There are good project managers, contrary to what your post seems to imply, and there are not-so-good ones. That dichotomy applies to any profession. Good PMs do not ignorantly bark orders and act as glorified schedulers. They are the glue that holds the teams together, drives improved teamwork and communication, and builds better relationships between senior leadership and production departments. They also have the uncanny ability to know better than anyone how everything connects, and how to make it all work together more efficiently.I am definitely aware of this challenge ahead of me, probably not fully awre of how real this problem really exists in the Navy. The context from my civ career experience is primarily project managers, who have no concept of the complexity of "the ask" but start barking orders around the tech/development teams. Also, sales guys, making promises to prospective clients, with a non-technical understanding of the product and potential R&D involved. I currently work for financial services outsourceing/tech company and there can be a serious disconnect from the people "in charge" and the people actually tasked with the work to create a solution from nothing. For these value-added process to work efficiently, without everyone hating their job, the person who I'd prefer as my manager/boss/mentor should be able to speak the same technical language to help clarify the requirements (and maybe tell off the PM who likely is asking for something unrealistic without getting appropriate buy-in first).
It sounds like you've unfortunately had some poor PMs in your civilian career, and I admit that many of the PMs I've encountered in my 10-plus career have been subpar. If you haven't guessed yet, I am a PM (whether or not I am a good one is up for debate). Fortunately, all of the PMs in my department at a major tech company are exceptional. In addition to being highly skilled at building cross-functional relationships, the best of them can give even hotshot developers a run for their money on technical language, best practices and proper processes. Any organization would be very lucky to have them.