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From John Kennedy, U.S. Naval War College Museum
Nov. 16, 2012

Contemporary Somali piracy was the topic of the Eight Bells Lecture on Nov. 1 as retired Rear Adm. Terry McKnight spoke about his background as Commander, Task Force 151, and how that led to his book, "Pirate Alley: Commanding Task Force 151 Off Somalia." It was co-written with journalist Michael Hirsh.

McKnight, a 31-year Navy veteran, rose to command the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge prior to serving as the first commander of Combined Task Force 151.

In this engaging presentation, the audience was introduced to a first-hand account of how things are in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean areas of operation.

Peppering his talk with many personal anecdotes, he made this authoritative text come alive, introducing the reader to the subject and exploring every aspect of Somali piracy, from how the pirates operate to how their actions have impacted the world economy.

The book examines various attempts to solve the problem and ultimately develops and presents a comprehensive strategy on how to combat the threat and expansion of piracy. Piracy is not only a maritime issue; it is a land issue as well. It is a global issue, because it affects the global supply chain and because of its extra regional financial aspects. Part of the strategy underlines the need to stop the flow of U.S. dollars for ransom payments.

The presentation concluded with a lively question and answer period that brought out detailed information on the financial and personal costs of arming and defending merchant traffic and the continuing development of new tactics.

Retired Coast Guard Capt. Robert Workman discussed his book, "Float Planes and Flying Boats," at yesterday’s Eight Bells Lecture. On Nov. 29 at noon Vance Morrison will present his book, "A Plain Sailorman in China."

The lectures are brownbag affairs which are free and open to the public. Those without normal base access should call the Naval War College Museum at 841-2101 at least one work day in advance.


Posted by Dan Marciniak