21st Century SIMS: Innovation, Education, and Leadership for the Modern Era

By Klug, Jonathan | Military Review, November-December 2016 | Go to article overview

21st Century SIMS: Innovation, Education, and Leadership for the Modern Era


Klug, Jonathan, Military Review


21ST CENTURY SIMS

Innovation, Education, and Leadership for the Modern Era

Edited by Benjamin F. Armstrong, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2015, 176 pages

Given recent Department of Defense efforts to stimulate and foster innovation, 21st Century Sims is both timely and useful. Adm. Williams Sims is well known in Navy circles as "The Gun Doctor" for his work on improving U.S. naval gunnery practices and technology. Sims, however, did much more, and he should be remembered as an early twentieth-century innovator. Like author Benjamin F. Armstrong's previous book on the more well-known maritime theorist and historian Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan, 21stCentury Sims is an edited work that combines selected works by a naval theorist--Sims in this case--with commentary and analysis written by Armstrong. A part of the U.S. Naval Institute's 21st Century Foundations series, the purpose of this book is to stir professional discourse on theorists of the past and how their thoughts apply to the present and future.

21st Century Sims reveals how Sims's value transcends the Navy as an exemplar for successfully meeting the future through innovation, education, and leadership. The main six chapters of the book all address topics along these lines; however, all point back to innovation. Armstrong writes, "As one of the U.S. Navy's greatest innovators, and as a man who is not afraid to challenge the system, he offers an example that many of us can learn from today" This is a great point and needs to be emphasized, but Armstrong could have discussed Sims's pro-British views in more detail. While fighting against military conservatism is indeed a worthy and necessary endeavor, Sims perhaps went too far on occasion, straying too far into policy matters. …

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