One of my old bosses forwarded me a story about the Navy returning to its roots. In short, Navy leadership is concerned that navigators have become overly dependent on electronic equipment like GPS, and that those responsible for putting naval vessels where they are supposed to be, need to be able to do so with stars (click here to read or listen to the NPR story).
Good idea. I once had a Captain who insisted his Sailors not only understood how to shoot stars, but also how to navigate without the use of even a gyro compass (it required the use of a three arm protractor), making the ship impervious to even a total loss of electronic navigation capabilities.
At the time, he was considered a visionary. Today, I suppose he would be classified as a dinosaur; a remnant of the past.
Fast forward a few years and many bridge personnel would have a difficult time finding a copy of Bowditch, let alone obtain a celestial fix of the ship’s position. Maybe the Navy is right. Maybe we have become too dependent on electronics.
There is, admittedly, an allure to possessing the latest gadgets. The smart phone industry counts on a public so enamored with having the newest capability that millions of perfectly good phones are unceremoniously discarded each year in favor of ones a little better.
The sexiness of electronics notwithstanding, what it all boils down to is maintaining the ability to freely navigate the world’s oceans, regardless of the electronic environment the Navy encounters along the way.
So good for the Navy. Good decision by the Naval Education and Training Command. You are charting a solid course for the future.
No pun intended.
[Thanks to Carl for the article!]