One of the questions I get asked (and which I asked) is:
Why does it make sense for the Navy to have a Distinguished Visitor’s program?
If you think about it, the Navy is really concentrated in only a few areas and most of the work that the Navy does is out of sight (literally).
So, the Navy believes that it is worth it for them to invest in relationships with unbiased observers.
So, like any organization, it makes sense to attempt to cultivate ambassadors who can effectively and in an unbiased fashion speak about the efforts of the Navy.
Companies do this and the Navy does the same. I’m fine with it.
Plus, when I think about the cost, it’s really not that much. I paid for myself to get to San Diego. We also each paid $50 on board the ship to cover the cost of our food. So, after that, you’re looking at our flights to/from the ship (but my understanding is that these flights go anyway, bringing supplies, mail, etc. so we just took a few seats).
Once on the ship, there are some marginal costs I suppose (the opportunity cost of the sailors we met perhaps, but judging how efficiently they run their jobs, it’s not like we really slowed them down), but they are pretty marginal.
Now, to be clear, I’m under no obligation to do anything for the Navy. Not even this blog post. They just believe that the program is worth it.
Frankly, it’s difficult for me to see how one can go through the DV program and not be impressed, so it’s not accidental, but they believe that if you have the opportunity to experience life on a US Navy vessel, you will ultimately have a deeper appreciation for their work and that will only pay positive dividends.