The Navy League is a leading advocate for the U.S. our sea
services, informing Congress and the
administration that our sea warriors
must have the equipment and training they need to fight, to respond, to
engage. And it is our responsibility
to help the American public understand that America’s strength is
dependent on extraordinary support
for their maritime services.
We do this in a variety of ways,
including the publication of our
Maritime Policy. The following is an
excerpt from our upcoming 2015-
2016 policy statement emphasizing
the importance of international
Providing partnership and presence around the globe
and preventing future conflict is the cornerstone of a
national security strategy that underpins a healthy global
economy upon which the United States depends. As our
nation realigns its national security focus to the Asia-
Pacific theater, it is imperative we maintain a strong naval
force that convinces potential adversaries — and reassures
our friends — that the U.S. sea services team is forward
deployed, acting as an ever-present deterrent to conflict in
peaceful times, and can — with our global partners — pre-
vail across the full spectrum of conflict if deterrence fails.
For that, we need hulls in the water and boots on
deck, globally deployed and ready to act. Today, we are
a nation at risk of abdicating those global responsibilities and abandoning our leadership role for friends and
allies around the world.
The sea services team provides the National
Command Authority and our Combatant Commanders
with their only forcible-entry option that can operate
completely independent of second-nation constraints
and bring a unique mix of capabilities that can respond
rapidly to any threat or crisis. Positioning resources at sea
enables maritime forces to respond rapidly and decisively, with precisely the right capabilities, at sea and ashore.
As the Defense Department copes with the fiscal crisis
that is driving budget measures like sequestration and
continuing resolutions, there should be great concern
about another mission that may not be well understood by
the American public. It is a mission
conducted primarily by U.S. mar-
itime forces that can be present glob-
ally, without infringement on foreign
governments or their shores. It is a
mission our military has conducted
for longer than most can remember,
and one that has endeared us to
countries around the globe.
We signal U.S. resolve as we
work to protect our interests and
promote global prosperity. We have
proven time and again that the U.S.
maritime services are “where it matters, when it matters,” especially
when it comes to providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
This is a mission ideally suited to a maritime force, be it
a Carrier Strike Group or Amphibious Ready Group.
They have the transportation, the medical equipment,
the people, the communications, the engineering capability — in short, everything required when disaster
strikes — inherent in their makeup.
From the earthquake and tsunami of 2004 in
Indonesia, to Operation Tomodachi in support of Japan
after its earthquake and tsunami in 2011, to the response
to the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan, our maritime forces have been there to assist. When a disaster
strikes this year, will the United States have the forces in
place or available to respond? Will we have the operating
dollars to fund humanitarian missions? Or will we say,
“Sorry, we can’t help” and watch others suffer?
Tough decisions will have to be made and, in some
cases, we may not be able to respond. If we don’t, others will. In particular, China wants to increase its prestige and status in the world. What better way than to
do exactly what we have done for so many decades —
help people in need. It is time for the U.S. government
to take a very hard look at whether we want to walk
away from our role as the friend to those in need.
The Navy League — Trusted Partner of the Sea Services
By JAMES H. OFFUTT, Navy League National President