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Dissatisfaction with the Royal Navy’s World War I performance led a generation of officers to analyze the fleet’s wartime record. This analysis revealed three problems: over-centralization of authority, a reluctance to fight night actions, and an overly defensive use of destroyers. In an effort to correct these issues, the Royal Navy made changes to its doctrine, training, and professional military education that improved the Navy’s World War II performance, especially in surface warfare. Reforms flowed from a variety of sources, including First Sea Lord Adm. David Beatty, contributors to the Naval Review, and Mediterranean Fleet exercise. The interwar reforms reflected an organizational culture that pursued improvement and learning in response to the perception that in World War I, the Navy failed to live up to historical standards of success.
The Marine Corps is a complex, tribal organization. Although Marines pride themselves on “every Marine a rifleman,” subcultures, in particular that of fixed-wing aviation, present a challenge to the organization. Another issue that influences Corps organizational behavior is its partnership with the US Navy in amphibious operations. Gender and ethnicity changes have challenged “Old Corps” cultural norms. The first challenge was racial integration, which began in the 1950s and continues today. Another complication is gender integration, given the masculine dominance values in varied ethnic communities. There is also a potential cultural clash between part of the officer Corps and junior enlisted personnel. A more important potential issue is a cultural clash among Marines at the cutting edge of the Corps’s technological transformation, as well as cultural differences between millennials and older generations. Boot camp is designed to overcome these cultural differences and make every recruit a Marine. The Marine Corps uses its heroic, manufactured past to instill in its personnel a unique identity, that of spartan warrior dedicated to fighting and destroying the nation’s enemies. The Marine Corps must blend two cultures, both important to its political existence and self-image – that of its public warrior image and that of its growing technological reality.
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