APL Colloquium

August 30, 2019

Colloquium Topic: Admiral Gorshkov: The Man Who Challenged the U.S. Navy

Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Sergei G. Gorshkov was the product of a tradition unlike those of his Western contemporaries. He had a unique background of revolution, civil war, world wars, and the forceful implementation of an all-controlling communist dictatorship. Out of this background of violence and overwhelming transformation came a man with a vivid appreciation of the role and value of navies, but with his own unique ideas about the kind of navy that the Soviet Union required and the role that navy should play in Soviet military and national strategy.

Western naval observers have persisted in attempting to define Admiral Gorshkov in Western naval terms. Many of these observers have been baffled when they found that the man and his actions simply did not fit conventional narratives. This book lays out the tradition, background, experiences, and thinking of the man as they relate to the development of the Soviet Navy that Gorshkov commanded for almost three decades and that was able to directly challenge the maritime dominance of the United States—a traditional sea power. His influence persists to this day, as the Russian Navy that is at sea in the twenty-first century is, to a significant degree, based on the fleet that Admiral Gorshkov built.

Colloquium Speaker: Norman Polmar, RADM Thomas Brooks, and George Fedoroff

Norman Polmar is an analyst, author, and consultant, specializing in naval, aviation, and technology subjects. He has directed studies related to the Soviet/Russian navies for various government organizations and has been a consultant or advisor on related issues to three U.S. Senators,  the Speaker of the House, the Deputy Counselor to the President, and three Secretaries of the Navy. He has visited the Soviet Union/Russia several times as a guest of the  Navy commander-in-chief, the submarine design bureaus, and the Institute of U.S. Studies.

Thomas A. Brooks retired from the U.S. Navy as a Rear Admiral. Brooks was a career intelligence officer, serving in assignments afloat and ashore, including in Vietnam. He served as Director of Naval Intelligence from 1988 to 1991. Upon retirement from the Navy, Admiral Brooks began a second career with AT&T, holding a senior position with the firm until 2001. Subsequently, he was a faculty member at the National Defense Intelligence College for nine years, where he taught courses on intelligence history, warning, and industry-intelligence relationships. He has written extensively on intelligence-related subjects.

George E. Fedoroff is the Senior Intelligence Officer for Russia matters within the Office of Naval Intelligence, where he has worked since 1971. He has visited the Soviet Union/Russia on numerous occasions: Since 1976 he has been a member of the U.S. Navy delegation to annual U.S.-Soviet/Russian Navy Incidents at Sea Agreement compliance reviews, and from 1991 through 2013 he participated in the annual multi-national meetings and at-sea exercises involving the Russian Navy. Fluent in Russian, he has acted as interpreter for the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and participated in visit exchanges between senior U.S. and Soviet/Russian naval officials, numerous ship visits, meetings, and symposia on naval issues.