the 20th century.

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